The identity and position of any nation in the world is highly linked to their quality, belief etc. that make them relevant and different from others. Ghana has played a significant role in the history of Africa. The country and its political leadership caused dynamic changes in the transition of power from colonial powers to the colonized in the era of African liberation.
The bipolar system in international politics between the communist and capitalist blocs saw the introduction of another movement called the non-aligned movement spearheaded by Ghana. In the 1960s, Ghana assumed a position of leadership not only in our sub region or in Africa but globally. Ghana’s political force inspired nationalist movement all over the continent, even in education, the country had 25% of the population being literates which was high and in a lead position, compared to other colonies at the time.
Our history records the decline in quality in our political leadership, affecting the vision and development of Ghana. Ghana is recognized as a nation that is peaceful and democratic although we also feature on the list of corrupt nations which is not a good image for the country. We are no longer leaders in Africa on many fronts and local political leadership has not done the best to shoot our star so high in the world. We are not number one in gold production and cocoa production in Africa. Unemployment is still an issue to be resolved and there is still much to be done about our economic strength. We recognize the efforts of successive governments but the world ought to be our playground and not only our sub region.
Apart from looking at the attitude of Ghana’s political leadership, the average Ghanaian settles for the average and that’s it. I must clearly admit that it is totally not enough to settle for the average and be okay that we are peaceful and democratic. We may be ahead of most African states in democratic values but the nation ought to have been flying at an altitude way higher than where we are flying. We live in a globalized system where interdependence and interconnectedness regulate our actions and government policies to a large extent. Thus, globalization would not allow a country to be totally independent without depending on others for survival. African states depend much on Aid and many have argued that for Ghana to experience proper economic development, the political leadership must be able to recapture the control of our economic development from the Bretton Woods institutions by not having to depend on aid and its conditionality. Despite the actions for development, Ghana cannot have sustainable development without clearly discovering and identifying who the Ghanaian is and what Ghana represents not only in Africa but in the world. That discovery, identity and push for a repositioning in Africa and the world is what would become the motivation and reason for our actions and most importantly it must be an identity and repositioning which would be significant in the present era and the future.
What you stand for, together with your peculiar features must be extremely significant not only in the present but in the years to come. United States has been a global power for years because of what they stand for: Freedom or liberty hence the reason for their style of governance (DEMOCRACY). Apart from the Ghanaian public having a lot to contribute to the repositioning of our national identity and international image, it has everything to do with our political leadership. During the time of the African liberation era, Ghana’s identity and position was solidified by the political leadership. A critical assessment of the international and African environment was done and the fundamental issue of freedom from colonialism was what Ghana political leadership is fought for to become significant as a nation in the whole of Africa.
The immediate and distant challenges and benefits in the international and African environment calls for Ghana to properly assess and reposition ourselves in a leadership and influential position to be critically significant economically and politically. Rwanda after the 1994 genocide has assumed a different image than it used to be simply because there was a conscious effort by political leadership to redefine their image and identity. Their repositioning is clearly seen in Africa and Rwanda now is exemplary to most African states. Rwandans are increasingly united, there is strong patriotism and almost 9 out of 10 say they trust in the leadership of the country. States like Russia have spelt out their interests and goals in the near and distant future clearly. Russia for long has not been the influential Soviet power it used to be but their political leadership is trying to assume the influential world power it used to be. In the National Security Strategy of Russia which was read by President Putin in December 2015, the goal of ensuring Russia’s status as one of the world’s great powers in the long term was emphasized. Economically, it stated that the country aims to raise its GDP to one of the largest in the world.
In view of how nations have embarked on a strategy of repositioning their image and economies in the world, Ghana’s political leadership must start paving the way for this great repositioning, by involving all institutions and the public to look at who we are and what we stand for, and to choose the path we want to follow. Ghana and Africa would need to look into the critical aspects of the nation and the continent. We have to take into consideration our history, our human resource and the significance of our resources in world economies. A strong political leadership would be needed to effectively include everyone in a systematic process to a point where the nation has clearly positioned itself and gained an identity that is heavily significant in the world.
THE ABSENCE OF POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IS EQUAL TO DARKNESS
Many people demonize politics, making it appear evil. What they don’t realize is that they live within a political environment and are affected by political decisions. It makes every sense to influence that decision for your good than to ignore it and suffer later. There can be no state without political leadership and it takes governments to steer countries into glory or gloom. It is better to have an “ill” political leadership than to have a “power vacuum” in a country. The absence of political leadership (power vacuum) has mainly brought darkness to those who live in such states. The absence of political leadership usually sparks hot conflicts between rivalry parties to occupy the seat of power. Death, destruction and lack of development often take such states as playgrounds due to broken order. Rather than ignoring and not holding accountable, political leadership, citizens must strive to influence that leadership until they begin to see the light of day in that country.
What did the absence of political leadership in Somalia bring? Somalia was plunged into an era of darkness with various armed groups fighting for power. Along the line we have seen the rise of Al –Shabaab; a thorn in the flesh mainly for those in that region. Somalia became a failed state after the absence of political leadership and Africa has witnessed its consequences. What proper development can Somalia boast of? This actually shows the world the importance of the presence of an established government. No matter how ill or incompetent a government may be, it would be better to see that government occupy the seat of power than to see an empty seat of power. An empty seat of power even breeds more catastrophe than the one already seen.
Libya saw the ousting of Gaddafi, but the truth is that Libya is no better than it used to be under the Gaddafi leadership which was painted “bad”. Violence has spilled over the country and economic decline has been inevitable. Libya as at now produces about one-fifth of the oil it used to produce which is really low. One of the grand terror networks (Islamic State commonly known as ISIS) has taken advantage of the political chaos in Libya and that adds to the complicatedness of the situation. The two rival administrations in Libya are now threatening the UN backed unity government, issuing warnings not to enter an area like Tripoli where one of the rival government is based. Yemen and Iraq have all experienced darkness and Yemen is still experiencing the plague of the absence of a political leader.
Proper reforms in governance is necessary to avoid such situations and it must be clear that proper transition of government cannot be compromised and must not be taken lightly.