May I start by wishing you merry Christmas! I am not so sure how the New Year will turn out. Whether it will be a happy New Year or a not so happy New Year in this our beloved country, only God can tell. But I am so sure this year’s Christmas will be a very merry one not because I have some money stashed in a secret account somewhere but rather because the value of Christmas centers on the Savior Jesus Christ, the true hope of glory, and not on the excessive reveling and carnal indulgence that the world has brought into this sacred celebration. Our dear nation has been yearning for innovative and pragmatic leadership. Indeed generations have come and gone, governments have come and gone, but poor governance has remained glued to our very character as a people even to the extent that our “Africanness” has become almost synonymous with clueless leadership. This has remained the nemesis of the Ghanaian since the days of Kwame Nkrumah, not forgetting the fundamental deficiency in the leadership craft of our ancestors. Somehow, the Ghanaian does not seem to fare well in proactive and visionary leadership. Rather, he continues to demonstrate an acute inertia in self governance. We have not succeeded as a people in disengaging from the mold of squalor, poverty, inferiority and underdevelopment. This has been our trademark before colonization and even 58 years down the road after independence. We continue to display a complete lack of appreciation of the dynamics of good governance and leadership. We have succeeded in proving to the rest of the world over and over again that we are indeed a bunch of very myopic and simplistic people who continue to tap each other at the back for little and insignificant achievements at the expense of weightier matters that call for decisive and visionary leadership. Our dear nation is copiously awash with evidence to back this assertion.
I believe that Kwame Nkrumah had one of the best opportunities to change the sunken image of the black race starting with our nation Ghana. But I guess even nature refused to endow him with longevity as the father of the nation for getting his priorities wrong. One school of thought has it that the ultimate failure of Nkrumah in leading our nation into the league of technologically advanced and developed nations was because he placed too much premium on fighting for an African political kingdom at the time. It is believed that Nkrumah’s initial focus on championing the cause of a united Africa was too far-fetched and premature for someone who had just barely succeeded in freeing the first black nation south of the Sahara from the apron strings and total rule of its colonial masters. Rather than focus on solidifying the new-found freedom for his country, Nkrumah was too obsessed with championing the general cause of an Africa that was not ready for self rule, all to the detriment of our dear nation. Little wonder therefore that the fiesta and euphoria of freedom from colonial domination was short-lived in spite of Nkrumah’s selflessness and visionary disposition.
Then comes the turn of one other notable leader of the republic – Jerry John Rawlings. This is the longest serving leader in the history of our country. This man had one of the best chances any leader could wish for in our long quest to make our motherland a haven of wealth. Talk of the French Revolution and you can literally feel its positive impact on modern day France. Mention the Industrial Revolution and one can skip to the high heavens in awe of its favorable impact on the United Kingdom in particular and the rest of the developed world as a whole. And so one begins to wonder whether there was ever a revolution in Ghana? And if you would permit me, I would like to pose the question again: was there ever a revolution in Ghana? June 4th and 31st December came in to revive the spirit of probity, accountability and justice for all. But this wave was rather short-lived and its impact seemed more like a flash in the pan when juxtaposed with the Ghana we live in today. Today, we see gross indiscipline, corruption and impunity in gargantuan proportions than ever before in the history of our dear republic. The very fabric of the nation appears to be resting on the jungle edict of “survival of the fittest and the most corrupt”. Patriotism has been thrown out to the dogs and our nation is currently hemorrhaging from several wounds sustained by our lack of a true, real, pragmatic, audacious, visionary, selfless and unrelenting leadership.
At this point in our history, our republic needs a leader who is not just a mere politician but a man of sterner character, a man who is not afraid to confront the status quo and initiate a move for real positive change like the breeds of John Magufuli, the current president of Tanzania. This man is on a mission that is nowhere near business as usual. I understand that recently, Magufuli drastically slashed down the Tanzanian parliament’s inaugural cocktail party budget by a whopping 1600% and ordered that the savings be spent on hospital beds for Muhimbili National Hospital. The money actually bought 300 beds and mattresses and 600 bed sheets. The other day, this same president slashed down the number of officials who were scheduled to tour some commonwealth countries from 50 to 4, saving some 600 million Tanzanian Shillings in the process. His cost-cutting measures included the scrapping of independence day celebrations which falls on December 9 and directed that the money allocated for the event be spent on expansion works on the link road between Mwenge and Morocco. This is pragmatic leadership in action. Our dear nation yearns for this style of leadership. Our nation needs a leader that can believe that anything is possible, a leader that actively engages the attention of the entire nation and stretches their imagination and capacity to achieve greatness. There must be something positive for everybody to start talking about and this must be initiated by the leader.