Feature Article of Thursday, 10 January 2013
Columnist: Assou-Dodji, Harold
The NPP and Dante’s Inferno: Kuffour’s Duality of Statesmanship, Boogeymen and Demonarchs in Ghana’s Politics
Demonarch (pronounce: day’.moh.narch): A term I have coined to refer to a person or group of persons whose very existence, essence, public conduct and political inclinations exude the penchant, practice and desire for a democracy faked and swallowed by a monarchy. It is a contraction of the words (i) democrat and (ii) monarch. Deriving from this, we may have demonarchy.
Dictadem: A term I have used to refer to a person or group of persons who believe in and practice politics of power play and a democracy of absolute majority rule without engaging minority inputs. It is a contraction of the words (i) dictator (-ship) and (ii) democrat (-cy).
OK there is an adage in my mother tongue which says, to wit: “you cannot hide an oversized scrotum from the bath pot”. I have quoted this saying to refer to the duality and subtlety of some characters that have for long been acting and filing past the public stage in Ghana’s socio-economic and political history. In this modern Ghana of ours, and before the evolving and revolving minds of the good people of Ghana, some well-known public figures and political giants, pernicious and double-tongued, have hardly told the plain truth of who they are, what they want and where they stand in the evolving history of Ghana. I have met with and exchanged briefly with intellectuals and academics who believe that NDC had lost but stole all the elections held in this country since 1992. I interacted with and heard some so-called ‘Men of God’ and Pastors who claimed with zeal and much religious fervour that God ordained and chose Akuffo-Addo both in 2008 and 2012 to be President but that NDC robbed him of victory! What a world of fanatics with simple minds!
Anyway, I agree with many local and international observers of Ghana’s democracy that it is maturing or has matured to a great extent. But it is also evident that Ghana’s democracy is becoming more and more interesting but yet ho-hum, sickening but yet funny, sophisticated but yet unrefined, clad with many luminous minds but paradoxically absurd and much deprived of common sense.
Events unfolding on Ghana’s political stage since the election and investiture of President John D. Mahama have kept me musing and brooding over so many issues and themes being churned out on a daily basis from monstrous political interests and big wigs through the media. And one of them, check that, some of them border on the challenges being mounted before the Supreme Court against the EC and President Mahama by the National Patriotic Party (NPP) regarding the authenticity of the 2012 presidential election results and their declaration thereof by the Electoral Commission of Ghana which made President Mahama President-elect (and already sworn-in) of the 4th Republican Constitution of Ghana; President Kuffour’s attendance of the presidential investiture ceremony and matters arising therefrom. These are what I would like to think aloud about here but check this: my opinions expressed here are personal and strictly personal. Are we not in a democratic country, a nation of laws and freedoms? Is this not a free country and one of free speech? Oh God bless Ghana!
Alright I believe the NPP has many wise heads and brains. But I also believe that goldbrickers, hawks as well as boogeymen abound in the NPP, prowling and hovering over the party, chief among whom is no other personality than the well-known Mr Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, one- and two-time aspiring President of Ghana, and some of his self-centred and narrow-minded cohorts who once tried the same tactics they are using today to derail and highjack the democratic train of this country. But we have seen them all: from Kwame Nkrumah through Jerry Rawlings and John Kuffour to John Mills, these demonarchs and dictadems have appeared and disappeared. They are still lurking in Ghana’s political background.
A party which touts itself either justifiably or deceitfully as the pioneers and bastion of democracy and rule of law in Ghana must not allow only 35 (National Executive Committee) individuals from among its millions of nationwide members to take an anti-progressive decision binding on all of its members. A party whose political mantra has been the defence of freedoms and human rights should have collectively and openly educated some of its members common sense-deprived, to not have attempted to stop another citizen of the land from moving about freely and attending any social and national programme and gathering of national importance as s/he may so wish. The NPP as a political group has again given Ghanaians a lot of meat to chew regarding its conduct in Ghana’s politics especially during the recent general elections. It has appeared to me that it is not the collective conscience of the party that has been prevailing most of the time but rather the individual, egotistic and inordinate desires of some few, self-anointed prognosticators and narcissistic members who think they have the God-given right and historical preponderance to direct and manage the affairs of Corporate Ghana.
