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27.02.2009 Feature Article

Advice to President Mills…on Politics, Economic Development and Governance

One of the basic ingredients of economic development in any country is political stability. Ghana is no exception. As such, it is critical that tranquility enjoyed recently in Ghana is not imperiled. Stability engenders innovation and investment. In addition, stability is the hallmark of economic and political growth.

Furthermore, stability thrives in an environment where political dissent is tolerated and transparency in governance is nurtured.

Among other issues, economic stability is sustained when political power is peacefully transferred at the end of each term. In most democracies around the world, election is one of the processes by which the defeated ruling party transfers political power to the victorious political party without drama. Ghana has just gone through that process.

I followed the recent elections in Ghana closely. The final resolution rekindled my faith in the Black Star again because the politicians and the rest of the populace demonstrated political maturity worthy of emulation. They did not do a Kenya or a Zimbabwe. At last, Ghanaians have realized that imperfect election systems trump chaos and political anarchy. Because of this feat, I am proud of my Ghanaian heritage. So, I doff off my hat to the leaders who worked hard to ensure that the vanquished political party, NPP, drunk gracefully from the cup of defeat. That is the reality of Western democratic principles for which Ghanaians aspire to be practitioners.

Let me share a few truths about elections. The first truthiness in politics is that political opponents are not enemies. They simply have opposing views, processes and methods by which economic and political development of Ghana can be attained. Therefore, it is critical that, that notion is ingrained in our novice, experienced and veteran politicians alike. Tempers will rage but they must quiet when election results are declared because the Ghanaian electorate has spoken.

Two, elections provide the global public square in which robust contest of ideas are showcased and political agenda are flushed. Stability in government and improvement in the economic lives of Ghanaians should be the paramount political agenda of Ghana. To this end, I argue that public service is the reason most Ghanaian politicians entered into politics. I posit further that any other political agenda is subservient. Ghanaians voted for the NDC party stock, lock and gun, and must be allowed to experience NDC governance again for the duration enshrined in the constitution.

Three, you may disagree with the results, especially if your party lost the elections. However, you must know that elections are not perfect and the country must come together when election results are confirmed. Your party may possess the best policy ideas for the development of Ghana but if it is not able to close the deal on election night then those ideas should be parked in the political arena and await another season of political campaigns. My fellow Ghanaians, the NDC won, and the 2008 elections are over. Now, it is time for governance. I implore the opposition (NPP, et al) to unclench their fisted hands and join the hands of NDC in governance. The electorate will determine in four years whether or not to rehire NDC. Ghanaians have gone through growing pains in political maturity and they are experienced in discerning political rhetoric from deeds. Rest assured, the Ghanaian electorate will winnow the political wheat from the political chaff and chase those greedy politicians out in four years, if they do not deliver. If you are in doubt, ask the NPP.

To the President, Dr. Mills and his team, I say, this is no time for fear, sophistry or personal aggrandizement. The whole world is watching. You have taken the reigns of government at the time when most of the world is going through severe economic slump. Recession and deflation characterizes most economic systems. You will only be successful if you will step up and provide decisive leadership for the country. Ghana cannot afford the apparent “the puppet and the puppeteer” leadership arrangement that the NDC is exhibiting. Party leaders exert covert power not overt power.

There is one President at a time in Ghana, and that is the job you applied and campaigned for. If you find yourself incapable of performing the functions of your office, then resign, Mr. President. Use the bully pulpit to inspire when hope is needed. Use the bully pulpit to persuade when reason is required and to cajole those who will not lead, follow or get out of the way. And that includes your ministers and the entire leadership team governing the country. Credit: Ghanaweb

Ghanaian Chronicle
Ghanaian Chronicle, © 2009

This author has authored 1023 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: GhanaianChronicle

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