Dr. Godwin Etse Sikanku, a political analyst has given a forthright assessment of President John Mahama’s leadership qualities, describing him as an “idealistic optimist”.
According to him, an assessment by a focus group he put together on the leadership qualities of the president revealed, he is” weak, reactionary” and “complains too much”.
Dr. Sikanku, who is also a lecturer at the School of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, also faulted Mr. Mahama for choosing to act to please political followers making him obligated to satisfying the needs of the party rather than the general good.
Comparing the current president to two of his predecessors – Jerry John Rawlings (the enforcer) and John Agyekum Kufuor (the gentle giant) – Dr. Sikanku said his focus group sees President Mahama to be restrained with his ability to transform the system.
He said the president in the 2014 State of the Nation Address for instance, failed to give an update on the 2013 Address, but went further to make promises without giving details about how they can be fulfilled.
“The focus group feels as if he is a reluctant leader, easy going, obligated to go a certain way in terms of his appointments,” he told host of the Joy FM Super Morning Show, Kojo Yankson, on Monday.
Despite these weaknesses, the political analyst identified some strong but ‘limited’ qualities of Mr. Mahama which have won him trust from the people. “He has a good heart… and very calm. People would like to trust people like him and that is good in terms of winning elections,” he said.
However, for an effective transition from electioneering to governance, the president must move away from relating nicely with people and become “a pragmatic optimist”, he suggested.
Meanwhile, Mahama Ayariga, Information and Media Relations Minister who contributed to the discussion via phone said it is a deliberate policy of the president to open up and make himself more accessible to the governed.
“The president does not believe in mystifying leadership… we are all ordinary human beings,” Mr. Ayariga added.
According to him, “the president has ideas about how this country can be made better …[and] we will deliver to make Ghana a better place. Idealism is not that bad but I can assure you he is a pragmatic leader,” he surmised.
In response to the State of the Nation Address, Mr. Ayariga said the president cannot give every detail of pronouncements contained in the address which he said lasts not more than two hours.
“The president normally spends about two hours on the State of the Nation Address and he cannot give minute details. He only highlights the key areas…[which] are subsequently captured in the national budget” by the Minister of Finance, he explained.