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26.03.2009 Editorial

Kufuor deserves dignity & respect, not calumny

By Statesman
Kufuor deserves dignity & respect, not calumny

John Agyekum Kufuor is an unrivalled figure in the political history of this nation.

His legacy as Africa's most tolerant and accomplished statesman is solid - as well as his stature as a peace-builder, not only in the sub-region of West Africa, but also on the corridors of the African Union.

His historic rise to power, without blood, thunder and lightning, and the high level of tolerance he exuded in the face of attacks, both verbal and in the media, are assets.

Sometimes, too, he had to bend over backwards so his eccentric predecessor John Jerry Rawlings can overcome his psychological agony of having ceded power when hot blood was still running through his veins and when he had gotten used to - or rather obsessed with the glare of public life.

Even when peeved AFRC and PNDC exiles were baying for the blood of Flt Lt JJ Rawlings in settling scores, the ex-President made sure he protected Rawlings from the bullets of his enemies.

Also, each time he had insulted Kufuor, and called him names that befit the despicable and reprehensible, including armed robbers, the gentle giant had turned the other cheek just so that Ghana can enjoy the stability needed to reconstruct its moribund economy, impotent structures, stunted infrastructure and developmental programmes.

No wonder, that exhibition of tact and diplomacy on the part of the 'Gentle Giant' as well as his sense of tolerance and good governance benchmarks paid off, pushing Ghana from a non-performing economy to three-star heights that culminated in the country getting its highest sovereign rating ever.

On the eve of his departure, when most strong economies, including Western nations, were tottering, our currency was still stable until the NDC jumped into the seat.

Before his ascent to power in January 2001, Ghana had been blacklisted as a high-risk investment nation because of the baggage of the Rawlings regimes' high-handed manner of dealing with business people and the political posturing and confiscations that characterised their administration.

The Statesman therefore believes the least we can do for this man is respect and dignify him, not vilify and condemn him to the pits of Hell over trifles, including vehicles and an office.

The NDC has demonised him enough; and it is time 'Christian' Mills rediscovered his religious sensibilities and stopped passing the buck because it stops with him.

For the NDC as a political party and former Government which preached probity and accountability but failed to meet the standards they themselves had set, it was natural that the courts threw most of its functionaries into jail for various acts of corruption.

However, those few who were found guilty in eight long years were pardoned when J.A Kufuor was leaving office, with some of them having served less than two years.

All this, he did in the name of peace and reconciliation.

Not only that, he brought into the office of the President profound dignity, giving Africa and Ghana, for that matter, a strong voice on the platforms of the international community, and pulling Ghana from the brink of anarchy when it mattered most in the saga of the Presidential run-off.

He was a wise leader, who avoided conflict and closed his ears to provocative statements that were aimed at derailing his vision and diverting his focus as a visionary leader, with a clear agenda to put Ghana on the map as Africa's Shining Star.

Unfortunately, the NPP itself has not done enough in paying enough tribute to a great son of the party or defended his cause with the vehemence that is required of the party.

Let us remember that, if for nothing at all, JAK is the most successful UP leader the tradition has ever had. Long live his vision; long live democracy and political tolerance.

Credit: Statesman

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