In 2008, when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) lost power to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), our late President, John Evans Atta Mills redefined the role of the position of Vice-President, from being a ceremonial position to a more assertive onewith more responsibilities and functions.
Having being a Vice-President himself to Jerry John Rawlings, he came to understand that you do unto others what you wish to be done to you. He made the position of the Vice-President an enviable one by giving our current President, John Dramani Mahama, the leverage and the exposure he needed to sell himself to Ghanaians and the rest of the world.
In the succinct words of President Mahama,” I was the luckiest Vice-President in the history of this country” and indeed he was, as events has proven that more than once.
I did not live in the First, Second and Third Republics, but I can say in my short sojourn on earth that I was very much conscious of what transpired in the Fourth Republican Dispensation between Jerry John Rawlings and his Vice-President, Kow Nkensen Arkaah, that frosty relationship which led to an allegation of Jerry Rawlings beating Arkaah at a Cabinet Meeting.
Arkaah was succeeded by late President John Evans Atta Mills, like his predecessor he was also a ceremonial Vice-President, who only walked and worked in the shadow of his boisterous and towering boss.
Late Alhaji Aliu Mahama was relegated to the background by former President, John Agyekum Kufuor. While John Kufuor became a global Icon, globetrotting, Aliu Mahama was relegated to the background, with no real influence and nothing to do, except to respond to the accolade of a Vice-President.
It was no surprise to me, when the time came for a successor to be chosen, President Kufuor decided to throw his weight behind Alan kwawdo Kyeremanteng in the race for the flagbearership position of the NPP.
The only consolation for Alhaji Aliu Mahama was that unlike John Mills and Arkaah, he was the longest Vice-President under the Fourth Republican dispensation, having served eight years, between 2001 and 2008.
You could say all these bad examples were a learning curve for us, as we were trying to entrench our democracy and so the paradigm shifted, when late President Mills won the election in 2008, with his able lieutenant, John Dramani Mahama.
The confidence he reposed in him and chose him to partner him even against the wishes of the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Jerry John Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings. This singular decision haunted President Mills till death, because Nana Konadu and her husband never forgave him.
President Mills gave Vice-President John Mahama, the free hand to operate with a lot of responsibilities; he was more visible than the late President.
All the important meetings were attended by John Mahama. He headed the Economic Management team, the Savannah Accelerated Development Authourity (SADA), was given to him to manage. A lot of the major decisions and transactions undertaken by Government were spearheaded by John Mahama, including the STX deal that never saw the light of day, the Falcon Jets for the Ghana Armed Forces etc.
As faith will have it and as it is said opportunity meeting preparation, our President John Mills passed onto eternal glory and was succeeded by his Vice John Mahama, who have had the benefit of all that he needed to know to lead a country. Whether or not he was a good student is a subject for another day.
He was sworn into office on that fateful day of July 24, 2012. In fulfilling Constitutional requirement he also chose his Vice-President in the person of Paa Kwesi Anissah Arthur. Poor Amissah Arthur, histpry does not seem to be fair to him as we are seeing the revisit of the earlier days of the Fourth Republic.
Amissah Arthur is qualified by all standards and measure, having been a Deputy Minister under Jerry John Rawlings to the Finance Ministry and risen to the position of a Governor of Bank of Ghana (BoG), what more could one ask for in a Vice-President and who best to diagnose our economic problems and profess solutions than Amissah Arthur. Something is certainly not right at the helm of affairs.
Unfortunately for him, he was not as lucky as Vice-President Mahama. Like his predecessors before him, he was also just filling a void and that is a Constitutional requirement. We are seeing the birth of another Alhaji Aliu Mahama. I am seriously wondering what it is that the Vice-President is doing considering his experience and pedigree in Finance.
The fact that the economy is in distress is no more news, the fact the Cedi has suddenly developed wings and is flying or diving to where, only God knows is no where. We have a lot of Ministries in this country, but the economy really hinges on about three or so Ministries. I.e. the Finance, Trade and Industry, Agriculture and the Bank of Ghana.
So the call by many people, including former President Rawlings for a Cabinet reshuffle makes me asked, what Ministers, because some Ministries just exist on paper and has no bearing on the economy.
Having been a Governor, the Vice-President has dealt with the three relevant Ministries I mentioned and so what really is the relationship between the Veep and the sector Ministers?
The potential of the Vice-President is not being fully exploited as the President wants to do everything and embarks upon any international assignment. Since President Mahama and Amissah Arthur took the Oath of Office, I can count on my finger tips the number of times the Vice-President has been out of this country and even that it is only Africa.
It has become so alarming that it is even difficult to tell when President Mahama is in the country or out of the country. The travels have become so rampant that he is hardly missed by the citizenry
I stand corrected, but has Amissah Arthur travelled out of Africa before and if he has how many times? The President seems to be enjoying the limelight and the stardom.
Tomorrow’s production begins with today’s preparation. We need a leader that will solve problems because the fastest way to gain leadership is to solve problems. I hope that at the end of the day the incessant trips will not be in vain, but will bring something to the country.
As they say, only time will tell.