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13.08.2012 Feature Article

John Mahama, Arthur-Amissah and the Clock of Destiny

Vice President Mahama Dramani JohnVice President Mahama Dramani John
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“There is no such thing as chance; and what seem to us mere accident, springs from the deepest source of destiny,” Johann Friedrich Von Schiller, a German philosopher

Destiny is the word, fate is what others call it, but the operational hand behind both words is God! Destiny, it took destiny only less than six hours to poke its hands into the affairs of Ghana and change the affairs of men; yes, less than six hours and a president became former president; a vice president became a president, and a first lady became a former first lady while another (lady) became the first; all in less than six hours! It's amazing how the clock of destiny ticks.

Yet still, the hand of destiny will not end there; just as I was looking at destiny's works in these turbulent but interesting times, it declared its presence in the household of a certain Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur as he was pronounced the Vice President of the Republic. Indeed the clock of destiny has simply refused to tick to a halt!

My colleague and friend Manasseh Azure aptly describes the happenings in one paragraph in his column, A Letter to My Future Wife: “It happens and destinies change when others lose their places. On that Tuesday noon, Professor John Evans Atta Mills was the President of Ghana and Mrs Naadu Mills was the First Lady of the Republic. Before we went to bed, however, he was being referred to as the former president. Mr John Dramani Mahama went to work as vice president and returned home as President of the Republic. Mrs Lordina Mahama went to bed as the First Lady.”

All is destiny!
In all these, however, it is not the work of destiny that must intrigue mankind. No, not at all; it is the lesson destiny teaches that must be of paramount interest to man.

Destiny is a predetermined course of events and a necessary fate. It can take you there and bring you here. It can, within a couple of minutes, move you from being the physician of the most powerful man of the land to becoming the physician of the commoner. Many are the times that people have looked down upon others not because of the positions they occupy themselves but by their mere association with “the powers that be.” But the happenings in the last few days teach us that fates can change when the creator decides.

For the past one week or so since we lost our president, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, my understanding and assessment of life has been deepened. I have taken some more time off the everyday hustle and bustle to have a more sombre reflection of life and I tell you that my understanding towards life has completely changed.

Not that I have not led my life in the past with humility as I should, but because I have realised that life, like a journey, may be long but short within which journey are inherent destinies that change per the determinations of our creator.

Apart from President John Mahama who went to work then as Vice President Mahama and returned with a different title, there were many others whose courses changed within that short period. All the aides to the late President Mills, personal attendants, cooks, spokespersons, the list is endless, had their destinies changed and no longer performed presidential duties. That is the stark reality that they needed to face without destiny's prior notice. So in the past if any of these people had been rude to any member of the vice president's camp, now the tables have turned. If you were the president's advisor who even tried to prevent the then Veep from having free access to the president, I can only imagine your position right now.

But beyond all this, there is the need for those who occupy the positions destiny has, today, created for them to be guided by the same fact – the fact that as and when the man high up decides, he changes things. If you think it is payback time, I'm sorry but you may be globing in a fool's paradise because the clock of destiny is still ticking and its hand remains in the affairs of men.

Perhaps it is important to realise that if you occupy a position just because of your mere association with another person, that position ends the day that person is no more and while you can be psychologically prepared for that time with a successful completion of the person's term in office, your case can be made pretty worse when the clock of destiny sets in like it did that Tuesday.

The tributes that have poured in for our late president have all had to do with his humility but one wonders if it was the same humility that those who surrounded him lived and worked with. President John Mahama comes across to many of us as humble and we wait to see how the people around him conduct themselves.

But if I were to give them an advice, it will be what my grandmother once told me: “It is hard to appreciate the nose ring of a stinking, grunting hairy pig because it's beautiful ring will be overshadowed by the foul smell.” In the same vein, one's association with a high office cannot be appreciated if pride and brag take centre stage.

How many times have we not been told that our leaders are good but those who surrounded them have not helped their course? It was said of presidents of the past, and Ghana as a country will be glad if same is not said about President Mahama's administration. It is far more impressive when those working with the president allow those of us in the public to discover their good qualities without their help. Overzealousness can be a bane and must be shunned by all who work with the president. The world has hailed the little piece of transition that took place on that fateful Tuesday, but there is much more transition that remains to be seen internally and it is how that is managed that is of outmost importance.

If turf war is allowed to set in one thing is for sure: the next five months will pass with us (Ghana) not having any Mahama legacy to boast about. The clock of destiny may have ticked well to give John Mahama and Amissah-Arthur their time, but it will take more than just destiny to get them to deliver. If President Mahama will perform and build on what his predecessors have achieved, he will have to act as the whip of his party and government and constantly whip his charges into line.

That is why I feel strongly that his meeting with the NDC communication team and subsequent admonition to them to do things that reflect his personality couldn't have come at a better time than now. President Mahama told the flag bearer of the Progressive People's Party (PPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom: “I have already called the meeting of our communications group and asked that their communications should reflect the person that I am, and that if there are any personality attacks they should not respond in kind.”

That is certainly the way to go because a ruler is as bad as those around him and if you are a good leader and you have those around you engaging in the everyday rancour, you are nothing but the proverbial man in a mosquito net with his legs outside.


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