To be successful as a leader, you must work on your public perception. When you are serving the interest of the people, you must ensure the public sees you well.
Nana Addo Danquah Akufo – Addo is a smart politician, no doubt about it. There are more reasons to back this assertion. After he ascended the high office of the presidency, he has continuously proven to the country he is a LISTENING president. Sometimes, when he wants to get something done, the government machinery would deliberately leak the cabinet memo to test the waters; to test the public acceptance or otherwise.
In 2012, Parliament passed a Road Traffic Regulation that imposes a mandatory levy on all car owners to tow broken down or disabled vehicles on roads. President Mills who the bill was passed under him did not implement it. Neither did his successor, President John Dramani Mahama see the need to execute it. Maybe, he saw the eminent public resistance and how unpopular his government could become.
But immediately Nana Addo took over the presidency in 2017, an announcement was made by the National Road Safety Commission that the LI will be implemented on July 1, 2017. This was met by a loud pubic outcry which was preceded by a series of demonstrations by some members of the opposition parties and other civil organizations.
The Government released a statement that read “Upon consultations consequent to the calls, Government has decided to seek a review. Government renews its commitment to the Policy position that broken down vehicles ought to be removed from our roads to avert accidents”, The government and the New Patriotic Party communicators started chanting and hailing the president as a listening president.
Then also came the very unpopular Television License. According to Section 1(a) of the TV licensing Act 1966 (NLCD 89) as amended, “Any person who contravenes any provision of this law or regulation shall be guilty of an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year”. The public went mad on the policy and agitated through every means that was available to them. The Board acknowledged the outcry, anxieties and apprehensions expressed by the public with respect to the possible prosecution for non-payment and then suspended the implementation. We were also told the president was a listening president even though the same communicators were previously defending the act.
Another controversial issue that the president used to exonerate himself as a listening president was the infamous Ghana-US Military Agreement. The National Democratic Congress took it upon themselves to stage series of demonstrations across the country accusing the president of selling the sovereignty of Ghana for a paltry $20 million. The Minister for Defense, Hon. Dominic Nitiwul was defending the deal saying it was no way going to compromise the sovereignty of the Republic. The minority insisted and called the president names which forced him to come out and clear his name. He made a profound statement that night to declare his innocence about his stands on the deal.
“I will never be the President that will compromise or sell the sovereignty of our country. I respect deeply the memory of the great patriots whose sacrifice and toil brought about our independence and freedom. I have stood with you, the Ghanaian people, all my adult life, fighting for our individual and collective rights. Everything I have done, since assuming the great honour and privilege of serving you as President of the Republic, demonstrates that I remain focused on building a self-reliant, free, prosperous Ghana, which will be able to make her own unique contribution to the growth and development of Africa and the world”, the president said. And this was as usual touted as he being a listening president.
In 2019 we were told one morning that the parliament of Ghana said they don’t like the current chamber they were using, and would like to construct a new one that would be befitting their status. Ghanaians saw that as insensitive and started social media agitations. The agitation moved from social media to the premises of parliament house. A freedom fighter, Ernesto Yeboah went and shouted “DROP THAT CHAMBER” in parliament house and got arrested. Truly the chamber was dropped after the outcry of Ghanaians.