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“Poor leaders push us towards the goal.Great leaders guide us along the journey” – Simon Sinek
When we think of world leaders, what often comes to mind are honesty, communication, commitment, creativity, intuition,inspirational and approachable. When we think of our former leader John Mahama, would we use any of those characteristics to describe him? I first met Mr Mahama in Botswana in March of 2015 when he paid a, three-day visit to the country on the invitation of Lt- Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana. I entered the Hall where he met the Ghanaian community in the country,with a mindset formed based on my perception of him. I sat quietly at the hall as Mr Mahama spoke to the Ghanaian community. To understand what real leadership embodies,one must first understand that above all,you are a leader of yourself. This must be the cornerstone of all ideologies. The second time I met him was when he attended an Anti-Corruption Summit which was organised by the UK government. I attended the summit as one of the reps of the UN (UNCAC). The summit offered me the opportunity to share my personal and professional views on the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan and Ghana’s commitments under the UN convention against Corruption. I noticed that the Mahama I have taken time to follow because of deep interest in matters concerning Ghana, has grown in intellect through the development of self,has grown his consciousness to immense height and strengthened his intuition to decipher reality.Wisdom and leadership are crucial in providing structure, the global really is that, we live in a collective reality where numerous beings and forces interplay. Africa needs leaders who can position themselves strategically to take advantage of this global reality. It is no more about mere rhetorics and sloganism, but display of supreme intellect and understanding of contemporary global dynamics.
My junior brother William Asiedu a medical officer now based in Berlin, never mentioned that he had worked closely with Mr Mahama and always showed his disinterest whenever I raised issues about politics in Ghana. It was until I told him that my perception about Mahama keep on changing after he left office vis-a-vis happenings in the county today that Willie narrated how he had dealt closely with Mahama in the past at PPAG to the extent that he got his first car (Lada) through the effort of his friend (Mahama). A true leader nudges you on a path of self discovery and letting you figure out the answer to problems yourself, and does not aim to exercise control you. This is what many African leaders lack. Based on what i heard the man espouse and the path he chose after the crisis Ghana found itself between 2012 and 2014 which resulted in the transformation and successes recorded between 2015 and 2016 it will not be out of place describing the man I once despised, as a gem whose must be seen as still very relevant to the nation’s developmental agenda. Some of us held that perception based purely on ideological inclinations,we condemned some of the policies he introduced, the scrapping of the trainees allowance etc, but a true leader speaks truth no matter the form. Ghanaians voluntarily bestowed power upon our leaders not because we are afraid of them or need them, but because the wisdom of these leaders which has been earned over the time. Listening to my brother, I understood why the youngman against all odds was able to achieve what he achieved within four years which is making some of us change our position of him.
CORE REASONS FOR THE PERCEPTION CHANGE
The problem in Ghana today is that we look at our leaders in the wrong way.When I compare the leaders in the party I am ideologically inclined to (NPP) to what I witnessed under Kufour, my conclusion is that our leaders today have become symbol of power, wealth and supreme power. The saddest aspect of this emerging trend is that we look at them almost as gods or rulers, instead leaders. This is highly dangerous for society and the party. The administration is gradually losing the respect it commanded among Ghanaians and the party seems not interested in the emerging danger. It is blinded by the support it continue to enjoy in the media without extending its monitoring devices to areas beyond its jurisdiction. At our last meeting here in Botswana, some known pro Npp expressed worries over happenings in the country
The very policies the administration condemned in opposition in opposition have become the cornerstone policies of the current administration. Botswana is today still wailing over the careless decision to leverage its mineral resources for financial support from China,a policy China introduced in East and Central Africa to tap the rich mineral resoueces in these regions. Dr Bawumia worked in Zimbabwe so has fair idea about how this leveraging policy affected negatively,the economy of Zimbabwean.To introduce same policy in Ghana at the time our economy is making steady progress is mind boggling. The President was recently in Zambia and should have used the opportunity to find out how these reckless trade and financial arrangements shattered the economic foundation of that country. Botswana and Rwanda have proven that prudent homegrown policies can propel economies on the economy to appreciable heights.
After listening to the Finance Minister present his government’s economic policy, I saw where the country would be heading and happenings in the economy including reverses and reneging on promises have vindicated the position I took. Countries such as Rwanda, Namibia, Rwanda etc whose economies are seeing massive transformstion,are building independent national economies, firmly structured on their resource potentials and dialogue and negotiate deals with their development partners without succumbing to their dictates. I saw that strength being displayed by Mr Mahama and he bluntly expressed that strong conviction when he met some foreign organisations when he visited Botswana. This new administration vindicates the last administration daily per the things the tell the public. Most of the promises they made in opposition are not policies Ghana needs at this time, they are wasteful and will only stagnate development. We still have huge deficit in terms of infrastructure and we cannot make meaningful progress without reducing that deficit.
We must have a target and consciously, work towards that than the wholesale approach adopted by the current administration. My perception about the former leader continue to change and changing faster than friends expect because of what we witnessing under the new administration. We can still tap from his leadership wisdom to help shape the destiny of our great nation.
Festus Kwabena Asiedu.