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The Unenviable Legacy of President Mills
 
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28-Mar-2012  
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Did I hear President Mills say his achievements since attaining the presidency have been unprecedented? President Mills never ceases to amaze us. What does he mean by unprecedented achievements? What achievements is he referring to?

None of his so-called achievements are unprecedented; I mean none!

This is a president who has not introduced a single major programme or policy to better the living standards of the people who voted him into office during the last general elections; and yet talks about unprecedented achievements. Is this not the same person who marked his own script, graded it favourably and did a detour by saying that he is not going to make that mistake again? After embellishing his record after only hundred days in office, didn’t he say later that he has learnt never to mark his own script again?

And he comes back to us, in the midst of unprecedented failures, and tries desperately to talk about non-existing achievements.

Folks, President Mills has failed, and his legacy is unenviable. As I did indicate in one of my previous articles—Ghanaians erred in electing him as the president of our dear nation. He has disappointed all those who queued in the scorching sun to give him the honour of leading this nation—an honour he has despised through his incompetence, misrule, and mismanagement.

After his most likely rejection at the next polls, what will Ghanaians remember him for? What legacy is he going to leave behind for posterity? We remember Nkrumah for tangible projects and programmes such as the construction of the Akosombo dam, the Tema motorway, the accelerated development plan; Rawlings for the expansion of electricity to the northern parts of the country; Kufour for the expansion of the service sector (notably telecommunication & banking), introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme, etc. What are we going to remember Mills for? Woyome?

I will provide some of his distinct legacies which are unenviable and unprecedented since we attained statehood.

Firstly, he is presiding over the establishment of institutionalized corruption within his party machinery. Under President Mills, the nation has been reeling under unprecedented corruption. Corruption under President Mills has been institutionalized to the extent that officials in the party can connive with appointees of the president to rob the state. It is only under this administration that ministers of state could build plush houses and acquire other expensive properties within 3 years of their appointment.

Corruption among government appointees is so ingrained and institutionalized to the extent that the founder of the party—under whose administration innocent Ghanaians were killed for alleged corrupt practices has described his own party members as greedy bastards. In fact, President Rawlings is on record to have said that his own party is the most corrupt in the history of the country.

The allegation by Herbert Mensah—an aide of President Rawlings that President Mills and his executives earmarked 90 million Cedis to execute President Mills’ bid to represent their party in the next elections gives credence to the unprecedented levels of corruption in his government.

The doublespeak and controversy surrounding the location of the 20 million ultra-modern party headquarters purported to being built by the party tells us about their shady dealings. Why hasn’t the president spoken on this issue since it broke out about 6 months ago? Just last year, the central regional minister—Ama Benyiwa-Doe and her communication director—Allotey Jacobs were fighting over the award of contracts on radio. Could you imagine?

As I keep saying, the NDC never came to build, but to destroy; they never came to rule, but came purposely to align their pockets with our limited resources. But for corruption, how could a responsible government earmark about 600 million dollars for judgment debts? Unfathomable, isn’t it? This is completely unimaginable and unthinkable!

Secondly, the culture of insult is another unenviable legacy of President Mills. He preaches decency in political discourses, but watches on while his appointees use unprintable words on their political opponents. In fact, it is only President Mills who rewards his insulting and abusive ministers with superior ministerial portfolios. Have you ever heard him or dissociating himself from foul languages used by his ministers and other appointees? As a result of his expertise in bad-mouthing his political opponents, Kobby Acheampong was moved from his deputy ministerial position at the ministry of tourism to the same level at the ministry of interior.

Ministers who lied about the state of the economy such as Fiifi Kwetey and those who assassinated the character of their political rivals—Victor Smith, Ama Benyiwa-Doe have all been rewarded by the president with ministerial portfolios. Even ministers (e.g., Rojo Mettle-Nunoo) who insult agitated workers simply because they have embarked on industrial action are allowed to keep their respective positions.

Just a few days ago, the vice-president—John Mahama, described the visionary educational policy proposed by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo—the standard-bearer of the New Patriotic Party as hocus pocus. We are talking about a vice-president, who is supposed to be a role model referring to the entire opposition as foolish and baloney because they opposed the amendment of the petroleum revenue management bill to allow the state to use the expected oil revenue as collateral for securing loans for the country.

Under President Mills’ administration, it appears the use of insult and foul language by appointees in his government and party is a culture. As President Rawlings once indicated, “If you want an appointment in Mills’ administration, just insult me.” Although, there have been insults prior to the reign of President Mills, it has become worst.

Thirdly, as a result of his poor performance, he remains the first sitting president in our political history to be challenged by no less a person than the wife of the party’s founder. What makes the challenge so embarrassing is that it was done 2 years after assuming the leadership of the country. Konadu’s challenge of Mills for the flag-bearer of the NDC is a testament of his bad leadership and poor performance.

