President Mills chose the most inopportune time to sack Sekou Nkrumah from the National Youth Council. It would hurt him. But it puts him in good company. He’s just following the footsteps of his main political mentor, who happens to be none other than Kwame Nkrumah – Sekou’s father.
Sekou, son of our nation’s founding president, had a few days before his dismissal criticized the President’s leadership style, wondering – like most Ghanaians often do these days – about the direction the Mills administration was taking the nation.
It was only after Sekou Nkrumah’s scathing criticism that we got to know that the board of the National Youth Council had recommended his dismissal for anything ranging from insubordination to incompetence. The president, in his usual “slow but sure” manner, had put off a decision on the recommendation – until Sekou dared to criticize him.
So the obvious question even the most dim-witted Ghanaian asks is: would the president have given Sekou the boot if he hadn’t dared to open his tiny red lips so wide?
I am guessing not!
You see, President Mills loves Sekou’s dad. Mills draws a lot inspiration from Nkrumah and from the way he made Ghanaians celebrate Nkrumah’s 100th birthday, I am tempted to think that he dreams of becoming the second Nkrumah. His problem, though, is that he is not as radical as Nkrumah.
To make up for that, President Mills probably prays for God to assign Nkrumah’s ghost as his guardian angel. So deep down in his heart, President Mills is not the sort who would rush to crack the whip on a Junior Nkrumah, lest he incurs the displeasure of the (very dead) Senior Nkrumah. Who would guide him to “slow but sure” presidential excellence? That’s why he put the recommendations for Sekou’s dismissal as low as he could on his list of priorities.
Secondly, the president knows that Sekou is not the worst of all his incompetent appointees. If he were to dismiss people on the grounds of incompetence (which is as rare as seeing a Ghanaian in a space suit) Sekou definitely wouldn’t be the first on the list. Even Azumah-Mensah and Zita Okaikoi are still at post.
Thirdly, the president knows that nothing much happens at the National Youth Council. Nothing, in fact, gets done there. Sekou was just sent there to do nothing. And nothing he has done quite remarkably. That’s why the argument that he has underperformed sounds like hogwash to me. To make even more nonsense of the underperformance argument, it has emerged that no one told Sekou what was expected of him. So how on earth were they assessing his performance?
I suppose the very fact that Sekou was sent to an agency where he had so little to do (other than showing up in the office) informed his decision to publicly question and criticise the president’s leadership style, which he said was ineffective and ineffectual. He got almost everything spot on. Sekou spoke the mind of the ordinary Ghanaian and being the son of Nkrumah, no one should be surprised that he took the radical outspoken route.
What’s surprising, however, is rush decision to suddenly act on the supposed earlier recommendation by the board of the National Youth Council that Sekou be sacked. Whoever advised the president to act at the time he did must have his head re-examined. Sacking Sekou at the time the president did only vindicates his position – that our leader is not as proactive as we need him to be. He only responds to situations around him – often on the advice of some of the ill-mannered, ill-tempered and vindictive sycophants he has surrounded himself with.
The president, it appears to me, was advised to sack Sekou – from an agency as useless as the National Youth Council – to send a message to the increasing number of people within the ruling party who are gradually being emboldened to open their mouths to criticize the administration. This objective would largely be achieved. Very few in the NDC who look up to the president and the administration for the ‘crumbs’ of political office will dare to speak out (even privately) against the president.
But in the wider population, President Mills is now being seen as the intolerant leader who chose none other than the son of his idol to show the nation that he won’t countenance dissent. That’s not good.
Kwame Nkrumah might not be so pleased that his son has been made an example of. But he will also smile because President Mills is doing exactly as he would have – kill off dissent and weed out all the critics.