The temptation by politicians to ignore the many lessons from history is great and generally overwhelming. They soon forget the experiences of their long stay in politics and those of others, ignoring the guiding principles of what should be an honourable occupation by acting and speaking in manners incompatible with the norms of decency and the office they hold. Their conduct, while they hold office, is far from being in tune with the principles of decorum and candour. Contemporary developments in the realm of politics point sufficiently at the aforementioned facts and it is worrying to make the painful observation when those falling prey to the pitfalls should have known better as persons considered with seemingly little blemish to their reputations. Recently, President John Evans Atta Mills had the opportunity of proving his mettle as a gentleman whose word Ghanaians should rely on. His failure to make good the opportunity to shore up his cheapened name was a missed one too painful to recall. As he himself noted plaintively, his name has been cheapened, but unfortunately he is far from reversing the trend. The media encounter was as disappointing as it was varied in media opinion-sampling, especially the electronic, shortly after the curtains were drawn down on the programme. While many found his handling of questions rather evasive through the employment of humour, others thought it exposed the lies associated with the Number One Gentleman’s tenure at the presidency. It was a fine opportunity to envelope the 1.6 million jobs’ creation tale with some touch of presidential truth and sincerity. It was not to be, as the President smartly avoided it, as he would a plague or leprosy, through a lame response which left his “brothers and sisters” bemused and no wiser than before they turned up at the Castle. Then came the matter of boats for patrol duties along the coastal stretch including landing sites for fishermen projects conceived and undertaken by the Kufuor administration. The President however decided it was an opportunity to usurp the credit, to the amazement and amusement of persons with a sense of history. Under other dispensations, President Mills would have been described a liar and made to suffer the attendant consequences. Has the gratis school uniforms project been achieved? How about the status of the single payment health insurance among other unfulfilled promises? Our president does not have the courtesy to apologise for the unfulfilled promises through the opportunity offered by the media encounter at the Castle. The clever old lecturer that he is, he skipped the subject through deliberate oratory. The employment of chicanery and outright deceit are hallmarks of bad governance and robs politics of the honour it deserves. Politics devoid of principles, as noted by Mahatma Gandhi of blessed memory, is what would destroy politicians eventually.
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