Feature Article of Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea
By Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.
The days following 21st September 2009 have been so much filled with news about Ghana's founding father to such an extent that I was a bit curious about the last one, whilst browsing the news. I came across "Kufuor Meets NPP-USA. " "Eih! This man, this could be interesting. Let's see the latest from him. We did not hear a word from him on the Nkrumah Centenary and could be very jealous of the fame the dead president has over and above the living ones!"
"Chairman Agyei Yeboah asked the members present to introduce themselves to the former president. After the introduction, he moderated a question and answer session. Former President Kufour took time to answer the questions from the well-attended meeting and those who were on the phone lines from different states across the USA. Below is the synopsis of some of the answers given by his Excellency, President J.A. Kufour. "
The questions ranged from "Dual citizenship" "recognition of the members of the diaspora by visiting executives of the party, ROPAA, Agenda for 2012, public relations, and curiously, the last question was:
"STRUCTURE FOR FUNDING:'
To which the president responded:
NPP USA Report: "He said hypocrisy has prevented Ghanaians from talking about politics as a business and that any need for fund-raising has been deemed as corruption. He advised that we should come up with creative methods to raise funds that are legal."
I am sure President Kufour is here referring to the CONTROVERSIAL illegal fund-raising activity by the Whitaker Group in Washington on the 4th of June, 2008, which had the potential of landing the two leading NPP Presidential candidates, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo and Allan Kyeremanteng in US jail! It is quite interesting following the evolution of this story. The first time the news broke out, it was The Enquirer that came out with the sensational find:
[image: Quantcast]"In downtown Washington DC, two luxurious black Cadillacs, belonging to the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC, pulled up in front of Hotel Hyatt & Resorts, located on 24 M Streets, Nw, Washington, DC 20037 on Wednesday, June 4, 2008. In the first car, three well-dressed men in suit, namely Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ghana's Ambassador to the USA and Alan Kyeremanten, an ex-Ghana's Ambassador to the USA, who was also an NPP Flagbearer-aspirant, popped out of the vehicles." (See images
The story was that the "occasion was a fund-raising luncheon hosted by The Whitaker Group, a company owned by Rosa Whitaker, the new wife of Bishop Duncan Williams of Action Chapel International, who was recently introduced to church members in Accra." It took less than a few nano seconds to read a spirited response from my onw grandson, Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr. In an article to which he gave the title "A Slapstick Comedy", he writes:
"Thus, it was quite interesting to read an article titled “The Enquirer: Akufo Addo Busted in America” on Ghanaweb.com. As usual, the sensational caption pointed to the comic thrust of the article, content-wise, that is..."
"What makes the article worth reading," Okoampa argues, "if only to get a great kick out of the intellectual levity of its authors, regards the embarrassingly sophomoric posture facilely assumed by these authorial scumbags and would-be mischief-makers. For instance, the writers note a fund-raising luncheon having been hosted by Ms. Rosa Whitaker, a former United States’ Deputy Trade Secretary for Africa, under both the Clinton and Bush II administrations."
"The obvious semiotic angle here, of course, is that Nana Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) cohorts may well have breached Ghana’s campaign laws. Interestingly, what the Enquirer writers predictably gloss over, thus readily giving themselves away as journalistic journeymen, is the stark reality of the fact that Ms. Rosa Whitaker, an African-American, just recently got married to Bishop Duncan Williams, a bona fide Ghanaian citizen and substantive prelate of the Action Chapel International." By: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame, "A Slapstick Comedy", (2008-06-10)
The trouble though was that Ms Whitaker had no right to raise funds for the NPP in the USA. Indeed she could do so but that would be illegal. Apparently that is what really happened. I say so because it was a fact that Nana Addo was in the states for dollars to finance his campaign, and thos was the most high profile group, money-wise that he met. What is very interesting is the fact that even though the itenary of Nana Akufo Addo had been well-publicized, this meeting on the 4th of June is conspicuously absent in all such announcements. For me, the very choice of that date is suspect because it is probably calculated with the desperate hope that the NDC people would be too busy following Rawlings than to follow Akuffo Addo's dash into the Hotel Hyat And Resorts, 24 M Street, Nw Washington, DC 20037 on Wednesday, June 4, 2008.
