Two big challenges characterize leadership today as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The need to juggle a growing series of paradoxical demand, do more with less, cut costs but innovative and think globally, act locally. The other is the unprecedented pace of disruptive change, which speeds up interaction of these demands and simultaneously increases the pressure on governments to adapt.
The challenges we facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, have amplified the need for versatile leaders who have the ability and the wherewithal to cope with a variety of changes and the wherewithal to resolve our competing priorities. With what we witnessing currently, it is no overstatement to say that versatility is the most important component of leading today.
His Excellency John Mahama, yesterday, via his Facebook page, had conversation with Ghanaians. He showed that he has the capacity to read and respond to change with a wide repertoire of complementary skills and behaviour. What Ghana needs now is enabling leadership which will bring all on board and bring out their best not forceful leadership which is all about asserting personal and positional power. We also need strategic leadership to position the country to be competitive in the long run. We don't need sweet promises and vague assurances. We need operational leadership to get things done: setting direction, driving execution, focusing resources, and introducing innovation to provide order and stability. "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function".
The current President and people around him have a rigid and narrow view of themselves and think opposing perspectives and suggestions should be avoided rather than experimented with and learned from. One useful leadership strategy is to periodically invite others with skills and perspectives different from your own out to coffee or launch. With an open mind, try to see things from their point of view and understand their way of thinking.
Leadership is usually used as a measuring tool for a country's success. The more successful a leadership is the better the country is supposed to be. May be, Gabby and his apostles after listening to the former President, would understand why most Ghanaians vehemently rejected and condemned the President's 88 new hospitals promise. Yea, we need more hospitals but is that our priority considering the number of uncompleted health facilities across the country, inadequate equipments to fight the tormenting COVID-19 pandemic, lack of education, inefficient testing and contact tracing methods, inadequate preparations in our schools to curb transmissions and infections when the kids and the students return to school, the collapse of businesses and associated loss of jobs, etc etc. These are critical challenges that demand immediate and short-term response. We don't need centric style leadership now. Participation from others including your critics is key to success in a democratic environment. The former president showed has command over the issues he discussed and proper understanding of the issues because of the constant interactions which go on between him and associations, experts, civil society organizations, lecturers and other governance stakeholders. At times we need that laissez-faire kind of leadership to enable a leader gather information from experts and highly trained person across the sectors.
The suggestions and advice the former President offered must be given critical attention by all. Let's take power (energy) for instance. Hitherto, we heard people die at the theatre during medical operations because of power outages. The problem persisted before the coming into office of Mr Mahama. Under his dynamic leadership, our power generation increased and huge population was brought under electricity coverage and the nation has recovered from the decades-old chronic energy crisis. Load shedding which intermittently bedevilled the country for decades is no more. Hospitals and other private health facilities without standby generators are assured of constant power for their operations. Imagine the temperature testing device at the international airport fixed by the Mahama administration during the Ebola epidemic was not there when we started getting imported COVID-19 cases. Yes, other countries have received funds from the IMF but can we compare how leaders in these countries handled and handling the pandemic to the abysmal response we witnessed in Ghana.
The ICT sector has been supportive in the Covid-19 fight, the online learning, working from our homes via the internet and all that. We are enjoying stable internet operations because of the huge investments the last administration made in the telecommunication sector. Through use of ICT use, we are able to bring various types of information related to the covid-19 fight, livelihood and other private services to the doorsteps of all citizens. These are the basic things we need to support the system respond to epidemic and pandemics when they hit us. The establishment of infectious disease centres, building of more laboratories and upgrading the existing ones should be our priority now. We need systems which could enable us undertake comprehensive and efficient testing and contact tracing. This is not the time for tall promises and subtle campaign tricks.
And Gabby was celebrating government's ability to raise $7.5 billion. Isn't that interesting. The economy they described as robust and resilient and the fastest growing in Africa, could not withstand three weeks COVID-19 shock forcing government to abandon its own NO MORE IMF promise. The economy is seriously ill according to the IMF's latest report. The pandemic has exposed the true health state of the Ghanaian economy so, why these numerous promises.
What about water! Water is very important in the COVID-19 fight. In four years, the Mahama government brought massive relief to all parts of the country that had suffered perennial water problems. Before leaving office, Urban and rural water coverage was close to 80% each.
Author: Andrews Krow