Feature Article of Saturday, 28 July 2012
Columnist: Appiah, Kofi
– Part 1
It is with a heavy heart and sullen mood that I write this piece. This belated article should have been published a week ago but for the (dum so, dum so) fluctuating nature of power from VRA/ECG to my area that has disrupted it from being published till date until the unexpected demise of the late president, Prof. John Mills on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, only three days after he had celebrated his 68th birthday party at the Osu Castle. I hope readers and all Ghanaians alike would join me to express our profound shock to the bereaved family, the surviving wife, Dr. Naadu Mills, the NDC fraternity, all Ghanaians and the world at large during the period of our grief. Please read on as his sudden death has been unprecedented in our political history from the colonial era.
Once upon a time, there lived a man whose children were habitual wrong-doers but dared not say a word about the evil deed because they were the bread-winners. This naughty behaviour went on for years and their mother thought it was the prerogative right and responsibility of the man to invoke his supreme authority in the household. Friends and foes of this queer family dared not make any moves to get so close to counsel them for a change because the mother was more than a nursing tigress until things went out of hand for both naughty children to be caught up with the law for failing to stamp their authority in the house.
These untouchable children were eventually arrested and prosecuted on charges of conspiracy for attempting to rape, rape and defilement of a minor and these charges were however tantamount to conviction for a period of jail term not exceeding 30 years each with hard labour and/or including a fine not exceeding Gh?10,000.00 each or both. If they pleaded guilty, the fine would be applicable. However, if they wizened up and pleaded not guilty, the gargantuan fine of above sum would be quashed for them save the jail term. It was not until the two young men who had grown from worse to worst because of bad habits had been arraigned before a competent court of jurisdiction that this “I see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” old man tried to make approaches to some eyes of the town to try and consult with the judge who was to sit on the case, but alas, it was too late. Time had actually run out. Luck had eluded them; luck was not on their side. These men were to be jailed as a result of the gravity of their case as well as the several warnings and verbal caution given them by the lower courts for being villains of the peace in their neighbourhood. This horrible and incorrigible behaviour could easily be likened to the biblical days of Eli and his two notorious sons (Hophni and Phinehas) who never heeded any advice until they were caught up, torn apiece and eaten up by some terrible hungry bears from nowhere in the Old Testament times of the Bible.
The current events of the unprecedented era of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills-John Mahama’s government of Better Ghana Agenda are akin to the above scenario and the proverbial Akan saying that “se wo mma koso we nanka na se wankasa ankyere won ammma woanyae a, se yebu nanka wefoo a wo nso woka ho” to wit, if you fail to discipline your child and decide to spare the rod all the time, ill-fate befalls the whole family when it strikes. Of late, the “notorious”, ubiquitous and incorrigible friend Okudzeto Ablakwa had for some time now arrogated special powers onto himself that during the days of Madam Zita Okaikwei as the substantive sector Minister of Information, he assumed the self-styled position of minister. Even though, Jimmy Agyenim Boateng was Sammy’s colleague deputy there; as usual, Okudzeto, whether by voodoo or whatever means, usurped the powers of Zita to speak for and on behalf of the ministry and nobody could give a hoot unless and of course, the Omanhene tells me I should mind my own business – I should “dzi me fie asem”. After a ministerial blunder by Sammy, Zita, the sector minister, became the casualty and scapegoat to be sent to the oblivion. As if by design or default, all his sector ministers have been tamed by him. Who says, African politics does not have some under-current voodooism or electronics to back him otherwise, how come the inaction on the part of his