Ghanaian Leaders Have Become too Bossy: A Case of Vanderpuye

Feature Article Ghanaian Leaders Have Become too Bossy: A Case of Vanderpuye
NOV 21, 2014 LISTEN

For many years we've not been concerned about the way our leaders treat us; perhaps because of how we have grown to understand authority as the highest moral rank. I must admit that we are seeing the end of that period. Because of the irresponsibility of today's leadership, this generation has become more critical, rational and has a high expectation beyond old traditional models of assessing issues. This is why the bossy attitudinal scheme, exhibited by our leadership in Ghana which has macerated our bureaucracy, must come to an end now!

The unconscious bossy attitude

I know in Ghana, being a boss is a complex subconscious attitude that has come to frame bureaucratic leadership in the country. Each person privileged to serve in certain capacities would like to feel the praise of being a boss. A kind of unnoticeable inferiority complex oozing madness into the Ghanaian bureaucracy and societies. But this isn't about a good boss who takes up due responsibilities. I'm actually talking about bossy attitudes which intimidate and cast inferiority on others.

I've never felt the urge to address this issue until I came across this video featuring Alfred Oko Vanderpuye, the mayor of Accra, who is seen unofficially, illegitimately, threatening and victimizing a trotro driver to put him behind bars for unnecessary honking. Throughout the episode, the mayor repeated the word nonsense, hitting the driver and commanding the police to handcuff him. An act which I find as an abuse of power, dehumanization and extreme “unjust” justice. What right does the mayor have to order a citizen of Ghana to be put behind bars? And does indiscipline honking merit one to be put to the cells or to be handcuffed? By what prerogative made him to hit the driver (when there was non-resistance to arrest), videotaping the scene and making it go viral on social media.

The luxury of leadership

Unfortunately, leadership in Ghana has become too glorious that one's whole societal recognition comes to depend upon it. That's the ugly culture we've structured in the country. Government officials are called honorable—not bad anyway. Ministers and MP's ride in descriptive bossy cars. You don't need to ask before you know their office. Many of our leaders feel so bossy that they tend to stereotype everyone to be inferior. Perhaps you heard Gabriel Barima, popularly known as Tweaa DCE furiously saying "Are you my co-equal?" Of course there is no equality between them because he is the District Chief Executive and the other one is a hospital work.

That's the point I'm cutting across with.

While growing up in Ghana, it was such bossy attitudes of certain persons in power that often irritated me. Our leaders abuse power and ascend themselves above the law and everyone else. They exercise power to buy the security forces – the police and military. All our law enforcement agencies are weakened by political influence. Anyone having a connection with the police can just call on them to intimidate others of low ranks. This is one of the issues that the Ghana police must work in tandem with the Judiciary before it rips off their integrity.

The need for self-transformational attitude

The kind of change and progress we're seeking for in our political journey can never be achieved unless we take a conscious self-transformational attitudes to change from being bossy to servant leadership. Ethics must not be disassociated from politics. Leadership must invest in people because leadership isn't a title, but a responsibility. It's not for life, but affecting life. It's not arrogance, but gentleness. Ghana's leaders must put on the working gear and work properly! We mustn't think of leadership as a stylized mechanism aimed at frivolous and wanton self-glorification. What is most important to us as a nation is for our leaders to pin development at the right spot. They must feel the dirt of our soil. If such directives are too hard for them, then being bossy is just a too-much-fancy-cost to the nation.

It's rather unfortunate the undisciplined attitude displayed by the AMA Boss against this driver. I must infer from his act and others as well that this bossy attitude is a psychological illness and it's no more acceptable in this country. Each person in this country must be treated with dignity, respect and as a dear citizen. The fact that one has offended does not merit anyone to dehumanize them by various threats, beating and insult. There must be police discretion, proper legal methods and high integrity in handling culprits. Persons with influential office must not exploit the security force to bully the citizenry. Government, private and corporate bodies must come together to create an institution to fight against this mafia attitude. We must practice the law of liberation and justice not chauvinism – an attitude of superiority against others.

Clifford Owusu-Gyamfi, Co-founder of Youth Movement for African Unity and a Graduate student, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.