Much has been written and said about NPP’s conduct during all or most of the presidential elections held even since pre-Independent Ghana. I do not think I have the time and energy to write about what you already know of NPP’s antecedents and their duplicitous role in Ghana’s history. For the NPP, the fact is that they (NPP) have never lost any election in this country and accordingly think that the only way to ‘rectify’ or restore themselves as the ‘rightful rulers’ of Ghana since independence is to abuse the court system and torpedo due process and rule of law by arm-twisting the judiciary. The less said about this, the much better. The judgment is yours.
Now I wish to discourse objectively and open-mindedly on President Kuffour’s apparent show of Statesmanship at Mahama’s investiture and why he attended the 7 January 2013 inaugural ceremony.
OK. If Mr Kuffour believes, as does his NPP party in the ‘fraudulence’ of the election of President Mahama as Ghana’s 5th elected President under the Fourth Republic, and if Mr Kuffour endorses, as demonstrated by his public pronouncements, the court action being pursued at the Supreme Court by the NPP of which he is inherently the foremost core gentleman, dyed-in-the-wool and most eminent member as it stands now, why did he grace President Mahama’s investiture in contravention to the party’s collective decision? The reason the former President and his friends have been forcefully and ludicrously splatting in the media is that he was invited as a former President and that he was attending the event because he must now rise above partisan politics and show his Statesmanship. Very well said! But didn’t his fundamental and un-repented belief that the very person whose investiture he was attending was ‘fraudulently’ elected inform his decision beforehand? OK I think I get it: Kuffour the former President and Statesman accepted both the de facto and de jure swearing in of President Mahama as a fait accompli but Kuffour the hard-core NPP fundamentalist does not recognise John D. Mahama as the president-elect and sworn-in of the Republic. What a calamitous duality of statesmanship! Is this a sign of public deceit or split personality!
But hey, let no one be fooled!!! I can tell you for a conviction that President Kuffour's presence at President Mahama’s investiture was for two, strictly personal reasons, only for two strictly personal reasons. The first is to please the foreign dignitaries and Heads of State in attendance, enjoy their brief company and boost his own international (but not the national) image. This is because Kuffour, being a lover of international travels and with many global assignments (i.e. UN, AU, ECOWAS, etc..) thought it well to avert the natural alienation and scorn he might well likely face in the international community should he not attend the investiture ceremony, and the fact also that the international community being very much aware of the NPP’s history of rejecting election results that didn’t go in their favour and their subsequent subterfuges and attempts at manipulating the Judiciary and legal system to rule cases in their favour. What a narcissistic crave for recognition!
The second reason, and I think which is equally of a critical importance to Mr Kuffour and his friends is the fear of a possible withdrawal by the NDC government of diplomatic courtesies being extended to him as a former Head of State should he not recognise Mr Mahama as President-elect and sworn-in of the Republic. You cannot expect an ‘illegal’ President to extend diplomatic courtesies to you. That would make everything illegal! So it is the fear of a blast from the past, the fear of a snowball effect from the way he treated President Rawlings in 2003? with every triviality and pettiness his government could lay hands on, that informed his decision. What this means is that Kuffour sought his personal interest and only his personal interest in deciding to grace JDM’s investiture but then, had he boycotted Mahama's investiture as did his party the NPP in a show of no-recognition of JDM's status as the bona fide, then President-elect to-be-sworn-in of the Republic of Ghana, he should automatically and by every extension, have expected that an 'illegal President' sworn-in and Government, which he does not recognise and consider as President and Government duly elected and sworn in of Republic of Ghana, would withdraw diplomatic courtesies extended to him as a former President. President Kuffour has thus succeeded to safeguard his personal interest as a Former President but at the same time, to endorse and publicly defend his party’s court action that is essentially seeking to disregard and shoot down the Presidency of Mr Mahama. What a viper! What a fox!