superiors?” Now to date, nobody has the nerves or guts or do I say, two balls in-between the thighs to caution him for the series of embarrassment. Then was the turn of poor, stammering John Akologo Tia, as the replacement for Zita. Samuel’s conduct and character at the same ministry, however, never changed and will never ever change for the better. He harassed and manipulated his way until he too was changed. The place he was relocated, only God knows whether he is even effective. Then came the turn of the indefatigable age old media maestro, experienced, tried and tested media mogul, Fritz Baffour, who had been churned out through the mill and media furnace. Fritz Baffour, the son of the famous late Dr. Ing. R.P. Baffour, one time capo of the Department of Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, was luckily appointed to take up the hot seat as the third successive minister in three years. Do we still remember him as host of GTV programme of yesteryears dubbed, ‘Greetings from Abroad’? That Saturday night programme shot him up to fame in the 80s and 90s. But, before one could say, Jack, where are you, Sammy was at it again. To the dismay and bewilderment of Fritz, he has not been able to organize as the super DJ at the government spinning machinery centre, but, again, the countless number of times as before, this chatterbox Ablakwa, set himself up. Just last Monday, July 16, 2012, he managed to commandeer all state resources to organize yet a press soiree by hoodwinking the government rented press and other sympathetic ones at the expense of the poor Ghanaian tax payer to ensure he moved the heavens to the earth to impugn and denigrate the credibility of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo at all cost by smearing him with judgment debt. Again, that trivial propaganda backfired. Sammy looks like a drowning man you know, so if he found any tiny object like a straw in a flooded river, he would cling to it no matter the consequences. What is he up to at all, one may dare ask? Could it be a truism that the alleged $100,000 Toyota Land Cruiser purchased for his wife was his ‘shared bonus or thank you handshake’ from judgment debt collection contractual business embarked upon lately for and on behalf of the Construction Pioneers (CP), the African Automobile Limited, the Isofoton company, the Waterville fiasco, the unbeatable, but gargantuan Woyome Gate Scandal et cetera that was why he has relegated the official ministerial function to the background and opted for the juicy ones? Why delight in debt collection galore like the biblical Zacchaeus and wonder whether he would repay fourfold to the Republic if caught pants down?
As if hypnotized by Jezebel’s devilish prowess, this, same fork-like teeth minor, who has not worked before until this rosy one as deputy minister, has arrogated to himself, the usual usurping powers to out-jump and outclass his sector minister, Fritz Baffour for the third consecutive time. Is this by magical means? Not only that, he continues to harp on the express instructions of the proponents of the Better Ghana Agenda (John I and John II) to ensure all judgment debts that have been sighted from the days of Lord Listowel, the last Governor of the Gold Coast, to date were paid before exiting office. Mr. President, as tax law expert, why have you decided to settle all judgment debts before leaving office? Do these developments lend credence to some backhand or cordial handshakes? But in view of all these, has anybody come up with, or heard of any query at all from the government circles concerning the strange misdemeanor of this contemporary chatterbox? Fritz, are you there? Did you get that message copied okay? Are you also being revered and worshipped as a “Simpa Panyin” of old (another latter day ‘knighted’ Winneba Elder)? Haaba! Egya Atta, for Christ sake, how long would you look on unconcerned without attempting to have the use of the whip? Wokasa a, wo bewu, se w’ankasa nso koraa a, wo bewu, so why the long awaited feet dragging? It is you that Ghanaians would blame the most not him. So talk, talk, talk! Whether you talk or decide to keep mute and remain quiet, death is however inevitable. Death has been no respecter of persons from the days of Adam till now and will continue in perpetuity to have no respect for any mortal man born of woman. I have spoken my mind and damn the consequences.
