Ghana: Kufuor is hurting, not helping Akufo-Addo

By IndepthAfrica
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Oct 26th, 2012
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By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

I have said it several times already that former President Kufuor will do himself a world of good if he zips his mouth instead of saying what hurts his image and detracts from the NPP’s political fortunes. He won’t listen and is now unwittingly eroding much of what Akufo-Addo needs to make any headway at the polls.

Kufuor is a problem for several reasons, especially the negative impact that his tenure had on the NPP’s public image, which was a major factor in the 2008 elections.

Certainly, his 8-year tenure wasn’t all a waste. He accomplished feats at many levels, including the social intervention (Schools Feeding Programme, Metro Mass Transport, National Health Insurance Scheme, etc.). But at many other levels, he flopped, which was a major reason cited by those who voted against Akufo-Addo.

His administration couldn’t tackle the systemic and endemic problems that have continued to hinder economic growth. Cosmetic measures such as the floating of bonds and redenomination of the Cedi didn’t assuage anything. Nor did other measures that only opened up the system for further exploitation and undermining.

Such measures benefited mostly those walking the corridors of power or pulling strings from afar because of the clout they wielded in the NPP as power brokers teleguiding the Kufuor administration.

More pointedly too, Kufuor’s administration presided over corruption and promoted nepotism, cronyism, and tribal politics, much of which combined to work against Akufo-Addo at the 2008 polls.

That is why Kufuor any self-congratulatory utterance by Kufuor is met with derision. His latest pronouncement that Akufo-Addo has the “team” to rebuild Ghana sent me head-over-heels, laughing my heart out in disbelief. Akufo-Addo has a team to rebuild Ghana? Where is that team?

Is it the political novices surrounding him whose youthful exuberance is leading them astray to resort to vilification of the incumbent in the vain hope that it will pave the way for them to win the elections? Or those among them like Anthony Karbo who are wasting their time plotting to destabilize the country? Or those in the NPP’s Communication Team like Sammy Awuku who are better known for the goofs and political immaturity than anything else?

Or the castaways from Kufuor’s own government who can’t persuade Ghanaians that they have now acquired the requisite acumen to solve national problems? The likes of Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey who see political power only in terms of property-grabbing? Pathetically, such property is state property that belongs to all Ghanaians but is appropriated because such characters are in power and have easy access to it.

Where are the members of Akufo-Addo’s team, Mr. Kufuor? At least, the faces showing up don’t command any awe as seasoned administrators with any laudable acumen to make any difference.

Had Kufuor mentioned any name, he would have given us more to ponder; but he didn’t, which throws into question his own honesty and credibility. Those he worked with had portrayed themselves as Ghana’s “intellectuals” and men of substance who had made their wealth outside politics and won’t grab state property. What did we see, after all?

Let’s remember that this Akufo-Addo was a pillar in Kufuor’s government but failed to impress as Attorney-General. Remember the Tsatsu Tsikata case and the government’s loss of face following the Supreme Court’s ruling against it over the creation of the Fast Track Courts when Akufo-Addo failed to defend the government’s interests?

From far away Australia where he chose to hang on, junketing after attending the Conference of Commonwealth Heads of Government instead of joining Ghanaians to celebrate the country’s independence anniversary at that time, Kufuor swiftly divested Akufo-Addo of that portfolio, sending him to the Foreign Affairs Ministry where his incompetence didn’t take long to manifest.

He did so to prevent any further damaging of his administration by Akufo-Addo’s incompetence. Then, he packed the Supreme Court to win favour. That singular act has hurt our Judiciary ever since.

There is no evidence that Akufo-Addo himself is an astute leader. What is his track record in any leadership role to warrant his being fingered as the answer to our leadership crisis? I don’t see it.

Some alleged malpractices also occurred under his watch at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The theft (or loss) of Ghanaian Diplomatic Passports being kept in the vault of his office occurred. We are being told now that some of those passports went into the wrong hands to promote their drug trafficking.

Then again, Akufo-Addo couldn’t do anything to help the 44 unfortunate Ghanaians ensnared in Yahaya Jammeh’s Gambia and murdered, after all.

We recall how Akufo-Addo took more delight in empty showmanship on foreign trips than doing anything practical to support Kufuor’s agenda. No wonder he chose to step down in his bid to contest the flagbearership of the NPP in readiness for the 2008 elections. He lost the elections.

The pointy is that if Akufo-Addo himself were competent, the story would be different. Again, we note that one of the major factors that worked against him was public perception of Kufuor’s poor performance and his government’s inability to solve the country’s problems.

Worse still, the cronyism, nepotism, and outright corruption that Kufuor presided over have made him a laughing stock. Transferring their negative impressions to Akufo-Addo, the electorate voted against him, denying him the Presidency.

You see, Kufuor can’t rationalize these issues to know that he was a huge contributor to Akufo-Addo’s defeat. Today, he is out again, making utterances that will definitely not redound to Akufo-Addo’s political fortunes.

Do we not know that a bad-blood relationship still exists between him and Akufo-Addo just because of his preference for Alan Kyerematen? It is an open secret. So, whatever Kufuor thinks he is doing to support Akufo-Addo is not genuine. It is a ploy and will sink him instead.

Were I to advise Akufo-Addo’s campaign team, I would urge them to keep Kufuor at bay and go it by themselves. Kufuor evokes the greed that characterizes Ghanaian politics, awarding expensive medals to himself and cronies at the expense of the tax payer and manipulating the situation to enjoy a package of end-of-service benefits that would have deeply hurt our national psyche had it been implemented.

But will they listen? I trust them not to because they are more focused on preaching to the choir than reaching out to those who need better messages than the “huhudious” promises that have dominated Akufo-Addo’s electioneering campaign efforts.

They are more invested in reassuring their fanatical supporters who will never turn against them than attracting uncommitted voters or those who might become sympathetic to their cause if properly appealed to.

For now, the desperation that is driving Akufo-Addo’s campaign will becloud his sense of judgement, and we expect him not to listen to anything of the sort that some of us are drawing attention to. In the end, those diehard NPP loyalists will vote for him but it may not be enough to win him the day. The situation may worsen as Kufuor and others continue to make pronouncements that irritate the people.

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