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21.12.2006 Feature Article

Responding To Cynics And Troglodytes

Responding To Cynics And Troglodytes
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By the time this article gets posted (or published), a rejoinder to a previous analytical piece that I did on National Democratic Congress presidential aspirants Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and Professor John Evans Atta Mills (Accra Daily Mail 12/19/06) may already have been published. The rejoinder, titled “Re: Situation Vacant: Con-Artists and Jokers Wanted,” and signed by Messrs. Kobina Ebow and Bayijan Fuseini, who claim to represent a group called “Friends of Spio-Garbrah Organization – U. S. Branch,” attempts, rather sophomorically, to impugn the logical thrust and coherence of my article. In reality, however, the writers end up, inadvertently, shoring up my expressed grave concerns regarding the timorous and opportunistic agenda of Messrs. Mills and Spio-Garbrah.

First of all, although Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini declare in the introductory paragraph of their article that: “Professor Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe is always a delight to read – because he tends to synthesize many of the aspirations of a lot of us Ghanaians in the Diaspora,” it eerily appears to this writer that either these “Friends of Spio-Garbrah” are lying through their proverbial teeth, or they are not reading this writer critically enough to be able to fully appreciate the plethora of topical issues which he has, so far, addressed. Else, for instance, Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini would not be posing such stolid and hollow questions as: “Which [political] party was it that planted the bombs at Kulungugu that almost killed Osagyefu [sic] Dr. Nkrumah?”

Indeed, had they been paying meticulous attention to Parts 18 and 19 of my running series on postcolonial Ghanaian history, titled “When Dancers Play Historians And Thinkers” (see and, they would have learned to their utter shame that among the five suspects arrested in the wake of the Kulungugu bomb attack were three prominent members of President Nkrumah's own Convention People's Party, namely, Messrs. Ako-Adjei, Tawiah Adamafio and Kofi Crabbe. Even more significant is the fact that both Messrs. Ako-Adjei and Kofi Crabbe had also been cabinet members of the Nkrumah government. Furthermore, we have cited for purposes of historical records the fact that it was, indeed, Mr. Adamafio who conferred the grossly oversized title of “Osagyefo” on President Nkrumah. In the case of Mr. Ako-Adjei, perhaps, Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini would do themselves and their ilk much good by reading my uncle Cameron Duodu's article in tribute of Mr. Ako-Adjei, the very man who introduced President Nkrumah into the mainstream of Ghanaian politics, and whom Nkrumah wanted to summarily execute even after it became judicially apparent that Mr. Ako-Adjei had had absolutely no hand in the assassination attempt on the life of President Nkrumah. Needless to say, had it not been for the auspicious events of February 24, 1966, Dr. Ako-Adjei (remember Nkrumah had also prohibited the latter from using his Lincoln University-conferred Honorary Doctorate which Ako-Adjei shared with Nkrumah and Kojo Botsio) may well, like Dr. J. B. Danquah, perished in prison. And so, yes, when Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini shamelessly demand: “Which party was it that planted the bombs at Kulungugu that almost killed Osagyefu [sic] Dr. Nkrumah?” we confidently and emphatically riposte: the Convention People's Party!

Secondly, it is also quite interesting to observe that while Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini imperiously claim that my attempt to fairly and squarely cast Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and Professor John Evans Atta Mills in the sinister light of their collective and several, amoral, opportunism “does neither [presidential aspirant] justice,” curiously, nevertheless, neither complainant is willing to defend Professor Mills, on the rather mischievous, myopic and outright scabrous grounds that: “We are 'Friends of Ekwow Spio-Garbrah' and therefore will concentrate on Spio and leave Prof. Mills' many supporters to defend him.”