Where has he been all this while? Where was our revered Excellency the President after the public appearance at the airport when he tried jogging on arrival at the tarmac? From where did he resurface to commission the Mamprobi cluster of schools? Why did he delay for Okudzeto to disgrace him with yet another catastrophic bombshell? Did he want to prove to the countless number of doubting Thomases that once again, he was on his feet like the Opapo, the billy-goat, courtesy, Kofi Owusu Bempah of Fonkar fame, and ready for say, only one round with Mike Tyson in the ring with his hands tied at his back? Mr. President, my dear Chief Executive, the Holy Scriptures say, the soul is willing, but the flesh is weak. Please forget about all Ghanaians especially those around you still urging you with words of encouragement to go on fighting and fiddle with your life. Your Excellency, please don’t you try to put up appearances that you are well and all was well with you by way of your health. Never downplay Nature. Even though the author was not a medical doctor; from the microscopic and telescopic lenses as well as from the layman’s critical analysis of your person and physical appearance on stage, i.e. your arrival back from the U.S. and the school block commissioning at Mamprobi, Accra, and the sudden unavoidable change in your voice, it was quite evident and testamentary enough that you were too sick and needed not be pretentious to play the ostrich that you were not sick and could even jog on the red carpet at the airport. Accept in good faith Sir, that, you are sick and cannot continue with the 5-month political journey ahead of you any longer. By: Kofi Appiah: firstname.lastname@example.org
TEARS OR NO TEARS, THE DAY OF RECKONING DRAWS NEARER – PART 2
Readers should continue reading from part 1 of this article to be able to make an informed opinion. Thank you.
Please permit me to say that you would do yourself good if you retired honourably to give special attention to your health; more especially, the dying soul and relegated the governance of this nation to the background. At any rate, your name will forever be printed or written in gold as a former president of Ghana viz, January 7, 2009 to January 6, 2013 with all the attendant perks and fringe benefits/emoluments to be paid to you till death. For you, it must be your health first before Ghana was added onto the busy work schedule. The proverbial Akan saying that “Mmaa kamfo wo dua foro no, na w’akyakya na yeepe” to wit, more often than not, the moment many women start praising you as a professional tree climber, the sooner they craved for your becoming a hump-back to shy away from public appearances. The NDC too would do you a big favour if you allowed them to organize fresh primaries to get a healthier professor as your substitute if you so wish so that there wasn’t any creation of political professorial vaccum. Prof., this is plain talk and the author doesn’t intend to be insulting nor being branded as doomsday prophet. The author wants your well being. After all, when the going became tough for Floyd Klutei Robertson in the 70s during a featherweight boxing encounter for title belt with the hard-hitting, notorious Sugar Ramos of Cuba at the former’s backyard, i.e. at the then Accra Sports Stadium, he never shied away to throw in the towel to save his skin but his ring corner supporters kept urging him on to fight just as you’re being flattered to stay on and ‘finish hard’. Incidentally, while the supporters tried to encourage him to fight on, he repeatedly retreated in spirit and kept saying in the Ga (Accra) language, “Ngyaa, ngyaa”, meaning, I won’t go, I won’t go, probably, to be humiliated and disgraced before his own countrymen or meet his death. While the Ghanaian supporters felt it was a taboo for Sugar Ramos to come and beat him in his own backyard and take the prestigious belt away to Cuba, his managers urged him on to continue fighting even at the peril of his life but he thought otherwise. Because he was wise and smarter enough, he quickly decided never to return into the ring to be battered to death by the free punching Ramos of Cuba. I hope I am right, Lawyer Foe Amoaning, because you seem to know best and quite a lot about the chronology of events concerning the a-z of world boxing than most Ghanaians do. Prof., if you cannot preach like Paul, or be able to raise a modern day Lazarus from death like Jesus, at least, you can say Jesus died for all sinners and quit politics altogether. That would be the wisest decision ever to be taken by you and trust you would adhere to that. My theorem has always proved right just as the old adage says “suro nea oben woo” i.e. the friends closest to you do you the most harm and think the good old professor would humbly take a cue from that.
