23.04.2004 Feature Article

Comic Relief

Comic Relief
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It comes in many forms! Those who frequent the British Council know what I am talking about. So also do those who love the National Theatre. The television stations ensure that we never run out of them. Radio is also contributing its quota. But when presidential aspirants present it, that's a different matter altogether especially when the information contained in the bunkum is a threat to national security.

Make no mistake, the man is my friend, and a very good one at that but I am now convinced beyond every doubt that he has totally lost it, perhaps in his quest to present himself as a credible alternative. To be sincere, he is not even an alternative by any stretch of the imagination, let alone credible. The late Sani Abacha of Nigeria would have been the best person to tell us why he seized one of the man's numerous Rolls-Royce cars found in the Federal Republic under questionable circumstances. But that is another matter.

I have great reverence for the Ghana Armed Forces. Even when they denigrated themselves and formed CDRs and other revolutionary organs that defied and undermined the command structure, I still had reverence for the institution that had produced the likes of Major General Odartey Wellington, General Aferi and General A.A Afrifa. I admired the late General Mensah-Wood, Flt. Lt Bannerman and Kojo Lee who made flying jetfighters a delight to watch; Rear Adimiral Ohene Kwapong and General Akafia. No one needs to remind us of the heroic feats of Major Courage Quarshigah on June 19th together with the likes of Richter-Addo, George Pattington and so many others. Notwithstanding the plethora of successful and attempted putsches that the institution has wasted our time with, it still produced some very fine gentlemen, some of whom have moved into other sectors of the state and are contributing meaningfully towards national development. Ghana Civil Aviation has one of them, Colonel Abaka Jackson is making strides with his inventions, West Point and Sandhurst are awash with the records of Ghanaians who made their marks in style. I could go on and on about serving officers who have excelled beyond excellence but whose names would be kept out of this piece to protect the integrity of the institution. As I intoned, I have great reverence for it.

So why has the man decided to take the institution on? Few readers know that the man made his first stake into Ghanaian affairs not directly into GNPC matters; Tsatsu and Ohene-Kena did see through him very very early. On the contrary, it was the GAF. Those were the days when he brought in some low quality uniforms and boots to replace what the institution had tried and tested over the years without any problems. Some of those items ended up as gifts to some people. For reasons well known, I shall not mention names. Thankfully, the military command at the time told him "go way you"! He has apparently never forgiven them for that slap in the face.

Dangerous Statements

The repeal of the criminal libel law and the braggadocio nature of the man seems to have given the impression that anything can be said and gotten away with. Our fight for the removal of the law was not about a license to be silly; it was essentially to promote true freedom and to make for open and well informed discussions that would in turn contribute to the changing of our plight, attitudes and politico-economic fortunes by availing the media with an opportunity to contribute its mirth without let or hindrance. What passes for commentary these days, especially coming from the likes of the man is a sorry reflection of the caliber of people who double as politicians in contemporary times. Can we imagine the abrasive nature of the man holding discussions with a Prince Sultan Bin Talal or a smooth operator like Tony Blair? Of course his language and style would suit a Bush or some Sharon but even those are comparatively toning down remarkably. Thank God he would never be president of this glorious country of ours. If that should happen and God forbid, the last person to live in Ghana at such a time would have to switch off the dam and leave!!!

The danger inherent in his tantrum...and that is what it is, concerns one and all, especially my dear friends in the NDC. Please, I know for a fact that Jerry Rawlings does not have a private army. If he did, the first person that 'private army' would have smoked out would be none other than the man for daring to even mention its existence. Jerry Rawlings does have bodyguards and if that were the army the comedian is referring to, one would not even bother wasting man-hours putting this piece together. That the NDC presidential candidate, another fine gentleman is letting this pass without comment goes a long way in showing how yet again, the NDC is trying hard to hand the NPP an easy victory 2005 on a silver platter. This is the time my respected friends, the likes of Victor Smith, John Mahama (who would make an excellent President and not simply vice) and Rojo Mettle- Nunoo should have shifted into overdrive, dissociating the party and its founder from any spurious suggestions from someone who is neither an intelligence agent, a party member or of any significance in the body-politic. But what appears as a matter for the NDC is in fact a matter for us all because whether we like it or not, the NDC is a government in waiting if Ghanaians so determine. Thus it cannot just remain mum especially when acting that way buttresses the impression that it is a party that supports such vile and violent tendencies.

The government of the Republic of Ghana has been rather lenient so far with these non-starters who are actually taking its civility to be a sign of weakness. We elected the NPP to provide decent leadership and so far, that has been done excellently. However, there comes a time when government must be resolute in matters that threaten the peace. No one is above the law and the earlier the man is made to realize this, the better it would be for us all. Perhaps, the lackadaisical manner with which certain people have been handled has given the impression that government lacks bite. Whether or not that impression is true would depend on the response to be generated by government on the issue.

The Ghana Armed Forces PR director has done an excellent piece on the issue by pointing to the achievements and enviable record of the institution. This is however not enough simply because of the emphatic nature of the statement the man made. He has stated categorically that there is a private army in the country. Since Ghana does not allow such bodies to exist, would the BNI invite him to substantiate? We need edifying and uplifting words from politicians at this very crucial stage of our political life, not the effusions of braggadocios and reputed guttersnipes masquerading as spokespersons of no known constituency. If the learned Dr. Mahama is more than happy enough to besmirch his own truly hard-won reputation by association with the man, that's his choice but I shudder to think what has become of the legacy of Dr. Hilla Limann, a true gentleman by all standards; he would never have countenanced such crass idiocy.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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