A Presidential Term Is Four Years, Not Eight! – Says Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
If Prof. Stephen Ahiawordor had so desired, the University of Ghana’s political science lecturer could have done better to point out to Mrs. Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings that she would not have so brazenly attempted to challenge her own husband for the presidency, while former President Jerry John Rawlings served his first term as a democratically elected premier with the chance for a second term of office (See “Konadu’s Presidential Timing Was Wrong – Prof. Ahiawordor” MyJoyOnline.com 7/6/11).

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And for good measure, the Legon political scientist could have further reminded the former first lady that, indeed, in terms of quality-of-life indicators, the tenure of President Rawlings – with his extortionate and callous “Cash-and-Carry” health policy – was no better than that of the man that the National Democratic Congress’ founding patriarch handpicked a la his infamous Swedru Declaration.

Instead, we have Prof. Ahiawordor recklessly misleading Ghanaians into believing that a presidential term is eight years, rather than the constitutionally stipulated term of four years! And precisely what constitutes the basis of such arrant falsehood, but the mere coincidental fact of Presidents Rawlings and John Agyekum-Kufuor having, each, served two terms in office.

Of course, on the preceding score also, had he so desired, Prof. Ahiawordor could simply have chalked the fact that Mr. Rawlings served two terms in office to both the visceral fact of the man’s megalomania and the sad but factual reality of Ghanaians being all-too-willing to acquiesce to his inordinate penchant for power in a tactical bid to peaceably and democratically easing the longest-serving Ghanaian strongman off the national political landscape.

In the case of President Kufuor, his ability to handily clinch a second term in office was primarily a mark of meritorious performance, namely, the former deputy foreign minister’s quite uncanny ability to radically transform Ghana’s economy from the abject status of receivership, or heavy dependency on foreign aid, to a fledgling, albeit a viable and enviable, progressive capitalist system healthily underlain by a welfarist orientation.

In other words, the mere fact of the first two presidents of Ghana’s Fourth Republic having served two terms apiece, does not necessarily make two terms in office a presidential de rigueur, or mandate, or tradition, for that matter. To be certain, both Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings’ inexorable attempt to deny President Mills the flagbearership of the ruling National Democratic Congress for Election 2012, and Nana Akufo-Addo’s near-certain triumph over his arch-rival and ideological opponent, ought to serve as a rude awakening to sophistical political scientists like Prof. Ahiawordor, and particularly President Mills himself, that Ghanaians are far more politically sophisticated and progressively self-interested enough than they are often credited with.

Indeed, what ought to most worry the likes of Prof. Ahiawordor is less the fact that Mrs. Rawlings would so vigorously attempt to unseat President Mills barely half-way through the latter’s maiden term, than the apparent expectation, on the part of people like the Legon political scientist, that, somehow, Ghanaians ought to constitute themselves into a bevy of passive spectators of their own collective destiny, once a president has been elected, irrespective of whether the latter’s performance meets the optimum standard of progressive leadership, however the latter gets defined by the people at large.

As to whether Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings would ever be elected President of Ghana in the offing, is a highly speculative venture that I would rather have the likes of Prof. Ahiawordor pry. For me, however, what matters most at this juncture is for the former first lady to explain her evidently non-tangential role in the abduction and brutal assassination of the three Accra High Court judges and the retired
Ghana Army major on that starless night of June 30, 1982.

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of 22 books, including “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011), his most recent volume of poetry.

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net