Is Akufo-Addo Running Away From The Presidency?
Not too long ago, some media platforms covered the traditional investiture of our newest Commander-In-Chief, President Akufo-Addo. They reported the following news:
“The Chiefs of Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area have honoured the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo by enstooling him as a Chief at a durbar held at Mantse Agbona, Jamestown in Accra.
“President Akufo-Addo was given the stool name ‘Nii Kwaku Ablade Okogyeaman I,’ to wit ‘Royal Warrior; One who fights to redeem his people.’
“He was given the name by the paramount chief of the Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area, Oblempong Nii Kojo Ababio…Explaining the rationale for the enstoolment, Oblempong Nii Kojo Ababio, stated that Akufo-Addo was honoured because of his career as a human rights lawyer and an advocate of the Rule of Law which he said was indicative of a man who has the welfare of Ghana at heart…”
WE FACE AN ORWELLIAN DILEMMA AS A NATION IN THE PERSON OF AKUFO-ADDO
“A chief shall not take part in active party politics; and any chief wishing to do so and seeking election to Parliament shall abdicate his stool or skin” (Section (1), Article 276, 1992 Constitution).
Our president is already showing signs of fatigue as the occupant of the Flagstaff House.
Therefore he will rather not stay behind in his comfortable palatial dungeon, the Flagstaff House, than concentrate on the work entrusted to him by the teeming generosity of Ghanaians who are caught up in the paralyzing shackles of the country’s duopolistic kleptomania.
This work is no doubt onerous, an assignment requiring a strategy of focused imagination, an investment of conscionable character in patriotic politicking, and an ideological dedication to the progressive tenets of nation-building.
It appears gallivanting around offers him some hopeful respite from the weighty demands of presidency.
This is an infant government—of course, an infant government with all the trappings of boastful, slothful elderliness of tigerish thoughtfulness and pretentious boldness in claiming actionable accomplishments for itself, and itself alone.
An infant government grossly mistaken for the grey hair of tactical and strategic wisdom and meritocratic, technocratic excellence when, in fact, these assertive qualities are merely a classic symptomatology of Nkrumah’s “action without thought is empty. Thought without action is blind.”
Akufo-Addo, the character mask behind this infant government, therefore becomes a simplified personification of Wole Soyinka’s “A tiger does not proclaim his tigritude, he pounces.” Yet, whether this infant government is truly empty or blind in the life of its formative assertiveness, is a daring question better left to the adjudicative preserve, jurisdiction and dictates of time.
But then again an infant government whose constitution, with all of its trappings of seeming conscious patriotism, is only as good as its publicity stunts which are in turn also clearly defined, if not strategically and tactically characterized, by an inviting aroma of rhetorical bombast and infantile ego.
This inviting aroma of rhetorical bombast the teeming generality of gullible Ghanaians easily buys into.
One of such publicity stunts is when the president assuredly told the people of Jamestown that the government of which he heads, will make Accra “the cleanest city on the entire African continent.” This was what the president reportedly said:
“The commitment I want to make, and for all of us to make, is that by the end of my term in office, Accra will be the cleanest city on the entire African continent. That is the commitment I am making.
Excellent commitment, at least in theory!
Put simply, the president is not defining his absolute commitment to cleaning up Accra and making it the cleanest on the African continent an instantiation of exclusive entitlement.
Rather, he is enjoining the teeming generality of Ghanaians to pursue that noble and progressive commitment from the point of view of collective responsibility.
All good thus far except that he, President Akufo-Addo, is a stinking bombshell of irreconcilable contradictions.
For instance his inaugural speech contains some elements of hopeful apocalypse, his outright rejection of “Third World standards” in favor of “First World standards.”
Yet the speech has notable plagiarized parts, an instance of what he calls “Third World standards.”
This same Orwellian preacher of a president tendentiously preaches peace when he deems it fit, when his All-Die-Be-Die electioneering- and sloganeering-intimidation tactics have woefully failed to win popular sovereignty over to his side, and then when nothing else seems to work he and his closest friends readily resort to every tactical ploy to win political power by any means necessary.
This has included unleashing the barking packs of rabid bloodhounds—the Invincible Forces and the Delta Force—on Ghanaians.
We may recall the scheming leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) secreting Serbian and South African mercenaries into the country to train the ragtag members of these vigilante groups.
