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10.11.2008 Feature Article

VooDoo Child: The known and unknowns about Intelligence and Francis Poku

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If only President Hilla Lihman had paid heed to them

"Kojo Tsikata would turn into a cat at night and slip past the guards to do his thing. Somtimes he turns into a gbagbladza (cockroach) and slips past them during the day to help plan his activities" Those were some of the rumors then and if only President Hilla Lihman had paid heed to them, maybe Ghana's history would have been vastly re-written.

The house was in the most prestigious part of Accra, the Airport Residential area and it was located not far from Association school. There were always two Pegeout cars, a caravan and a saloon with some BNI watchmen stretched in the car, wasting tax dollars in the name of national security. Their job was to make sure that Ko jo Tsikata, a master of unconventional warfare planned his tactics at home.

The rest is history as we know it so what were they thinking when they tried similar move on Francis Poku, the national security man who inherited Tsikata's successor? This was the man charged with preventing dawn announcements, and helping to ensure the security of the nation, and that included protecting the presidency. The job description did not say never to consult with the 99 Gods of Fanteland. Makes you wonder what animal or roach Francis Poku manifested into when he slipped by his watchwomen to make his way to pay homage to Queen Elisabeth II. May be he took Drobo Air, like that famous herbalist who reportedly discovered an AIDS cure but vanished into thin air back to Ghana from Japan where he said he was being held prisoner.

Francis Poku's flight capped rumours

Poku's story is not strange. He allegedly grew scornful of his boss and would not quit as requested. The president resorted to that old trick used in appointing, disappointing, shuffling, rewarding or punishing friends and ambitious people in government. He resorted to an evening announcement. Very effective and you could not do anything about it even if you were a direct descendant of the most famous Ghanaian fetish priest Okomfo Anokye or Okomfo Bonsam the man still giving some Pentecostal pastors the fright.

Francis Poku's flight capped rumours about his unintentional attempt to prematurely commune with the Gods forever and that was the whole dilemma. How do you eliminate a cat, a big cat without suspicion. But first, it would be easy to dismiss such rumours until you take a VooDoo eye look at acts of other security and intelligence bosses. The name f irst name to mention is J Edgar Hoover, the legendary first Director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.

J Edgar Hoover was also the longest serving director who outlasted 5 presidents as FBI Director and worked with 8 US presidents in total. Two main reasons, he was good at his job and had a lot of political clout while also amassing information on most of them. They were scared to touch him because of what he might know. Sometimes it was just a bluff. Here was a man who sent tapes of Martin Luther King junior's extra marital affairs to the latter's wife.

Francis Poku however grew scornful

Back home in Ghana, the man Kojo T was said to have grown scornful of his boss over some alleged extra curricular acts that the intelligence boss did not disapprove but that was in the latter years of that rule. Francis Poku however grew scornful early on because he might not have known unknowns or he might have known those unknowns including the known. Anyone who found the last sentence a trifle difficult to comprehend would appreciate that intelligence and security is about a whole lot of unknowns and known; and planning to be ready for anything.

Former US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfield's famous quote best explains. He was quoted as saying; "There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know" With a mind shackling quote as that, what prevented the man from becoming scornful and once insisted on President Bush calling him when then National Security Advisor Condelaza Rice called his attention to a situation t hat fell under his purview? Off course the man won an award for that quote but was also shown the exit by his Boss too late in his tenure.

How dare you bring in domesticated cats to corner a big cat like the lion?

People like J Edgar Hoover, Kojo Tsikata, Donald Rumsfeld and Francis Poku failed to appreciate the human weaknesses in their bosses and in the act, fell victim to their own human weakness, pride. The fundamental question remains solid, what do you do with someone powerful who has no known and unknown information regarding 14 day ultimatums and a certain hotel near the HIPC flyover and has become scornful of the boss? Alright, what do you do with this person after telling him "fri me fie ko"?

Whatever fate that was written for him by mere mortals, Mother Fate did not approve of it and besides how dare you bring in domesticated cats to corner a big cat like the lion? The thing however about being a security and intelligence capo is, you either shove it and serve your boss even as you grow powerful or resign honourably in disgust if you thought your moral values were being insulted. One of the bosses mentioned may have done that but the unknowns and knowns about the knowns and unknowns are not really known or unknown.

Richard Dzifah Hiatsi
Richard Dzifah Hiatsi, © 2008

The author has 26 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: RichardDzifahHiatsi

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