How so, particularly, when Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini also lamely attempt, rather ironically, to exculpate both Messrs. Mills and Spio-Garbrah of palpable charges of brazen and culpable opportunism on the rather infantile grounds that since “Neither Ekwow Spio-Garbrah or [sic] Atta Mills were members of the [erstwhile] PNDC nor served Ghana's last military regime in any capacity,” these political con-artists cannot be so faulted. But guess what: Just what kind of “Democracy” is rigged up on “indemnity Clauses” in protection of the very terrorist and certified murderer under whom Messrs. Mills and Spio-Garbrah served, and on whose beneficence these “Friends” predicate the presidential qualification of Dr. Spio-Garbrah? In other words, what kind of democracy hermetically ensures, at the barrel of the gun, underneath of which sits a ballot-stuffed polling booth, that a Flt.-Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings would hand over power to a President J. J. Rawlings?

But what is even more intriguing is the fact that Messrs. Ebow and Bayijan have the temerity to designate the period spanning 1992-2000 as the “Democratic Era” of Mr. J. J. Rawlings, knowing full well that their “Junior Jesus” has emphatically and unabashedly stated time and again that he is no drum-major for a democratic political culture or even the civilized administration of justice. This is the very “man” who appeared before Ghana's National Reconciliation Commission (GNRC) and claimed to possess audiotape evidence which absolved him and his partner-in-crime, Capt. Kojo Tsikata, from culpability for the Mafia-style assassination of the three Supreme Court judges – Koranteng-Addow, Sarkodie and Agyepong – and yet could not produce the aforementioned evidence, except to sillily insist that the audiotape was in the possession of a long-deceased Regimental Sergeant-Major (RSM). And you would have thought that supposedly principled and fairly well-educated Ghanaians like Messrs. Mills and Spio-Garbrah would have taken notice.

Indeed, the mere fact that Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini make value judgments about Professor Mills but curiously refuse to defend the latter, attests to the patently knavish political opportunism of Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini. Perhaps these “gentlemen” are eagerly waiting in the wings, hopelessly hoping for the advent of a Spio-Garbrah administration, so that they could clinch some boondoggles?

It goes without saying that had Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini studiously followed my media output, for some twenty years now, they would have long recognized the significant fact that I was one of the first Ghanaian writers to have criticized President J. A. Kufuor for opting to serve an 8-month stint as PNDC secretary for local government. And the fact that I also promptly criticized the moral impropriety of Mr. Kufuor's appointment of his younger brother as Ghana's Defense Minister, largely for its blatant nepotistic implications. And so where do these “Friends of Spio-Garbrah” come by their plangent accusation of hypocrisy and double-standards? Perhaps they are hearing echoes of their own cognitive dissonance.

Even more risible, however, is the assertion that, somehow, since Messrs. Alan Kyerematen, Aliu Mahama and Addo-Kufuor are not known to have publicly opposed the tyrannical Mr. Rawlings, therefore, these gentlemen must be unreservedly deemed to be as equally guilty of sheer political knavery as Messrs. Garbrah and Mills. No argument could be more fatuously paralogistic. Needless to say, it makes an oceanic difference to point out that unlike their NDC counterparts Messrs. Kyerematen, Mahama and Kufuor did not spinelessly and shamelessly carry water for Mr. Rawlings.

And on the question of Mr. Kwame Pianim's disqualification from presidential candidacy, it is only sheer sophistry that would prompt anybody to make the sort of logical leap engaged by these “Friends of Spio-Garbrah.” Almost every kindergartener knows that the issue verged purely into one of constitutionality and the rule of law which, by the way, appears to be at best alien to supporters and sympathizers of Mr. Rawlings and his so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC), and at the worst an anathema. And also, let the reader not forget that had the NPP not put its house in order, Mr. Pianim may well have been facilely disqualified by an NDC lawsuit, which would have readily ensured that the Rawlings Corporation would continue to pursue their Nkrumaist, one-party state agenda. But that Mr. Rawlings should “pardon” Mr. Pianim on the last day of the former's tenure is rather obscene. For how can a certified murderer pardon anybody but himself? In other words, such move only makes sense if, in this particular instance, Mr. Rawlings vicariously envisaged a certain aspect of his character, the adventurous part, perhaps, in Mr. Pianim. But that the latter has not been named an NPP minister of state is no business of Messrs. Ebow and Fuseini but the parties concerned.

