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Mills’ rousing return smacks of bad old days of authoritarianism- Kwasi Jonah


Mills’ rousing return smacks of bad old days of authoritarianism- Kwasi Jonah

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A governance expert has criticized the busing of party supporters to the Kotoka International Airport to welcome President John Mills on his return from the US.

Kwasi Jonah who is also a Senior Research Fellow at Institute for Democratic Governance, IDEG, told Joy News the phenomenon evoked memories of the bad old days of authoritarian leadership in Africa.

Hundreds of party supporters as well as party bigwigs and government officials thronged the Kotoka International Airport to welcome the president who has been out on a routine medical check-up.

The supporters mobbed the president when he touched down, singing and dancing with brass band music loud in praise of the president.

President Mills jogged to prove how strong he is, assuring, he is back, fitter and stronger to carry on with his duties as president.

"The energy I have is strong enough for the past, the present and the future," the president declared.

Information Minister Fritz Baffoe was ecstatic, telling Joy News’ Anny Osabutey he had no choice but to bus a number of NDC supporters who in a "spontaneous goodwill" were eager to welcome the president at the airport.

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According to him, a number of government officials and MPs also had enthusiastic supporters massing up and asking to be conveyed to the airport, an offer the officials gladly accepted.

But Kwasi Jonah is not the least enthused with the action.

He said it was needless for government officials and party supporters to besiege the airport in such camaraderie to welcome the president who was returning from a medical check-up in US.

Whilst conceding the rumour of the President's death may have contributed to the supporters massing up at the Airport, he was unequivocal in his condemnation of the action.

He described it as a hangover of the "bad old days of authoritarian leadership in Africa" in which leaders like Mobutu, Kwame Nkrumah, Eyadema all had supporters troop to the airport anytime they were leaving their respective countries or returning to them.

He said those past leaders wanted to be assured they enjoyed the support and loyalty of their people, a phenomenon which is not needed in the current democratic dispensation, Jonah quickly added.

Kwasi Jonah said government officials and supporters must begin to show loyalty to the state and not to the president.

Traditional welcome

But the deputy Local Government Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankra vehemently disagreed.

Mills’ rousing return smacks of bad old days of authoritarianism- Kwasi Jonah

He told Joy News Jonah's criticisms were without basis and out of context.

He said not once has such a number of people thronged the airport to welcome the president from his trip, but given the circumstance under which he left, it was only natural that people will celebrate and mob him on his return.

Rather than describing it as "clientelism" as Kwasi Jonah would have the world believe, Afriyie Ankra said what happened was purely a traditional way of welcoming a leader who was rumored unjustifiably to have died.

He argued there is nothing wrong with ministers of state spending two hours to welcome a president who has been rumoured to have died, adding, welcoming the president does not mean they are not carrying out their duties as ministers of state.

Afriyie Ankra said Kwasi Jonah has been unfair in his criticisms and his theory about political clientelism cannot be said to the reflection of what happened.

From: Myjoyonline.com| Nathan Gadugah



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