wpid-FiifiKwetey - Minister for Agric
wpid-FiifiKwetey - Minister for Agric

Recent headlines on the Ghanaian media landscape have been dominated by what many call ?war of words? between the globally respected Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI and an ?honorable? minister of the John Mahama administration, Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey.

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?Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, Minister for Food and Agriculture questioned the academic credentials of Franklin Cudjoe, describing him as a man who tries to hide his ?limitations? in academic laurels.

?According to the minister, it took the head of the policy think tank IMANI, several attempts to pass ?his A-level economics??, Staar FM reports.

It?s shamefully regrettable that a minister would have lost control of his brain to conceive such words and subsequently voiced them ? but I am not surprised ? he is a politician.

The IMANI Center for policy and Education of which Franklin Cudjoe is director has come under a lot of attacks for being a ?street policy think tank? that does nothing but to unconstructively attack political office holders in a partisan way. Many self-acclaimed ?experts say the think tank lacks ?academic focus?. But I say this argument is entirely flawed.

Let me explain.
A politician pursues his interest at the expense of the people he leads. No! The people he serves! So in simple terms, a politician thinks he is more special, more intelligent, smarter, wiser? than the poor citizen. They are power-hungry people who think of their well-being and that of the people around them or those who support their agenda. That?s why we always say they must account for every action they undertake whilst holding political office. Dirty power-hungry politicians love power indeed ? they argue that the only way to make impact in the life of the citizenry is to hold political office. These categories of politicians are socialists; and their dream is the citizens? nightmare.

A think tanker is an entrepreneurial maybe intellectual activist whose outmost objectives are to challenge the actions taken by political and public office holders and offer ?better? alternatives to national or global problems. A thinker represents the voice of the voiceless. They help to denounce the evil deeds perpetrated in the society by political office holders.
The one who leads,runs or is an active member of a think tank is most likely to be attributed the label a ?think tanker.?

Franklin Cudjoe is a think tanker and he leads the fourth most influential think tank in Africa according studies by the prestigious University of Pennsylvania study. Cudjoe is also referenced to as a ?leading light? in the renaissance of African think tanks for his immense contributions to the development of African think tanks.
Despite the global recognition IMANI has attracted over the past decade, some ill-intent people in Ghana see IMANI as a ?street policy think tank? with some going to the extent of branding it asthe mouthpiece of the largest opposition party in Ghana.
Among the reasons IMANI is tagged as a ?Street think tank? is the sad claim that it does not produce ?scholarly? or ?academic? papers ? that?s ignorant.

As Michael Kelly-Gagnon put it, it?s entirely wrong to believe that the main challenge in terms of influencing intellectual debates and public policies is to publish weighty papers that are well-researched and contain well-argued ideas. Such people [intellectuals] who think this way clearly mistake the basic raison d??tre of a think tank. These ?savants? who are obviously blinded with ?excessive academic knowledge? hardly care about how far those academic publications go. Michael Kelly-Gagnon argues that when academics are put in charge of think tanks, it is most likely that the organization will fail ? I agree

IMANI employs a different formula; the academics will disagree with it ? But that?s why it [IMANI] has succeeded.
In the attacks against Franklin Cudjoe, Fiifi Kwetey seems to suggest that one?s intelligence is measured based on one?s academic qualifications or grades ? it?s sad, actually shameful.
I rest my case.

Follow Isidore Kpotufe on twitter at @freeisidore

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