On Saturday, January 7, 2017, a new chapter would be opened in the manual of this country’s democratic evolution. On that day, the eyes of the entire democratic world would be on Ghana, precisely at the Black Star Square in Accra, where Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would be welcomed as President-elect of this Republic, and leave the venue as the Seventh Constitutional Head of State of the Republic of Ghana.
It is going to be a momentous occasion in its own right. We are told that outgoing President John Dramani Mahama has extended an invitation to all 15 heads of state in the Economic Community of West African States to come to Accra and have a taste of the unique brand of our hospitality, and the brand of democracy we are nurturing for ourselves.
In some way, it is a means of encouraging other heads of state to swim in the tide of our democratic experiment. My only worry is whether or not someone like Yahaya Jammeh, of The Gambia, who lost power recently in free and fair elections, accepted the verdict and even congratulated the winner, only to turn round and decide not to leave Government House in Banjul, would be amenable to accept the offer of coming to be a living witness to the coronation of President-elect Akufo-Addo.
Whether or not the butcher of Banjul, who borrowed a leaf from the manual of Jerry John Rawlings’ rise from a military dictator to constitutional head of state, arrives in Ghana or not, the Akufo-Addo party would go on.
Even before his official proclamation as this country’s constitutional ruler, the Akufo-Addo magic is already at work. I am told that spare parts dealers at Abossey Okai in Accra, as well as traders at Makola, this nation’s leading market complex, have reduced the cost of their wares. The gesture from the two trading posts, I learn, is a goodwill measure towards the incoming administration.
In Kumasi, stronghold of the New Patriotic Party, the political edifice that props up the incoming administration, the passion is even much stronger. Traders at both the Kejetia and the Central markets have brought prices of goods and services down considerably.
A spokesman for the traders in the Ashanti Regional capital told newsmen that the reduction in commodity prices “is as a result of the complete trust and confidence in the administration of the incoming government.”
The beef out there is that after eight years of the Mills/Mahama oligarchy, during which corruption was promoted as a national policy and succeeded in killing local initiatives, Ghanaians are looking forward to a new era of open and transparent administration that would promote entrepreneurship and aid the progress of Ghana and its people.
The expectation out there is huge. In work places, homes, drinking bars as well means of transport like buses and taxis, the notion out there is for the new administration to address the ills of society, and find solutions to them as soon as possible.
The journey to the top for the President-elect, for instance, has been tough and rugged. According to Nana Akufo-Addo, it has taken him more than forty years of struggle to get to the top. “A journey of over four decades; working shoulder to shoulder with fellow patriots and nationalists for democracy in our beloved Ghana. Our stamina has been tested. But we kept going, in the full belief that the battle is the Lord’s,” the President-elect told party faithful at the Thanksgiving Service, organised by the NPP at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.
With the crowd cheering on, the incoming President acknowledged the task ahead, and promised never to disappoint. “Now, even as we praise God for his immense kindness and grace towards this nation, we also know that we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
In the words of Nana Akufo-Addo: “It is a task that we can, and will perform with your increasing prayers, and with the full blessing of God. Let us then renew our strength and our faith, and get ready for the work ahead. I have no doubt at all that, with God on our side, we will succeed.”
It is all well and good that the President-elect has his eyes on the ball. The challenges are enormous, with expectations running riot among the population. The promises on the campaign trail have raised expectations to the sky level. That is why all those bidding for positions need to bide their time.
The task ahead calls for the right calibre of people to deliver at key positions in national life. One recognises the immense contributions to the sweet victory of the Elephant Family. But it cannot continue to be business as usual. That is why, in my opinion, the long queue being formed, especially by party gurus, in search of juicy jobs in the incoming administration need to disband. The President-elect needs time and space to think through the thousands of job seekers, and select only those, who, in his candid opinion, would deliver.
My information is that leading the transitional team has apparently given Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the veteran politician who is credited with leading this country into HIPC, and leading from the front to cross the finish line in a record two and a half years, is eyeing the juicy job of Chief of Staff.
It is a nice proposition; given the time and effort he has given to the Elephant Family over the years. But truth must be told. At his age and disposition, Oyeadieyie must be a little stale for the job of co-ordinating all the ministries and calling all functioning ministers to order.
That is not all the jobs required of the Chief of Staff. The office holder also runs the Presidency. In effect, he or she is the driver of the policies of the President. Yaw has served the nation well over the years, but I do not believe honestly that he still has the nerves to make a success out of the Chief of Staff position.
I am told that another strong contender for the position is Ms. Frema Opare Osei, one-time Member of Parliament for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in Accra. Auntie Frema is an affable character, but I would like to believe that the carrot and stick approach could overwhelm her nerves. I am inclined to believe that someone like Papa Owusu-Ankomah, who vacated his seat in the House of Parliament, would fit the bill.
I would like to believe that Campaign Manager Peter MacManu, if he should abandon his interest in business, could also be considered alongside Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, if the veteran Parliamentarian would want to take another challenge outside the House.
According to the Constitution of the land, the Speaker is the third in command, in terms of hierarchy. I get the feeling that veteran politician and academic Prof. Mike Oquaye has set his stall on that job. I understand too that former First Deputy Speaker and Acting Chairman of the NPP Mr. Freddy Blay is also interested.
It is an interesting proposition, but the proprietor of the Daily Guide newspaper, which was a key publication in the run-up to the victory, sounds a bit tired, in my opinion. He needs to be rewarded for his sacrifices though. Honestly, I am tempted to hold that a more laid back job like heading off to Britain or the United States as the nation’s envoy would be a nice reward.
I am not happy with what I am hearing about the return of some old guards who created a problem or two for the Kufuor administration. One of the worst moments for the NPP Mark One administration was when a cocaine haul intercepted on a foreign vessel in the territorial waters of Ghana, turned out to be cassava flour in police custody.
I hope and pray that those in charge of sensitive positions at the time, and who failed to track down the culprits, would not be given any look in the new-look Akufo-Addo regime. In my candid opinion, it sends the wrong signals to drug barons to intensify their activities.
I am getting the information that people who have had their curriculum vitae gathering dust are updating their personal documents, in the hope that the incoming President would find favour with them. It is all well and good. It makes for competition, which usually promotes quality. At the same time too, I believe firmly in the Biblical expression: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” It is my prayer that the many, who are likely to fall by the wayside, would not constitute themselves into opposition within the ruling government.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo needs peace and tranquility to improve the fortunes of this country and the quality of life of its citizens.
I shall return!
Source: The Chronicle
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