The South Africans knew this and yet went ahead to award him an honorary doctorate. For what? We don’t know. What we do know in fact is that the citation for the honorary doctorate, somewhat strongly takes after the substance of attribution regarding what the Chiefs of Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area see in Akufo-Addo. Their rhetorical citation says in part that Akufo-Addo is:
“A human rights lawyer and an advocate of the rule of law.”
All indications are that Akufo-Addo is the very antithesis of the rule of law.
Perhaps, the Chiefs of Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area were merely pampering Akufo-Addo to, as a matter of urgency, absorb Jamestown into his Inner City and Zongo Development Ministry.
Jamestown, of America, the United States, of the State of Virginia, was where the modern conception of slavery in the United States is believed to have been formalized or institutionalized. Read this (courtesy of the “National Park Service”):
“The institution of slavery slowly crept into Virginia legislation. By 1660, slavery as we think of it today was established in Virginia.”
John Punch, possibly an enslaved African ancestor of ex-President Barack Obama’s Caucasian mother, was associated with the State of Virginia, a man widely identified with the onset of the institution of slavery in colonial America.
In light of the latter assertion, the symbolic squalor of Ghana’s Jamestown is striking, even somewhat comparable to the moral squalor which chattel slavery occasioned.
This comparable striking symbolism, however, may be exaggerated but this observation does not in any way cast Akufo-Addo in the same light as Ralph Bunche, a Noble Laureate (Peace), a possible descendant of John Punch, or as the long-awaited savior of Ghana’s deprived communities including Jamestown, which merely exists on the periphery of Akufo-Addo’s Inner City and Zongo Development Ministry.
AKUFO-ADDO, A SPECTACULAR ENIGMA OF POLITICAL CONFUSION
Is Akufo-Addo a peacemaker, a savior, or a slaver, that is, a slave driver? The Chiefs of Ngleshie Alata Traditional did not exactly say. But we do know what Bob Marley got to say about “Slave Driver.” Hear ye him as he sang:
“The table has turned…catch a fire
“You're going to get burned…
“Every time I hear the crack of a whip
“My blood runs cold
“I remember on the slave ship
“How they brutalize our very souls
“Today they say that we are free
“Only to be chained in poverty
“Good God, I think it's illiteracy
“It's only a machine that make money…
That machine is the atmospheric slave ship of Ghana’s duopolistic kleptomania which only churns out money for the ruling elites, while Ghanaians continue to bear the social, economic and political pain from the crack of a whip which the likes of slaver driver Akufo-Addo wield. Our visionless leaders including Akufo-Addo have virtually turned Ghana into a slave ship.
In fact Akufo-Addo’s manner of preachifying stupor is becoming a sermonizing bore. Yes, some of us can tolerate his colorful laundry of hopeful speeches and sermonizing deserving of a millenarian leader who promised to transform his country in eighteen (18) months. Thus, he should get busy and stop sitting on his ass.
But Akufo-Addo, a human rights lawyer? Where? In Ghana?
Certainly all these characteristic titular appellations require categorical qualifications with a certain degree of provable openness, which, in our opinion, are lacking for practical reasons and for other reasons dictated by the existential facts of our ongoing political history. Akufo-Addo’s Kumi Preko led to the unfortunate murder of a fourteen-year-old boy, Richard Aminga, Jerry Opey, and Kwabena Asante.
Then came the political opportunist Nyaho Tamakloe, a leading member of the NPP who reminded the world about Akufo-Addo’s neglect of the victims of his Kumi Preko when he, namely, the latter, was a member of the Kufuor government, an extremely corrupt government in Ghana’s recent political history.
Advocate of the rule of law? Where? In Ghana?
Did this man, this so-called advocate of the rule of law, and a mollycoddle to boot, have the moral temerity to even question the underlying basis of the parody of justice that eventually saw a court letting members of the Delta Force on trial literally off the hook?
Now, Attorney General Gloria Akuffo is said to have dropped its case against the eight (8) members of the Delta Force supposedly for lack of evidence, and this, ironically, after these hooligans and vigilantes had allegedly stormed the Kumasi Circuit Court and freed their colleagues on trial, and in the process vandalized court property, nearly lynching the sitting judge.
Here, Kweku Baako could be right in his layman’s view that the Attorney General’s decision is indeed “politically unwise.” But given his uncompromising sympathies for the NPP, one is at pains to vouch for his credibility in respect of his conclusions. Well, unauthorized spokespersons from Martin Amidu to Ace Ankomah cannot fool anyone with their post-mortem interrogation and analyses in the matter of the swift discharge of this serious national security question. The two could as well be, after all, as ignorant as the general public with regard to the intricate political dynamics of the case.
