Folks, there is good reason to say that a national leader who is really worth anything at all must have a network of “admirers” and partners outside his/her own country. In other words, a national leader needs the goodwill of his/her peers to move beyond the local to the global sphere and tap into relationships for the good of his/her country. No country is an island. Good networking can yield dividends to enhance good governance, based on who is whose ally in the community of influential world leaders. That is why every leader seeks to connect with peers for mutual benefit. Of course, monkeys play by size.
I am aiming at something. In our case in Ghana, our leaders have had circles of friends to make us know who/what they were/are.
Nkrumah had his niche carved all over the place, especially among the Eastern bloc that he rubbed shoulders with and commanded much respect and authority. Be it the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Czechoslovakia under Tito, Romania under Nicolai Ceacescu (I hope I have the spelling right here), China under Chu en-Lai, or wherever else.
In the West, he had his allies and foes too. He was greatly admired by the British and guardedly respected by the United States (which was why John F. Kennedy supported his bid for the huge involvement of Kaiser Aluminium Company in the construction of the Akosombo Hydro-Electricity project) and many others, including the deployment of the United States Peace Corps elements in Ghana (which might turn out to be his undoing as they dug into issues to collude with the CIA and internal collaborators for his overthrow).
Nkrumah was widely recognized as an astute leader. His own peers within the ambit of the organization of African Unity either admired him for whatever he was or envied him for not being able to outmatch him. He had the circle that he needed to advance his agenda.
Fast forward to the era of other Ghanaian leaders, excluding the military toads (Afrifa, Ankrah, Acheampong, and Akuffo). You may be tempted to add Jerry Rawlings too; but wait a minute because despite the anger that he evoked for assuming power and doing things the way he did with his PNDC, he couldn’t be dismissed as an irritant and despised. He quickly built a good circle and connected well with world leaders.
His brush with the United States over the Soussoudis affair turned glorious in the end. He had friends all over the globe, which was why the IMF and World Bank didn’t hesitate locking arms with him for economic reforms whose implications are still being debated.
So much. Bring in happenings in this our 4th Republic to see how Rawlings enjoyed the warm friendship with world leaders. Visits to Ghana by such world leaders (especially the US’ Bill Clinton) and many others proved his worth as an enticer. Did Ghana benefit from that? Don’t ask me.
Move on to Kufuor. He was widely regarded as a “Gentle Giant” and attracted international renown for who/what he was as the president of Ghana. He easily made good friends with world leaders and cannot be disregarded as such. Even in retirement, he still commands dignity and respect among such circles.
Focus on Atta Mills and you can easily see who in the international community gravitated toward him. He had a good circle as well. So did John Dramani Mahama when in power (and even out of power, he hasn’t lost the touch with them).
Okay. Bring in the NPP’s Akufo-Addo. Slightly more than 8 months in power, who can we say he has attracted in the community of international leaders? We know how more than 24 leaders were officially invited to observe (or was it to “participate”?) in his inauguration (an occasion that he abused to commit the worst blunder of plagiarism in the history of Presidential inaugural speeches in Ghana).
As of now, I am not sure I know who exactly in the international arena has gravitated toward Akufo-Addo as a force to reckon with. Does anybody know more than I do? Please, bring it on.
The truth is that Ghana has been regarded as a beacon in the struggle of Africans and people of the Third World for self-identification and emancipation from all kinds of oppression. It takes leaders with the right acumen and attraction to connect with peers elsewhere to advance that cause.
Who is an Akufo-Addo ally on the global scene for us to know how he is situating himself to connect with the world? After all, Ghana is not an island. neither should it be seen as the only pebble at the beach.
So far, nothing from the US’s Trump or Britain’s Theresa May or Germany’s Angela Merkel or Russia’s Vladimir Putin or just from anywhere in Africa to pit Akufo-Addo as an ally to rub shoulders with.
Even in our West African sub-region, he is dwarfed. In the context of the African continent, he is nobody. When will he rise up to be counted?
Don’t tell me that Akufo-Addo doesn’t need any circle of international/global leaders to fulfill his electioneering campaign promises to Ghanaians or to do better than his predecessors. He needs them more than ever.
As is commonly said in Ghana, “Show me your friend, and I will tell you your character”. Of course, Akufo-Addo doesn’t necessarily need allies on the international scene to assert his traditional self; but without such international allies, where does he stand? As of now, I don’t see any. What does it say about him?
(Don’t get me wrong, folks. I have chosen to voice my feelings this way because I am not sure how Akufo-Addo is working to build networks among his peers). Those who appreciate blissful ignorance can now rejoice. I am gone for now but will return!!
Source: Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
September 3, 2017
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