Part 2 of 3 Ghana's wounds are self-inflicted and are nothing of the devil's doing. They are the result of our own continued choice of incompetent and wrong leaders. How much disappointment, discouragement, ill will, and loss of financial well-being Ghana has faced as unqualified leaders make decisions and set the pace for the people. To help us avoid such pitfalls in 2008, this author is inviting all Ghanaians to focus our attention on clearly conceptualizing the qualifications of prospective leaders. This author believes this is an issue that must concern all of us if we desire a better Ghana for ourselves, our children and posterity regardless of our party affiliations.
In an article, ( ) What Should Be The Qualifications Of Our Next President, this author argued that a good candidate for the office of the president and or other public office, for that matter would be someone who loves the country dearly. The question is how does one qualify as someone who has the right measure of love for Ghana? Let us examine some key elements of the qualities of a good Presidential candidate.
The only leader worth following is one who is committed to a vision and knows how to get there. But how do you find him or her?
The political parties and all of us must search deeper, to look for character qualities that reveal a deep-seated faith reflecting integrity, maturity, and stability in a potential leader. Politicking, power games, boasting, and popularity contests SHOULD NOT have preeminence over ideas and vision in 2008 in deciding who should become president. Our fervent hope is that whoever becomes president in 2008 would exhibit an ability to relate well with people both in communicating truthfully and in handling disagreements. He or she must be able to teach, to inspire and lead in a creative way.
In a nutshell, in 2008 we expect a president who possesses: (1) a good reputation, (2) a high sense of honesty and integrity (3) deep seated spiritual values (4) competence (5) a mature vision and a willingness to learn from others (6) a healthy home and family life, (7) a heart filled with unwavering love for the nation and its people, and last but not the least (7) self-control,
Let's examine each one briefly.
1. A PRESIDENT cannot function effectively as leader and command the respect of the people if a cloud of disgrace hangs over his head because of questionable or overtly fraudulent activity in his past. The authority of a leader would be seriously damaged by a bad reputation. For those who are inclined to listen to the words of wisdom of the Bible, the quotation below will serve to buttress my point. “If an elder does not have a good reputation he will fall into the snare of the devil” (1Timothy 3:7)
2. It is important that a PRESIDENT be above reproach in all the important areas of personal character listed above. When tested, the president must not be found wanting in the eyes of the people. Does this mean that one has to be perfect to be PRESIDENT? Obviously not, since no one is perfect. But the characteristic pattern of his life must be in line with the highest moral principles and standards of leadership. When considering a candidate, it should be asked if there are any verifiable, unresolved charges of wrongdoing that could be brought against him to tarnish his image.
3. A PRESIDENT should not be someone who is constantly dogged by crises because of his own inability to organize. Any candidate for public office should be carefully observed and questioned to determine if his/her life reflects an ability to stay organized and maintain systemic orderliness.
4. A person who serves in public office must take his role seriously. Such a person must not have a frivolous attitude toward social issues?
5. A PRESIDENT must have a disciplined life. He must demonstrate a “grown-up-ness” and maturity and be in control of his passions and appetites. This self-control comes from being well grounded in spiritual values and having faith in Providence. It is only then that we can count on a leader making wise decisions.
6. A PRESIDENT chooses to live for country instead of his selfish interests only. His life is in order. He is not driven by corrupt impulses. The following characteristics are a good indicator of a person's degree of self-control.
i). Not given to a habit of overdrinking: A person being considered for the office of President should be evaluated by these questions: Is his testimony diminished by a use of alcohol? Does he have a personal dependency on alcohol or drugs? Does he have any kind of addiction?
ii). Not quarrelsome: A PRESIDENT should not be a person commonly given to undue argument, disputation, controversy, and rivalry. A mature PRESIDENT should be able to compromise on nonessential matters be able to practice diplomacy. When considering a candidate, one should ask questions such as these:
“Does the person find it difficult to participate in a dialogue if his point of view does not appear to prevail?”
“Does he stubbornly maintain his viewpoint in the face of reasonable and unanswered objections?”
iii). Not to be self-willed: A person who is overbearing and inconsiderate is not qualified for leadership. Neither is someone who consistently displays an insensitive desire to have his way regardless of facts, circumstances, and the needs or feelings of people. The questions to ask, then, are these: Does the person insist on always "being right"? Is he rude in his behavior when someone challenges his viewpoint? Does he resist worthy causes merely because he did not originate the ideas?
iv). Not quick-tempered: A quick-tempered man becomes angry and belligerent very easily. Does the person being considered for president typically become so filled with emotion when facing opposition that he expresses himself in an angry, intimidating manner? Foe example, does he shake his fist, jump to his feet, and hit the tabletop? Does he resort to personal attacks and vilification that are completely unrelated to issues being discussed? If the answer is “yes” to the preceding questions, then the candidate is unqualified.
