Ghana is a unique state in African and world affairs. Like Nigeria or South Africa, when it sneezes, there are global implications – with investments and partnerships getting threatened or attractive.
As our history may reveal, it led governance reforms through military coups and revolutions when civilian dictators threatened the political space with corruption and political cronyism.
Particularly in the West African sub-region, that trend had played out in almost all of the nations in the same manner economic recovery played out with Ghana, in the 80s to the 90s, modestly leading and enjoying international acclaim.
Pedestrian and visionary leadership
Interestingly, when the military overstayed their welcome and ordinary citizens and civil society pushed for political and democratic reforms, it was still Ghana which, in 2000, was the cynosure of all eyes in a peaceful democratic change in which the New Patriotic Party secured power.
Again, in 2008, when the whole world watched, Ghana, in yet another runoff, changed government peacefully, when it got to the brink.
In our 2012 year of shame, the whole world watched as the incumbent John Mahama administration connived with the Electoral Commission to pull a fast one on Ghanaians to keep a clearly inept President in power – even when the nation was sinking into an economic abyss.
While he had his way eventually and got himself inducted into office, he fell for the reform trap that the Supreme Court laid for him, exposing him embarrassingly in the subsequent 2016 elections.
Ghana survived it because of the quality of collective leadership from academia, civil society, traditional and religious authorities and the vibrant media, which Mahama succeeded in caging in order to facilitate his stealing of the 2012 verdict.
The climax of all that lofty position Ghana occupies is ultimately revealed in the quality of leadership President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has exhibited in plucking Ghana out of an IMF programme and scoring excellent, locally and globally, as one of the fastest growing economies as well as one of the leading investment destinations.
From a robust restructuring of the economy and support for modest growth in the industrial sector to create jobs through massive and incisive reforms in agriculture, to safety net initiatives like the Free SHS and revamped National Health Insurance Scheme, and job creation initiatives for youth, the President has won the hearts of Ghanaians and attracted global partnerships, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apples and sour grapes
As we have come to realize, capacity, competence and commitment are the ingredients that are needed by any nation to move its people forward. We cannot achieve this with gripes and ‘sharp teeth’ as reflected in the ongoing John Mahama campaign in which the opposition, among others, accuse the ruling government of clamping on media freedom, when Mahama and his goons know that media organisations are also businesses that have an obligation to comply with business laws, just like all other businesses in this country.
Twenty years on
Twenty years after the crucial 2000 general elections, the difference between the NPP and the NDC must be clear to voters by now – particularly between 2012 when Mahama was fully behind the wheel and the saga of his lackluster leadership and walking controversy as against the current picture of how far we have come and the horizons before us under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Between ‘babies in diapers’ and ‘babies with sharp teeth’ and adults who know the terrain, there must surely be a difference between the two that must reflect in the 2020 ballot.