Rosa Whitaker came out with an attempt at denial:
"JUNE 6, 2008 WASHINGTON,DC
Pursuant to a recent article in the Enquirer regarding the Washington, DC visit by Honorable Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (MP) to an economic policy luncheon hosted by the Whitaker Group, I would like to correct the Enquirer reporter that the event held on June 4, 2008 was indeed a policy discussion on investment, job creation and economic growth in Ghana and not a fundraiser, as reported. In fact, the official invitation specifically stated that the event was a non-political lunch discussion. None of the guests paid to attend or for their lunch; and funds were not solicited. Rather, the Whitaker Group utilized the occasion of the visit to promote Ghana, as it often does when Ghanaian leaders are in Washington, DC.
It is against US law to contribute or solicit funds for foreign candidates. The Whitaker Group has never endorsed political candidates abroad or contributed to political parties or candidates abroad. For over a decade, The Whitaker Group's principal and staff have helped to generate capital, jobs, and opportunities for the Ghanaian and other African economies. The Whitaker Group will continue to do so with the highest integrity. Please allow this statement to set the record straight.
MS. ROSA WHITAKER-DUNCAN-WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT & CEO, THE WHITAKER GROUP Please contact Robert SanGeorge at (202) 293-1453 or [email protected] for additional information."
Source: THE WHITAKER GROUP
This was against the backdrop of very lively radio discussions on the subject of the Akufo Addo trip at this time of the campaign. During the Newspaper Review on Super Morning Show hosted by Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Thursday 12, June - 2008, Mr. Kofi Ansah read out the following story, among others:
"The Accra Daily Mail, Stay Home and Campaing Nana Akufo Addo told, and Party Chairman Mr. Peter Mac Manu Accused.
And the story by Isaac Essel says "A very vocal member of the NPP Mr. Idrisu Musah also known as Musah Superior, has called on NPP's presidential candidate Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo to stop travelling abroad for the remaining months leading to the December elections.
The candidate almost immediately after his election in December last year, to lead the NPP into elections 2008, hit the ground flying to neighbouring African countries, Europe and the Americas.
Now Musah Superior says he must suspend those travels for the remainder of the campaign period and advises him that spending time abroad at this crucial moment would not fetch the party the needed votes to win the December elections."
I have bothered to recount this in order to produce the radio discussion that ensued:
Kofi: "Meanwhile, I am sure Nana will say he has to go and raise funds for ... "
Kojo: "As well as erh, engage other people who might be interested in erh, you know, his tenure."
Kojo: "If you were running for president, Kofi, would you go out during your campaign period?"
Kofi: "Why not?"
Kojo: "You would go out...?"
Kofi: "I mean it depends, because if there are some things needed to be done outside, you know,..."
Kojo: "but the electors are here!"
Kofi: " ...which will still inure to the benfit of the party, because Charlie, if you need money, if you look at all these bill boards going up..."
Kojo: "But the guys who are voting are here!"
Kofi: "Eeh, but you still need cash."
Kojo: "He he he!"
Kofi: "And Allan Cash alone cannot give you ..."
Source: Super Morning Show, Thursday 12, June - 2008 Myjoyonline.com, (transcript by the writer.)
Click here to listen:
Super Morning Show, Thursday 12, June - 2008
>From his very "critical thinking" skills,Kwame Okoampa Ahoofe, Jr. shed some light on what he called "The Whitaker fund-raising" that this was no doubt a fund raising activity organized by a fully qualified Ghanaian and very eminent citizen, which was well-attended by Ghanaians citizens.
It was therefore very much in order that in his famous rebuttal of the Enquirer, Kwame Okoampa Ahoofe would say:
"The obvious semiotic angle here, of course, is that Nana Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) cohorts may well have breached Ghana's campaign laws. Interestingly, what the Enquirer writers predictably gloss over, thus readily giving themselves away as journalistic journeymen, is the stark reality of the fact that Ms. Rosa Whitaker, an African-American, just recently got married to Bishop Duncan Williams, a bona fide Ghanaian citizen and substantive prelate of the Action Chapel International.
...In other words, journalists worth their nominal professional designation would have invested some time in thoroughly investigating the citizenship status of Mrs. Williams, who was as recently as only a few weeks ago introduced by her prelate husband to the sitting President of Ghana.
