Former President of Ghana, John Kufour, looks back on the previous 60 years and discusses his hopes for his successor plus the bright future of the country
Can you tell our readers what democracy means to you, Ghana being a shining example of democracy in Africa?
In a sense, democracy should make sovereignty the real power in the land and for the people in general. It is the people who give themselves the constitution that defines the state and then defines the institutions. Power is from the people and they give it to the elected or selected agents to use to serve them. If these elected people fail the people’s sanction should be to withdraw the power, by the stated methods within the constitution the people gave themselves. This is what democracy means to me.
What were your first thoughts on the March 6?
We didn’t start off as a nation in the real sense of the word nation. Yes, we became Ghana 60 years ago but we were really a collection of tribes and chiefdoms, put together by the erstwhile colonial authority of Britain. For me, the thing of significance was the last election because when you look at the results critically, you get the impression that the elections have been fought on what the individual citizen appreciates. This is why the opposition candidate (President Akufo-Addo) was able to beat the incumbent president by over one million popular votes. So, that election is a indicator that at long last our country has become a nation of citizens, not a collection of chiefdoms, tribes and religious groups.
What is your vision of Ghana 60 years from now?
Starting from what I saw in the last election I would expect the people of this country to become even more informed, knowledgeable and objective in evaluating the performance of their government and would centre their citizenship to be the raison d’etre government. If we focus on humanity, accountability and the citizenship of the people over the next 60 years, Ghana should truly become a shining example, not only on the continent of Africa but globally.
Can you give us your opinion about the new president, Nana Akufo-Addo?
He comes from a background of the Big Six, the founding party system in Ghana. His education and his exposure globally – law and economics – conditioned him to be truthful to the principles of the traditions of our party. The team he has picked for ministers, especially in his cabinet, are all people of some distinction, competence and experience. Together they should be able to formulate far-seeing policies that should buoy the country up, increase the wealth of the land and then the wealth to be applied in the service of the nation, the citizenry of Ghana, inclusively.
What do you personally believe is the current status between Ghana and the international community and how do you see Ghana attracting further investment from foreign investors?
Ghana has a lot to offer international investors and communities, because we see ourselves as the gateway to the continent of Africa. Our financial sector is growing stronger each day while Akufo-Addo’s administration is talking of stabilising the macroeconomics, to attract investors, both from within and from without. We also believe in being good neighbours. Ghana and Nigeria, we call ourselves twin sister countries. Nigeria is big in all respects but we like to remind them that we’re the older twin. So, that’s Ghana for you – a profitable place to bring your investment to.
Can you give the readers of Forbes Africa magazine a message of confidence about Ghana and the present government?
This government is a continuation to move the country back on the trajectory – through democracy, peace and progress – of becoming the shining example for the continent of Africa. When looking at the potential of Africa, I truly believe Ghana should be the example for the world to see.