Ex- president John Agyekum Kufour along with ex-Brazilian president Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva received the 2011 World Food Prize. The two men were awarded this prize for their commitment and visionary leaderships while serving as presidents in their respective countries.
They were recognized for their efforts in implementing government policies to alleviate hunger in Ghana and Brazil respectively.
These two former heads of states demonstrated that true leadership can affect positive change and improve the lives of citizens in their countries. During his entire terms as president, Kufour’s main objective was to improve food security and reduce poverty through public and private initiatives. Kufour instituted mass Cocoa spraying in Ghana.
This program alone created employment for young men and women who would otherwise be hungry or has no job to cater for their families. Young people were employed to work in cocoa farms spraying cocoa and crops protecting them from pests and the environment. This in turn produced healthier cocoa crops from which farmers benefited and keep benefiting from it till date. As a result of simple programs like this, cocoa production doubled from 2003-2005 and other crops like maize, cassava, yams and plantain also increased significantly. Under this same President, there was the Presidential Special Initiation for cassava plantation who helped cassava farmers to be able to process their cassava into starch for exportation.
Where are leaders like these in Africa now? If every African leader could commit to implementing simple policies like these to affect positive change in the lives of their citizens, Africa would be a much better place to live. This should not be politicized, but is has. Already some critics of NPP doubt the hard work of the ex-president. Ofosu Kwakye, a fierce critic of the NPP, said he doubts whether president Kufour deserves the credentials conferred on him by the World Food Project (WFP) “because this is a man who headed…a party in 2000 that told us that rice importation which stood around $25 million (a year) at the time was unacceptable and that they were going to reduce the trend by making the Afram plains the grain basket of this country.
[They won the elections] and by the time they left office in 2008, rice importation had shot up to $600 million.” What Mr. Ofosu Kwakye is saying may be right but if cocoa production alone, coupled with other policy initiatives was able do half hunger, why this unnecessary criticism? Should Ghanaians keep expecting one president to tackle the many problems Ghanaians have at the same time? When are we going to witness politicians in Ghana giving constructive criticisms that will benefit the country?
To me, this is not a political party’s achievement. This is something that an Ex-President of Ghana did that worked and helped alleviate hunger. Besides, I don’t think NPP as a party gave this award to the Ex-President. The people of Ghana picked a leader expecting him to implement good ideas and policies and he did! This is something that benefited all Ghanaians and should be commended and used as model for future policies and development. That’s what’s missing in Africa in general and Ghana in particular. We let politics get in the way of governing the country. Many great ideas are often discontinued because it came from previous administrations. We let our political party’s interest get in the way of what works for the people.
It’s time to give credit when credit is due.
We should point out what leaders do right and use them as models for future advancement. When President John Evans Ata Mills leaves office, we should commend him for positive policies that he has put in place that worked for the people. The current president is the first president to give more hope to the youth in terms of leadership by appointing young guys of about my age as Ministers of State. Mr. Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa and Mr. Agyenim Boateng are classical examples of the hope our current president has in the youth of Ghana. Are we going to take this away from the president when he leaves office because some people think they are NPP so they must criticize the president negatively because He is an NDC president?
Commending our leaders of the good things they did whiles in office will be a motivation for future leaders that their hard work is not in vain and that they will be commended for their hard work too.
“Our actions seem to have their lucky and unlucky stars, to which a great part of that blame and that commendation is due which is given to the actions themselves. “ Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Ghana will grow if our politicians are ready to grow by putting their political Party’s selfish interest behind them and focus on policies that will benefit all Ghanaians. I congratulate our Ex-President John Agyekum Kufour for this wonderful achievement. I hope future leaders will emulate the positive things you did that helped our dear Nation.
Long live Ghana!!
Long live leaders of Ghana who are ready to implement policies devoid of Party politics!!
Long Live our Ex-Presidents!!
Source: Kwaku Ofosu
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