By Abdul Razak Bawa
Not only was Mobutu SeseSeko a tyrant, but he was also richer than his country. For those of you who are not familiar with the name Mobutu, he was the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1971, and later Zaire from 1971 to 1997.
As president of Zaire, Mobutu was famous for corruption and nepotism while the people of Zaire suffered from poverty and human rights abuses. He embezzled an estimated $4-15 billion during his time in office. His three-decade regime came to an end in May 1997 when rebel forces threw him out of the country.
Mobutu felt, himself, accountable to no one.But after Congo was declared a self-governing status, their own leaders continued with the brazen festival of thievery and steal while the citizens wallow in abject poverty and untold hardship.
Mobutu once referred to himself as the “All Powerful Warrior”. His role in deepening poverty cannot be quickly forgotten. Mobutu forcefully took power with the help of Western powers from the hands of Patrice Lumumba in 1965.
His palace contained a fleet of Mercedes, a hydroelectric plant, sports facilities and he even built an airport large enough to land a Supersonic Concord Jet, the plane he always rented from Air France to gallivant around the World. Mobutu constructed mind-boggling mansions around European countries for his personal use.
The foreign debt Mobutu SeseSeko left behind in the Democratic Republic of Congo is around $14 billion. He presided in the creation of extractive political and economic institutions in the land. Congo is still paying the outrageous debt he left behind.
25 years after the death of Mobutu, Africa and indeed Ghana, has produced another Mobutu. If president AkufoAddo was born before the Congolese dictator, I would have said he reincarnated.
President Akufo-Addo, came to power on the mantra of change. He had accused his predecessor of being the cause of all of Ghana’s problems and yet after begging for power and having his wish granted, instead of providing antidote, he has misdiagnosed the problem and feeding the country the wrong medicine.
Ghana is in the intensive care unit and all the so-called specialist doctors assembled to save her, are giving her poison, instead of antidote.
This country of ours had never bled like this since independence, not even under military dictatorship, did we experience this open and wanton dissipation of our national heritage.
Akufo-Addo like Mobutu is living like an emperor, an Arabian King, who does not care about how his people feel. he derives joy from our suffering, he mocks us when we tell him, we are suffering under the burden he has placed us.
Institutions of state operate under their whims and caprices;everyone is afraid to criticize them for fear of victimization. Anyone who follows them is fed fat and told to observe table manners.
The world thought it had seen the last of the likes of Mobutu Se Seseko, unfortunately a peace-loving country like Ghana is the one to birth another one.
After years of tyrannical rule and high handedness Mobutu fizzle out like a wind and was consigned to the dustbin of history. The same air of relief, joy that breathed through Zaire when he was overthrown, will breathe through Ghana in 2025, when a new president, will take the oath of office.
Akufo-Addo will leave office in 2025 a notorious failure and disgrace, when you measure his performance against all the indices, he has flunked every single one.
When you measure his performance against corruption, nepotism, security, education, etc, he has performed worse than all his predecessors.
And it is amid these absolute failures, we hear the pot calling the kettle black. NPP is telling Ghanaians how bad NDC was after more than five years in office.
Ghanaians once had the mistaken believe and considered the National Democratic Congress as armed robbers was not a matter of dispute, we saw demonstrations and heard people shout hoarse on radio about the fact that the NDC administration was corrupt, – until they ran into the NPP and realised that the NDC members were rather saints, while the NPP were the real armed robbers.
Every president during his time, have had to be confronted by the citizens, regarding one decision or policy, in the interest of the governed and in keeping with principle of democracy, they have had to listen to the concerns of the people and withdrawn the decision or policy proposal, but not emperor Akufo-Addo.
Akufo-Addo is unrepentant and unapologetic, the more Ghanaians complain about a policy proposal, the harder he comes at them. The voices of reason that used to scare our presidents and beat them into subjugation, has been drown by Akufo-Addo.
His words and actions are law, he is not subject to the laws of the land, as even the apex court, which is the conscience of every nation and the last line of defence for the citizenry tremble at the name of Akufo-Addo. This is the first time in our history that, the government wins every case that ends up at the Supreme Court. I am not impugning any motive, but it beggars believe why the government never loses a case in court.
The NDC, was booted out of power because the NPP sold Ghanaians a candidate, who we were told was not corrupt and had never been corrupt, just imagine if Akufo-Addo, was corrupt, he will take away even the air we breathe and give it to his family and cronies.
If anything is clear now, it is that, Akufo-Addo, was not corrupt because president John Agyekum Kufuor, did not allow him to steal. President Kufuor, was a leader with character, not Akufo-Addo, who has no character and compassion.
Ghanaians are notoriously politically easy to please, but are reluctant to praise Akufo-Addo, because they don’t want to look stupid days or hours later when the leaks and revelations start occurring, implicating the do-gooders themselves as the culprits of the very problem they were pretending to solve.
A government that coyly but unabashedly seeks to reap public relations dividends from covering up its own corruption through pretended action and feigned ignorance is beyond corrupt.
A president that manipulates the anxieties of citizens by spinning negatives into positives is unworthy of empathetic understanding and benefits of the doubt. It is fundamentally disrespectful of the citizens on whose behalf he exists and acts.