At a cabinet meeting, the Member of Parliament for Offinso North and then Minister of Trade, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, the Minister who has dominated the headlines for allegations of corruption for most of the nearly four years of NPP administration, pulled faces during discussions on issues by the Vice President Aliu.
He was laughing at his grammatical challenges. Apraku's dig at the Veep was so bad, that it developed into a rancorous altercation between him and Aliu's chief of staff, a lawyer from the Ashanti region, probably the only Southerner in his entire staff of nearly 49 (the figure may be more).
Many discerning people may have been concerned when Kwaku Sakyi-Addo raised the spectre of Vice Presidential debates with Dr. Baafour Agyeman Duah of the board of Graphic and Centre of Democracy and Democracy (CDD). That prospect may see Aliu drawn into a single's match on his own without help, without white flags.
The performance of Mumuni, a ranking member for legal, constitutional and Parliamentary Affair and his television and radio panel discussions, have convinced even the naysayers that he is in the very top league.
A home brewed lawyer with both academic and professional qualifications of distinction, Mumuni will even make NPP's 'brofo wura' Nana Addo squirm. In the tennis court with Aliu, it will be a massacre judging from the Veep's predilection. He is prone to injury - a slip here, a slip there- though over the years, he has improved considerably, and Apraku's wicked jabs may no longer be valid.
Mumuni's tenure as Minister of Social Welfare and Employment did not generate a whiff of scandal. Only the Frank Boahene's Free Press quoting ' a prominent NDC member who wants to remain anonymous' tried to sully an otherwise unsullied reputation. (Free Press September 24- 30 edition: MUMUNI -AN UNWISE CHOICE).
The allegation which this paper will not repeat because of its potentially libellous implications, concluded with the unpardonable and unacceptable conclusion that - 'attempts to get Alhaji Mumuni to comment on this story failed as his mobile phone was switched off or out of coverage area.'
Mumuni, like his typical Fante partner, is a 'pepe' man - straight and proper.
He is not known to be endowed with a wallet, and his Ministry was not a particularly juicy Ministry like Roads and Highways or Transport where temptation to receive and extract 'thank you' pledges are common place. Ato Quarshie is on the dock, and Anane may be headed for the dock in 2009 if the mass of dossier being gathered by many produces enough for the AMOSA alumnus to face a tribunal of facts. But there is little doubt that Mumuni is not the type that would have yielded to the temptations.
The Vice President may not necessarily be free of all guile. He has been mentioned too many times and as the NPP chairman, Haruna Esseku, said in Kumasi, perception of corruption these days is often as important than reality.
Like a bloodhound that has sniffed out a quarry, Dr. Josiah Aryeh himself, a superior wordsmith and game fighter (University of London et al), told Kwaku on Joy FM on Friday that he hoped that there would be not just one, but also a series of Vice Presidential debates. Bad boy Aryeh! Aliu's minder par excellence Andrews Awuni may do well to advise Alhaji Aliu to steer clear of Alhaji Mumuni's ferocious forehand loops. He can say in Frafra to his constituents or in Hausa or Dagbon and to the Southerners - "It is not by force." Else if the loop catches him, it might force the match into deuce, and the opposition which is gathering momentum may pounce. This is a very distant possibility, but in politics, anything can happen.
West Africa Ghana Crime and Corruption
Mumuni will probably bring more to the table than expected of a Veep. Though Aliu is working very hard and has improved his personal profile, the crisis in Dagbon occasioned by the murder of the YaNa, the perception of corruption - and it is only a perception (he owns a construction company Lidra, which is still winning contracts all over the place), his slightly dim skills of delivery on the soap box, are such as to have propelled a campaign even within the NPP, championed publicly by Victor Newman, a known analyst, to drop him as running mate even for 2004. He had to fight back by going the extra mile in practice sessions to gain acceptance from his doubles partner.
Aliu compared to Mumuni will not add much, but crumbs, if any, to the votes. It still leaves Jack to do all the work.