Welcome to Ghana Pundit: The Home of Politics and Intelligent Analysis


Grab the widget  Tech Dreams

Insist on Your Right to Education

Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The President's Credibility

Related Stories
The gap between the pronouncements of President Mills and his deeds is widening by the day. He is preaching against insults even as his operatives insult anyone who is not seen as pro-Mills.

He preaches reconciliation while isolating some in his own party. He preaches peace even as his government disturbs our peace. He preaches that we should unite to develop the country even while he and his government pursue policies that will divide his party and the country. Today, his party is splintering right before our eyes while he continues to preach unity.

He preaches against corruption while seeing nothing wrong with the Mabey and Johnson, and the SCANCEM affairs, to mention just a few.
He talked about “caring for us” while failing to visit the victims of the floods in the north in a timely manner.

To be fair to him, the gap between the President’s words and deeds have always been significant. He is the law Professor who joined the party of “bugabuga”. He is the “asomdwehene” whose campaign was characterized by insults and “machomen”.

He promised lower taxes and pledged to put money in people’s pockets but has raised taxes and taken money from peoples’ pockets.
He ordered his appointees to submit their assets by a certain date and was ignored by virtually everyone of his appointees. He responded by doing--- nothing.

The evidence for these gaps and the consequences are all around us. Barely a day after the President admonished all of us to stop insulting others, his Vice-President; Hon. John Mahama described those opposed to using our oil for loan guarantees with words, including “foolish” and “baloney”. The Vice-President made those comments while addressing the National Conference of Tertiary Educational Institutions (TEIN), at Winneba recently. The gravity of the Vice-President’s error is underlined by the fact that the tendencies he attacked represent the consensus arrived at after exhaustive consultations with stake-holders and NGOs regarding the use of our oil revenue that was endorsed by the Cabinet, including himself and the President.

Turning his guns on the enemies within his own party, the Vice-President accused his detractors of trying to destroy him politically. Indeed, the Vice-President even questioned the motives of those trying to give him a share of the credit for the achievements of the NDC government by referring to it as the Mills-Mahama administration. His rejection of the Mills-Mahama label raises questions as to whether the Vice-President sees his government in a positive light.

Nearly four years after defeating them in a primary, according to NDC’s Vice-Chairman and former Presidential aspirant Spio Garbrah, the President has never seen it fit to meet his opponents in the 2006 NDC primary. Furthermore, he has permitted his relationship with his former mentor, ex-President Rawlings to deteriorate significantly.

In nearly two years in power, despite his reputation as a peacemaker, the President has by omission and commission condoned acts that are inconsistent with that reputation.

He has praised the BNI for harassment of opponents which have been condemned by the courts.

He never condemned the attacks by NDC members on NPP members at Agbogbloshie and Tamale.

He has not acted forcefully against lawless NDC elements that have seized toilets and chased NDC DCEs from their offices and districts.

His government has pursued half-baked corruption charges against opponents even while significant allegations against government functionaries are ignored.

In the recent budget, despite the President and his party’s pledges to lower taxes and put money in peoples’ pockets, taxes have been going up and up. Tolls on our roads have increased. Petrol prices have gone up. The prices of food staples have increased. To rub salt into our injuries, the President has even denied ever promising to put money in peoples’ pockets. As he added disingenuously “I know those who made those promises”. If the afore-mentioned constitute bad news on taxes, there is more bad news on the way. In flagrant violation of the President’s solemn pledges, more and higher taxes are on the way. The 2011 budget will tax construction, tourism, petrol, rice and religious worship, amongst other things.

These gaps, between the President’s words and his deeds as well as that of his government, should trouble all Ghanaians.

Is this President a dissembler who lied his way to the Presidency and is being found out?

Is he a good and decent man who is in over his head and therefore lacks the will and the ability to keep his pledges?

Is he truly a CPP man who has climbed to the top of the NDC and is facing a rebellion by true-blue NDC members who believe genuinely that their party and birthright have been stolen?

The question of the President’s credibility, tied to his ability to govern must be of concern to all Ghanaians. Signs of the President’s crumbling authority are all around us.
He has been compelled to remind Ghanaians that they elected only one President.