Another predictable weakness of the story regarded its rather crude racial tinge. It appears that the writers based their indictment of the propriety, or otherwise, of the Whitaker fundraiser solely and merely on the physical appearance and outlook of most of the attendees. Thus, to the preceding effect, the Enquirer's tattlers write: "A scan through the room revealed that about ninety percent of the guests at the fundraising event were foreigners, mostly white Americans and some African Americans."
... I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep in having the culprits imprisoned for life! In any case, just who told the Enquirer writers that one can simply "scan through [sic] a room" and accurately conclude that a "mostly white American[-] and African-American[-]"looking audience may also just as well not be composed of a sizable number of Ghanaian citizens? And just who told these gossips that all Ghanaians look stereotypically African, and all African-looking people in the United States, particularly at a fund-raising event for Ghanaian politicians are, perforce, African-American? And exactly how does one go about determining the identity and/or nationality of any gathering of people by simply peeking, spectator fashion?
.... And who said every Ghanaian-born resident of the United States carries a Ghanaian passport, anyway? Or even that such a person gives a whit about the dual-citizenship nonsense?
In essence, what we are doing here is called "Critical Thinking/Critical Analysis," a central and indispensable tenet of good and creative journalism. And on either score, the Enquirer's writers are abject professional nonstarters. A Slapstick Comedy, By: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame, Ghanaweb.com 2008-06-10. (Please note: *Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 17 books, including "Ghanaian Politics Today" (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected])ol.com.)
The problem here is that Okoampa thought that by making Lady Rosa a Ghanaian citizen they could get away with the illegality of the fund-raising. Thus the more he defended her the more stupidly he put her into trouble with the US law enforcing authorities! Apparently Ms Whitaker has been sufficiently discreet about the event for obvious reasons. The press was not invited. Nana Akufo Addo kept the public in the dark about the event until it was exposed by the Enquirer. What even made it laughable was the way the key players in the saga kept contradicting each other.
I liked the way that Mr Kofi A. Boateng, the Chairman of NPP-USA described the purpose of Hon. Nana Akufo-Addo's trip as " This is a golden moment for us to achieve two goals – expose the 2008 NPP Presidential Candidate to as many Ghanaians as possible who will in turn influence votes for NPP in Ghana; and raise the profile of NPP in the USA and Canada with regards to our ability to assist massively in all respects in the 2008 elections to ensure a resounding victory for NPP led by Nana Akufo- Addo"
It seems President Kufour the ex-president is here pointing out that the party must henceforth not engage in illegal fund-raising activities would like to draw the attention of the American Federal Board of Investigations to help defend the rule of law in the United States of American and at the same time do a very great service to our fledging democracy in Ghana which has received praises from no less a person than the US President Barak Obama!
The real problem is that we are being told that even though Nana Akufo Addo was in the USA to raise funds, the major event involving people with vested interests in Ghana, was just an economic policy luncheon. Whom do you want to believe that? And why do big companies like to finance certain political parties? The answer is simple. Parties that turn a blind eye on environmental protection, labour laws, public health standards are good for business because the enforcement of these laws cost money and affect profits significantly. What else is thus better than a few thousand dollars to the man that "Lady Rosa" is calling "the next president of Ghana" who appears to be so "business friendly"?
What was so amazing was the miserable role Dr. Arthur Kobinah Kennedy, Akuffo Addo's Communications Director, was made to play to defend the indefensible:
"Regarding the Whitaker Group event, no mention was made by either Nana Akufo-Addo or the organisers or any member of the delegation of finances for the campaign. Indeed the campaign is fully aware of the laws of Ghana regarding soliciting funds from non-Ghanaians for political purposes.
The group was made up of people with substantial investments in Ghana and also of others who have an interest in investing in Ghana. The meeting was therefore to afford Nana Akufo-Addo the opportunity to explain his vision of transforming the Ghanaian economy and creating a modern society. That was just what happened at the meeting."
It must be very instructive to take note of another article "Arthur Kennedy is a Pathological Liar" By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Feature Article | Thu, 23 Aug 2007!
Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro
follow me on twitter