Takoradi, May 6 (Palaver) -- The NPP MP for Assin North, Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, considered a maverick by many of the Ashanti members and supporters of the party, last week stirred the hornet's nest by stating on Takoradi Good News FM that former President Jerry John Rawlings may have been right after all in comparing President John Agyekum Kufuor to Ataa Ayi, the notorious armed robbed currently in the grips of the police.
It will be recalled that at the end of the "Wahala 2" March in Accra last March, former President Rawlings joined a section of the crowd to sing the now-famous couplet, "Ataa Ayi nie, Kufuor nie——Awi nie, Kufuor nie——Koromfoo nie, Kufuor nie——Ya Na Ti nie, Kufuor nie——".
JJ's comparison sent NPP apparatchiks into fits of apoplexy, exuding the most foul, vile, filthy and vulgar of abuses and language against the former President and competing among themselves as to who could surpass all when it came to insulting Rawlings, with the senile, old buffoon of a National Chairman Haruna Esseku, leading the pack.
The comparison was also the subject matter of a most provocative, hypocritical, one-sided and biased pastoral letter by four members of the Ghanaian Christian community who have since come to be known as the "Christian Gang of Four".
The public reaction to the pastoral letter was so violent and the outcome so counter-productive that the members of the "Gang of Four" have since recoiled into their shells, presumably praying to the Lord to "let this cup passeth us over".
It is into this controversy that Hon. Kennedy Agyapong waded, telling his listeners that today, Jerry Rawlings can compare President Kufuor to Ataa Ayi because the President has appointed "a criminal" like Isaac Edumadze, who is worse than Ataa Ayi, as a Minister.
In a "no holds barred" interview, Kennedy Agyapong asked his listeners how many jobs the NPP has been able to create since it came into power.
"Zilch", he answered for himself, and instead of dealing with the problem of joblessness, NPP DCEs are rather going about demolishing traders' shops and stalls without any attempt to resettle them and adding to the unemployment problem.
Kennedy Agyapong said he had twice in 2001 and 2005 refused offers of ministerial appointment by President Kufuor, because he was quite capable of looking after himself.
"I am a shrewd businessman. I have over 1,040 workers. Before the NPP, I was surviving, and I will survive with or without the NPP".
In apparent reference to inner Party critics who have been pushing for his resignation or dismissal from the party, he said if he were not wanted in the NPP, he would gladly leave and that he didn't owe his existence to anybody.
He was of the view that NPP officials are abusing the power that they are wielding, but that power is very temporary, for four years only, and cautioned them to be very careful else they would be soundly thrashed in 2008.
Kennedy Agyapong admitted that the NPP was on the defensive after only four months into its second term because "my people do not speak the truth. There are also some people who do not deserve to be Ministers but who have been made Ministers", he said.
According to Mr. Agyapong, governance is not book knowledge alone and that experience is also important. He said he was a well-travelled person, and from his experiences, he had identified tourism as the magic wand for Ghana's economic revival.
He recounted his experience of the South African tourism industry, and lamented that instead of the NPP Government putting money into the tourism sector, it was rather releasing monies in bits and pieces of ¢500,000 and ¢1 million to women through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, knowing very well that those monies would never be repaid and in any case couldn't be used to start any meaningful economic or business ventures.
Mr. Agyapong criticised the NPP as having no vision and wondered how any party with a vision could have US$2 million as its total budget allocation for tourism, when South Africa was using proceeds from tourism to finance education.
He also advocated for major public works as an employment opening area, since it will give jobs to artisans and even the unskilled, adding, "if we do not get our priorities right, we will pay dearly for it in 2008".
Mr. Agyapong decried the Ghanaian "Pull Him Down" attitude, and recollected how UN Secretary General Kofi Anna was frustrated when he came down to Ghana prior to his present position to work with the then Ghana Tourist Development Corporation. He also referred to Ashanti-Anglogold's Sam Jonah and how revered he is in South Africa. "Now people listen to them when they speak", Kennedy Agyapong added.
Speaking for himself, the Assin North NPP MP stated, "I lose nothing if I leave today. I have no ambition to be a Minister. I have my American Green Card".