IT WAS NOT A QUESTION of justifying unjustifiable actions; nor was it a question of papering over a political crack in his administration. It was a question of establishing and re-establishing a truth which has been lost to some of us or, rather, which some of us had taken for granted.
Without any more circumlocution let us be specific and say that we are talking about the unwarranted attacks on the Kufuor's administration by some politically uneducated persons parading in the guise of “social commentators” and “political commentators.”
As we go on, let us establish the point that running even a household of 50 to 100 persons is not an easy task-let alone being the head of a nation of 25 to 30 million multi-cultural, sophisticated and politically mature Ghanaians.
To be frank, “Kufuor aye bi” (Kufuor has done his bit) and some of us are “happy for him” for his eight-year rule and his well-deserved rest. Kufuor need not talk; his brother Dr. Addo Kufuor, need not talk.
There are some people who will do the talking for them, especially some of the people who are die-hard “Domo” loyalists, now septuagenarians and octogenarians, who saw it all: detentions in Nkrumah's one party state; murders in Rawlings' junta… The air-waves have now been liberated thanks to the proscription of all the restrictive laws to freedom of speech initiated under Kufuor's government and pushed through the process of legislation by the present President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. “Nkwan-dwo a ano sini sa bi nom” (when the soup is cool, even the person whose mouth is cut can sip it). So, a lady named Esther Nana Agyemang could go berserk on 'Neat-FM', hosted by Adakabre Frempong Manso to spew invectives against these veritable, illustrious gentlemen erroneously claiming that Dr. Addo Kufuor did not support his brother's bid for the Presidency; Kufuor's administration sought to cripple Flt. Lt. Rawlings, hence his choice of his brother as Defence Minister.
You could hear the sound of pain in the throat of ex-President Kufuor as he berated the lady: “I don't want to speak in vain. Such bad people like her should be put to their rightful place…”
Ex-President stated that he selected his brother for the job of Minister of Defence because of his belief in the competence and expertise of Dr. Addo Kufuor, “a professional in his own right.” Kufuor reminded Ghanaians: “Since independence till I became President any civilian leader could not complete his term. From Nkrumah through Busia to Limann, they all suffered from coups d'etat. I was the fourth civilian leader and prayed that my government would survive any coup. So I needed a competent person who was resolved to keep the government in place by entrusting the Ministry of Defence in his hands… How come today we will allow someone to come and sit on the radio and malign me and try to cause disaffection for my family. This is a complete lie.”
Former Defence Minister, Dr. Addo Kufuor, also called in on the live programme. He charged: “The lady's disinformation and lies must be dealt with, lest the young ones might take them onboard as sacrosanct… who will not support his brother wanting to become President of Ghana.” In support of his assertion of support for Victor Owusu, Dr. Addo Kufuor said: “Any time Victor Owusu came to Kumasi, six elders, including myself were the financiers of the party. Others are Dr. Selby, Nana Osei Bonsu, Bikkai, Apino (Appiah Menka)… we had a rally at Abbey's park… I sat closely behind Victor Owusu. He told me, 'Kwame, it's about four o'clock go and conduct a reception'. About a hundred and fifty people came to my house and I catered for all of them… if she does not know this, she shouldn't come and sit on the radio to defame us. She has not achieved what we have alone in life.”
Dr. Addo Kufuor had a soft word for the host: “Adakabre, you are a grown up person; next time you should stop such people from defaming others, any nonentity just making unsubstantiated claims… if we don't stop her now she would continue with her disinformation…”
In politics, certain issues are best discussed “in camera”. Who does not know the enviable achievements of Kufuor's administration? Taking over from Rawlings in 2001 was itself a herculean task: Kufuor did it so perfectly, and was able to douse the highly inflammable Ghanaian situation. Look at the social interventions (health insurance, school feeding, nurses and teachers' allowances…) and the HIPC initiatives. The economy started to pick itself up – and all the citizens enjoyed relative freedom.
NPP cannot deceive itself by announcing to the world that everything is now okay within the party. The party is sitting on a time-bomb, and this is the time for the pacifists to come in and cool hearts. Those running the party should not take the concerns of the grassroots for a joke. The grassroots see what is happening at the top, and are asking so many questions – which cannot be disclosed in public.
With 2024 elections close at our heels, scouts are all over the place, throwing jabs and punches at perceived presidential candidates. Calm down, so say the pacifists. It's not time yet, they add. We cannot rely on the public wranglings in the NDC e.g. Sammy Gyamfi versus Alban Bagbin, Allotey Jacobs and others to assume that it is going to be an easy ride for the NPP in 2024.
Some people would want to hound Adakabre Frempong-Manso, the host of the programme on Neat FM. Some others think, he was limbless. He could not have put words in the mouth of the lady; he could not have 'schooled' the lady as to what she had to say.
Please, let cool heads prevail in the NPP and do not provoke the respected elders to fall into tantrums again!
-Africanus Owusu Ansah