Notes from the Ghanaman File: The Politician and Emotional Intelligence

Recent happenings in the two political parties which have managed the state of affairs in our country between them since 1993 confirm my intellectual argument that our politicians require some training in Emotional Intelligence (EI).

The Otiko-Bugri Naabu recent spat showed that the politician could lose his or her head under any provocation. Indeed, the internal wrangling within the NPP in the run-up to election 2016 which led to the suspension of Messrs Afoko, Sammy Crabbe and Kwabena Agyepong and the kinds of verbal exchanges which followed painted a certain picture of the emotional imbalance of some of the actors. The allegations and counter allegations pointed to a group of people in the name of a political party wanting power but still not bothered about their image and what the voters made of the intra-party conflict.

Thank God, Ghanaians were hungry for change and had no better alternative and settled on the internally bartered NPP. The immediate aftermath of the party’s victory where some party loyalists threw all cautions to the wind and embarked on certain actions exposed the party to ridicule. Just as that was ebbing, started a very unnecessary and avoidable collision between the Women and Gender Minister, Madam Otiko Djaba and the Northern Regional Chairman of the party, Mr Bugri Naabu.

The matter has been settled at the highest level of the party but the scar left is forever going to remain. The useless conflict today has left on the mind of many people the belief that Mr Bugri Naabu is a known receiver of bribes in the form of sheep and goats to the extent that there is a joke that when one goes to any food joint one can simply request for Bugri Naabu instead of asking for sheep or goat meat. One commentator said the allegation makes the Northern Regional NPP Chairman, a rather cheap man because in the last embers of the campaigns his name came up for receiving a bribe of a ‘tear rubber’ Pajero four wheeler and some good amount of cash from the then President which he rejected or rather handed over to his party. So if he rejected that and rather settled for these cheap beasts in exchange of political appointments then his sense of value and credibility in that allegation must be questioned.

This intra-party vituperative exchanges brought up allegations indicting even the Regional Minister as having a hand in the murder of the former Upper East Regional chairman of the party whose death was also linked to a similar meeting of some Executives from Accra without the knowledge of Executives in the Region. These past three weeks of the Otiko-Naabu conflict had led to the whole party communications machinery wasting precious time to defend the indefensible instead of pushing their energies on talking about the President’s implementation of party and national agenda.

Interestingly, before this NPP’s internal problem, the NDC and its immediate past Flagbearer and former President John Mahama had been bad-mouthed by some party people openly castigating the ex-president for all the reasons why their party lost the elections in December 2016. Not that they do not have the right to speak or they do not deserve to analyze what ailed their party but a committee set up to gather data and analyze the reasons for their heavy defeat is yet to be done with their assignment so why the rush? And did they weigh some of the allegations and the effects on their re-building efforts?

My take in all these is that, most of the political players may have all the skills in political strategy and all that but lack one thing. No matter the background of most of these politicians, some training in Emotional Intelligence (EI) will do themselves and their parties a world of good. EI has been found to be key in the success of professionals of all endeavors and it’s been found to be a recent need even over Intelligence Quotient (IQ) because it is found out that EI makes people show empathy and to understand the emotional challenges of themselves and colleagues and therefore manage conflicts better.

I am sure most of the politicians belong to one religious body or the other and the question is what they pick from their churches or mosques. Apart from the lack of EI by most of our politicians they have lessons to imbibe from their Holy books. The Bible for example has words of caution about the need to guard our lips. Matthew 12:37 says ‘For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned’. Proverbs 21:23 also is quoted to caution us that ‘Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles’. Matthew 12:36 also warns that ‘Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment’. Finally, Ephesians 4:29 adds ‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers’. I believe that other Holy books too speak to the same issues. Let those who have ears listen to what the Spirit says to the politicians, else a time is coming when people will have no modicum of regard for anyone calling himself or herself a politician but will only be judged as loose talkers.

By Kojo Ackaah-Kwarteng

Head of Station,Onua 95.1

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