Obama was wrong; in Ghana we need strong men

US President Barack Obama’s celebrated statement that ‘Africa needs strong institutions, not strong men,’ has been attacked.

A communicator with the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Boutros Dankwa is convinced systems and institutions in Ghana are so weak, only strong personalities can turn things around.

On his first official presidential trip to Africa in July 2009, Obama condemned tyrants and urged Africans to demand stronger governments.

His comment “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions,” triggered applause of Ghanaian MPs and sent his comments ringing across Africa.

Boutrous Dankwa has dusted off the comment made six years ago for fresh critque. According to him, Obama was wrong.

‘In Ghana, you need strong men’, he stated and observed that Ghana can only work when leaders who are autocratic are at the helm of affairs.

Resurrecting the concept of the benevolent dictator, the NDC man wants to see principle-minded leaders shape public institutions to work effectively.

If institutions are weak then making them strong will depend on strong men, he argued on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday.

The show has been discussing the topic, ‘Does Ghana work?’. It focuses on giving the platform to Ghanaians to express their frustrations and give feedback on the effectiveness of Ghana’s private and public sector institutions.

Wednesday’s edition follows shocking revelations a former DVLA Chief Executive Justice Amegashie admitted he signed a $3.6million contract which ballooned to $9.9million.

He insists he had no idea of the circumstance of the mysterious jump which is under investigations by Parliament and the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO)

Boutros believes despite the good work of a few leaders in Africa, the verdict is that many others are not doing well.

“It is the strong man that makes strong institutions…..let us ask the strong men to deal with this situation,” he advised.

Co-panelist Esmeralda disagreed with Boutros’ prescription. She explained that Ghana is tired of so-called strong men.

According to her, Ghana’s most recent strong man, Jerry Rawlings failed to build strong institutions.

“Was he able to change anything?…..we still have corrupt officials and systems that do not work”.

She recommended good education, arguing that is what is needed to raise the consciousness of Ghanaians to demand accountability.

Story by Ghana|Myjoyonline|Edwin Appiah|[email protected]


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