Furthermore, even if one hypothetically admits of the bizarre NPP canker of “Bartelsiasis,” which at least places a salutary premium on the incontrovertibly productive role of the media in Ghanaian politics, the fact still remains that the NDC mantra of “Media Shit-Bombing” woefully beggars the civilized concept of a democratic political culture.

Then again, what is this nonsense about a copycat Spio-Garbrah having “instituted” the patently pedestrian protocol (or tradition) of “Meet-The-Press” and “Post-Cabinet Briefing,” whatever the latter means? What are we supposed to make of these? Aver, rather sheepishly, that, somehow, Dr. Spio-Garbrah is a nonesuch genius? Remember Kwame Nkrumah and the “institutionalization” of the Neo-Nazi Young Pioneer Movement? What about the construction of such copycat establishments as the Ambassador Hotel, Continental Hotel, Star Hotel, Atlantic Hotel and Meridian Hotel? Did these tourist basket-cases make Nkrumah a genius ahead of his time, as many a fanatical Nkrumaist would have the rest of us believe? A GetFund Spio-Garbrah who had to hold the proverbial line for Messrs. Osafo Maafo and Paapa Ankomah to provide breakfast and lunch to famished and impoverished Ghanaian elementary school children? A VAT regimen that, literally, inundates Ghana with billions of dollars which could nowhere be found in our national coffers upon NPP's glorious assumption of the democratic reins of governance? And if VAT were such a bonanza, why undergo the excruciating psychological baptism of HIPC? An NPP chimera? Could almost have fooled me, boys!

And also this poppycock about Danquah-Busia traditionalists flying to Washington, D. C., to stop the construction of the Volta Dam Project at Akosombo? Stygian illiteracy! Perhaps these regressively scheming “Friends of Spio-Garbrah” need to be referred to the massive historical corpus of Messrs. David Apter's “Ghana In Transition,” David Hart's “The Volta River Project,” and James Moxon's “Volta: Man's Greatest Lake.” Interestingly, the latter also served as Gold Coast Information Services officer.

Then the nonsense regarding the destroyer of Ghana's diplomatic relations with the United States. Wasn't it Mr. Rawlings, with his summary execution of the NRC/SMC I & II leaders and, later, the Supreme Court judges, against massive international outcry that caused the preceding? All of which goes further to shore up my argument that “Little Spio” is a Rawlings lickspittle?!!!

Finally, speaking of the “remarkable” achievements of unprincipled, job-hopping and opportunistic 55-year-old pseudo-politicians; perhaps, Messrs. Kobina Ebow and Bayijan Fuseini need to be told in plain English that when you are from Kyebi and Akuapem-Akropong is your heir, your informed appreciation of “achievements” and “achievers” roundly precludes bloody, bootlicking hustlers! From “the well-heeled PR firm Hill and Knowlton in New York” – is this English, Fante or Mamprusi? And the World Bank to the “pay-cutting mega development bank [African Development Bank, that is] in Abidjan,” Spio-Garbrah is blisteringly disqualified by a Kyebi Boy who shall, herein, remain nameless, purely for reasons of shame… to President Clinton coming to Ghana in search of Little Spio, and one wonders where Busumuru Kofi Annan stood in 1998, by the way, not 1997; and also the palpable fact that when Mr. Clinton was governor of Arkansas, his deputy director of health services was a Ghanaian woman whose name escapes your truly…. Of course, one gets the digitized picture of immitigable desperation.

“Friends of Spio-Garbrah,” you say. But I am just wondering how the “Enemies of Little Spio-Garbrah” might sound. “So Prof. Ahoofe can sit and [sic] New York and yab all he wants – but Spio is a man of action[,] not sophistry and words,” who yet can shoot his mouth like lightning and rarely loses an argument – a profile on claims. Of course, Prof. Ahoofe intends to yab still more, for as my dear friend and colleague Dr. Sammy Browne aptly gibes, anybody who misspells “yap” by writing “yab,” probably heard the word on CNN-TV; s/he might never have seen or read the word in print.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., Department of English, Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is also a member of the World Bank-sponsored African Diaspora Initiative. E-mail: [email protected]

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