On Friday, August 16, 2019, the news story appeared about the dynastic General-Secretary of Ghana’s main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), having graduated with a Master’s Degree in Defense and International Politics from the Ghana Armed Forces and Staff College (See “Bawumia Mocks ‘General Mosquito’ Over Acquisition of Master’s Degree in Defense and International Politics” GhanaNewsAgency.org / Ghanaweb.com 8/17/19). The event would still have made the banner news headlines, even if Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia had not been among the graduates. For one, it was one of the annual graduation ceremonies of a cardinal national security establishment. But even more significantly, the Special Guest of Honor for the ceremony was the Vice-President of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
Personally, I was drawn to this story by the headline verbal of “mock,” which the Ghana News Agency (GNA) editors decided to incorporate into the caption of the news item. I wanted to find out precisely why, other than for purposes of political banter or persiflage, Dr. Bawumia would have felt the occasion to have merited throwing a jab or two at the former Jerry John Rawlings-appointed Deputy Defense Minister. In the past, I have tried to figure out whether the former middle school math teacher had ever earned a first degree from any major tertiary academy or reputable university in the country with little success. In the last couple of days before his graduation with a Master’s Degree in Defense and International Politics became public knowledge, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia had reportedly been obliquely lobbying former President John Dramani Mahama, now Candidate Mahama, for the rather unenviable position of the latter’s Election 2020 presidential running-mate.
The position is patently unenviable, in view of the abysmal performance track-record of the Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress; and before that, the equally lackluster regime of the late President John Evans Atta-Mills. Unless, of course, the wiry man who is popularly and derisively called General Mosquito, like Mr. Mahama, also has high expectations of his immediate boss-to-be poised to kicking the bucket, literally speaking, somewhere along the line in order to make Mr. Asiedu-Nketia auspiciously succeed him as the second post-independence-born Ghanaian citizen to be anointed as the substantive NDC’s Presidential Candidate in the leadup to the 2020 Presidential Election. But, of course, this was not the first grist for a joke that flashed through my mind. Rather, it was the fact that Mr. Asiedu-Nketia had decided to take his Master’s Degree in Defense and International Politics well after the man had finished serving as Deputy Defense Minister.
Which means that the characteristic practice of the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress has routinely been to first acquire unmerited professional experience out of near-total ignorance and total inexperience; and then having acquired such untutored experience, proceed to acquire the requisite academic and professional preparation for the same. It is akin to putting the proverbial cart before the horse. I suspect there is a consensus long forged among the front-row membership of the National Democratic Congress that about the most expedient way for any them to acquire an easy or cheap post-graduate degree is to wait while their party is in power, and then register and show up for lectures a couple of times and do virtually nothing else and be awarded whatever degree it is that they direly crave to decorate their vitas / résumés in order to falsely assure themselves that they really got awarded their cabinet or executive portfolios purely on merit.
At 62 years old, or thereabouts, the man is already clinically brain dead, so I really don’t get that part of his widely reported joke, where Vice-President Bawumia was reported to have said that while General Mosquito had not selected “muscle training” as part of his coursework at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, nevertheless, the former Member of Parliament for Wenchi-West had decided to attend the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in order “to beef up the intellectual capacity of the National Democratic Congress.” I am at a complete loss here, because if the main political and policy agenda of Mr. Asiedu-Nketia’s boss, to wit, Candidate John Dramani Mahama, is “Boot-for-Boot” jungle warfare, the last political mediation tablet or liquid gel that Mr. Asiedu-Nketia ought to have ordered from the war doctors of the GAFCSC ought to have been brain-boosting vitamins.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
August 19, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
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