The President, Our Renamer General

Feature Article The President, Our Renamer General
AUG 16, 2019 LISTEN

The President under this constitution has so much powers.

The President has even the power to decide where a toilet is situated in this country, and so it is in order to grant the president a right to name and rename everything here.

I believe most people criticizing the president for his newly found hobby in renaming institutions here know that he has the right to do so.

And it is not also wrong for citizens to express worry about the actions of the president; it is in our rights to do so.

The constitution that allows the president to do everything here, that same constitution allows me to express my views about what he is doing.

We are all right.

Perception is also important in public discourse. And the people who are worried about this renaming project of the president are expressing this fear probably because they believe that the president is not seeking national interest in doing this renaming. That he is doing this to serve the interest of his own party tradition.

Even though the constitution grants the president the powers to act in many ways, the constitution expects the president to act in the national interest; not in his party interest or personal interest.

In 2008, before President Kuffuor left office, a state awards was organized. At that awards ceremony, the president himself was awarded the highest state awards by the then Chief Justice.

Check the story as reported on the web.

President Kuffuor took home the titled award ' Grand Order of the Star and Eagle of Ghana'.

Many felt that it was ridiculous for the president then to organize an award ceremony and to have himself honored in that ceremony.

I quite remember a senior journalist likening President Kuffuor to former Head of State of Uganda, Idi Amin; who was said to love awarding himself with titles.

Idi Amin was said to have acquired for himself titles as : "His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular",

People said then-President Kuffuor was behaving like Idi Amin.

And President Kuffuor wasn't ignorant at all. He had a reason to give himself that award.

He had prepared the grounds by that honor he made to be conferred on him for this nation to begin to appreciate the Danquah-Busia family

You see, the Danquah-Busia tradition had always felt that they had been robbed off some recognition for the role their ancestors played to get us independence.

They believe that Kwame Nkrumah came to reap where he did not sow.

They believe that by the efforts made by their ancestors to get us independence, they have a divine right to rule this country.

Any other person or party who seeks to wrestle out this divine right to rule this country from them commits abomination.

Ironically, they claim for themselves as being the only true democrats here.

That was largely the reason they hated Nkrumah even up to this day. It is the same reason they in the past hated Papa J who ruled this country for two decades depriving them the right to rule this country.

Fortunately for JJ, he has recently managed to buy his friendship with the NPP tradition.

So, one with this history should understand why this renaming job and re-aligning of holidays are so important to President Nana Addo.

He is only fulfilling the silent desire of the NPP tradition to force Ghanaians to accept that they did more for the independence of Ghana than Kwame Nkrumah ever did.

But you see, rewarding any Ghanaian for being a patriot isn't a bad thing.

In fact, they say 'a country that doesn't honor its heroes is not worth dying for".

So honoring a Ghanaian irrespective of his/her tribe or political lineage for his singular effort to develop this country shouldn't be a problem. It is the right thing to do.

But the worry people have about these honors are that organizers of these awards make it seem that politicians are the most important agents in our nation-building.

And for me, politicians are the least in importance in building this nation.

In this country, we have ordinary people doing so much under difficult conditions to get this country going.

We have doctors slaving day and night to promote and protect the lives of citizens in very remote places in very poor health delivery systems.

Sometimes, they can't even find common gloves to wear in providing health services to citizens. Yet, they risk their lives to provide services for the poor ordinary people.

These doctors working in very poor health environment are our modern-day heroes, and we owe them the honours of naming institutions after them.

We have individuals like the Kwame Despite groups; the Ndooms and many enterprising Ghanaians working on their own to create jobs for the ordinary young man and woman.

The people who are working hard on their own to create jobs for me and you deserve honors especially at a time we see politicians finding it difficult to come up with the Sense that would create jobs for many of us.

Unfortunately, in this country, we are too fixated with politicians. Ironically, they are the ones who do nothing to improve our lives.

What do political leaders do here to deserve all the things we name after them?

They come, borrow to build infrastructure or provide free SHS.

If they don't get loans from anywhere to do whatever they decide to do for us, they sell remaining state asset( former Ghana Telecom) to foreigners to pay salaries.

They leave office with debts for the future generations to pay.

Even as they leave office with so much debts behind for the next generation to pay, their friends would call them to give them state honors.

Maybe, we need to take away the running of state awards from politicians. We might need to set up an independent body that would have a broader view of state awards.

Maybe, that committee would convince Ghanaians that Kofi Abrefa Busia deserves a state honour.

Maybe he deserves it.

And he is not the only one who deserves state awards.

I think I equally deserve state awards.

In my early twenties, I spent six years of my life teaching in a village. Sometimes, I had to share the six class primary school with another teacher in teaching.

Two teachers teaching class one to class six.

You can only imagine it.

And we lived in the village drinking the pool of water that women in their menses bathed in their attempt to fetch the cleaner of the water home.

I don't think any of these politicians we are honouring with state institutions would dream sending any of their children to the remotest of this country to bear the hardships that doctors, nurses and teachers endure even as they serve their nation.

Maybe , Busia deserves a state honour; I think I deserve some. I have equally paid my dues to this country.

Something of the Grand Volta would be just fine for me.

Paul Zowonu




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