After six years of wanton thievery coupled with jaw-dropping infantile decisions related to leadership in government that have turned an otherwise middle-income Ghanaian economy to HIPC status resulting in a shameful return to the IMF, Ghanaians are resoundingly unanimous in their preference and yearning for leadership that is smart, honest, and sensitive to their needs.
These findings were unveiled in a study conducted by NPP-USA in which 5,832 respondents in Ghana and six other countries with significant Ghanaian presence were queried on a wide variety of issues relating to leadership in Ghana. The findings also sharply contradicts the frivolous version purported to have been conducted by Boko Haram sympathizer Alhaji Bature’s Al-Hajj newspaper in which infantile and insignificant issues such as the height and personal preferences of leaders were presented for selection by respondents.
Ghanaians have come to realize that after effective leaderships of tall John Agyekum Kufuor, not-so-tall Kofi Abrefa Busia, and not-at-all tall Kwame Nkrumah, a leader’s height bears little resonance with his effectiveness especially when they have witnessed destructive leadership from tall Jerry John Rawlings, weak leadership from a meek and smallish John E Atta Mills, and a disastrous leadership of an averagely built John Dramani Mahama.
Rather the NPP-USA study finds that Ghanaians have for the first time risen above frivolities and are looking for leadership that is problem-solving, transformational, and honest to make a positive difference in their lives. And the leader today that epitomizes those qualities is Nana Akufo-Addo whose political premium is currently the highest it has ever been.
Not surprisingly, the domicile of the responding Ghanaian seemed to have a bearing on what he or she prioritized as essential. Ghanaians in Ghana picked honesty as their highest priority in a leader closely followed by assertiveness. Apparently timidity and aloofness that have characterized the nation’s leadership in the past six years have taken their toll on Ghanaians and they are no longer buying deceptive and rhetorical descriptions such as “Asomdwiehene” when it comes to national leadership.
Ghanaians have come to realize that President Mills’ meekness and President Mahama’s aloofness have cost them dearly as the door to our nation’s coffers appears to have been left ajar with no one home to watch over our money. All told, over 57 instances of public sector embezzlement resulting in a total loot of about GHC10.7 billion in the last six years alone appear to have changed the Ghanaian perception of what constitutes effective leadership.
Ghanaians in United States of America and United Kingdom picked intelligence and assertiveness as their topmost priorities. Their thinking is that while honesty or lack thereof in government is a consequence of effective supervision, it takes assertive leadership to contain would-be thieves of the national cake. They also pointed at the recent Bank of Ghana regulation in February that severely weakened the cedi as an example of intelligence deficiency in the current administration that cannot be allowed to continue.
Ghanaians in France, Germany, China and Australia prioritized creativity and problem-solving as what they look for in the next Ghanaian leader. One respondent from Australia wrote: “it is obvious we will never find those traits in the current leadership.”
Respondents in China seemed impressed with how the Chinese leadership has creatively combined its socialist leanings with an understanding that the free market system is the wave of the future. They yearned for such customized ideology and leadership style for Ghana in the next administration.
The biggest takeaway from this study by NPP-USA is that Ghanaians have indeed risen past political frivolities. Another surprise is the emerging sophistication associated with the thinking of the rank and file Ghanaian who only recently would sell his vote for what amounts to a day’s meal. When a trotro drive in the Odorkor area in Accra in an almost teary confession recounts how he would not be fooled again by the NDC’s cash for votes in 2016, one begins to regain a sense of hope for Ghanaian democracy.
Public Relations Committee, NPP-USA