It takes a person of high moral stature and courage like Dr. Archibald Letsa to enter Election 2008 on the ticket of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the capital of the Volta Region. For since 1992, when a democratic dispensation was reintroduced into the country, after a decade of immitigable tyranny and state-sponsored terrorism by the so-called Provisional National Democratic Congress (P/NDC), the Volta Region has been forcibly converted into what that pseudo-party's founder terms as the “World Bank of the P/NDC,” meaning that come rain or sunshine, the P/NDC is perpetually guaranteed the full electoral support of the Volta Regional electorate.
The basis of such tendentious support has been in the invariable form and shape of intimidation and the unremitting and crass peddling of ethnic nationalism, as have been widely witnessed by the recent unprecedented spate of invidious media fare by members of the so-called National Democratic Congress. In 1996, for instance, the party's top-hierarchy operatives were reported to have dispatched mercenaries and other paid thugs to ensure that the Volta electorate danced to the orchestral cacophony of Mr. Rawlings. Those too intelligent to take their marching orders from the P/NDC were either, literally, liquidated or brutally assaulted.
And so it hardly comes as any surprise that the incumbent NDC-MP for Ho-Central Constituency, Capt. Nfojoh, should have, respectively, garnered 83.3-percent and 84.8-percent of the total votes in Elections 2000 and 2004 (see “Nana Akufo-Addo is Joking – Bagbin” Ghanaweb.com 11/3/08).
This Obama year, though, is very different; for the New Patriotic Party is determined that the spooky likes of Capt. Nfojoh are squarely brought to account. Mr. Alban S. K. Bagbin, the rubble-rousing P/NDC Minority Leader in Parliament, appears to be finally getting the message. Thus at a recent campaign rally for Capt. Nfojoh, a former Ho District Chief Executive (DCE), the Nadowli-West parliamentarian cautioned the NDC campaign operatives “to resist all forms of temptation that could result in quarrels and fights with opponents.” We hope Mr. Bagbin's political minions heard him loud and clear. For, as recent clashes between the two major parties in the northern-half of the country indicate, no longer will the P/NDC be allowed unfettered monopoly over the gratuitous application of violence in a bid to re-establishing the pseudo-party's political domination in the affairs of our beloved motherland.
For those who may not know the man, Dr. Archibald Letsa is indisputably one of the most diligent, intelligent and distinguished Ghanaian physicians. He is also the beloved and highly respected senior of this author's from Okwawu-Nkwatia's St. Peter's Secondary School (PERSCO), where Dr. Letsa had his Advanced-Level or Sixth-Form education. Equally significant is also the fact that the NPP parliamentary candidate for Ho-Central's father was, himself, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the Okwawu-Atibie Hospital for many years, having also acted as the director of medical services in the entire Okwawu District. Thus, contrary to the glib and pat Ghana News Agency (GNA) report (Ghanaweb.com 11/3/08), Dr. Letsa is not merely “a private medical practitioner.” The man has the word “DOCTOR,” in the radical, or traditional, sense of the term, written all over his very genetic make-up. His family is also well-known for its enviable public service at a time when far greener pastures, abroad, temptingly beckoned. Thus it absolutely comes as no surprise that Dr. Letsa would comfortably truck with the winsome and politically unbested New “Patriotic” Party. For, the very name “Letsa” epitomizes unreserved patriotism.
While on his most recent stumps in the Ho-Central District, Mr. Bagbin, as has become shamelessly characteristic of the man, attempted to risibly project the massive failures of the P/NDC governments on the ruling New Patriotic Party. For instance, the Nadowli-West NDC-MP impugned Nana Akufo-Addo's rather auspicious and realistic promise to double the size of the Ghana Police Force from 25,000 to 50,000-personnel strong, claiming, quite cynically, that the current personnel was both under-equipped and under-housed. What Mr. Bagbin deviously failed to tell his audience is the fact that the P/NDC left office, in 2000, with a skeletal 7,000-personnel police force, a number that is scarcely adequate for the effective policing of the Ghanaian capital of Accra alone, much less the nation at large.
In sum, it is no vacuous vaunt when the dynamic and inimitably progressive Presidential Candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party promises to double the number of security agents in the country. In a practical sense, indeed, Mr. Bagbin may be absolutely right to observe that members of the Ghana Police Force are woefully under-equipped and under-accommodated, but that is no tangible excuse for the government to be lax with the indispensable need of fully and equally guaranteeing the civic protection of all citizens and residents of Ghana. And, it goes without saying that Nana Akufo-Addo scarcely needs the rhetorically blustery and action-short Mr. Bagbin to enlighten him on the imperative need to adequately resource the current personnel of the Ghana Police Force.
The Nadowli-West NDC-MP also vacuously accused Nana Akufo-Addo of belonging to a party which, while in opposition, mordantly carped the P/NDC over the latter's “cost-sharing policy in tertiary schools and promised to waive it should [the NPP] come to power. But the party has only resorted to a policy of full-cost recovery on coming to power.” The latter may well be true; but equally significant, perhaps even much more so, is the off-setting fact of the New Patriotic Party government having successfully implemented a fee-free elementary education program, as well as the NPP's model and pilot School-Feeding program, neither of which salutary program existed under the protracted and extortionate tenure of the so-called National Democratic Congress!
It is also quite amusing to hear the man who, together with the presidential candidates of the P/NDC, has sneeringly ridiculed the tried-and-tested NPP ideology of “a property-owning democracy” rapturously espousing the need for massive job creation in the private sector, a sector which Mr. Bagbin's own pseudo-party spent some two marathon decades systematically dismantling. The joke, of course, is on Mr. Bagbin, not Nana Akufo-Addo.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 18 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005) and “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected].