Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has said successive Presidents have felt obliged to tacitly promote nepotism because it provides the only means through which they can reward loyal supporters on whose votes they depend during their tenures.
“It is no surprise that every President since the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution has faced accusations of nepotism, cronyism, and various forms of abuse,” he said, explaining that “while the accusations may be well founded, in my view, they miss the knob of the problem which is the real point being the system we have entrenched which makes political patronage the sole source of reward.”
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was speaking on the topic: “Leadership: Strengthening Democratic Institutions for National Development” at the 3rd Annual University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) leadership lecture series in Accra on Friday.
He said, “Our Presidents themselves have become victims of the system, entrapped in a prison from which they are obliged to dole out largesse to their army of supporters on pain of losing their loyalty.”
“I have no doubt that any President will prefer to be liberated from this entanglement so they can devote all attention to the pursuit of the good of all. This is not an aspiration we should wish from our leaders. It is an imperative our nation must now seek,” he added.
He made it clear that “the nation can no longer ignore the correlation between the existence of strong state institutions with an impersonal system of rewards and the outcome of good governance and strong economies.”
The Otumfuo, an Alumnus of UPSA formerly IPS, further said “a drastic change of attitude to politics should be the first order of business,” adding “politics should be the path to service and not the gravy train to personal wealth.”
“Men and women should enter politics not because it will make them wealthy, but because it will make them worthy to serve their fellow men,” he advised.
He said “we have enough evidence of such dedicated politicians in our history and even in the politics of today. The tragedy is that they are outnumbered and outshone by those whose actions cast politics in such bad light.”
“As a nation, we need to recognize that the men who create wealth are the entrepreneurs, the farmers, the builders. It is the creators and innovators, the writers and craftsmen through whose research and knowledge national wealth is created. The task of politics is to create an environment in which the talent of the creators flourishes, to serve them so the nation may be enriched by them and not for them to serve the politicians.”
He also called for cool heads to prevail ahead of the December 17, 2019 referendum which is seeking to amend Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution to allow political parties to sponsor candidates at local level elections.