ModernGhana logo
08.09.2005 Feature Article

ATTA-MILLS: Beggar Of Encomiums

ATTA-MILLS: Beggar  Of  Encomiums
Listen to article

These days, it appears that President-Manqué John Evans Atta-Mills, makes a living out of studiously following the speeches and press conferences of substantive president John Agyekum-Kufuor to see if the former could pick up any charitable crumbs that are wont to boosting his chances of clinching the presidency three-and-half years hence. And this is quite pathetic, in view of the fact that there are hardly any charitable crumbs to garner, let alone devour and gestate and ruminate over, in terms of political plank-building, for the next presidential, electioneering campaign.

Still, what is remarkable about the sometime law professor of the University of Ghana is the fact that the man appears to be as pathologically confused and addled as his former boss, assuming that the Kente-and-Jumper-sporting politician has finally succeeded in weaning himself of the sour ideological mess of His Tyrannical Eminence. And so it was not quite surprising that in the wake of the most recent press conference granted the Ghanaian media by President Kufuor, Professor Atta-Mills had the effrontery to opine, among other things, that: “It is only the disloyal and unpatriotic Ghanaian who would say that he or she is not concerned with the way the Presidency of our country is being exposed to all manner of rumors and innuendoes, and the personality of the President vilified”( 8/11/05). Of course, we shortly learned that the allusion to the “vilification of the President” was in connection with the alleged purchase of a hotel by the dauphin - or eldest son - of Mr. Kufuor. To-date, some of us who have been studiously following events surrounding the so-called Hotel-de-Kufuor have refrained from commenting on the subject, largely because of the general pedestrian journalistic coverage. Pedestrian because much of what passes for mainstream Ghanaian journalism in the era of Press Freedom is hardly worthy of tabloid gossip, let alone serious journalism.

Coverage of the Hotel Kufuor affair has also been luridly tinged with neocolonialist thinking, which is largely why many an average Ghanaian journalist, both in the print and broadcast media, appears to feel perfectly comfortable with foreign ownership of lucrative commercial enterprises, even as such apparently patriotic and enterprising businessmen like “Chief” Kufuor, the President's highly qualified eldest son, are subjected to the same primitive litmus test as prevailed in the British colonial era. But we prefer, at this juncture, to stay clear of the Hotel-Kufuor affair until Ghana's Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) completes its ongoing investigation into the manner and method by which the younger Mr. Kufuor solicited the alleged three-and-half million-dollar loan from a Ghanaian banking institution.

Interestingly, when Professor Atta-Mills opines that: “It is only the disloyal and unpatriotic Ghanaian who would say that he or she is not concerned with the way the Presidency of our country is being exposed to all manner of rumors and innuendoes and the personality of the President [being] vilified,” one wonders why the NDC standard-bearer for the 2004 presidential election had not made his quite interesting observation privately to His Tyrannical Eminence, since it was, indeed, the NDC Founding Father (or is it Founding Thuggocrat?) who brought the Ghanaian presidency into the current abject disrepute in which it finds itself by summarily abrogating Ghanaian democracy and then ingeniously, albeit hardly intelligently, mainstreaming himself into a veritable pseudo-democrat, thereby irreparably vitiating and regressing the salutary development of both Ghanaian politics and the economy. And needless to say, the NDC, through its brazen sponsorship of the so-called Committee for Joint Action (CJA), has been staunchly behind the kind of gratuitous and primitivistic manufacture of “rumors and innuendoes” that Professor Atta-Mills seems to pretend to be emanating from some protean - or unidentifiable - sources. Here, in the United States, there is a quite caustic expression for such disingenuous behavior: It is called “abject hypocrisy.” The kind of hypocrisy that even a canine would indulge or tolerate.

And when the Rawlings go-fer asserts rather lamely, to speak much less of the outright preposterous, that: “The truth is that there is a perception that the President is afraid of Ms. Yazji's evidence and is, therefore, doing all he can to prevent her from coming down to Ghana, which perception is now very pervasive,” one wonders why a purportedly brilliant lawyer of Professor Atta-Mills' caliber would intellectually sink himself so lowly as to be cognitively reckoned among the rationally deprived. And on this score alone, any well-meaning Ghanaian cannot but unreservedly celebrate the fact that Professor Atta-Mills twice miserably failed to clinch the Ghanaian presidency. And, needless to say, he is almost certain to lose for the third time around. Which is no news at all, since by his despicable behavior the man eloquently demonstrates the fact that he is no presidential material at all. And, indeed, not very long ago, an avuncular friend and a former Ghanaian graduate school teacher of this writer's quizzically lamented to the latter that His Tyrannical Eminence, by his ever-erratic public behavior, had apocalyptically sealed the political career of his minion. Characteristically, I promptly pointed out to my avuncular friend and teacher that it was not for nothing that our great African thinkers observed that, indeed, “Birds of same feathers flock together.” And even assuming that, indeed, Professor Atta-Mills ranks a notch or two intellectually and morally above his former boss, still, the Akan maxim that: “He who consorts with hounds [or dogs] wakes up with fleas” may be aptly seen to hold immeasurable tons of water. In sum, Professor Atta-Mills is hardly anything more than the cheap echo-box of His Tyrannical Eminence and, unfortunately, the more the man forces himself to feel and look presidential, the more he is aptly perceived as the spitting image of His Tyrannical Eminence.

Needless to say, when the 2004 NDC flag-bearer fatuously asserts that: “The truth is that there is a perception that the President is afraid of Ms. Yazji's evidence and is, therefore, doing all he can to prevent her from coming down to Ghana, which perception is now very pervasive,” one wonders just what “truth” or “evidence” the twice-trounced presidential contender is talking about. In sum, what the preceding points to is that either Professor Atta-Mills has something intimate with Ms. Yazji or the former is a bold-faced liar. And if he does, as his flagrant ranting seems to suggest, then what has kept him from divulging such “truth” and “evidence” all this while? Perhaps it may be perfectly in order for the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice to invite Professor Atta-Mills so as to enable the latter to present his version of “The truth” and any “evidence” regarding the so-called Hotel Kufuor affair. Indeed, what makes the latter controversy quite significant, in terms of political methodological contrasts between the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) is the fact that the P/NDC spent the bulk of its twenty-year tenure demolishing hotels, in the specious name of Socialism and equal distribution of wealth, whereas the NPP has been hell-bent on building first-class hotel facilities. And so the symbolic interpretation behind the Hotel Kufuor controversy inheres in the archetypal metaphor of perennial warfare between the forces of destruction and creativity. And, needless to say, no well-meaning - or progressive - Ghanaian can afford to give in to the sinister forces of destruction. *Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., teaches English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of eleven volumes of poetry and prose, including his just-published volume of poetry titled Nananom: Foremothers, all of which are available from,,, and Barnes & Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Join our Newsletter