Guggisberg; best leader Ghana ever had – Ace Ankomah
No post-independent Ghanaian leader’s achievements match those of colonial Gold Coast Governor Brigadier-General Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg, OccupyGhana member Ace Ankomah has said.
“To me, the best leader Ghana has ever had is Guggisberg,” he told Fiifi Banson on Kasapa FM’s breakfast show, Anopa Kasapa Thursday, October 15.
All other leaders Ghana has had after the colonial era, from independence in 1957 till now, in Mr Ankomah’s view, have failed to come any close to what the late knighted Canadian-born, British colonial administrator, who lived from 1869 to 1930, did for the West African nation.
“I won’t give any post-independent leader more than forty percent, not for what they did, but what they could not do,” the former law lecturer rated.
During his governorship of Ghana’s forebear: Gold Coast, from 1919 to 1927, Guggisberg spurred a lot of infrastructural, economic and social development, on which the gold- and cocoa-producing country’s economy has been hinged, since independence.
Among his most notable achievements are the construction and extension of railway networks in parts of the country; construction of the Takoradi Harbour, and the construction of what is now the third biggest hospital in Africa, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
The surveyor also constructed pipe-borne water systems to supply water to Accra, Winneba, Sekondi and Kumasi. He also saw the need for good education for the natives of the British Colony, and, therefore, put up what is now the Achimota Senior High School, then Achimota College, to train local education instructors. The school has persisted as a model institution of excellence.
Mr Ankomah is of the conviction that all Ghana’s post-colonial and post-independent leaders wasted “immense potentials” and goodwill that existed for their governments to transform the country.
He said, for example that although ex-President John Kufuor’s first term in office was good, his second term left much to be desired.
“I think his first four years were good, the last four were terrible.” He said Mr Kufuor’s government’s decision – for political expediency – to free errant taxi drivers, who were standing trial at the motor courts, was one of the low points for his government.
On President John Mahama, Mr Ankomah said the current government’s inability to retrieve monies fraudulently paid to individuals and institutions that the Supreme Court has ruled did not merit, is a blot on his administration.
“…Even if he met nothing at all, this country had so much for us to leverage…look at the things we have been through, with the payment of monies to people, who don’t deserve the monies; what efforts have we made to recover the monies?
“When the Supreme Court ordered Mr [Alfred] Woyome to refund the money [GHS51million] to Ghana, unfortunately without any interest, have we recovered a dime?” he asked.
“For me, the mark of good government is not necessarily what you’ve done; it’s what you failed to do…we should not flatter politicians; nobody begged them to come into office,” he said, adding that becoming a President was a purely voluntary decision, unlike royalty successions where heirs have a compulsory duty to ascend a throne.
Ghanaians must, therefore, he noted, demand accountability from their leaders, who promised to fight corruption and improve their wellbeing, during the campaign period.
He said for Ghana to develop, the country needed “a one-term President…a President, who is not afraid to lose…a President, who has nothing to lose.”