The president is being misdirected either by his lack of vision and unrealistic manifesto programmes and promises or by appointees who have been labeled team B by one of their own—Ekow Spio Garbrah. If a deputy information minister could instruct state officials to lie about the performance of the government, then we have a gigantic problem on our hands.

Baba Jamal could tell officials at the information ministry to misrepresent facts by saying that if the government donates a sheep they should say it was a cow. And President Mills sees nothing wrong about this minister who exalts lies over honesty. This is the legacy the president is leaving behind after his single term as the president of our land.

Fourthly, he remains the only president who is yet to introduce a major programme or policy to benefit society. Just go through the manifesto of the NDC and tell me, out of their numerous identified programmes, which of them have been implemented. As I did indicate in my preamble, we can identify Kwame Nkrumah, Jeremiah Rawlings, John Kufour, and even Kutu Acheampong with some tangible programmes and policies, what about President John Mills? The only thing they talk about is the achievement of a single digit inflation—8.6% which is not a fair reflection of reality in the country.

The New Patriotic Party reduced inflation from about 44% in 2001 to 18% in 2008, a reduction of 26 percentage points. So for me a reduction from 18% in 2008 to 8.6 in 2012, a reduction of 9.4 percentage points, though good is no news. In any case, had the NPP or any better managers of the economy met inflation at the 2008 rate, by now the rate of inflation might have dropped further than the current rate of 8.6% the government is bragging about. How can we vouch for the authenticity of the inflation figures when prices of goods and services are increasing exponentially? Prices of goods and services are supposed to be increasing by about 8.6%, but the reality is completely different.

On 1/1/2011, bus fare (VIP) from Kumasi to Accra was 15 Cedis, but it is 25 Cedis now. What is the percentage increase? Obviously, it is more than 8.6%. It has increased by 67% in about 15 months, but we are told that inflation has been kept at single digit for 18 months running. A ball of kenkey has soared from 20 pesewas in 2008 to 50 pesewas in 2012; in some areas it goes for 70 pesewas and 1 cedi. Even if we take the 50 pesewas, we would realize that the price of kenkey has ballooned by 150%. So, what is the essence of the achievement of single digit inflation? It doesn’t make economic sense; and it is meaningless to the ordinary person on the street.

Fifthly, it is during the administration of President Mills that we witnessed and experienced the rampaging of foot soldiers. Foot soldiers of the NDC party were on the rampage seizing toilets, car parks, and toll booths. Their lawlessness reached the highest height when they besieged their party headquarters and locked their party officials. In fact, at the incipient stages of the Mills’ administration, lawlessness blatantly crept into our body politic.

Was it not during the administration of President Mills that the secretary of the NDC in the Abuakwa South constituency of the Eastern region (Kwadwo Dua Shakespeare Ofori-Atta) threatened to visit mayhem on the president’s assigned NHIS Manager to the area—Daniel Adjei Danjuma—should he dare enter his office to perform any duties since he did not hail from the area? Did he not also threaten to raze down the building of the NHIS within hours if the president’s nominee entered his office? But for the Okyehene—Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, who caused his arrest, the president and his government wouldn’t have acted. We are not ready to be harassed and intimidated by a group of lawless adherents of a party whose leader is not in charge of the party.

What President Mills has succeeded in doing since becoming the leader of the NDC, has been in creating confusion, apathy, and division in the party. If he cannot solve problems in his own party, how then can he deal with issues of the country? From day one, the ruling government has been fighting among themselves, and this scenario questions the leadership acumen and competence of the president who doubles as the leader of his party. It is therefore not surprising that he cannot identify his leadership style. No wonder he has been described as a good-bad leader.

Finally, the abuse of press freedom has been another unenviable legacy of President Mills. It appears the president and his government wants to hear only information that put them in good light. Under the Mills-Mahama administration, individuals who hold dissenting views are seen as anti-government and traitors. This is the president who leads an administration that oversteps its bounds by banning a whole media empire from covering government activities and events for flimsy and unfathomable reasons. They behave as if they own the country, and can flout the constitution to satisfy their egos.

If the president was aware and endorsed that capricious action, then how democratic is he? On the other hand, if he was not aware of the action, then how safe are we under his rule? This fiat that was issued by this inexperienced and immature administration banning the entire multimedia outfit from covering government activities, events, and programmes shows the undemocratic nature of the ruling government.

This is, for all intents and purposes, unprecedented, and an unenviable legacy of the president.

Folks, these are legacies that represent a good-bad leader—i.e. a very good example of a bad leader. This is not the leader Ghanaians want to navigate the economy from poverty to prosperity. Our economy will sink deeper into the ocean of socioeconomic destruction if we mistakenly re-elect President Mills and his failed administration into office.

He has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that he is not a good leader, and therefore can’t lead. For the sake of posterity and the betterment of the country, let us vote the Mills-Mahama administration out now. They are just occupying space. God bless Ghana!!


Kingsley Nyarko, Psychologist, Accra ([email protected])
 
 
 
Source: Kingsley Nyarko, Psychologist, University of Ghana, Legon
 
 

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