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15.12.2007 Feature Article

“Fante-Card Players” and Their Chaos Theory

In the heated lead-up to the December 22, 2007, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Delegates' Convention, during which the ruling party would elect its presidential candidate for Election 2008, a remarkable number of desperate attempts, frontally and obliquely, have been made by jaundiced operatives of some of the NPP presidential aspirants to discredit, arguably, the party's most astute, experienced and formidable would-be-candidate to pilot the NPP to victory, once former candidate and substantive Ghanaian premier, Mr. J. A. Kufuor, stands down. And that most winsome would-be-candidate, of course, is no other personality than the internationally recognized and highly respected former Ghanaian Foreign Minister and former President of the United Nations Security Council Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

In the latest of such jaundiced expression of morbid desperation, the campaign coordinator for Mr. Alan Kyerematen, one of the presidential aspirants, claims, rather grotesquely, that the election of Nana Akufo-Addo as flag-bearer of the NPP is certain to plunge the country into chaos because, in the vacuous opinion of Mr. Michael Ampong, the Kyerematen hired hand, “Akufo-Addo has a bloody feud to settle with ex-President Rawlings, who is undoubtedly an influential personality in the body politics [sic] of Ghana” (Ghanaian Chronicle/ 12/7/07).

Needless to say, Mr. Ampong's kind and trend of thinking presupposes, rather slavishly, that Election 2008 and the future development of Ghana are squarely about the otiose and outright inconsequential business of pleasing Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For in reality, Election 2008 is about the selection of the one Ghanaian leader who best encapsulates the salutary and wholesome ideals of democratic rule of law, indigenous capitalist development and a unified sense of nationalism.

And on the preceding score, it goes without saying that the one New Patriotic Party leader, among the current bevy of presidential aspirants, who best meets these criteria is none other than Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Ghana's former Justice and Foreign Minister.

And while we absolutely have no intention of impugning the leadership integrity of the “Fante-Card Playing” Mr. Alan Kyerematen, for he is also the distant relative of this writer, nonetheless, we make bold to emphasize the fact that Mr. Ampong's desperate attempt to vilify Nana Akufo-Addo primarily stems from the fact that Mr. Kyerematen has absolutely no parliamentary experience. And here, it becomes significant to highlight the fact that Fourth-Republican Ghana is a parliamentary democracy. This means that anybody elected the next President of Ghana ought to be fully conversant with the culture of a parliamentary democracy.

So far, the only political experience that Mr. Kyerematen seems to possess is having been appointed by President John Agyekum-Kufuor to serve in his cabinet. In any advanced parliamentary democracy like Britain, for example (of course, we have taken cognizance of Ghana's hybridized parliamentary and executive-presidential, or American, system), Mr. Kyerematen would not have qualified to serve in any major cabinet capacity.

Secondly, it would be very dangerous for the NPP delegates and the party, in general, as well as the nation, at large, to democratically appoint a man who clearly does not seem to possess the kind of grassroots leadership experience and support that comes with having won an election or two as a parliamentarian, or even a local assemblyman or woman, for that matter. In the case of Vice-President Aliu Mahama, for example, it could be plausibly argued that the veep's lack of parliamentary experience is fairly compensated by the fact of his having twice paired up with our substantive president to clinch a two-term's electoral mandate. Even so, as pointed out earlier, Mr. Mahama has virtually no significant electoral groundswell of support in his own stronghold of Tamale. Thus, at best, both Messrs. Mahama and Kyerematen could be aptly considered as wild presidential-nominee cards.

It is also quite curious for Mr. Michael Ampong to gratuitously accuse Nana Akufo-Addo of “arrogance.” Indeed, there is an Akan maxim which warns gratuitous accusers to be mindful of their own behavioral or, even flagrant, culpability, for “Whenever anybody points an accusing (index) finger at another, the accuser ought to remember the fact that his/her other three fingers are pointing squarely at the accuser.” In sum, it amounts to the very height of arrogance for Mr. Ampong to be rather cynically and cavalierly projecting his own arrogance – and, perhaps, also the arrogance of the accuser's own boss, in this particular context – onto the esteemed former Ghanaian Foreign Minister. And to use a single instance of Nana Akufo-Addo having allegedly vented his anger at a fellow Member of Parliament as an ideal occasion for obloquy, is rather obtuse, to speak much less of the outright silly. And would Mr. Ampong, for instance, swear under oath that Mr. Kyerematen, during all the period that the two have known each other, has never even once unleashed his exasperation at anybody whatsoever? We, of course, know Alan to be no angel! Fortunately, Ghanaians are not looking for angels, or other worldliness in our leaders, but fallible human personalities with practical common sense, humor, diligence and foresight to pilot them into the next democratic stage of our country's development.