What I foresee, again this is a personal opinion, is that in the case where the Supreme Court decision does not favour the NPP, would still and at all times in their unfolding history, nurture the idea and self-delusionary lamentation that they won the 2012 election and that the Electoral Commission, in connivance with its officers and the NDC, and now with the sympathy of the Supreme Court, robbed them of victory. After all I am only reflecting on the collective soul and conscience of the NPP as an organisation of political bigots and as revealed by Dr Arthur Kennedy, a one-time flag bearer aspirant of the NPP and a staunch and avowed defendant of the Danquah-Busia tradition, that “The NPP as a corporate body, then and now, suffered fatally from a delusional triumphalism that electoral defeat was impossible, and therefore, unthinkable" (Kennedy, Arthur., Chasing the Elephant into the Bush: The Politics of Complacency, p. 65?). I do not wish to comment more on this interesting note from Dr Arthur.
Truly, all our politicians past and present have failed to bring down the tyranny and extortionist tendency (money extracting business) of many in the Justice system of Ghana and its socioeconomic and political landscape but hey, ours is a democracy of divine comedy and a politics of self-adulation. We are constantly fighting a battle between our individual conscience and the collective conscience of our social or political party organisations and losing it. We are afraid to speak Truth to Power irrespective of our socio-political, economic and religious persuasions but rather allow Power to dictate to Truth. We have a nation full of so-called prophets and bishops self-anointed who, instead of delivering the Gospel of Truth, Freedom and universal Justice that knows no political, economic and social boundary, rather choose to speak the dictates of their stomach-inspired dreams and visions. That is why for me, I expect nothing from the Supreme Court but a verdict that speaks Truth to Power and defy the monstrous greed and inordinate desires that have consumed and roasted some politicians in this country. Are we or should we be a nation of political animals and demagogues that see, feel, sense, breath, live and dream everything political!
But in a democratic, free and just (?) Ghana, I believe all the political parties involved, the monstrous and vested economic interests plus other hidden hands would, no matter the outcome of the Supreme Court decisions, uphold, defend and protect the integrity, honour and good name of Ghana. But until then and thereafter, there should be no throwing of bombs, no serial killing of women and children, no destruction or setting ablaze of public or private buildings, no all-die-be-die call for tribal hatred and annihilation, no peddling of blatant and naked lies and destruction of the hard-won reputation of individuals using the media and, hello Ursula Owusu (Hon.) check this: no chewing gum in the classroom, no chewing gum in Parliament: the mouth in Parliament should be seen to be debating serious and sensible issues affecting Nation and Constituency and not for chewing the cud or ruminating. It doesn’t show respect.
Now our rising anger borne out of the loss of political opportunities and personal interests derived therefrom, and our hatred and intolerance for political opponents due to obstinacy and intransigence should all give way to love, brewed in African music and tradition. Let’s go back to work and think the nation at all times during our business dealings, let not the sound of a gun be heard, let’s talk and make love with our wives and husbands when we are reminded of the anger and hatred borne by politics. Let us take our children out for a father-and-son and mother-and-daughter walk down the alley, let’s give to the poor sitting by the street corner, let’s visit the sick in the hospital, let’s jog our politics of anger away and play a tug-of-war exercise with our friends, let’s make the day and the new year happy for someone not a friend, not long known, let’s go out into nature and enjoy life and make the most out of it. For life is a precious gift that is to be lived once, but only once. Let us defend Family. Let’s protect Society. Let’s build and wish Ghana well.
God bless Ghana!
God bless her Leadership!
God bless the tolerant and fair-minded readership of this piece.
The author can be reached here for fair comments: +233 (0) 244 698 146 or email@example.com.