President’s Reluctance To Get Involved In National Conversations On Important Issues Irritating

If there is one thing about President Nana Akuffo Addo that is endlessly irritating and deeply troubling, it is the fact that he is always late to the "national dance."

In other words, he takes his sweet time to address issues that urgently require presidential attention and leadership. Let me just say that Mr. Addo prefers to stay in the background, maintaining an arrogant distance from national conversations while allowing surrogates to lead discussions.

And when he finally decides after much soul searching and prodding to demonstrate that he is in charge of our national affairs, it is too late, the damage has already been done, our collective reputation has taken a beating and irreparably tarnished.

Against this background, one wonders if Mr. Addo deep down in his heart really and honestly cares about the country that he governs. Nobody is questioning the President’s sincerity and devotion, but the lingering question remains; does he have Ghanaians in his thoughts?

There are those who will immediately come to Mr. Addo’s defense by claiming that he really cares about Ghanaians.  Assuming that he does, his past behavior, however, does not lend credence to his supporters’ claims.

In the not-too-distant past, the President displayed gross reluctance to inject himself into issues that greatly concern Ghanaians.

Take for instance the subject of official corruption, financial malfeasance; despite charges of stealing of public funds leveled against some of his cabinet ministers and high ranking NPP officials, Mr. Addo has never reprimanded nor terminated the appointments of those alleged to have engaged in blatantly pocketing our money.

As for nepotism --- giving cushy jobs to members of his immediate and extended family members, the President won’t touch the issue with a ten-foot pole. He has been unfailingly mute. No surprise there.

And when we come to the critical, frightening and vexing issue of political vigilantism, Mr. Addo had been missing in action until recently. Early in his tenure, Mr. Addo did not show a willingness to confront the problem head-on despite daily reports in the media of vigilante groups closely associated with his party breaking the law at will.

It took Mr. Addo an entire year to talk about political vigilantism and when he did in his state of the union address in 2017, it wasn’t a full-frontal attack on those young men terrorizing political opponents and Ghanaians, more broadly.

Instead, he passed the buck to his party and the NDC who have since then been haggling to come to a compromise on how best to curtail the activities of political vigilante groups.

As if that was not unfortunate enough, the President is yet to muster the courage to talk about savage, unprovoked attacks on journalists in the country. Even the brutal killing of a young reporter last year did not garner the president’s attention.

And not surprising the president who claims to be a champion of press freedom never uttered a word when the communications ministry shut down radio stations on purely ideological grounds and when National security agents last week muscled their way into a small online media organization and terrorized reporters.

Oh lest I forget, the President has never mentioned anything about the kidnapped Takoradi girls. One of the president’s shenanigans when it comes to issues of paramount national importance came just last week.

He finally had the time and space to talk about the attacks on Nigerian traders by those Suame knuckle-heads. All along, Mr. Addo had remained shockingly silent. I don’t know what prompted him to speak out, proclaiming that Ghanaians are not xenophobes and that the  country is safe.

Well, the damage to our reputation had already been inflicted. His explanation was hollow and way too late. Ghanaians expect their president to take the lead on all issues concerning their welfare but Mr. Addo’s continued aloofness does not help matters at all.

Perhaps, it is time Mr. Addo ups his game by injecting himself more often into national conversations on important issues.

 

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