What Do Two Former African Presidents Have in Common?

What do two Former Presidents Have in Common?

Rawlings and Kuffuor must Engage

Dr. Sulley Gariba, Institute for Policy Alternatives, Tamale

Politics, indeed, has strange bed-fellows.   Last week in Canada, two former American Presidents, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jnr., shared the same platform in Toronto, Canada.   The occasion, described by commentators to be the epitome of congeniality, bellied the level of tolerance and maturity that enduring democracies have bestowed on a world of despondency.   In America, Barack Obama has begun his Presidency on a note of hope, in the middle of deep financial crises and an economic recession unparalleled in recent history. Yet, he has displayed maturity and cheerfulness that makes many American citizens face up to the challenges of our time with hope and perseverance.   What do we see in Ghana: panic and hopelessness; retribution and recrimination; sourness and agitation.   We are so pre-occupied with our problems that there is a feeling of numbness and impatience.   We either want to clean the stables and start afresh; or quickly return to the past of only six months ago.   No objective reflection of success and an un-biased assessment of the central issues of our time and our collective obligation to address these without vilifying others.

Yet, ours is a country which has two elegant former Presidents – John Kuffuor and John Rawlings.   True, they have very different temperaments; but they both discharged their constitutional duties successfully and presided over commendable elections, successfully handing-over the reins of government from their respective parties to opposition parties who defeated their parties in elections. Yet, this very fact which is worth celebrating, has been the bane of our contention, to a point where, if you did not live here in Ghana, you would think each of these parties was wishing a “one-party” state for Ghana.   Neither of them seems to have accepted the reality that political...