Events unfolding on the economic, social and political scene clearly show a looming leadership crisis in the country; yet we have John Evans Atta Mills, an executive President with many powers and authorities. Presidential powers in Ghana are so overbearing that perhaps what our President cannot do “is to change man into woman and vice-versa.”
The president appoints ministers, ambassadors, DCEs, CEOs of state organisations. He is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He is the only individual who can declare state of emergency and declare war if that is the only option available and decides which country to establish diplomatic relations with. A typical example is the president going ahead with the process to establish diplomatic relations with Kosovo and open a mission therein even in the face of the popular outcry against the establishment of such a relationship.
That is the overwhelming powers of the Ghanaian president. So it becomes worrisome that the president has remained stone-silent on many crisis situations that in the opinion of the PPP, only needed an executive presidential presence to calm nerves of warring factions and save lives.
The obvious inaction of the President in dealing decisively with the many crises in the country, we believe is goading on many warring actors to further stoke the flame of chieftaincy disputes, communal rifts and ethnic conflict.
It had been reported that currently Wa and its environs are saddled with a major chieftaincy dispute. A major ethnic disturbance has erupted between Kokombas and Bimobas in Northern Ghana. The Kokombas again are embroiled in major crisis in the Northern part of the Volta Region and recently Ewes and Fantis in Ekumfi Narkwa, in the Central Region.
Many reasons have been assigned for these crises including political interference in chieftaincy affairs. The latest ethnic conflict, the one in the Central Region has the Central Regional Minister, Ama Benyiwa Doe, surprising many Ghanaians. According to the regional minister, the Ekumfi crisis was stoked by the ethnocentric comments made sometime this year by the NPP Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong. It does seem to us that by Madam Minister’s comment she was aware of the cause of the violence at Ekumfi Narkwa. So what did she do about the situation when it became obvious that Kennedy Agyapong’s comment was pushing Fantis and Ewes at daggers?
By her position, Hon Benyiwa Doe automatically assumes the chairmanship of the Central Regional Security Council and therefore disposed to periodical security briefings. The PPP challenges the regional minister to come out with sufficient evidence to substantiate her allegations.
Until that is done, we will treat her comment as a typical Benyiwa Doe talk that is meant to score cheap political points and possibly to cover up for the inaction of the President in the face of the obvious edge that these conflicts are pushing the country to. We remember how she beat a retreat on her accusation that former government officials of the then Kufuor administration were involved in the illicit drug trade during her vetting by Parliament.
We are indeed saddened that the President watches in awe the growing tension in the country without putting in place any measures to curb them or nip them in the bud. It clearly demonstrates the leadership vacuum that we are confronted with although on paper, we are supposed to have an executive president with all the powers to put every Ghanaian heart at ease.
Perhaps we should not be too surprised.
This is a president who went to the scene of the recent plane-crash, near the El-Wak Sports Stadium without providing any soothing words to assuage the pain of the affected families and also measures to adopt to avoid any future occurrence.
Again this is a president who by his inaction seems to be endorsing the usurpation of his powers by his spokesperson, Koku Anyidoho, who unconstitutionally took a unilaterally decision to “suspend the Ashanti regional director of the Electricity Company of Ghana.”
The PPP urges all Ghanaians to draw serious lessons from the current happenings and choose a president that is pre-disposed to providing instant and far-reaching solutions when we are confronted with similar crises in future. The PPP’s take on such situations is to offer leadership that will work with a sense of urgency; be proactive and enjoin the security agencies to work independently and diligently without fear or favour in dealing with combatants of sense needless conflicts decisively.
Our flag bearer, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, was the only presidential candidate to visit Bawku, Yendi, Gushegu and other troubled spots of the Northern Region in the run-up to the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections. None of the other aspirants did so.
Again Dr Nduom has so far visited Wa, Bawku, Yendi and other crises-ridden areas during his current nationwide tour and that clearly puts him ahead of the others as a proper “Father for all.” He has shown once again that when he is given the mandate to become the President of the Republic of Ghana, he has the wherewithal to confront head-on every crisis situation with a sense of urgency.
That is the kind of leadership that the PPP intends bringing on board.