100 Days of Modesty and Moderation
A GNA News Feature by Boakye-Dankwa Boadi
Accra, April 16, Ghanadot/GNA –
The story is told of a Muslim Ulami, who was being disturbed
by children playing behind his house while he was
meditating. This Muslim legal scholar thought of how he
could send these children away so that he could have his
peace to meditate.
He is said to have gone out to tell the children that a man
was distributing sweets at the centre of town so all the
children started running to the town centre. With the
children gone the Ulami had the needed peace to pray.
However, when he finished his prayers he saw streams of
people trooping to the town centre and when he asked about
what was happening, he was told that a man was at the centre
of town distributing gifts.
At first the Ulami broke into laughter, knowing very well
that he originated the story, but when he saw many more
people going to the town centre, he himself began to doubt.
To cut a long story short, he also joined the crowd to the
town centre thinking that what he said might be true after
This Writer has narrated this incident to show that he
personally does not see how important the first 100 days of
a President is, but since everybody else is rushing to the
town centre, he might as well join in.
History has it that at the height of the Economic
Depression, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt
used his first 100 days in office to quickly push through
Congress a series of reforms aimed at righting the economy.
Since then, the first 100 days of each administration have
become a benchmark to track the progress of a new American
So Ghana, a typical copycat, has borrowed this practice from
America, but as usual Ghanaians did not copy correctly. We
started computing from the day President John Evans Atta
Mills was sworn in, instead of the day he started work, as
is the case in United States. From the Untied States
computation President Mills’ 100th day falls on Friday 17th
The Ghana News Agency reported on 6th March 2009: “Modesty
and moderation replaced flamboyance and extravagance as
thousands of Ghanaians from all walks of life on Friday
congregated at the Independence Square to mark Ghana’s 52nd
“In line with the policy of cutting down expenditure at the
State Protocol Department and with an eye on environmental
concerns, the miniature Ghana flags distributed at the
function were made from paper, which is bio-degradable
rather than the ubiquitous plastic.
“Only two dispatch riders instead of the previous more than
a dozen escorted President John Evans Atta Mills, apparently
to cut down on fuel consumption.”
For those, who followed the 2008 electioneering campaign,
the phrase “cutting profligate spending” was more than often
on the lips of the then “Candidate Mills”.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Manifesto said it in
as many words; “establish a lean but effective and efficient
government by cutting out ostentation and profligate
expenditure, rationalizing ministries and ministerial
appointments and promoting service, humility and integrity
as canons of government”.
To this Writer, who had had the occasion to complain about
the lifestyle of some functionaries of the former
administration, the fulfilment of this promise by President
Mills alone gives him 50 per cent of the marks to be
awarded. One only hopes that he would keep watch over his
appointees to ensure that “they walk in the path of
righteousness for…”. It is often said that riches cannot
GNA reported on Monday April 13 2009: “President John Evans
Atta Mills on Monday gave his administration “high marks” on
its performance in the first 100 days, saying the Government
had achieved a lot of the things it set out to do.
“Speaking at a news conference at the Castle as part of
activities marking the first 100 days of his government,
which falls on Friday April 17 2009, he listed the pledges
in the manifesto of the ruling National Democratic Congress
(NDC), and said most of the things had largely been
“The NDC promised a leaner government compared to that of
the Former New Patriotic Party administration; respect for
accountability and probity; cutting off of extravagance and
profligacy; review of taxes and tariffs; inauguration of the
Board of the National Council for Persons with Disability;
tackling of the sanitation problem; composition of Boards
and control of armed robbery.
“’If you see what we have done, we’ve scored high marks,’ he
told the news conference, which was also attended by
Ministers of State and party officials.
“President Mills noted that while the first 100 days were
regarded as honeymoon for governments, his did not enjoy a
“He said his government had only three days to prepare to
over take power in the midst of very high public
expectations and dismissed suggestions that he had been slow
in government. He was declared President-Elect on Saturday
January 3, 2009 and was sworn into office on Wednesday
January 7 2009.
“He said his administration was moving as fast as the Fourth
Republican Constitution and other legal processes permitted
it to do.
“President Mills stressed the need for a through approach to
governance, devoid of taking hasty political decisions that
the government might regret later, but said the records
showed that his administration had moved rather fast.
“President Mills said he did not want to repeat some of the
mistakes that were made in the past.
“’The people of this country will never forgive us if we do
something adverse to the law,’ the President said, adding
that he would shield neither members of his government nor
the previous administration that fell foul of the law.
“President Mills drew attention to the fact that under the
rule of law; there was the need to follow due process and
that entailed time to collect facts and figures and to carry
out thorough investigations.
‘’It is not our intention to repeat the mistakes. Some
people were asked to proceed on leave and they were on leave
for eight years….Remember the allegations that were made
against (members of the previous NDC government)… They even
went to my house saying I have stolen a car.’
“President Mills said he had full confidence in his
Ministers, adding that with time, their abilities would
stand out for all to see.
“During question and answer time, President Mills repeated
his statement in the State of the Nation Address to
re-examine all high profile narcotic cases and deal with
culprits according to the law.
“He said the assassination of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II,
Overlord of Dagbon, would be re-examined without any
pre-conceived ideas, and that the criminal aspect would be
separated from purely chieftaincy issues, stressing that
there would be no peace in that area so far as the criminals
To this Writer, President Mill has begun on the right note.
One only hopes that he would continue to walk the talk.
Indeed things in Ghana must from now be done in President
Mills’ way. The buck ends on his table. He is ultimately
responsible. To improvise from our American friends; “if you
find the sitting room too cool you better get out”.