but assignments from the international community have kept him busy since he retired from office early this year. Last weekend, he left Accra for a grueling three-week working visit to the US, Europe and Asia.
His predecessor, NDC Founder Jerry John Rawlings was also a man without any official role during the NPP era.
Indeed at one time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs withdrew his diplomatic courtesies because of what the Ministry saw as his badmouthing of the country anytime he got an international audience.
Now that the tables have turned and his party is back to power, he has been very busy on the international circuit leading official Ghanaian delegations to the inaugurations of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Sassou Nguesso of Congo. He recently paid a working visit to Togo with official sanction and no doubt would be performing more international errands for President J.E.A. Mills.
The offices of both Kufuor and Rawlings seem to relish in issuing press statements highlighting how important these two gentlemen are holding up their foreign travels more or less like trophies they are bringing home. Any trip abroad is packaged to make it look like a major diplomatic scoop – which they may well be.
In a long statement from former President Kufuor's office last week, for example, Ghanaians were informed that he would first stop in New York where he would formally launch the 700th anniversary of the founding of Exeter College of the University of Oxford, UK, in front of about 400 alumni.
That sounds very impressive but September is also UN General Assembly Month and Ghana would be represented by President Mills or Vice President John Mahama, or perhaps NDC Founder Jerry John Rawlings!
Mr. Frank Agyekum, Press Secretary to Mr. Kufuor, who signed the statement, said his boss, himself an alumnus of Exeter College, would deliver a speech on “Oxford Education and Public Service” to mark the anniversary of the college which falls in 2014.
Rather impressively, the statement said in New York, Mr. Kufuor would address the faculty and students of the Medical College of Cornell University on the theme: “The Health of a Nation-State: A Social Vision for Ghana and the World.”
Before leaving New York, former President Kufuor would meet former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize winner Marti Ahtisaari, who steps down as Chairman of the Board of Governors of Interpeace this year.
The meeting is to formally invite former President Kufuor to assume chairmanship of the Board. Interpeace is an international peace-building organization that helps to build peace in divided and conflict areas.
From New York former President Kufuor would go to Boston, Massachusetts, where he would deliver a speech on: “Your Leadership of Ghana and Africa and Ways that Governments can Support and Promote Entrepreneurs,” at the prestigious Legatum Lectures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Former President Kufuor's next stop would be in The Hague, the Netherlands, where he would be a special guest speaker at the celebration of 60 years of Dutch development cooperation.
Former President Kufuor would highlight development cooperation from the Dutch government to Africa with special reference to Ghana under the broad topic “The Millennium Event – 60 years of Dutch Development Cooperation.”
Other speakers at the forum would include Nobel laureate economist, Joseph Stiglitz, Oxford economic professor, Paul Collier and UK Minister for Africa Affairs, Marc Brown.
Former President Kufuor then flies to Tokyo, Japan, to address an international conference on: “Africa and Globalization – Enabling a Better Future,” at the United Nations University.
His last stop will be in the Republic of Korea where he would engage business executives on investment prospects in Africa.
These all sound very impressive and show Ghana off in a bright light abroad, but the question still remains: What are we doing with Rawlings and Kufuor in our desire to move our country forward and build a better Ghana?
When President Obama was in Ghana recently, though not in so many words, he told Ghana to cut out the crap of pitting one against the other but instead Ghana should make use of what experiences they can bring to bear on the nation's progress. Inherent in Mr. Obama's entreaty was also the admonition to the two men to be of good behavior!
One man who has the answer to how Ghana should make use of its former leaders is President John Evans Atta Mills, who unique in Ghana's history is the first to have two predecessors, products of democratic processes, still alive and active enough to be made use of.
Recently, President Mills spoke about how other countries should be compelled to accede to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). One man, who more than any African leader has been an advocate of the APRM is ex-President Kufuor. Is there any likelihood that President Mills would appoint him his Special Representative for APRM?
Both Kufuor and Rawlings see themselves as historical figures who tower in Ghana's polity, but so far all that they seem to be engaging in, is cancelling each other out…
See Editorial on page 3.
By Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Harruna Attah