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Feature Article of Sunday, 2 December 2012

Columnist: Baidoo, Philip Kobina

RE: I Thought The Akans Were Intelligent But.....

Rejoinder: I Thought The Akans Were Intelligent But.....

I was browsing the website of ghanaweb to catch up on some of the controversial prolific writers when I came across an article with the title captioned above. The following is the link: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=251501. When I saw it I thought it was one of the usual classic headline grabbing pieces. I nearly skipped it, but curiosity got the better part of me. As I read through it, it did not fail to surprise. It lived up to its irresponsible title. It proved to be the last gaffe of a lost cause meant to kick the door in, which in military parlance is referred to as shock and awe. However, the piece lashed out like the breath of a night wind, and whined, jogging my memory to the sight of a disgruntled wet poodle.

The main thrust of the piece, in which he eloquently claimed not to be a ‘tribalist’, is that some people of the Akan extraction have actually relinquished their birth right as the majority tribe, and sold it for pittance to the minority tribes in the country. While he paid no respect to facts, and danced around with it like a headless chicken, he asserted that these people have turned themselves into the agents of the devil to grind their own tribe, especially the Ashanti at the wheels. And went further to provide examples which does not bear scrutiny under any historical microscope.

To start with, I would like to point out that the AFRC did not overthrow an elected government; neither did the three Judges die under the AFRC, but during the PNDC. The Rawlings policy of positive discrimination that he wrote about with flourish is a standard practice all over the world by leaders who take over power by the barrel of the gun. Because they are afraid of reprisal they turn to cover their back with people who will not blink to lay down their lives to defend their tyrannical rule. And mostly, the people best placed to do the dirty job for these usurpers are the people from their own tribe. Leaders like Quadaffi and Saddam Hussein are classic examples of recent memory. When the Pandora box was opened in 1966 they should have known what they were signing for. Yet they danced in the streets when they saw the back of Nkrumah. They did not realise that the seed of the devil had been planted. I don’t have to tell you that the people who are making the most noise now are the very people who started that evil precedence, which plagued our nation for two and half decades. The 19 years of Rawlings was the flowering of the seed that was sown in 66. To turn round now and insult the intelligence of Ghanaians grates on the nerves, and is quite unforgiveable.

Now, what was their high priest, John Agyekum Kufour, doing in the PNDC administration for seven months? Such a compromise of principles gave legitimacy to his rule like the way the Vatican signed the concordance with Hitler, which gave him his first meaningful international prestige in the eyes of the world. Of course, the Holy See regretted, but then the harm had already been done. One of the timeless quotes about revolutions, if you will permit me to paraphrase, is that they eventually devour their own. And that phenomenon has been with us since time immemorial. He cannot tell me that he did not know of such when he joined them. Let me chip in a food for thought. Would he have taken the advice to join the Rawlings’ PNDC if it was a PFP government that was overthrown? If this is not opportunism then I don’t know what it is. The mindset that led Kufour to join Rawlings initially is the same mentality that drives the thinking processes of the people he loves to renounce as devils.

I am quite certain he will rebut that when he realised the evil nature of the regime he resigned. To me that is the alibi of a drowning man. There were a lot of powerful precedence, which were part of our consciousness in the form of literature and historical records. Even if he had not read Animal Farm, definitely the ubiquitous story of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich would have crossed his radar. He surely would have read the evil regimes of Stalin, Robespierre and the countless evil dictators. Rawlings’ own record in 1979 should have spoken volumes. My contention is that he should have known better. Rather together with the other vultures they gave that blood thirsty hound the voice and unbridled support to bludgeon Ghanaians. It is the sycophantic support, which was showered on him that went into his head for him to think that he was the only Ghanaian better place to rule the country.

I doubt whether when he was writing his tirade he paused to substantiate why a person like Dr Kwabena Duffour will not join them, but rather the NDC. There is every possibility that all these people he lumped them together, perhaps came to the knowledge that they do not have any chance of progression should they join NPP. The reason is not far fetched. The upper echelons of the party run it as a tribal clique. One of the salient reasons why Allan Kyeremateng did not win the NPP flag bearer is because he is an Ashanti. The fact is the leadership since the advent of the Fourth Republic had always been an Ashanti; therefore it is now the time for an Akyem. Come to think of it, are leaders chosen according to tribe or according to merit? If they had chosen Allan, a better man in all respect, the NPP will not be having all these issues with ‘all die be die’ and NPP association with narcotics, wee smoking at Oxford and many more. I once pitch the idea and someone gave a flimsy rebuttal that Allan had not been around for long. The choice of party leadership based on such an idiotic reason beggars the imagination. If they lose the forth coming election they do not have anybody to blame, but themselves for choosing an old horse saddled with baggage that is scuttling the fortunes of the party.

