Dr. Kabral Blay Amihere, former president of the Ghana Journalists Association has described getting to know Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 2008 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, as “getting to know what I term a regular human being, a socially relaxed person with whom one can share a drink and engage in very normal conversation.”

This is contained in his latest book titled, “Between the Lion and the elephant – Memoirs of a diplomat.” The book situates his experiences as Ghana’s ambassador to Sierra Leone and Cote D’Ivoire.

Dr. Blay-Amihere, before his appointment into the diplomatic service worked for several decades as a journalist. He publishes The Independent, a popular Ghanaian newspaper.

Kabral Blay-Amihere narrates his first encounter with Nana Akufo-Addo where the two had an “avoidable clash” when the former was a journalist. To his dismay, Akufo-Addo apologised over the incident thereby demonstrating his maturity, when it was he, Kabral, who owed Nana an apology.

In the book, Dr. Amihere describes Nana Akufo-Addo as a man whose affable style of leadership endeared him to officers of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. He also charmed world leaders on the international circuit with his wit and eloquence in both French and English as he emerged as a clear leader among his peers during the five years he served as Ghana’s Foreign Minister. According to Dr. Amihere, Akufo-Addo was very receptive to advice concerning work and promptly took action on sound proposals sent to him.

Kabral’s book is an encouragement to public officials to put their experiences in high office into print for the benefit of society.

Recently Dr. Arthur Kennedy launched a controversial book on his experiences in the 2008 presidential election which many have welcomed as a good historical document albeit several criticisms for numerous inconsistencies. Many of the people who worked with both J.B. Danquah and Kwame Nkrumah have not written what happened to enable later generations live through the times. This leaves room for politicians to engage in political football with serious historical issues.

The common purpose of serving Ghana and Nana’s bigger spirit cemented a working relationship that turned into friendship and mutual respect, wrote Kabral. His time as Foreign Minister was very positive for the image of Ghana and Ghana’s interest as he inspired his officers to work tirelessly.

What he found remarkable about Nana Addo was his humility as he showed appreciation anytime he, Kabral, sent him a memo. Akufo-Addo proved that public service is about “sacrifice, and service to country and God without seeking to use public office for personal aggrandisement.”

He recalled a night in Abidjan when for dinner Nana Akufo-Addo rejected the many posh restaurants some officers recommended and insisted that they settle on the popular atseke and tilapia and of all the places in the street market of Treichville, the equivalent of Nima in Accra. They ordered their meal and sat on benches on Avenue Seize in Treichville to enjoy the meal.

“Several Ghanaians who saw the Foreign Minister and his ambassador doing justice to their meal in the background could not believe their eyes and from that day had a different impression about him,” he recounted.

He went on further to say that those who do not know Akufo-Addo and see him from a distance, looking more at his perceived bourgeois background as the descendant of an illustrious lineage of royalty and distinguished forbearers like his father Edward Akufo-Addo and uncles Dr. J.B. Danquah and William Ofori Atta falsely describe him as arrogant and this perception has been exploited by his political opponents to the fullest without any proof or justification.

Dr. Amihere once headed the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) and was the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) for two terms. Dr. Blay-Amihere also served as President of the West African Journalists Association (WAJA).

His book is scheduled to be launched on the 24 March 2010 at the Alisa Hotel, North Ridge at 4PM.

Source: The Statesman

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