Analysis: Is Ekwow Spio-Garbrah really arrogant? – Asks Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor
The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

Folks, some Members of Parliament are of the opinion that Ekwow Spio-Garbrah is arrogant, which they consider to be a major flaw. The news report on proceedings in Parliament prior to his being approved as Minister of Trade and Industry says it all:

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“Minister-designate for Trade and Industry, Mr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah has been counseled by Parliament not to exhibit arrogance in the discharge of his duties and to also accommodate the views of personalities who may not be on the same level of intelligence as he is.

It does appear that the attitude of the nominee even at the committee was one that appeared to be bereft of modesty and lack of accommodation for diversity. If you are a leader, you must accept that not everybody will be at your level. A major part of leadership is to coach and bring people along in building a team…” (See:

Such opinions even impugned Spio-Garbrah’s integrity and called into question his moral values. Interestingly, those expressing such sentiments were NPP MPs (Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, MP for Manhyia South; Daniel Botwe, MP for Okere; and Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader). Conversely, those NDC MPs who commented on issues dwelt on Spio-Garbrah’s competence and prevailed.

I am out to challenge those NPP MPs and dismiss their sentiments as baseless and mischievous. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah is not as arrogant as they are. Which of those NPP MPs can be said to be humble and unassuming? None!! They are all black pots. So, why should such pots call the kettle black? It makes no sense for an ugly toad to insult a fellow toad as ugly!!

Here is the rub. But for those NPP MPs contesting the elections in parts of the country known as the traditional support base of the NPP, they couldn’t have been elected to Parliament. They are as arrogant as can’t be imagined. How many times haven’t we heard of their incontinence? Is it Matthew Opoku-Prempeh or Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu? Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeea!!

Was it not extreme arrogance that motivated Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu to disrespect former President Mills when he was in Parliament to present his State of the Nation Address? An open show of gross disrespect for the fount of authority in Ghana comes nowhere near whatever Osei Mensah Kyei Bonsu has seen in Spio-Garbrah to complain about.

As for Opoku-Prempeh, his sordid doings or misconduct in the Manhyia area or other parts of Kumasi are too well-known for me to touch on here. He is one despicable character when it comes to issues of arrogance and mischievous politics. No wonder he can function as such in that cabal.

Of course, it is commonsensical that those being appointed to high public office should be upright and well-behaved so they can help “civilize” the population and, thereby, grow our democracy. But as human beings to him perfection is no quality, anybody raising the bar beyond human capabilities must be operating merely as a political scarecrow, creating needless panic among the public. Those political scarecrows in the NPP should take note!!

True, as a human being, Spio-Garbrah is not infallible. He has his faults; but arrogance is not one of them. At least, from what he has portrayed so far about himself, I can vouch for him. If his self-confidence influences his mien and portrays him as arrogant to his detractors, so be it. In reality, though, he is not what they have painted him with their big brushes!!

Let me re-emphasize that Ekwow Spio-Garbrah is not arrogant. He is simply self-assertive, conscious of his own capabilities, self-confident, assured, and well-focused. That poise frightens those political opponents who see him as their next gargantuan hurdle in the race to the Presidency. Spio-Garbrah has all it takes to become Ghana’s President and poses a serious threat to the really and incontrovertibly arrogant characters spearheading the NPP’s wild goose chase for political power. So, why not begin assailing his character now to create the negative impression that his kind of arrogance stinks sky-high and is inimical to Ghana’s democracy?

Of course, Spio-Garbrah is none to be cajoled because he has carved an enviable niche for himself by dint of his own efforts. He hasn’t basked in the glory of any forebear (of the Spio-Garbrah family) whose accomplishments might have paved the way for him to be where he is today or will be tomorrow as the higher heights in public service beckon him. He is self-accomplished and must be admired as such.

Having monitored the events that have shot him into the limelight that his detractors are wasting their breath trying to dim, I will be more than willing to lead or join any campaign to accord him all the recognition he deserves. The man is self-made.

I fondly recall an occasion in 1983 when I first met him and immediately “fell” for him. I was then a student at the Ghana Institute of Journalism and had the occasion to listen to a talk given by him at the invitation of Mr. Kojo Yankah (then Director of the G.I.J.). I haven’t ceased monitoring anything involving him because he is more than fit for any position willed by his Destiny. He deserves all that he has had so far and will continue to have. His forte is public relations/communication, which he proved right in public service in Jerry Rawlings’ administration (Consider all the portfolio that he held) and in international organizations that appointed him. Is it the African Development Bank, the Commonwealth, or Ghanaian universities seeking his expertise to advance?

For someone of Spio-Garbrah’s calibre to remain strong in public service, cutting across all spheres of influence and withstanding all the vicissitudes (especially bribery and corruption) deserves serious pondering. If those NPP MPs had accused him of abuse of office and substantiated it with evidence to prove that Spio-Garbrah is not fit for the office being assigned him, I would have been more convinced that they know how to help us grow our democracy.

But they didn’t. Instead, they chose to be ridiculously frivolous just for its own sake or to sustain their kind of rogue politics. They found fault where none was; and they chose to turn into a dog such a hardworking, conscientious, and honest, give him a name, and work hard for him to be hanged. That is rogue politics of the highest order!!

I wish that his detractors would fault him on the basis of immorality and not the vacuous claim of arrogance. That such NPP MPs should use arrogance as the shortest cut to undermine Spio-Garbrah speaks volumes. It tells me how insecure they can be too. Ghana cannot develop with such characters.

I shall return…


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