To the victor, ALL the spoils

I wrote this after the December 2000 elections. I did not provide advice for President Atta Mills when he took over in 2008.  I will find time to provide some advice to President John Mahama, but i will wait till after he has made all his appointments.
My view of multiparty politics is that it must be adversarial and that the winner in a Presidential race deserves the space to make his own appointments and to run the country the way he sees fit because the people have given him the mandate.  Fortunately sitting in far away England, i do not know those who President Mahama is appointing; i hope they are competent and I hope that he would make a final break from the Provisional National Defence Council.

To the victor, ALL the spoils
New Topic | Go to Top | Go to Topic | Search | Archive | Register Previous Message | Next Message Subject: To the Victor, ALL the spoils Author: Ade Sawyerr (
Date: 01-02-2001 07:18
To the victor, ALL the spoils
A government of national unity will be a retrogressive step for democracy in Ghana.
Despite what some of us wrote against the NPP it being an Asante Party, and against Kuffour, he being not ready to rule the country, the people of Ghana have spoken and comprehensively voted against the NDC in this election.

These are very exciting times for Ghana and the people of Ghana must be commended for the maturity that we have displayed. Some predicted that the election will be rigged, others felt that it could not be free and fair. At last all the threats of ethnic rising and tribal declarations of war have come to nought. Those who called for the removal of the Electoral Commissioner because they felt that he was not independent must write to congratulate him for the competent way in which he conducted the elections. They must also start beginning to accept that there is more hope for democracy in Ghana than they give us credit for and the Black Star of Africa will indeed shine again. At least we will continue telling the world that good things can come out of Africa.
Begrudgingly I must congratulate Kuffour for his winning this election. I would not have voted for him. I did not think he had the following. Even after the first round I still thought that the NDC had lost it.
But after listening to his acceptance speech I am now convinced that he worked very hard and he deserved to win. And now to Mr Kuffour Mr Kuffour, I must congratulate you for doggedly plodding and planning for a wonderful victory. This victory must mean a lot for true democrats and I hope that despite your stint in a military government you have learned your lesson and can be considered a democrat.
But I started cringing in the middle of your acceptance speech when you started thanking your friends from the opposing parties. My question to you is this. When did they become your friends? I would like you to continue seeing them as opponents who must immediately start planning to unseat you come 2004. If they helped you to win this time in the second round and I really doubt that, now that you have won ALL the spoils of battle must belong to you.
Yes, you have been elected as President of the whole country and all-inclusive perspective is what is demanded of every leader, but your opponents must remain your opponents even if you now see them as colleagues. I hope that you did not promise them any seats inn your Cabinet, if you did that would be unfortunate because I do not think that they deserve those seats. What they deserve is for them to go back to their drawing board and start planning how they will be more selectable the next time round. Indeed what I am trying to say is that a government of national unity will be a retrogressive step for our fledging democracy.
a government of national unity smacks of what the soldiers planned some 25 years back and was rejected by the people. A government of national unity smacks of UNIGOV or rather will be UNIGOV with another name, the purpose of which will be to get all on your side and perpetuate your stay in government. Some of us give you only 4 years. So the earlier you start planning to execute how you will make Ghana a better place the better for you because in 4 years time some of us are coming for your chair. My concern is not about what you do with the economy – man must not live by bread alone and we know that things will get worse before they get better.
My concern is about how you will advance the course of multi party democracy in Ghana. My belief is that good democratic government will deliver for us disciplined economic growth and that is why a government of national unity will be a non-starter. To advance multi party politics you must exclude all people from other parties in your government. You must give them the opportunity to concentrate on serving their parties rather than serving in your government. Let them struggle in the wilderness as your party has struggled for several years and they may just be able to develop a message that may in some day be acceptable to Ghanaians.
I do not yet have a shopping list of things that you must get right I am still recovering from the shock of your victory but you must revisit the constitution to ensure that democracy can be practised at the ward level. If multiparty democracy can be practised at the national level then it must be practised at the ward level because it is really at that level that we need to entrench multiparty democracy.
But please Mr Kufour although I do not support you, do this for me. Make sure that all political appointees are sent home.
Chose your own people, make sure that they all support and believe in your party and are competent enough or can be trained to do the job. It is your prerogative and in four years time we shall come and ask you how well you did. My best Regards to you

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The Matters Arising blog is a collection of thought-provoking, thought-leadership pieces sprinkled with some blue-sky thinking on pertinent issues affecting African communities both in the diaspora and at home. It includes articles on culture, politics, social and economic advancement, diversity and inclusion, community cohesion topics. It is also a repository of the political history of Ghana, traditions of the Gadagme people of Ghana, and the Pan-African politics of Kwame Nkrumah. Read, enjoy, like, share, and join!


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