There is something woefully amiss and fishy about this matter that we cannot seem to put our fingers on. It is highly possible or likely that persons involved in prosecuting this matter, including potential witnesses and law enforcement personnel, may have seriously been compromised. Political interference and outright bribery are another. Our suspicion at this point is that the NPP’s deep state is at work.
The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Ministry of Justice & Attorney General’s Department, and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) should look into this matter which must not be left to the exclusive intellectual and hypothetical discretions of the likes of partisan critics such as Amidu and Ankomah.The two may have correctly read the docket outlining why the matter was summarily dismissed and yet the possibility also exists that they still may not have been privy to the political pressure and behind-the-scenes workings that eventually led to the controversial discharge of the case in a court of law.
Yet, no sooner had a Kumasi-based Principal State Attorney Madam Marie Louis Simons dropped the charges against the defendants than the Attorney General’s Office rubbished its purported behind-the-scenes involvement in the sudden adjudicative discontinuation of this high-profile case, the same Attorney General’s Office that had pleaded ignorance of possible conflict of interest in the recent bond sale under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, and Trevor Trefgarne.
And absolutely no one can convince us Akufo-Addo is unaware of these seeming paradoxes or contradictions in policy strategies and tactics. It may be simply a matter of the abject failure of partisan diplomacy and visionless manipulation of the judiciary for purposes of political advantage. It is therefore not surprising that those corrupt judges Anas Aremeyaw Anas buried for good beneath the Sisyphean weight of his skillful investigational sleuthing have been resurrected under the “advocate of the Rule of Law,” so-called, Akufo-Addo. This is the change we voted for!
This is also what Akufo-Addo referred to in his plagiarized speech as “Third World Standard.” That is to say, his “Third World Standards” have come to stay. No wonder he wants to be a chief rather than a president. The moral tragedy of Montie 3 is back again in our politics in full swing, with a strong precedential implications for social and political anarchy, even civil war possibly in the long run.
The character mask called Akufo-Addo is a grand master of deceitful politicking.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: SOME CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES
All these narrative assessments of our political situation do not answer the following pertinent questions for us:
- Is Akufo-Addo’s government going to be the cleanest government on the entire African continent?
- If the 1992 Constitution bans chiefs from playing active party politics, why mustn’t the same constitutional stipulation frown upon politicians playing active chieftaincy politics?
- Was Kweku Baako right when he said, “Any chief who has gone out there to categorically endorse a president is not wise. No wise chief speaks that way”?
- What do we make of Baako’s observation in the context of the following, that “Notwithstanding clause (1) of this article and paragraph (c) of clause (3) of Article 94 of this Constitution, a chief may be appointed to any public office for which he is otherwise qualified”? How do we reconcile the two?
- When is Akufo-Addo coming out with his list of cabinet members for Ghanaians to hold his government accountable?
- Is Akufo-Addo willing to take up the challenge posed by Tamakloe’s high-handed criticism of Akufo-Addo’s leadership, where the latter reaches out to the victims of “Kumi Preko” and sets things right?
- Is Akufo-Addo willing to accept invitations from the other regions, nine in total, for enstoolment, particularly in those regions where he has not been enstooled yet?
- Why does Akufo-Addo want to be a chief rather than a president?
- Is a chief a president? Or vice versa?
- Why is Akufo-Addo already showing the classic symptoms of presidential fatigue? And why is his infant government embroiled in shameful acts of cronyism and nepotism?
- Is it possible that Akufo-Addo may have reached out to these victims already although public knowledge may not have captured it yet?
We posed the last question particularly knowing that, of course, diplomacy is a complex undertaking which is not always a public affair. Sometimes it is done in absolute secrecy, behind closed doors.
Still, Akufo-Addo did not hesitate paying his respects to the charlatan and ethnocentric political theologian, Rev. Owusu Bempah!
Regardless of all the above, we have it on authority that the victims’ families have not come out to contradict Tamakloe’s public criticism of Akufo-Addo.
This is very important as we continue to assess the moral and political personality of the Akufo-Addo government from the little information we have.
Finally, Tamakloe, a rather sophisticated endorser of crony capitalism and nepotism, indicted Akufo-Addo in the following harsh words:
“Politics needs to be done with open mind and open heart because you are dealing human beings. I will never and ever allow anybody to take me for a ride in my life.”