The D-day, Friday, December 7, 2012 is getting closer by the hour mark. Your health and strength for the 5-month hectic electioneering campaign are of paramount concern to me, so please, rethink and shame the devil – especially those ‘gargantuan bank-rollers’. All those surrounding you and urging you on to still keep fighting like Floyd Klutei Robertson of yesteryears are your greatest enemies but not Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP fraternity. The colloquial Akan adage is that, ‘Animguasee mfata Akan ni ba’, Obenfo, ‘dabi, wo bekae me na wato me boo’ – i.e. Prof., total disgrace/humiliation does not befit an Akan born; so one day, not too far distant from now, you will certainly remember me that I told you so. Your health is of prime importance to you first and foremost before the Ghana “dwendwene”. Start talking, speak, speak, speak and be heard. Start reprimanding the offenders in your camp for wrong-doing – the Nii Lante Vanderpuyes, the Okudzeto Ablakwas, the Omane Boamahs, the Baba Jamals, the Kwadwo Twum Boafoes, the Ebo Barton Odros, the Kwabena Duffuors, et cetera, et cetera. You came to meet Ghana and certainly, will leave it behind. Never shield wrongdoers a minute; forget about stepping on people’s toes; allow the law to take its own course and those needing jail sentences, be prosecuted, convicted and sent to jail so that you are exonerated one day. Don’t be too obstinate as if governance was like lectureship at the varsity campus, otherwise, you will be made a scapegoat like the biblical Aachan when he defiantly stole some fattened sheep with the pretext that he was to sacrifice them after Israel’s victory over their enemies. Chastise the corruptible ministers and party activists alike; never ever spare the rod. You know that eventually when Aachan was found out to be in possession of the sheep after the rigorous camp tent search, he was spared no mercy at all but stoned to death to pacify the Lord, and save his compatriots from the wrath of God for being disobedient to obey simple specific express instructions.
CROCODILE TEARS, HUMBLE PLEA AND POSITIVE DEFIANCE
After all, the crocodile tears seen flowing down the cheeks of Beauty ‘Pageant’ Betty Mould before the Public Accounts Committee last Wednesday, July 18, 2012, were a mere camouflage to attract public sympathy. I earnestly entreat and implore the PAC to think Ghana first and do their work conscientiously devoid of fear or favour. Posterity will judge you Hon. Albert Kan Dapaah and your Team (made up of Hons. Kwaku Agyeman Duah, Kwabena Appiah-Pinkrah, Isaac Asiamah, Alh. Karim etc.), if you tampered justice with mercy. What did Ghanaians wake up to see or hear recently? That ex-President Jerry Rawlings ‘who, probably, has become a barking dog and a villain of the peace in his own backyard and declared “persona non grata” by NDC, was urgently needed at the seat of government. For what, one may dare ask? News filtered through that the Castle Press Corps would have scored full marks if Jerry had met the appointed time. But smart as he has always been, he exhibited some art of positive defiance and intentionally delayed the appointment only to outwit the press corps who had garnered their press house machines for the next day’s huge sales with banner headlines such as “Jerry’s triumphal entry at the Osu Castle”, Jerry on Reconciliation course”, “Rawlings smokes the peace pipe”, “Mills extends the Olive leaf”, Jerry at luncheon with Mills, etc. On arrival however, to the utter dismay of the conveners, a hoarse voice as someone smithering in pains and smothering mood was heard pleading for clemency from the table head enquiring, as to whether, as usual, he would involve himself with this year’s electioneering campaign to out-lash the bitterest opposition NPP in the General Elections. If Jerry agreed, then the NDC will whip the NPP to remain in perpetual opposition. As fate would have it, Jerry was again misquoted by the likes of Koku Anyidohu and the cronies to have acquiesced to Prez. Mills’ humble plea. Also, the two factions had agreed to bury the hatchet, patch up their differences and relegate the in-house feud to the background and, collectively, join the campaign trail to ensure total victory smiled at them. Mr. Rawlings then returned home soon after while rehearsing the Sunyani humiliation. However, he did not mince words to exhibit his positive defiance stance once more to tell Mr. Mills in the face that he would not oblige as a campaign machine. So readers, the stage was now set for the showdown – the battle royal - Mills on the ticket of the NDC and the NDP fielding someone who has the full support and sympathy of the Rawlingses -if not Naana and ?Martin or Spio as running mate, then guess who? However, a close confidant of the Rawlingses, who pleaded for anonymity, emphatically stated that ‘enough was enough’. Oh Ghanaian professors, please do not chastise me for it is not all that glitters is gold. Prof. Mills has indeed amplified the saying that one bad nut spoils thirty by his mediocrity and abysmal non-performance thus negating the chances of any one professor aspiring to that prestigious position in future for now.
