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01.04.2004 Feature Article

Illusions of Our 2000 Mandate

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Day in day out, indications are that the tempo of political activities keeps rising and it’s going to be a fiercely fought election with all the political parties devising several strategies. The question on many minds would ultimately be whether to retain the incumbent or “Sankofa”. With all due respect, it’s difficult to fathom a victory by any of the other opposition parties. They would however play a significant role in determining the eventual winner. Issues that would underpin the fortunes of the eventual winner would centre on promises vis a vis performance, programmes and personalities within the various parties as well as propaganda.

In the 2000 election, I do not think the real issues of social welfare; the economy, education and development were given adequate attention. I believe the success of the NPP was based on an effective propaganda on perceived corruption within the ranks of the then ruling party the NDC. Performance within the global environment was downplayed to suit the propaganda of the opposition. Personally I believed a change was necessary, however I did not believe the NPP could provide that alternative. At the same time I also did not think the NDC deserved to be retained considering their obvious weariness and lack of sensitivity to the plight of the ordinary man due to their long stay in office. I therefore abstained from voting. The question voters should consider in the presidential election should be first and foremost amongst the candidates, who is capable of providing the most capable leadership Ghana needs today

The NPP was ushered into office with enormous goodwill in 2001 and riding on that with the perceived corruption of the past administration, set out its agenda. Today, the corruption index shows an increase in Ghana (Transparency International Survey 2003). I do not have figures, but if after a 20 year rule only three high profile corruption cases have been completed, then one can reasonably infer that the NDC didn’t do too badly after all considering the perception, though we should strive for perfection. Today Kufuor himself has admitted the pervasiveness of corruption in our society. The conclusion therefore should be, corruption is not a Rawlings phenomena, but a Ghanaian thing.

I sympathize with Rawlings a lot. His messages were often misunderstood. His slogan of probity, integrity and accountability were for all Ghanaians, so the question I often ask myself is why we limit these ideals to just officials of his government. I believe Rawllings by 2000 was tired, the issue Ghana was facing were greater than he could comprehend, but I dare say however that, had he not come in 1981, Ghana would be nowhere near where it is today. He provided security, grass root participation in national affairs, etc. His visions to me were great, but insincere officials who were opportunist and did not share in his ideals almost too often bogged down implementation. He contributed to this state of affairs no doubt, but the issue is, these same officials, the civil servants, etc are still at post today, maybe in different capacities.

As Prof Mills rightly said, this election is between Kufuor and Mills and not Rawlings. He has paid his dues to mother Ghana and should be left alone in his “Unemployment”. Sincerely, I do not think Kufuor was ever subjected to the kind of scrutiny a presidential aspirant is normally put through. Clearly, there was and still is a media orchestration to prevent such scrutiny of any sort. We are continuously being bombarded with media headlines such as “Mills Be Your Own Man”. Dissenting and critical views of Kufuor are blacked out. Is Kufuor also his own man if I may ask? I believe NO. I had this perception when he was a candidate and still do. I believed Kufuor owes too many people favours and thus could never stamp his authority. That to me was not the kind of person needed to continue where Rawlings had left

Evidence of this can be seen in the “Bambagate”. How on earth, can a sitting president be in the dark for two years about a case of alleged fraud of such magnitude involving his own deputy chief of staff? It is unacceptable for any explanation to be given for this lapse in supervising his appointees. In any case, if we can accept this, then no one has the moral right to question Prof Mills about what he did when identification haircuts were being given at the castle, or about so called mismanagement of the economy for that matter, because he was definitely not the one in charge.

Anyway lets concentrate on Kufuor. Who is he? If my information is right, Kufuor claims to be a lawyer, Oxford educated, well impressive. It is however difficult to get an opinion about his performance as a lawyer anywhere. He rather has a reputation as being a failed businessman, chief executive of Asante Kotoko and a deputy minister in Busia’s government. Hi s appointment in that government can easily be recognized as part of the cronyism, of that regime and appointments on tribal lines. After all if there was a brilliant 29year old, it can be assumed that that brilliance would be exemplified all through ones career. Kufuor is however not a member of any recognized professional internationally body (at least till he became Ecowas CEO) and his performance as president clearly reveals his lack of exposure internationally. He clearly exemplifies why going abroad does not necessarily mean you are exposed. You can even stay in Ghana and be exposed.

The questions on my mind are numerous. Kufuor if he were knowledgeable to the perceived degree for instance, he should have known that of all the countries in the world that he wanted to visit, Malaysia should not have been included. His government has not only thrown out the Malaysians at Ghana Telecom, but are subtly trying to throw out those at TV3 and Tema Drydock, but still went to Malaysia to look for so called investments. He is such a hypocrite. Wasn’t it him and his party who criticized Rawlings for inviting Malaysian investors with frivolous allegations? I believe that in Ghana it’s all about clout, not substance for if it were Kufuor would not be president today. Its both amazing and admirable however how Kufuor has managed to cultivate such a clout about himself, but its time we Ghanaians looked for substance in people before giving them our mandate.

I have intentionally not talked about Prof Mills because even a cursory look reveals what he is made of. In this election year, let those who understand reject clout and look for substance. Lets look for self made men, not those who live on inheritance and borrowed glory and throw dust into our eyes by their fancy ways, beware they are all of little substance. Lets all reject “Be your own man” and subject candidates to show us what they are made off. Lets actually subject Kufuor and Mills and then decide who is the best man for us NB If you want to criticize please let me know why you think Kufuor is a better candidate than Mills Email author: [email protected]

Lee Flanko
Lee Flanko, © 2004

The author has 1 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: LeeFlanko

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