“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”― Elie Wiesel
Last year, Times Magazine named Pope Francis as its person of the year, after nine months of a papacy that has brought accolades from reformers, raised fears among conservatives, and drawn widespread adulation from people around the world for his man-of-the-people ways.
The magazine’s International Editor, Bobby Ghosh, said Francis’ contributions in his short time in office have changed the church’s image as well as its substance.
“He’s changed perceptions of the church from being this out-of-touch institution to one that is humble and merciful,” Ghosh said. “He’s changed the focus of the church from being focused on doctrine to becoming more about service. And he’s changed the tone in which the church speaks to one of compassion. It’s all about the poor. This is the church as it used to be in its — arguably its best period in the past. And Francis seems to be bringing that back.”
He has also opened up church finances and addressed controversial issues other popes have shied away from discussing publicly, Ghosh said.
“He’s talking about homosexuality, about giving women a bigger say in the church. These are things that are very, very important. They’re not just words. He’s actually following them up with action,” Ghosh said.
E-TV Ghana, for some time now have also sought to replicate what Time Magazine, have been doing for years in Ghana, with their version of “ Ghana’s Most Influential”.
On Monday, they released their list of 100 people voted as Ghana’s Most Influential Personalities for 2013, and to my surprise and to the surprise of many Ghanaians, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was chosen as the Most Influential for 2013, did I hear somebody say ‘Twiaaaa’. Yes you heard me right, Nana Addo.
Wonders, they say shall never end. Every day in our life, we are confronted with issues and events that beat our imagination and this conclusion is certainly one of those absurdities, that leaves one asking more questions than answers.
What was the criteria, who was interviewed, what was the sampling size, demographics, how many regions were covered etc? These were among the many questions I asked myself.
In choosing the person of the year, you are trying to make a decision about who best represents the news of the year. But the pick also needs to have archival value. You need the sense that it will stand the test of time. So ideally, you want the Person of the Year to be both a snapshot of where the world is and a picture of where it is going. Someone, or in rare cases, something, that feels like a force of history.
One must have done something extra ordinary or touched the lives of people, to be qualified to be the Most Influential Person in Ghana, beating personalities and truly established personalities, like former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Jerry John Rawlings and President John Dramani Mahama.
Does Nana Addo, satisfy any of the above criteria? I think no.
Should such a rave review go to somebody who said “All-die-be-die”, and a tribalist, who said “We Akans” etc? Admonishing his supporters to reject the results of an election, in effect, victory at all cost, regardless of who dies.
Since Nana Akufo-Addo became the flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) for both the 2008 and 2012 elections, the once enviable political party that attracted the best from the society, assumed the height of absurdity, with members getting violent and insulting anybody who disagrees with that tradition.
Even those in the party, who at one point or another expressed dissenting views and questioned the capacity and ability of Nana Addo to deliver victory to the party were harassed, humiliated and attacked. Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy, Dr. Wereko Brobbey, Dr, Nyaho Tamakloe, Dr. Konadu Apraku, have all tasted the vile nature of Nana Addo’s supporters.
In 2012 and 2013, every week the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), releases report of media monitoring on the use of indecent expressions on radio.
Activists, supporters and officials of the NPP week in, week out always come top in insulting and offensive comments on air. So really, what has Nana Addo done to beat, Otumfuor Osei Tutu, is it his phantom and overzealous promise of free Senior High School (SHS) or what?
How about Osei Kwame Despite, who has touched the lives of millions of Ghanaians and has provided employment to countless number of people? We really need to define our priorities.
When it was clear to every well-meaning Ghanaians that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had lost the 2012 elections, he decided to exercise his Constitutional right of going to Court, to challenge the result declared by the Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan.
After eight long months of back and forth of exhibits of pink sheets and cross-examinations, by the lawyers for the Respondents and the Petitioners, the
Nine-member panel of the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that President John Dramani Mahama, was the validly elected President of the 2012 elections.
I have heard people say Nana Addo deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for restraining his supporters from resorting to violence, this same people turn round to commend us for entrenching democracy in this country. This to me is double standard, because for as long as we decide that democracy is the way to go, then nobody needs to pat Nana Addo on the back.
He was not the first person to lose elections in this country, Africa and the world. He was not the first person to challenge the results of an election. Raila Odinga, who won the 2008 elections in Kenya, but had to agree to a coalition government, after the post election violence that threatened to destroy that country, because the elections were rigged in favour of the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki. He served as Prime Minister, until 2013,
when he lost again to now President, Uhuru Kenyata. Nobody asked that he be awarded a Nobel Peace prize, when the Supreme Court of Kenya said he lost
the election. He accepted the verdict and the country moved on.
What Nana Addo did was a novelty in this country, i.e. by going to the Supreme Court to challenge Presidential election results, but that does not mean, he deserve the accolades going his way.
We are and deserve better than this. This is a country of level-headed people, not mediocre.