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02.09.2012 Feature Article

Akatamanso Over Rotten Planks

Akatamanso Over Rotten Planks
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I breezed past Mantse Agbonaa last week for the NPP rally. It was jammed, and as usual the uncouth motorbike gangs were riding rough and claiming street ownership, no rules, no regulations, scared policemen, watching from a distance. I got into a minor scuffle with a group of them bursting through the windows of a car, hazards and lights on, with horns blaring as if there was an ambulance call. I refused to pull to the side of the road and that started the scuffle. I was lucky that afternoon. My gray hair was in full bloom, no haircut for 3 weeks. End of story, some sensible official bystander pulled me away and calmed them down. It left me thinking this election violence is the real deal. I am going to find a driver/bodyguard. These gangs are spiraling out of control and becoming a problem for the MTTU.

Follow up story. Mr. Godfrey Dame, filed an interlocutory injunction on behalf of his client, Mr. Ransford France to stall Parliament from sitting on CI73, which could bring in the 45 new districts the NDC Government says will enhance our democracy by leaps, once created. Totally illogical, but determinedly persued by the NDC in Parliament. There is another pending case before the Supreme Court, to look at a related case, LI1983, I mentioned a couple weeks ago. I am not sure what is going on, but Cletus Avoka is in a fight of some sort to declare Parliament supreme above all else. I beg to defer on this case till it is clearer. Parliament has been recalled from Monday, 3rd September and we wait to see if Mr. Dame and his client will derail “District Four Five”.

You can get a copy of the NPP manifesto from their website here. I am still working my way through the document but I am finding it a bit difficult. There is so much incorrect grammar and poor sentence construction. There is some good stuff no doubt, but I am grappling with the corner pillar of the campaign, the free SHS school package. I am not sure how it will be managed financially and logistically. I have an idea of how I think it can be done, but it is early days yet and I am waiting for the NDC manifesto to see what they have before I release my idea. You have to be careful these days, Paa Kwesi Ndoum is looking for anyone stealing his ideas and he waded into the NPP this week, claiming he owned the free schools idea.

The Constitutional Review Commission is also ready with its report on its website. It is a hefty 9.57Mb so download with caution, it could use up all your data minutes in one go.

Last week, we floated a 23% 5-year bond and reaped $683million more than we needed. We went to market for $300million and accepted three times as much. The Minister of Finance was celebratory, but not him alone. Some persons just got them a sweet deal at 23% a year, when interest rates worldwide are at their lowest ever, some as low as .05%.

JJs boom box has always been the dominant front-page space when he craves it most and we gave him major media real estate this week (read his speech here). He did as he usually does, lots of metaphor, no names mentioned, manufacturing chaos. That the media fell for it, played into his hands just as President Mahama must have done to get him to Kumasi for his endorsement. I heard a rumor earlier in the week that the President had been to see JJ and left a meeting from his home at close to midnight. I chose to ignore that rumor for very good reasons. Why would JJ take all the insults and nonsense jibes from the NDC executive and stoop so low and turn back to the flock where he was once king and lead barking dog and exiled?. It did not make any sense then. However, I had privately mentioned to a few confidants that JJ was capable of jumping back into the fray for his own selfish reasons. While we all focused on the “baby teeth” and “rotten plank” allegories, we might have missed the subtle power flex at the beginning when he said he had ordered for and been granted a request for street lights to be installed in an unnamed village some place in Ghana where murders are rampant. Clearly he had asked Mahama to do this as a pre-condition for him to be at Congress and this had been met, hence he showed up at Baba Yara stadium to congratulate the President. When he is back, this is how projects will be carried out. Where JJ thinks they need to be placed (AFRC revisited).

I think Mahama made his first big mistake this week. It would be better to campaign on his merit and resources and not win, than to kowtow to JJ in order to give the NDC a fighting chance. A chance far from certain. JJ comes with a lot of baggage most of it wrapped in Konadu clothing and a history of violence.

That JJ appeals to the masses is not up for discussion. But to solicit his (JJs) campaign prowess at this time clearly indicates how vulnerable John Mahama feels. Right at his doorstep, General Mosquito cannot be happy, neither can most of the small babies with sharp teeth and the rotten planks on the bridge. We are still making lists of these two groups even before we have finalized the “greedy bastards” list. They have now transmogrified into aircon-riding opportunistic persons waiting in the wings for victory to beckon. I actually thought Paa Kwesi Amissah would be one such, but I hear he does a lot of work quietly in the air-conditioned background.

But seriously, JJ should we over fifty-fives believe this probity, accountability and transparency foundation stone of the NDC you have been pushing at us for decades? There is nothing of value from the AFRC era, which was a mutiny and treasonous putsch. The 31st December coup, overthrew a constitutionally elected Government of Ghana, which should not have succeeded save for a few single cowardly acts by other members of the Armed Forces. When has JJ personally accounted for anything he has done in Ghana? Aren't we still looking for some missing persons from the AFRC and PNDC time? Aren't we still unclear about the murderers of the judges? And who gave the order for the other heads of state to be executed? Do we have answers to these big-ticket items? Isn't there enough cause for us to be concerned that between him and his wife enough damage was created publicly and to individual persons? Were it not for JJ the wheels of democracy would have chugged ahead faster than what we have today.

If we bring JJ back into the fray, our freedoms could well be curtailed. If JJ comes back into mainstream politics, we will hear more war drums and fighting talk. What other way does JJ know? His whole mark in history has been on a violence platform, with chaos and anger-preaching to gullible followers. This is who President Mahama wants in his team? How does he think he will control a loose cannon like Jerry John Agbotui Rawlings?

The Akatamanso has always covered for the rot in its backyard. Woyome has not happened by accident and there are many more of such “woyome” types to come. As long as we have recycled convicts and criminal elements in government (JJs words) we will cover the bridges and the planks will still rot (paraphrased from his own words). JJ knows who they are, he put most of them in place, he understands them.

I will hold on for President John Mahama to wake up. If he can clean up a little in the next three months, it will be good for Ghana. To add more rotten planks to his woes is a major mistake. An umbrella can cover only so much and no more. 

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

Sydney Casely-Hayford, [email protected]

Sydney Casely-Hayford
Sydney Casely-Hayford, © 2012

The author has 186 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: SydneyCaselyHayford

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