Sun, 21 Jan 2024 Feature Article

A President For All, Not Few

A President For All, Not Few

On January 7, 2020, the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Akuffo Addo, swore his oath of office for a second term. He took a presidential oath, which partly reads, “I dedicate myself to the service and well-being of the people of the Republic of Ghana and to do right to all manner of persons.”

In recent times, some actions and utterances of the President at public functions have gone contrary to the presidential oath, and the earlier the President is called to order, the better it will be for our democracy.

On June 9, 2023, the President in a video posted on social media, was furiously issuing instructions to the Greater Accra Regional Minister to question the Chief of Mempeasem, Nii Torgbor Obodai Ampaw VI, who failed to honor the call to attention when the national anthem was being played during the Green Ghana program. Ghanaians sided with the President on his action because every Ghanaian is morally bound to respect any effigy, song, flag, or item that represents the nation of Ghana. The chief subsequently apologized and explained that he could not stand due to ill health.

The playing of the national anthem during national events signifies an important ritual in the affairs of the nation. It symbolizes the power and authority of the state. It affirms our patriotism, and every patriotic citizen is proud when the national anthem is played.

A few weeks after the chief’s incident, the president’s daughter, Edwina Nana Dokua Akuffo Addo, was seen in a viral video making a call while the national anthem was being played at an occasion to commemorate her mother. One would have thought the president would have rebuked her or asked her to apologize, but nothing happened. A clear case of different strokes for different folks.

Recently, during a visit to Mepe in the Volta Region to commiserate with the people after the Akosombo and Kpong Dam spillages, the President made a comment to suggest that the people of that area do not vote for his party during elections, and his presence at the occasion was because he is the President of Ghana. The president’s utterances on that occasion were uncalled for, and the situation of the people at that moment did not warrant the president rubbing salt into their wounds. The president's statement was divisive and in bad taste.

The presidential gaffe at Mepe was repeated when the president, in a meeting with some local leaders of Ekumfi, stated that he has refused to develop their area because they rejected his Member of Parliament.

Article 1(1) of the 1992 constitution stipulates that the sovereignty of the state resides in the people in whose name and welfare the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner laid down in the constitution.

The president has been elected by Ghanaians to take care of the country for a specific period of time. His oath of office directs him to do good to all manner of persons, not just a few or those who voted for him.

The Directive Principles of State Policy under Chapter 6 of the 1992 Constitution instructs the president to ensure a fair distribution of development across the country. Article 36(d) reads, “undertake even and balanced development of all regions and every part of each region of Ghana, and in particular, improving the conditions of life in the rural areas and redressing any imbalance in development between the rural and urban areas.”

Civil societies, the Council of State, religious bodies, and other stakeholders must condemn the President’s actions and call him to order. The majority of Ghanaians voted for him to develop Ghana, not the constituencies that voted for him and his party. After all, we all pay our taxes to the government, not opposition parties.

Mustapha Jimah.
Member, National Democratic Congress Communication Team

Ablekuma Central
[email protected]