Again, for his seemingly watertight diatribe on Boakye Djan and the rest, if we have to be honest to ourselves it wasn’t only Boakye Djan and co that fits his description, but all Ghanaians who accepted Rawlings, and even gave him a divine name ‘Junior Jesus’. We glorified him with songs. It was Ghanaians who sang JJ rise up for Satan want to destroy your children. Obviously, it got into his head; he couldn’t believe his stars, and he began to walk on clouds thinking that he was invincible, perhaps even a god. Mind you those who are his severest critic now were the very people who shouted from the roof tops let the blood flow, which clearly worked on him like a spell.

Now, if NPP and for that matter Kufour’s administration was clinically clean devoid of any corruption, besides being such a paragon of virtue with stellar economic credentials. Why did Ghanaians boot them out and replaced them with none other than NDC the brain child of a man who abused, brutalised, butchered maimed his countrymen and gave the coup de grace of taking the lives of three very respectable members of our society? If he has got any axe to grind he should rather blame Ghanaians for ditching NPP in 2008.

As an Akan I couldn’t be more offended by this straw man’s use of loose language. Language is very important tool in human communication. Our choice of language can bring soothing comfort to the broken hearted, and it can also get the blood to boil in the arteries. Both major parties are guilty of the use of irresponsible language. But the way Akufo-Addo is in the forefront spewing offensive lunatic language like ‘all die be die’ instead of using his surrogates is indicative of his belligerent nature that a lot of people see as a dangerous cocktail for Ghana’s democracy. They say from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The minority tribes are very sensitive to childish statements like ‘ye gye ye man’ and in general they are not very helpful to the unity of the country.

Quarshigah of blessed memory was an Ewe should we say that he betrayed his people by joining the NPP or assumed that he was a man of his own conscience. If these people he referred to are behaving badly he should point it out as fellow Ghanaians acting like pigs in a trough, and not argue on this divisive tribalistic gung ho style. Has he forgotten the Akan proverb which says that in every town there is Mensah. Literally, it means that even in a town of saints the devil has a representative. I don’t condone corruption in any shape or form. However, it is annoying when the pot begins to call the kettle black. To all intent and purposes, most of our current crop of politicians are blatant unashamed liars and corrupt. What matters to them is winning. It doesn’t matter if the ship of state sustains a punch in the hull, so long as the ship lumbers on for them to win. It is indifferent to them if the ship sinks later.

We all cherish democracy, because it promotes the rule of law and religiously guards the sanctity of every human life. On the other hand, under such a system people will always veer away from what we see in our own eyes as virtuous. Free speech together with freedom of expression goes hand in hand with democracy. As much as we love these virtues it also comes with yellow journalism and pornography. James Madison who wrote the American bill of rights did so to prevent the tyranny of the majority. In the same vein democracy has got a strange way of amplifying the power of the minorities. He should question the expediency why they all opt for a Northerner as running mate and not belittle the democratic choice and affiliation of fellow Ghanaians in a society that strives to promote plurality. It is abominable

This nation called Ghana, which I refer to as project Ghana must be made to work. Whether we like or not we have been carved together as one country, and there is nothing we can do about it after fifty five years as a nation. Inter tribal marriage is what will further coalesce the disjointed tribes together. To make a mockery of the most sacred human institution in the world – marriage, is not worthy of his supposedly wealth of wisdom. It is like an axe to the root, which is not going to help build the better Ghana we all want.

Finally, this is my piece of advice. I have always believed that old age comes with wisdom. I wonder what he meant by sympathisers should come and drink from his fountain of grey wisdom in one of his articles. Now, for him to turn around and write a piece that should have been left for a novice is a disservice to old age. To those he renounced he could have appealed to their conscience and open an alternative they were missing. And I think he is wise enough to stop these ridiculous articles that does not make any waves, but rather make the people involved more resolved.

Philip Kobina Baidoo Jnr.



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