Madam Betty, much as I do appreciate your rantings, insinuations and your proficiency and fluency in the Queen’s English, mind you, when the axe falls on you for complicity in some of, or all the judgment debts while in office, there would be no mercy for Ananse because, you had earlier intimated you would jail all your opponents and that the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons should be expanded to be able to accom -modate additional number of inmates not knowing that ‘you would run away yourself and leave your ‘tokota’ (sandals) behind’ because, allegedly, there were plenty of cobwebs and skeletons in your own cupboard hence the option of a voluntary resignation. But whatever happens, by the recent revelations, you can’t absolve yourself from blame nor can the president extricate himself also from the myriad of corruption under his nose that has engulfed his presidency so the crocodile tears you shed recently can no longer save you from the imminent disgrace/humiliation. Why should Ghanaians continue to allow their God-given treasury to be criminally/unmindfully looted like that by political ‘miscreants’? Is it because of the proverbial “Fa ma Nyame” syndrome that this kind of nuisance still lingers on without cough from anybody? Is it because of the president’s inaction to lash them publicly hence the criminally minded thievery? Is it because ‘any idiot’ or ‘some idiots’ can easily mount the political platform overnight to become (a) parliamentarian(s) hence the mad rush to be in the fray of parliamentary aspirants? Baby Betty, weep not child! A word to the wise, they say, is far away in the north.
Now that the former Vice President John Dramani Mahama has been sworn in as the second luckiest of presidents on the Continent, His Excellency John ‘Goodluck’ Dramani Mahama should try to refrain from the use of profane and derogatory statements such as baloney of STX fame on his opponents otherwise his 5 month stint as president would not be a welcome gesture and governable period for him. He should take a cue from the recent wind that blew the North African countries a year ago. He would leave a good legacy if swift changes are made in ministerial appointments to save his image and the names of such casualties should not be a headache to him at all.
PERSONAL HEALTH MANAGEMENT TEAM
The late president, His Excellency Prof. Mills personal health management team could have done much better. They failed in their bid to and kept flattering him on to do what Napoleon could not do. Even though he was so tired due to his health, the ‘vampires’ surrounding him kept on saying ‘boss, you are so healthy that you could do anything under the sun’, continue working, work, work, oh you have the energy needed to even finish the lap for electioneering campaign until the fateful Tuesday, July 24, 2012 when he gave up the ghost. Now that he is dead and gone, what next line of action do we take as a country? I entreat the managers of our future presidents to be truthful and let them have reasonable rest. Finally, my word of advice to the newly sworn-in president, His Excellency, John ‘Goodluck’ Mahama to be emboldened enough to try and cleanse the stables of any filth by way of reshuffling the unwanted elements that kept propping Mr. Mills to win the confidence of all Ghanaians.
Food for thought: By the way, is it true that an army officer rides the expensive VW Touareg with the army number plate instead of the Land Rovers, the rugged Italian Fiat and the noisy all-terrain Pinzgauers that were being used some time ago? For God sake, Ghanaians should spare political ‘orphans’ such as Koku Anyidohu, Sammy Okudzeto, Nii Lante, Auntie Ama, Hannah Bissiw and the latest to join the bandwagon, Dr. Okoe Vanderpuye of the AMA kingdom so that the Good Lord may have a good resting place for the Asomdwoehene in his bosom. Dammirifa Due! Dammirifa Due!! Dammirifa Due ne Amanehunu !!! Ghanaians, let us all unite as one family and work as a team for the good of our motherland.