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23.11.2008 Feature Article

“That Tall Butcher of Supreme Court Judges”…

Recently, the Butcher-of-Dzelukope was reported to have stormed the palace of His Majesty, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, the Asantehene, with his usual arrogance and lack of good breeding on shameless display (see “ '…that short man, what's his name?' – Rawlings on Akufo-Addo” Daily Guide 11/6/08). Ironically, the former half-Ghanaian strongman also reportedly lamented that the threshold for the election of the country's leaders was at an abysmally low level. Consequently, the founding-proprietor of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) called for the institutionalization of such leadership criteria as “dedication, hard work, integrity, patriotism and good morals,” the same qualities used in the selection of Ghanaian chiefs, to be applied to our presidential candidates.

Rather interesting, since it makes one wonder precisely what set of leadership principles would have been used in deciding the appointment of Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri as Ghana's legitimate and democratically elected president. From what we know, especially in the wake of his 1996 reelection bid, none of the qualities enumerated above are known to have significantly factored into the patently fraudulent national circus which the late Prof. Albert Adu A. Boahen caustically characterized as “The Stolen Verdict.” The more appropriate terminology, of course, is “The Stolen Ballot,” or “The Rigged Poll.” And the latter was achieved largely through a deftly mixed orchestration of raw and brutal intimidation and despicable trucking of outright mendacity.

And so precisely why the man who has consistently and persistently maligned our Fourth-Republican democratic culture would also presume to raise the leadership bar and criteria/or for his own handpicked presidential candidate, Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, is anybody's good guess.

As we noted several times earlier on, when it comes to discussing the, admittedly, critical question of politicians who grossly misrepresent themselves in order to grab power at all costs, none of the current candidates stands as bloodily guilty as the former Vice-President and perennial presidential candidate of the so-called National Democratic Congress. Here is a man, supposedly, of “great integrity” and “responsible leadership” who campaigns with the pictorial image of U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama and smack-dab on the record of the former Senator from the “Windy State” of Illinois. And yet, unashamedly, Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri would have Ghanaians believe that the man who has threatened time and again to turn our beloved motherland into a Kenya-type apocalypse, in the certain event of him massively losing the December 7 election, is our choice of the ideal leader.

It is partly for the foregoing reasons that I find the Asantehene's promise to reconcile Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri and President John Agyekum-Kufuor rather troubling. But I guess like a Christian cleric, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu has no choice but to play the unenviable role of peace-broker between a clinically certified murderer-assassin and a model, albeit significantly flawed, democratic leader in the emulative tradition of Drs. J. B. Danquah and K. A. Busia. But even on this score, didn't Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, himself, sternly counsel against any reckless attempt at becoming unequally yoked with the pathologically unconscionable and reprobate?

In the wake of the 2004 presidential election, during which Mr. Kufuor soundly trounced his Fante-born opponent, Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri was widely reported to have vitriolically impugned the intelligence of the Central Region's electorate; it had also been reported that a delegation of Ewe chiefs had been dispatched to the Central Region in order to invidiously prevail upon their counterparts to pressure their subjects into overwhelmingly voting for “one of their own.” And so it is quite quaint that the same person who has made Asantes his arch-nemeses (as eerily witnessed last year in the wake of the Anloga disturbances) and prime targets of verbal abuse would also be courting their most prominent and distinguished leaders in his vain search of votes. For instance, in the wake of Anloga last year, Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri claimed to have migrated from Notsie, somewhere in present-day Republic of Benin (we hear) and thus found President Kufuor's indisputably laudable attempts to stanch the intra-Anlo bloody chieftaincy dispute to be tantamount to “undue interference in the internal affairs of the Anlo State.” And so unless he takes Asanteman to be wholly composed of people who are absolutely bereft of any sense of memory, the question that each and every one of us ought to be asking is this: Exactly when was the last time that Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri kept his appointment with his psychiatrist?

Maybe the Asantehene felt that he had no alternative but to welcome this bloody butcher into Manhyia, and even bend over backwards to dubiously laud the notorious sociopath for, supposedly, immensely contributing to the forging and development of modern Ghanaian democracy. Still, those of us who look up to the majestic occupant of the Golden Stool for moral guidance and responsible leadership would have been indescribably grateful if Otumfuo Osei-Tutu had frankly, however politely, told Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri to keep his inordinate penchant for personal abuse to himself. For instance, the gangling butcher of Ghanaian Supreme Court judges, now become obese and potbellied, ought to have been counseled to zip up his rather insolent description of the Presidential Candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) as “that short man, what's his name?”

And in case Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri is unaware of the following: There was another equally “short man” who sat on the Education Committee of the erstwhile Gold Coast Legislative Council by the name of Osagyefo Nana Sir Ofori-Atta I, who singularly facilitated the establishment of the legendary Achimota School, the very intermediary academy of which both Flt.-Lt. Yor-ke-Garri and his wife proudly boast to have attended. Yet, Nana Akufo-Addo and his maternal grandfather are, indeed, short men with remarkably big brains; the same, however, cannot be as confidently said about the Butcher-of-Dzelukope.

*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 “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008) and “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: [email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2008

This author has authored 4770 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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