Let’s strengthen countervailing forces to check bad leadership – Prof Adei

Professor Emeritus Stephen Adei, former Rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration( GIMPA), has called for the strengthening of countervailing forces to check bad leadership in the country.

He called for a serious comparative analysis of people who put themselves up for Presidential candidacy in terms of their agenda, their potential cabinet and appointees, as well as their track record.

'We must strengthen not only the supply of good leadership but the demand for it. Demand for good leadership, which, by the way, is a high-risk business, is a must,' he said.

Prof Adei who is also a former Director General of the National Development Planning Commission, said this at the maiden inaugural Mamphey-Hammarskjold lecture in Accra, organised by the GIMPA.

The lecture was on the topic :'The Linchpin Role of Political and Public Sector Leadership in the Rise and Fall of Nations: Lessons for Ghana'.

GIMPA was established to equip public administrators during the First Republic in 1961 under President Dr Kwame Nkrumah with technical assistance from the United Nations when the United Nations Secretary-General was Dag Hammarskjöld.

Mr E. V. Mamphey (1965-1968) was the first Ghanaian to direct the Institute after the founding Indian expatriate head, Mr. S. B. Bapat, left in 1965.

'The academia, the Church, think tanks, the middle and upper classes, as well as business owners, cannot forever sit on the fence and endure bad leadership.

The price for continued acquiescence may be much higher than a 'haircut', he said.

He said the country needed to take a critical look at its national values and educational system, specifically the early inculcation of values such as integrity, discipline, patriotism, a good work ethic, and meritocracy, to improve the stock of future development leaders.

Prof Adei stressed that parents were likely to introduce their children to cheating in examinations at the Basic Education Certificate Examination level even before the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination.

'At tertiary institutions, student leadership and membership in TESCON and TEIN have become the fastest way to join the corrupt and bureaucratic classes, and we should all be concerned,' he said.

Prof Adei stated that leaders must be forced by public opinion to model right behaviour, to avoid instances of corrupt people living above their means.

'We must follow the example of countries like Singapore, where people living a lifestyle beyond their means are presumed corrupt unless they can justify their means,' he added.

He said the biggest constraint in getting 'good' people to become leaders was the corrupt process of choosing political leaders, whereby corruption and money rule at the party level.

'There is ample and widespread evidence of parliamentary and other political aspirants distributing significant amounts of cash, bags of rice, 32 inch TVs, and the like to hundreds of delegates prior to the election in exchange for their votes,' he said.

He called for constitutional review to mitigate the excesses of bad leadership, saying 'a good leader has no 'winner takes all' mentality in their agenda and will not appoint people on the basis of being friends, family, or party members in disregard of merit.'

He called for continuous capacity building for service leaders and a more rigorous performance appraisal and reward system linked to the performance of civil and public servants.

Mr Charles Abani, UN Resident Coordinator, said, the United Nations was instrumental in the set-up of the institute after independence, when it became imperative for the nation to build and have an excellent corps of public and civil servants.

He encouraged GIMPA to explore, through the UN Global Compact, the possibility of tapping into the opportunities of UN-supported initiatives that equipped business students with the understanding and ability to deliver change.

Prof Samuel Bonsu, Rector of GIMPA assured the public that the Institute was well positioned to be a leader in developing the next generation of leaders to support development.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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