He has been described as “dull” by none other than his own mentor, former President Rawlings.

His appointees in the various districts are being harassed by party activists as he watches helplessly.

He has had to appeal, without effect to his splintered and feuding party to unite for victory in 2012.

He is facing a strong and credible challenge for his party’s nomination for the 2012 Presidential election.

If indeed, that challenge comes off, he will be the first sitting President since our return to democracy to face an open challenge in his party’s primary. While this is consistent with our democracy, it underlines the President’s weakness within his party. Indeed, the misguided attempts to frustrate Nana Konadu’s potential challenge have only served to weaken the President further.

The President’s ability to assert and project authority, compared to his two predecessors is not impressive.
The President’s problems in asserting his authority and using his influence are not good for Ghana.
It undermines the confidence of investors in our country and our economy.
It emboldens those who are inclined to operate outside the law.
It undermines the credibility of politicians and thus undermines our democracy.
It weakens the President’s hand on the international scene.
How can the President improve his credibility and effectiveness?

First, the President must keep his word. As they say, action speaks louder than words and when a President’s actions are at variance with his words, his image suffers.
Let him lower taxes, as promised, instead of raising them.
Let his actions promote “Asomdwe” instead of divisions and rancor. When in his presence at a durbar in Cape Coast, his home-region, his minions attempt to diminish his former and perhaps future opponent by denying him basic courtesies, the President looks petty and weak.

Second, even if he cannot compel the likes of former President Rawlings and Nana Konadu to follow his edicts, his own appointees must obey his edicts or be reprimanded. When a President orders his appointees to submit their assets by a certain date and is ignored without consequences, he loses credibility. When the President’s appeal for a cessation of political insults is followed a few days later by a tirade, involving the use of “baloney” and “foolish” by none other than his Vice-President, he looks weak. Regardless of what we think of them, neither Rawlings nor Kufuor would have countenanced being ignored this flagrantly by their own appointees and this President should not put up with it either.

Third, Ministers and public officials must stop abusing the President’s perceived “gentleness”. As President, he must be accorded all the respect and dignity due his office. Even in the absence of follow-up, which appears to be often lacking from this President, his intentions must be respected and followed as much as possible. It is generally conceded that none of the current NDC Ministers would have dared treat President Rawlings the way they are treating President Mills.

Fourth, those who are not directly subject to his authority must act to enhance the authority of the Presidency. When former President Rawlings describes President Mills as “dull” and disparages his cabinet, it does not help the President’s image and it undermines the confidence of the public in the President. While the former President can and must criticize the President when necessary, it must be done respectfully. This will be made easier if the President reaches out more assiduously to his predecessors.

Fifth, the Press must be more reliable mediums of communication between the President and other actors in the political arena as well as the public. The Press must help the President to close the gap between the President’s words and his deeds by exposing the contradictions and repeatedly challenging the President to explain the contradictions or align his deeds more closely to his words.

A sycophantic press that is only interested in falsely bridging the gaps between the President’s words and his deeds will only harm the President and the country. On the other hand, a hostile press that is only interested in exaggerating the President’s difficulties will do equal harm to the President and the country.

There must be balance, between just sending echoes of what the President says and exposing the inconsistencies between his words and his deeds.
Let the public insist on truth and accountability, from the President and all who act in the political arena.

Let us pray for this President and our country—for the President to stand up and be a President guided by his convictions and his faith—prepared to be known as a doer whose actions are consistent with his words. For the country to insist that all politicians, including the President, mean what they say and say what they mean.

That is the only way this President can rescue this Presidency and the off-track “Better Ghana” agenda.
Let us move forward together.
Source: Arthur Kobina Kennedy E-mail: arkoke@gmail.com

No comments:

Ghana Pundit Headline News

E-mail subscription

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Pan Africa News

Graphic Ghana


Peacefm Online - News with a vision

The Times - World News

The Times - Africa News

Pambazuka News :Emerging powers in Africa Watch

AfricaNews - RSS News

The Zimbabwe Telegraph

BBC News | Africa | World Edition

Modern Ghana

My Blog List