This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

Special Report

Ex-President Kufuor’s post-retirement work has seen him as a peace envoy in Côte d’Ivoire. He is seen here with President Laurent Gbagbo

their sovereign rights because power should issue from them to their leaders. For so long they have been denied, and leaders have carried on regardless of their constitutions, so it’s time the people asserted themselves.

“Regarding medical care, we brought in the National

Health Insurance Scheme, which entitled everybody to healthcare for a whole year on payment of $10.”

is there. And as I say, we had come from dictatorship – a phase that had sat on the nation for 19 years. And so, naturally, when they allow you to have 8 years, and they have a chance, they may not want to put you back in – even if you have served them very well – especially when they believe other people may do just as well.

Q: Do you have any regrets about some of the things that dogged you – perhaps the presidential palace, or the saga of the jet? A: The presidential palace? I never lived there, but I did it because I believe it was the right thing to do. We had been independent for 50 years and we still lived in the slave castle? The Christansborg Castle with the dungeons where our people were kept before being sent across the Atlantic to be slaves. The president of today lives there, but I wouldn’t. Fortunately, the Indian government gave us the credit – very soft credit – to

52 | March 2011 New African

build the new palace, which is a landmark architecturally. Go to Accra. Soon people will pay to go and see it. And it’s not Kufuor’s home. The presidential jet? Yes. A president

these days has to travel – he must go everywhere in pursuit of national service. Should a president of a self-respecting nation be hanging around airports, being jostled here and there? No. That’s unbecoming. I didn’t mind too much for myself, but I knew it shouldn’t be the lot of succeeding presidents.

Q: What do you make of what is happening in Egypt? Do you think it’s good, not just for North Africa but also for sub-Saharan Africa, because it reminds the people that ultimately they are sovereign, and if a leader overstays their welcome they can get them out? A: Yes, because it is long overdue that the people of Africa – in fact people everywhere – are respected and accorded

Q: Some people (here in the UK) say this is a typical African problem, that leaders tend to forget when they are in office, that they are there to serve the people, and that Africa, as a whole, has a long way to go before it can be talked of as a place where human rights and democracy are really respected. A: Such people are perhaps not too abreast with historical evolution around the world. Not too long ago, in South America, there were so many overstaying dictators, also in Asia, and look even at the communist world – their leaders stayed on and on, indefinitely. Most African countries are no more than 50 years old as independent nations. Yes, there have been presidents overstaying, but I believe what’s happening is global – not just African. People everywhere are rising up to demand their fair rights and acknowledgement as the source of power.

Q: Some people were surprised when the Mo Ibrahim Foundation didn’t give you the award for outstanding governance last year or the year before. Did you see that as a bit of an insult given that you look upon your own record pretty fondly? A: Let me tell you, I didn’t go into politics for awards. I went to serve the people and I’m happy that I had the privilege to serve. And even now, as I walk around the country, I’m hailed. Everywhere I go, I’m acknowledged. If I hadn’t served well, they wouldn’t afford me these affections and honours. During my tenure, Ghana came to be

hailed internationally as a beacon of good governance, stability and development. I believe I’m entitled to take credit for that. If the judges at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation had awarded me, I tell you, it would only have been the icing on the cake, because the achievement was already there. But I don’t know what [yardstick they used to] determine the winners. So if they don’t accord Kufuor, that’s

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92