Feature Article of Thursday, 28 February 2013
Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku
Respect, as we all know, is something that is earned. It cannot be demanded or forced on people, though sometimes people mistakenly believe that it could be earned by the use of money or power. In fact, I couldn't hold back my laughter yesterday when on a radio programme, the presenter, in addition to some NDC sympathisers rebuked their opponents for not according due respect and recognition to the personality of John Mahama and his Office. Their argument was that all Ghanaians, including those who contribute to radio discussions, should as a matter of courtesy, address John Mahama as "His Excellency", John Mahama or "President" Mahama. To them, it's disrespectful to mention John Mahama's name in its raw state because apart from him being the 'elected president', John Mahama is also older than some of the callers.
On a personal note, I do not have a problem with a call to accord the elderly any form of respect because discipline, respect, honesty, hard work etc are some of the values enshrined in our culture. Even the Holy Bible lays emphasis on respect in Exodus 20:12 , where children are required to honour their parents in order to live long on earth. Therefore, for such 'rented' media and the NDC to demand respect for their idol is an indictment on our young democracy, to say the least. Respect, does not reside in accolades and titles such as Mr., Dr. or His Excellency etc. Respect is usually earned through hard work, honesty, humility, and being sympathetic to others' feelings, needs, and thoughts. If respect were to be embedded in titles, I am sure many a Ghanaian would have replaced their first names with those befitting titles.
Similarly, the dignity of the Office of the President does not lie in the multi-million edifice called the Golden Jubilee House. The dignity of Ghana's presidency, for me, depends to a very large extent, on the constitutional - fair, free, and transparent manner in which the occupant became the president, his performance as a leader, as well as the person's attributes. Again, the dignity depends on how the president's appointees have maximised their expertise for the benefit of the entire citizenry. However, if a politician uses lies to deceive voters, pitches one tribe against the other, buys people's conscience with the taxpayers' money, and collaborates with the Electoral Commission to steal their mandate, it becomes very difficult for people to accord any form respect to such a political head. It is therefore not surprising that John Mahama is struggling to have the co-operation and support from the entire Ghanaian populace. When an "elected government" is continuously demanding respect and recognition from its people, one has no option than to side with the action being taken by the Members of Parliament from the minority side.
It is not a secret that John Mahama is not a happy man. Wherever he goes he is seen as a thief, or "stealer", if I should borrow the word from the minority MPs. John Mahama's image is tainted with corruption and thievery. He is seen as the number one tribalist, if we should go by his infamous "Northerners are tired of being Vice Presidents". His current political appointments, where 30 out of 47 has been selected from the Northern part of this country further deepens his ethnocentric mind. So, if John Agyekum Kufuor, the man whose name is synonymous with physical infrastructure like stadia, Presidential Palace, KATH Accident and Emergency centre, Bui Dam, and trunk roads could be referred to as "Ataa Ayi", why should people feel uncomfortable when John Mahama is also tagged "Ataa Ayitey"? For a man credited with the implementation of free maternal care, national health insurance scheme, oil discovery, and $547m to the national coffers to be vilified as "corrupt", it is only hypocritical on the part of the NDC to complain about John Mahama, who has been involved in most dubious deals, including STX Korea, plane purchases, missing gold in Turkey, and Armajaro license renewal.
The threat from Yaw Boateng Gyan and his cohorts against NDC ministers, no doubt, beats my imagination. When did the word "thief" become an insult to Yaw Boateng Gyan and his "Special Forces"? So soon Yaw Boateng Gyan has forgotten about the episode of 17 NPP presidential "thieves" and their "Chief thief". "Mpanin se, etua wo yonko ho a, na etua dua mu ampa". If not, why would Sampson Ahi also take a swipe at the minority for their boycotts, when for 13 continuous days NDC MPs boycotted parliamentary proceedings all because a criminal, Dan Abodakpi, had been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction?
Having boycotted the debates on important bills like National Health Insurance Scheme, NYEP, National Identification Authority, ROPAA, National Reconciliation, criminal libel law, among others, little did Ghanaians expect the NDC to portray the NPP as diabolic in terms of their recent action. Unfortunately, NDC's Sampson Ahi has the gut to describe NPP MPs as "robots" and "unpatriotic". Could it be a loss of one's memory? In spite of their efforts to make the NPP look bad in the public eye, the NDC now claims that the NPP is undermining the authority and administration of John Mahama. Has the NPP put a fence around the Jubilee House to prevent the "Poultry Farmer" from feeding his fowls, or has John Mahama been prevented from fixing the prevailing energy, water, and economic crises? I'd like any NDC member to answer me.
As humans, we cannot wait for a court to convict a person of robbery or rape before we label the perpetrator, an armed robber or rapist. This is the common norm, especially when armed robbers attack people on high ways. Nobody waits for their prosecution before we complain of armed robbery. Ghanaians have no time to examine John Mahama and his electoral fraudsters before we could know their evil deeds. If we should wait for several years before we know the true colours of Afari Gyan (Ataa Ayi) and his co-criminal, John Mahama (Ataa Ayitey), then we better start glorifying Tsatsu Tsikata and Alfred Woyome as angels in the financial world. Under no circumstance should we allow Kwadwo Afari Gyan to impose a "political armed robber" on Ghanaians as their leader. We'll never accept that because Ghana deserves better. Indeed, John Mahama and Afari Gyan could connive and steal my vote - a vote that had the potential to allow my dear daughter to enjoy free secondary education like John Mahama and his tribesmen, but the two evildoers can never have my respect.
As we all recall, no national or international court convicted Prez Kufuor on any financial malfeasance, yet Ama Benyiwa Doe, J.J. Rawlings, and Koku Anyidohu measured Kufuor and "Ataa Ayi" (a notorious armed robber) with the same rod. John Mahama did not find it offensive when he accorded himself "the Obama of Ghana politics". Could we also say John Mahama was being disrespectful to Barack Obama and the American people? "Mpanin se, s3 woto adubone a, 3bi ka w'ano". "3na s3 obofoo nim s3 ob3we adoatire a, anka ohuu 3ho yie". What goes around, they say, comes around.
It's high time Ghanaians stopped showering praises on non-performing and dishonest political leaders to salvage this beloved country of ours from total collapse. If the NDC is expecting Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang to use "His Excellency" as a prefix to John Mahama's name, then I'd advise them to wait for the next 100 decades, for it will be a waste of my precious time to call John Mahama, the president let alone prefixing his name with "His Excellency". No criminal, thief, tribalist, incompetent, arrogant, and disrespectful individual will ever have my respect, irrespective of the position and authority the person wields on this earth. What is wrong is wrong and needs to be condemned as such. Until the Supreme Court puts things right, John Mahama should be allowed to carry his own cross.
God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!
Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Enfield, London.
(Free SHS Ambassador) Official blog: (www.katakyie.com) [email protected] 07577626433 A native of Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri