Personally, I know very little about the subject in question and have absolutely no interest, whatsoever, in his superlative political ambitions. This simply means that I am also not in any credible position to effectively assess the retired junior military officer's credentials for the presidency.
Still, one thing stands ineluctably prominent at the forefront of my parietal lobe – my mind, to be precise; and it is the fact that if Flt.-Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings was deemed qualified to both dictate to Ghanaians as well as “govern” us for two protracted decades, then absolutely nothing ought to prevent the far better educated, relatively more mature – temporally speaking – and more politically experienced Member of Parliament from Berekum from gunning for the august post of President of Ghana. As to whether Capt. Effah-Dartey would be able to command the sacred mandate of the overwhelming majority of the NPP delegates, at the latter's national convention in about three weeks' time, is a matter that is altogether outside the discursive purview of the article.
In sum, what is at stake here is the fact that Capt. Effah-Dartey was once implicated and indicted and, in fact, jailed for his alleged involvement in an attempt to overthrow the constitutionally elected, Third-Republican government of Dr. Hilla Limann's People's National Party (PNP). No need to fret – or worry – here, because Flt.-Lt. Rawlings would shortly make the same criminal act a fait accompli and, indeed, proceed to imperiously and self-righteously appropriate the flagrantly unconstitutional ouster of Dr. Limann as Mr. Rawlings' badge-of-honor, claim to fame and carte-blanch expropriation of our national resources for his own private benefit as well as that of his cronies.
But that Mr. Rawlings has been specially accorded an Indemnity Clause etched into the Fourth-Republican Constitution, and one that preemptively and peremptorily immunizes him against the imperative need to account for the untold atrocities that he, Mr. Rawlings, himself, and his henchmen and women of the so-called Provisional National Democratic Congress (P/NDC) perpetrated against both totally innocent and responsible, successful and law-abiding Ghanaian citizens, scarcely one-percent for which Capt. Effah-Dartey is being savagely treated like a pariah – or social outcast – staggers the reflective and creative Ghanaian imagination.
What is also rather lurid, to speak much less of the outright despicable, is the fact that the very party which is now impugning the credibility of the Berekum MP, also, until very recently, deemed the now-disqualified presidential aspirant to be qualified enough to serve, at least twice, if one recalls accurately, in major cabinet portfolios under the extant Kufuor Administration.
Indeed, there may well lurk something far more sinister and personal against the retired Army captain than what the public is being cavalierly led into believing. In brief, it is our firm contention that somebody in a very powerful position in either the New Patriotic Party or the Kufuor Administration is attempting to pull ranks here. We, humbly, stand to be corrected, of course.
The problem here, however, is that if Capt. Effah-Dartey, by the mere fact of having been implicated in a coup attempt against a constitutionally elected civilian government, does not qualify to contest for his party's nomination for President of Ghana, as well as legitimately gun for the presidency proper, then I am afraid the entire, bi-partisan regime of Fourth-Republican Ghana has been one epic hoax, and Ghanaians are all the more impoverished for such unconscionable charade.
In brief, two even more prominent and far more powerful and influential personalities, other than Capt. Effah-Dartey, could also be legitimately implicated in the very crime of which commission Ghanaians are now being mischievously told, peremptorily disqualifies the Berekum MP from running for the presidency; and these personalities are, of course, Messrs. Jeremiah John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor. The latter stands guilty of the same crime as Capt. Effah-Dartey because as an opposition parliamentary whip, during the tenure of Dr. Hilla Limann, Mr. Kufuor was among the very first “democracy-loving” politicians to scurry to Mr. Rawlings for cabinet appointments, after the latter had illegitimately ousted Dr. Limann.
In essence, as the rather tired maxim goes: “What is good for the gander is equally good for the goose.” In other words, if Mr. Kufuor now feels totally vindicated, or spiritually redeemed by his, admittedly, yeoman's political performance in the aftermath of his paradoxical pro-Rawlings faux-pas, as a democratically elected leader himself, why is Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey being hypocritically denied the same opportunity to redeem himself? Or this just a classical case of the name “Nkrabeah” (or destiny) merely fulfilling itself?
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: [email protected]
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