It is also quite curious, logically speaking, for Mr. Ampong to assert that the presidential nomination of Nana Akufo-Addo would plunge the country into chaos without also explaining exactly why Ghana was not plunged into chaos in the wake of the brutal assassination of the three Supreme Court justices – Koranteng-Addow, Sarkodie and Agyepong – under the watch of Mr. Rawlings' Provisional National Democratic Congress (P/NDC). And also more significantly, precisely in what manner, shape or form that Nana Akufo-Addo would plunge the country into chaos.

One thing, on the preceding score, is quite clear. Whatever talent in the legal sphere that Mr. Kyerematen may possess does not, in any way, seem to be helping either Mr. Kyerematen's own campaign managers against an actionable libel suit, or the campaign agenda of Mr. Kyerematen itself. What is also significant, in that it vindicates the presidential candidacy of Nana Akufo-Addo beyond reproach, is the fact that Mr. Ampong actually endorses his boss' rival by pretending otherwise. For instance, the Statesman publication to which Mr. Ampong was responding was titled “Rawlings Orders: Stop Akufo-Addo! He's NDC's Most Feared Candidate” (12/5/07) and the latter's contents make not even a single reference to Mr. Kyerematen. Rather, it affirms the fact that under an Akufo-Addo Administration, Mr. Rawlings would think twice before presuming to cavalierly disturb the public peace with his reckless and clinically morbid rants. Indeed, it is this strong leadership appeal of Nana Akufo-Addo, one which can obviously be seen to be lacking in both Messrs. Mahama and Kyerematen, that seems to have gotten the hackles of Mr. Ampong.

Interestingly coincidentally, a feature article which recently appeared on and was titled “When Justice Takes a Tumble, Criminals Become Angels” (12/11/07), strikingly reflected the morally blighted political visions of both Mr. Ampong and Vice-President Mahama's Communications Director. In the wake of Justice Faakye's sentencing of Mr. Dan Abodaki, the Anlo-NDC Member of Parliament, to 10 years' imprisonment on corruption charges, the otherwise progressive publisher of the Accra Daily Mail wrote a rather imperious editorial impugning the judicial fairness of Justice Faakye's decision. Upon what basis Mr. Harruna-Attah felt justified to characterize Justice Faakye's verdict as “extremely harsh,” was never clarified in the Daily Mail's editorial. One thing, though, was clear, Mr. Harruna-Attah had once been fast friends with Mr. Abodakpi and so felt obliged to let his sentiments override the highly clinical and professional verdict of Justice Faakye. And by so emotionally acting, Mr. Harruna-Attah, wittingly or unwittingly, caused an acute endangerment to the life of Justice Faakye whose only fault, in the opinion of the Daily Mail editor-publisher, was having fearlessly and professionally delivered justice to the people of Ghana, his patriotic duty towards the salutary development of our country.

The point we are making vis-à-vis the preceding observation, is simply that the choices made by our electoral candidates, regarding who become their campaign operatives, offer fairly accurate insights into the kind of leadership these candidates are capable of offering their country at large. And so far, with regard to Messrs. Mahama and Kyerematen, the caliber of potential presidential leadership leaves much to be desired. Mr. Harruna-Attah's condemnation of Justice Faakye leaves a patently unpleasant taste in one's mind's mouth, one that readily and bitterly recalls the brutal assassination of the three Supreme Court justices. In the case of Mr. Ampong, the message is loud and clear – a Kyerematen Administration is likely to be run according to the capricious desires of Mr. Rawlings. And with the electoral ousting of the so-called Provisional National Democratic Congress (P/NDC), just how mistaken were law-abiding and peace-loving Ghanaians to be rudely informed by Mr. Kyerematen's minion that the New Patriotic Party was, after all, founded with the rather unwholesome objective of holding the proverbial line for Mr. Rawlings! And boy, did we go or did we come?!

Regarding the article presumptuously titled “When Justice Takes a Tumble, Criminals Become Angels,” we sincerely wish that its pro-Rawlings fanatical author had systematically explained to her audience exactly how does a country maintain a fearless and independently progressive judiciary by deliberately butchering the leading lights of that country's judiciary? Those who live in wooden houses ought to be careful not to recklessly play with match-sticks!
*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 “When Dancers Play Historians and Thinkers,” a forthcoming essay collection on postcolonial Ghanaian politics. E-mail: [email protected]
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2007

This author has authored 4558 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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