We do not need a bully pulpit of hopeful preachifying and sanctimonious sermonizing from our leaders but rather practical, implementable, cost-effective actionable ideas, vision and foresight. Thus, Akufo-Addo must know that the basics of political practice on the one hand and the central dogma of democracy and theory on the other hand are poles apart in many an important instance. This “try-me-too” milquetoast of a president has a formidable task in front of him and his administration.
We can therefore understand Kennedy Agyapong’s impatience and frustration with the leadership of his own party, and why he has also reportedly been pushing Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia to make a paradigm shift from his sluggish thinking and tactical overreliance on theoretical approach to the human condition, to pragmatic considerations of social justice, job creation, and economic recovery for the vast majority of Ghanaians. Asiedu Nketsia, on the other hand, has made a formal appeal to the Akufo-Addo administration to use Woyome’s judgment debt to support its starving budget.
What then are we waiting for, if we may ask? Even so the distortion or mismatch between the vast potential of Ghana’s wealth and the paralyzing poverty of the masses, largely occasioned by poor leadership, is unacceptable by any stretch of the imagination. Akufo-Addo cannot therefore afford to widen this mismatch further via his Akan-dominated galamsey politics. All these lingering questions call for a sustainable radical revolution—not a dogmatic revolution—in our collective thinking, the kind of cathartic revolution designed to awaken us from what Bob Marley appropriately called “sleepless slumber.”
Selflessness, patriotic citizenship, technocratic and moral competence, social justice and gender equality, vigorous pursuit of comparative advantage and pragmatic nationalism, doing away with inferiority and dependency complexes and overreliance on foreign aid, scientific and technological advancement, environmental consciousness, fighting institutional corruption and poverty and superstition and religiosity, building better and stronger institutions, and industrial development clearly should define the complex underlying infrastructure of the kind of radical revolution we are calling for.
Yes, Nkrumah’s corpse will no doubt do a better job at nation-building than these walking-dead giants we call our leaders. Granted, we should emphasize that of all the leaders we have had in the Fourth Republic Akufo-Addo appears to have the greatest burden of responsibility given his electioneering promise to transform Ghana in just eighteen months. Thus he must therefore turn things around, and that is to say he must do right by his people and by the nation, for he has no excuse to fail. He must turn the precedential failures of Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills, and Mahama into teachable strengths. See what Lucky Dube’s “Teach the World” has for all of us in terms of nation-building:
“It takes a million people
“To build up a good reputation
“But it takes one stupid fool
“To destroy everything they done….
“Take it upon yourself
“To restore your nation's dignity
We need a pragmatic and vibrant presidency, rather than a dogmatic chief who also easily passes for a scheming political theologian and an ethnocentric hegemonist, to bring Dube’s grand vision to material reality! “Wake Up and Live” was how the late international reggae superstar Bob Marley put it!
We shall return…
Ghanaweb. “Akufo-Addo Enstooled Chief At Jamestown.” April 23, 2017.
Modernghana. “Arthur Kennedy Writes: The Costs of Freedom.” May 12, 2017.
Ghanaweb. “Akufo-Addo Neglected ‘Kumi Preko’ Victims—Nyaho.” May 12, 2016.
Ghanaweb. “Chiefs Who Endorse Presidents Are Not Wise—Baako.” April 20, 2016.
Enoch Darfah Frimpong & Mohammed Ali. “Why Chiefs Should Not Engage In Partisan Politics.” Graphic Online. December 16, 2016.
Ghanaweb. “Unaware Of Discontinuation of Delta 8 Case—Government.” May 18, 2017.
Ghanaweb. “Ken Agyapong Losing Hope in Bawumia.” May 17, 2017.
Ghanaweb. “Freeing Delta 8 ‘Politically Impudent—Kweku Baako.” May 17, 2017.
National Park Service. “The Royal African Company—Supplying Slaves To Jamestown.” Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/the-royal-african-company-supplying-slaves-to-jamestown.htm
Ghanaweb. “AG Drops Charges Against 8 Delta Force Court Raiders.” May 17, 2017.
Martin Amidu. “The legal Advice On The 8 Alleged Delta Force Members Is Unassailable.” Ghanaweb. May 19, 2017.
Ghanaweb. “Retrieve Woyome’s Money to Fix Economy—Asiedu Nketsia to Akufo-Addo.” May 17, 2017.
Ace Ankomah. “Evidence (Even False Evidence) Beats Truth If Truth Has No Evidence.” Ghanaweb. May 17, 2017
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Francis Kwarteng and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana.