Ethical Leadership in the Ghanaian Public Square
: The Political and Religious Leadership Thought and Practice of William “Paa Willie” Ofori Atta (1910-1988)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

    Abstract

    This study is an investigation into the political and religious leadership thought and practice of William ‘Paa Willie’ Ofori-Atta (1910-1988), which has by and large been overlooked in studies of pre and post independent Ghana, Previous accounts of Ghana’s political discourse before the current fourth republic of Ghana have been incomplete since they mainly focus on the contributions of Kwame Nkrumah, Joseph Boakye Danquah and Kofi Abrefa Busia. Other political voices have not undergone proper investigation. Furthermore, since William Ofori Atta never became Prime Minister or President of Ghana, he might be perceived by some as being one of history’s losers in Ghanaian politics. Nevertheless, a critical analysis of OforiAtta’s political and religious leadership journey will reveal that not only does he play a significant role in five decades of Ghanaian political history but that he left an important legacy for politics and religion in Ghana. This investigation draws on a range of primary sources from archival research and field research interviews and seeks to provide a fresh and a more scholarly account of Ofori Atta’s political and religious thought and practice. Biography as history methodology is used to unearth the themes which encapsulate Ofori Atta’s leadership thought and practice. The main research question is: in what ways do the political and religious leadership thought and practice of William Ofori Atta substantiate the assertion that he was an ethical leader in the Ghanaian public square? The thesis of this research is that a critical examination of the political and religious leadership thought and practice of William Ofori Atta provides the evidence to demonstrate the claim that he was an ethical leader in the Ghanaian public square whose ethical leadership was undergirded by the ethical values of freedom, liberty, justice, unity, integrity, and righteousness. Chapter one focuses on the leadership formation of William Ofori Atta and finds that he was shaped by his family heritage, educational background, professional development, political seasons, and the Christian faith with regard to his formation into a political and religious leader. Chapter two concentrates on his leadership policy principle of political democracy as national independence and multiparty governance and discovers that the ethical value at the core of his political democracy leadership principle was that of freedom. Chapter three deliberates his leadership policy principle of human rights as rule of law and civil/ political liberties and uncovers that the ethical value at the centre of his human rights leadership principle was that of liberty. Chapter four examines his leadership policy principle of socio- economic development as educational empowerment and economic progress and discerns that the ethical value at the nucleus of his socio-economic development leadership principle was that of justice. The first part of chapter five considers his leadership policy principle of social reconciliation as national conciliation and international dialogue and determines that the ethical value underlying his social reconciliation leadership principle was that of unity. The second part of chapter five assesses his leadership policy principle of personal transparency as personal honesty and personal accountability and reveals that the ethical value at the foundation of his personal transparency leadership principle was that of integrity. Chapter six explores his religious leadership principle of evangelical Christian salvation as evangelical Christian conversion and spirituality and discloses that the ethical value at the heart of his evangelical Christian salvation leadership principle was that of righteousness. Chapter seven reflects on his leadership principle of evangelical Christian mission as evangelical Christian beliefs and ministry and recounts that the ethical value vital to his evangelical Christian mission leadership principle was that of righteousness. The conclusion assesses the legacy of Ofori Atta as a political and religious leader in Ghana whose public leadership was marked by ethical leadership in the public square.
    Date of Award22 Jun 2023
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorRichard Burgess (Director of Studies) & Yolana Pringle (Co-Supervisor)

    Keywords

    • William Ofori Atta
    • Ethical Leadership
    • Ghana Political History
    • Ghana Evangelical Christianity

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