Home / Editorials/Opinion / Leadership, corruption and a country that is going nowhere (Part 2)

Leadership, corruption and a country that is going nowhere (Part 2)

Share this with more people!

President John Mahama
President John Mahama

… why the buck stops with the President of the Republic

“Lee Kuan Yew personally shaped Singapore in a way that few people have any nation. His place in history is assured, as a leader and as one of the modern world’s foremost statesmen” (emphasis mine) – David Cameron

“Leadership is everything, all others are effects”- Professor Stephen Adae

I am of the opinion (and with historical backing) that as with other human organizations, bad leadership is the reason for the failure of corporate Ghana to make any meaningful developmental progress. The failure of Ghana has been and still is the failure of the first gentlemen of our country. Ghana will not get anywhere until we have a President who decides to make an extraordinary difference – This is not personal! It is for anybody who occupied, who is occupying and who will occupy that seat of the President of this country.

In the first part of this discourse published on this platform on the June 11, 2015, I discussed the statement; “nations get the governments they deserve” by Joseph de Maistre. I explained how the process of selecting the leader, expectations from the leader and Ghanaian’s idea of leadership success, succeed in corrupting leadership mindset before assumption of duty. In the conclusion however, I stated that de Maistre’s point notwithstanding, leadership of all human institutions hold the ultimate responsibility for the failure or otherwise of their organizations. In this second part, I will juxtapose de Maitre’s statement with that of Professor Stephen Adae, former rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), to the effect that “leadership is everything, all others are effects”.

Though society members have characteristics that do not augur well for progress and development, they do not expect leaders to lead them in that reckless path to destruction. In fact for some strange reason, societies expect their leaders to be better than them and to demonstrate superiorly acceptable character and resolve. So yes, people will elect you to a position of leadership and authority based on their corrupted intentions but once you have the opportunity, it is your choice to continue the rot or chart a new path based on a better paradigm that will take the people out of their woes. It is when you succeed in leading them into that good that they want but for which they are not ready to pay the prize, that you live your footprints on the sands of time as a leader who made a difference. This is what many people are not able to do and the reason for the non-progress of society, and Ghana for that matter.

In all history, leadership has been basically the reason why societies made progress. Even in situations where bad leaders were chased out of office through mass protests, those protests in themselves did not translate into social progress. The same can be said of the coups d’état that we have had in Ghana and how some had the massive backing of the youth but brought very little change to Ghana compared to what has become of Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore. We also have the recent Arab Spring protests as clear examples that mass revolts do not automatically lead to the good that society wants. There must always be leadership to effectively focus the energy of the masses into purposeful activity that results in progress. The leader, acting like an arrow head, decides on the depth of penetration based on its sharpness and direction based on its positioning. The masses are like the arrow tail, they exert their weight in whichever direction that the arrow head takes them. It is therefore preposterous for leadership to be or perceived to be corrupt and expect that the masses will do otherwise. The lack of this leadership has become the bane of Ghana’s quest for progress since the exit of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. For anyone who challenges this assertion, should we therefore assume that Singapore made progress just because the citizenry wanted progress? And that is to say that if any other person became the leader of Singapore regardless of his/her qualities, the country would still have made progress- this is not likely. And who says Ghanaians do not want progress? Ghanaians do, except that we have not had the like of Lee Kuan Yew.

In his book “The Spirit of Leadership”, Dr. Myles Munroe of blessed memory defines leadership as “the capacity to influence others through inspiration motivated by a passion, generated by a vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by purpose”- What the leader does is not only dependent on the society he/she is coming from, but also and more importantly, his/her personal sense of duty. I will discuss the roles of influence, inspiration and conviction in leadership performance.

From Dr. Munroe’s definition, leadership is influence, an external force (persuasive and lawful coercion) that determines how another person acts. In the case of leadership with authority which is the case of the President of our Republic, the leader also has the luxury of determining who should be on the frontline. This is where the advice of Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, comes in handy. Moses’ task was to “provide out of the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens,” Exodus 18:21. This is surely the decentralization system of governance that we run in Ghana. Our difficulties have to do with the men and women who are appointed as rulers. Are they able, are they God fearing, are they men of truth, do they hate covetousness? To appoint such men and women to positions of authority (leadership) is the sole prerogative of the President. If he chooses to appoint men who are not capable and men without character, their failure and the failure of Ghana, is the failure of he’s.

To be able to influence for a course, one must first of all be an inspiration to the people. Leaders influence people to commit to their vision and make sacrifices for the achievement of their aims and objectives. In a democracy, this can only happen on the backdrop of an exemplary life of integrity and trust. What does it mean then, when a research finds out that Ghanaian’s consider the Presidency as the second most corrupt institution in the country- the implication in terms of influencing the citizenry for the achievement of leadership objectives is colossal. But these matters have been taken lightly by our country’s leadership. How does the President influence Ghanaians against corrupt practices if they perceive his office as engaging in same acts of corruption? Explanations do not erase the effect of this perception. Our Presidents do not exhibit and which is a major cause of Ghana’s woes is their inability to crack the whip when their appointees are messing up. The book of 1Peter 2:14 indicates that governors are supposed to “punish those who do wrong and commend those who do right”. Whether real or imaginary, the Ghanaian perception is that the Presidency is in the business of shielding appointees whose actions and inactions are gradually drowning this country.

Leadership is conviction; the firm belief about something. It is the basis for action or inaction. What informs the leader’s decision to be a leader determines the direction of his leadership? We have not yet forgotten the secret recording of one of the young ministers of Ghana whose aim of being in government was to accrue 1million USD into her account. The president’s conviction affects everything! Conviction informs how he allows a dual carriage road from Accra to Kumasi to remain in a state of disrepair for six years and over, causing unnecessary accidents and loss of precious human lives and property until it is nearing elections before he does something about it. Information going round as I write this piece is that road construction works were going on in the Talensi District as late as 11 pm because of a by-election which is a day or two away. Yes he will achieve some aims of he’s based on his vision and conviction but it is clear to the people that he does not care much. And surely, these are the reasons the nation is not making progress because the conviction is not about the wellbeing of the people.

So putting together the assertions of Professor Adae and that of Joseph de Maistre, my position is that nations indeed get the governments they deserve but if by accident a leader is elected to the top of those governments, then he/she will lead the people into progress. In other words, the election or appointments of leaders who bring significant progress to societies are cases of social accidents.

In summary, it is true that having been selected from the general pool of Ghanaians, the President is likely to possess the character of Ghanaians- corrupt, if that is what Ghanaians are but that is not automatic. Based on the President’s vision, purpose and conviction, it is his choice whether to rule for the interests of himself, friends and family members or chart a historic cause. And I dare say, that IT WILL ONLY TAKE A SELFLESS AND POSTERITY-MINDED PRESIDENT TO CHANGE THE FAST DETERIORATING LOT OF OUR DEAR COUNTRY GHANA. God bless the President. God make the President’s forehead stronger against evil. God save the King and God save Ghana.

Dr. Moses Barima Djimatey

Email: bm.djimatey@gmail.com

Share this with more people!

Check Also

Ghana finally goes to IMF, after government obstinacy crumbles

The Ghanaian economy has barely been doing well, with the currency, the cedi, literally on …