v). Not double-tongued: A president should be a person whose word can be trusted. He cannot be inconsistent or insincere in what he says. He cannot say one thing to one person and something contradictory to another. His “yes” must mean “yes” and his “no” means “no”. Does the candidate who is being considered for president keeps his promises? Or is he hypocritical in speech? Does he alter the truth to serve his own selfish interests? Does he slander people behind their backs?
vi). Not greedy for money: The PRIORITIES of a president or any leader, for that matter must not be centered on the accumulation of worldly riches for himself or herself. He or she must be a good illustration of one who, though may be wealthy, places his or her greatest priority on THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE. No one should be able to accuse the President of using his position for personal financial gain. In his financial dealings, whether personal or business, he cannot be one who uses unethical or questionable tactics.
vii). Not covetous: A President cannot be preoccupied with material wealth. The love of money leads a person away from the country. Several questions will help to discover if the candidate for leadership is greedy or covetous. Does he give more attention to things or to people? If he is wealthy (which is not wrong in itself), is too much of his time involved in acquiring or maintaining material possessions?
viii). A lover of what is good: a President must have the best interests of the nation in mind and show by his actions that he desires to reflect goodness in all that he does and in all of his relationships.
ix). Gentle: A President must be gracious, kind, forbearing, considerate, magnanimous, and genial. If a man is short-tempered, inconsiderate, rude, or cruel, he would not be qualified for a PRESIDENT.
x). Not violent: A PRESIDENT must not be one who would make the board room a place for vicious verbal combat. In examining the qualifications of a man for leadership, a careful look must be taken at how well he settles his differences with others.
xi). Hospitable: A President must show friendliness and a willingness to help others who need assistance. He/she must practice what he/she preaches and be good examples to others. A person's home life is the most revealing aspect of his character and leadership ability.
xii). He is the husband of one wife: if a candidate/PRESIDENT is married he must be faithfully devoted to his wife. Is the candidate a man who is dedicated to only one woman? Or a woman who is dedicated to only one man? An adulterer, a man who keeps a mistress or a flirtatious person clearly would not be qualified as a good President.
xiii). Not a novice: A presidential candidate must possess a proven and steady record that shows long varied experience and maturity (not necessarily in government but any business organization). It is very important to investigate whether he has enough people's skills to be humble if he would be elevated to the position of President. He must have shown by his faithfulness that he is qualified for official service. Questions to ask must include: Has the individual demonstrated his ability to function as an example to others? Is his life in harmony with the Constitutional prescriptions/qualifications of a president?
xiv). Hold a clear conscience: A PRESIDENT cannot be a hypocrite. He cannot be merely intellectual; clever but leading a life full of contradictions. He must display sincerity, firm conviction and a clear and all-consuming vision of the future. He must be convinced of its soundness of his ideas and be willing and able to defend them. When considering a person for PRESIDENT, one may ask these questions:
Does the person abide strictly by written word or does he subvert accepted systems?
Will he respect the Constitution as the final word of authority in all matters of government life, and practice? Or will he exhibit a tendency to ignore or bypass the CONSTITUTION for selfish ends?
xv). Just, able to exhort and convict: A President must have a firm handle on the truth and be able to explain convincingly the demands of the law on our lives. A PRESIDENT, therefore, must have the courage to seek truth even when it is inconvenient or controversial. He must always seek to be fair and impartial. And he must seek to make decisions on the basis of principle, not personalities. When confronted by politicians who are wrapped up in selfish motives, would he be able prosecute them? Would he also be able to discuss appropriate measures that speak to the issue? A PRESIDENT must be concerned with justice in all his dealings. He must do what is right and be fair in all situations.
Ghana is looking for a few good men to lead and to be models of the high moral attitudes and actions that should be the mark of our world by 2015 as per the Millennium Development Goals. This time around, in 2008, the electorate must learn to be highly selective about who is elected to lead Ghana and transform it into a healthy nation. The qualifications are extensive and essential to the mental and physical health of a young nation such as Ghana. To compromise on the standards is to risk crises of character and morale within the body politic.
In the forgoing this writer has attempted to outline the key qualifications that should form the bedrock for choosing OUR NEXT PRESIDENT in a simple, straight forward fashion. Even so, some examples are valuable in demonstrating how these qualifications should be applied. This author believes there are many Ghanaians out there who exemplify many if not all the fore mentioned qualities other than the greedy politicians who keep on recycling on our political front. This author will attempt (with your help) to find and feature some of these candidates in the next issue, part 3. Meanwhile suffice it to say that one fine gentleman who meets almost all the qualities mentioned above is Dr. Arthur Kennedy.
For any information, please address them to: Okyere Bonna, Secretary, Ghana Leadership Union. Email: [email protected] In Ghana: Contact: Anthony Owusu, 0244-057-566 Email: [email protected] Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.