Lesson From Ghana By Sola Ademiluyi


June 4 is of more significance to Ghanaians than March 6 which is the day they got their independence from Great Britain. On this day in 1979, junior military officers broke into the detention camp where the then Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings a.k.a Junior Jesus was detained after an abortive coup attempt, released him, dislodged General Frederick Akuffo from power and installed him as their Head of State.

He waged a war against corruption popularly known as the anti-kalabule campaign. Corruption crippled the country formerly known as the Gold coast making many of its citizens flee to the ends of the earth to survive. The zero tolerance culture against the deadly scourge was instituted and it saw three former Heads of State – Generals Akwasi Afrifa, Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Frederick William Kwasi Akuffo, his predecessor executed via a firing squad. Eight other politicians also faced a similar fate making the fear of kalabule the true beginning of wisdom in the West African country that first attained independence.

Victoria Hammah met her waterloo when she said she would not leave politics until she made a million dollars as she needed money to have full control over her fellow men. The President did not take the statement which went viral lightly as it would set a bad precedent. She had her fired after barely spending a year as the Deputy Communications Minister. She had the golden opportunity to serve her country but she chose to bungle it. It is tragic considering the fact that she lost her bid to represent the Ablekuma West constituency in the Parliament.

Nigerian politicians would laugh at the absurdity for being fired over a paltry million dollars. A million dollars? Many so called grassroots politicians – local government chairmen give more than that to their concubines to establish businesses or even for merely giving them a good time under the sheets. This should serve as a lesson for politicians all over the continent that public funds should be distinct from private money. Politics is an opportunity to serve and if one’s sole preoccupation is to amass wealth, going into business should be the better option. The bane of the continent has been corruption among the political elite right from the time of independence. From Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire who was even richer than his country to Idi Amin of Uganda, Emperor Jean Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic, Muammar Ghaddafi, Ibrahim Morsi, Robert Mugabe, Yoweri Museveni, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Gnassingbe Eyadema, Omar Bongo et al has ensured the continent remains on its fours many decades after the colonialists departed.


It’s not bad to take a cue from the west. Bill Clinton left office after thirty-four years in politics – Attorney-General of Arkansas, Governor of Arkansas, President of the United States with barely a little above half a million dollars. He had to take a loan to purchase his house and relied on his soap box sophistry and best sellers to join the millionaires club. Tony Blair started making millions of pounds after he stepped down as the British Prime minister in 2007 after twenty-four years in politics. The same goes for Gordon Brown. The scandal in the British House of Lords over expenses reclaim is Childs play compared to the mindless looting that goes on in many African States. David Cameron sometimes commutes to Number 10 Downing by public train. In fact he was brutally pilloried for not sitting in the third class section and sleeping off some months ago. Can that happen in many African States?


The earlier African leaders see the utilitarian value of service and the putting of the countrymen first so as to be permanently engraved in their hearts, the better. Who cares about how much Lee Kuan Yew is worth? Mahathir Mohammed was a wealthy medical doctor before he joined politics. Today, who cares about his net worth? The irony is that good leadership can never lead to the destitution of a leader. Who wouldn’t pay an arm and a leg to have a Lee Kuan Yew as a dinner guest? Is Nelson Mandela financially destitute? African leaders have to realise that wealth and poverty is a thing of the mind. There is no honour in pilfering public funds and the celebration of looters and rogues should be stopped. We need a radically novel leadership that can take Africa to the economic, political and cultural Eldorado! Enough of being called the Dark Continent! Positive change starts with the power of one and we highly commend the actions of John Mahama who is fast proving himself as a rising star. His speech at the United Nations where he made his views known that Africa needs partnerships and not sympathies was a locus classicus to put it modestly.

We hope he breaks the embarrassing jinx of the Mo Ibrahim Prize drought!


The earlier African leaders see the utilitarian value of service the better say Sola