As usual, cheaply playing on the grief of the residents and people of Cape Coast last Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, Transitional-President John “Paradigm-Shift” Dramani Mahama took his China Tech-Team circus act to the annual Fetu Afahye (or festival) and romantically promised to make the Central Region the most infrastructurally advanced among the ten regions of the country, if the home-region of the late President John Evans Atta-Mills massively voted to retain both Mr. Mahama and the National Democratic Congress in the august seat of governance come Election 2012 (See “Government Will Transform Central Region –Prez Mahama” Ghanaweb.com 9/2/12).
What is curiously interesting, here, is the fact that the former Atta-Mills second-bananas woefully failed to explain to the citizens and residents of the Central Region that the approximately eight years at the presidency, four of these as President Jerry John Rawlings' arch-lieutenant, and nearly another four years as substantive President of Ghana, had not enabled the recently deceased President John Evans Atta-Mills from moving the Central Region even one notch up the rungs closer to the most well-developed regions of the country.
In sum, the self-styled “Son-of-the-North” would have done himself and his supporters and sympathizers far better, if he had bluntly insulted the intelligence of the chiefs and people of the Central Region. Among the Akan ethnic sub-nationality, of which group the Fante and most residents of the Central Region are an integral part, there is a saying that “When Mr. Naked – or 'Kwatrekwa' – promises you a full-bolt of cloth, you had better listen to his name.” in the original Akan version of this maxim, the rhetorical subject, of course, is gender-neutral. In other words, what the highly educated citizens and people of Cape Coast and the Central Region, at large, ought to have asked the miracle-working prime beneficiary of “Paradigm-Shifts,” is why Mr. Mahama apparently finds it more expedient and appropriate to intensely focus on the material development of the Central Region, to the detriment of the equally materially impoverished Northern Region where he was born, and whose “proud son” he fanatically claims to be. And by the way, when Mr. Mahama slyly and plaintively observes the fact that the Central Region is “the third poorest in the country,” does he also bother to explain why this bleak state of affairs still prevails, in view of the inescapable fact that the Rawlings-led governments of the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have dominated the country's political landscape for most of the past three decades? And are the people of the Central Region not viscerally disturbed by the fact that almost every viable employment facility created by the Mahama-Arthur government, including the construction of the mausoleum in which rest the mortal remains of the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, appears to have been unreservedly ceded to Chinese architects, builders and technocrats, at the gaping expense of their equally competent and more culturally relevant and enlightened Ghanaian counterparts?
What I am critically and studiously driving at, here, is that the people of the Central Region which, incidentally, has the highest literacy rate of any region in the country, perhaps only closely contested and/or bested by the Greater-Accra Region, ought to beware of Chinese-backed Ghanaian politicians riding onto their festival grounds with lavishly caparisoned gift horses. For, needless to say, these horses may well shortly turn out to be Trojan horses.
*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 Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected]