By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

If Ghanaians are complaining about the fact of their Fourth-Republican presidents seeming to far prefer embarking on constant travels abroad, (largely to the West), and incessantly hobnobbing and partying with their more privileged foreign counterparts, to staying staying at home, rolling up their sleeves and doing heavy lifting like the rest of their fellow citizens, it is primarily because the people who voted for these leaders are not convinced that they are getting their money’s worth, in terms of the quality of leadership for which they frenetically bargained at the polls (See “‘My Travels Outside Ghana Are Strategic’ – Mahama Explains” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/7/15).

Sarawak?s tourism potentials
Sarawak?s tourism potentials

For instance, it is not clear what “strategic” value the country gained from President Mahama’s red-eye flight to Brasilia on New Year’s Day, less than twenty-four hours after he had given a pep-talk to the nation promising to afford Ghanaians a more productive and meaningful leadership in 2015 than he had previously, in order to attend the second inaugural of President Dilma Roussef. Needless to say, a more strategic leadership approach would have been for Mr. Mahama to have either dispatched his Vice-President, Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, or better yet, his Foreign Minister, Ms. Hanna Tetteh, and then arranging to confer with Ms. Roussef at a less fraught moment when the two leaders could really sit down in a relaxed atmosphere to discuss substantive matters of far-reaching significance for the two countries.

To be certain, being that the Brazilian leader is only one of a handful of women leaders of major countries, it would have been quite refreshing for Mr. Mahama to have dispatched Ms. Tetteh, or even Mrs. Oye Lithur, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, to represent him. He could then have spent “quality time” with Ghanaians at home outlining some of his major plans for the nation’s development at one of the New Year School lectures at the University of Ghana, or one of the country’s flagship public academies.

But, of course, Little Dramani was not one to be expected to miss this colorful parade of who is who among global leaders in order to showcase one of his Gonja-fabricated Fugu tunics. One local media website actually captioned a photo-op moment between the Brazilian leader and her Ghanaian counterpart as a prime-time moment that offered Mr. Mahama a rare opportunity to market Ghana abroad.

Well, I am not so sure that this patently tacky couturier gimmickry worked; for this was clearly a black-tie affair, one that is globally recognized as such, as could be clearly witnessed from the pictorial background showing almost every male figure present dashingly suited. And then here we were with Ghana’s President Mahama quaintly decked in the sort of “neo-primitive” garb more reminiscent of 1960s Black Cultural Nationalists like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael (aka Kwame Toure) than the leader of a major African country. Even President Nkrumah, who made the Fugu – both the Gonja and Dagomba versions – so politically ubiquitous would have been more savvy about the couturier demands of this occasion.

Incidentally, I forgot to proudly add that my maternal grandfather, the Rev. T. H. Sintim, of Akyem-Begoro and Asiakwa (he actually preferred to be identified as a bona fide scion of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana), was one of the participants of the first short-course seminars to be organized and hosted by the University of Ghana, then the University College of the Gold Coast.

Anyway, I really don’t suppose for a split-second that the problem that most well-meaning Ghanaian citizens have with the seemingly incessant foreign travels by President Mahama are the travels per se. Rather, it is really the fact that on the ground, their leader does not seem to have much to show for his incessant globetrotting, as it were. Indeed, for many of us studious observers of his oversea perambulations, it well appears as if President Mahama was far more interested in setting a presidential globetrotting record than using his leadership, or influential office, to rack up any significant and life-enhancing benefits for Ghanaians at large.

Source: By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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