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Feature Article of Sunday, 21 February 2010

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

Re: “Afropean” Triangle

RE: “Afropean” Triangle A REJOINDER TO: “Afropean” TriangleFeature Article | By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

This is one heck of an example that Kwame Okoamapa-Ahoofe serious needs help. This latest attempt to link Rawlings on the basis of what he calls "Afropean names" is the most stupid piece of journalism I have read in the last decade or two. Through this false linkage, he tries to resurrect the discredited and debunked lies concocted against Kwesi Pratt, Jnr, and which have since been proven beyond all reasonable doubts to be complete fabrication.

In the first place the list of its authors read like a"Who Is Who" in the most notorious opportunists in our recent past: Freddie Blay, Kofi Coomson, Kweku Baako, and Kwesi Agbley. The weakness in their story was the use of Warrant Officer Agyei Boadi. This is a murderer who had been publicly exposed time and again by Kwesi Pratt, Jnr over the cold-blooded murder of Kwame Adjimah in a military guard room. As a human rights activist in those days, I knew personally from an answer I once received at the British Council by one of these famous NPP human rights champions, that issues of extra-judicial killings and political disappearances were off the table.

For a very long time, the only consistent campaigner against political assassination and extra-judicial killings in Ghana has been Kwesi Pratt, Jnr. And he paid for it. He himself nearly lost his life in prison. He was severely beaten several times including the same kicks that broke the ribs of some and broke Kwesi's teeth. In countries that respect their heroes, those who bear the scars of struggle are normally treated with respect. It is only people like Okoampa who still accept the lies of a murderer over and above the word of seventeen times "Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience", Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.

One of the important people I happen to know personally is called B. J. Da Rocha. Is Okoampa saying that just because he sports a European name the credibility of Da Rocha as the Chairman of the NPP ought to have been questioned? Okoampa might please himself that he is just having fun at the expense of Mr. Pratt. But at the end of the day, what we get is a good idea of those who hate Kwesi making once more, their best efforts to malign him and end up falling on their own swords, for what this tells me is that Okoampa has nothing up his sleeves that will stick on Kwesi! He simply cannot stand the guy and believes he can fool his readers his nefarious enterprise.

Okoampa has no sense of moderation. He writes: "First of all, the fact that such serious allegation – most of the Ghanaian media actually dubbed it “a revelation” – is coming at least two years later and then just on the heels of Mr. Pratt's having been dispatched by the Mills government [to head a delegation] to the World Cup drawing in South Africa". The trouble is that in so doing he gives the game away: this is really about nothing!

It is certainly not going to be an easy task to sit Okoampa down and explain point by point the reasons why Nkrumahists like myself and Kwesi Pratt entered into alliance with the Busia-Danquah neocolonialist tradition to usher in the Third Republic was as a result of our fundamental opposition to military rule and dictatorship. The reason why we opposed the NPP was because of the fear of the consolidation of a narco-state, corruption of the judiciary and a creeping constitutional despotism which could have made nonsense of everything we stood for!

So far, the President Mills government has been very correct in seeking the interest of Ghana first. We have seen this in the tussle even with a giant like Exxon-Mobil. President Mills has admirable guts to put Ghana's interest first and foremost before that of any multinational. The fact that all these are going on strictly based on previously signed agreement that gives Ghana the first rights as buyer, need not scare any investor of goodwill away.

But before I digress I would like to reproduce below a full rebuttal to the lies being peddled by Kwame Okoampa. I once wrote on the same subject a reaction which is still a fitting response to the Okwampas of this world! I take the perverse pleasure of repeating certain sections of that observation Okoampa urgently needs to know about Kwesi Pratt : "One thing I like about contemporary history is that there are living witnesses to the stories WE TELL. Secondly, the monopolization of the truth by faction is virtually impossible. Neither can the obvious be mystified by political vultures like the author of the silly article in question, particularly, in this case involving no less a person than Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jnr. Every honest historian knows that history is always a point of view. That is why the real historians begin their accounts with "a history" of say, the Gold Coast, or the slave trade or the pyramids etc. The non historians are noticeable with their tittles "The History of ..."

Other non-historians are subtle. They give no historical accounts at all. The just do neocolonialist propaganda by desperately trying to look objective, whilst all the time aiming to do maximum damage to the target without ever suggesting any material fact that would put him in trouble with a court of law, because in order to substantiate the allegations he may have to manufacture lies that he himself can not defend in a court of law."

"Once again, I remember what was going on. It was at a time Freddie Blay still had some semblance of dignity and respectability. No one knew he was prepared to sell his own mother for power yet. He had not said that then. Of course, it was the time he was the Speaker of Parliament. It was at the crucial time that the NPP desperately wanted the CPP in the pocket as a banker against an effective NDC challenge. Kweku Baako was in the plot. Freddie Blay was in it. Paa Kwesi Ndoum too was part of it, together with Kofi Coomson, Kwasi Agbley.

"To carry this through with the approval of Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., as the Publicity Officer of the CPP is just like expecting Mrs. Konadu Agyemang Rawlings to vote for Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, especially after the Akyem dwarf intensified his teasing of her husband with the "Yor ke Gari" "problem". No way! Over his or her dead body, as the case may be, for I am sure neither would cede! Every one knows who killed Kwame Adjimah. It was Warrant Officer Class One, Joseph Kwabena Adjei Boadi, former Member of the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). Kwesi Pratt, Jnr. published these events as long as 1992. Around the same time, I was shocked that Adjei Boadi who would sue for defamation involving 250.000 cedis would did nothing to defend himself all those years! On the contrary I saw him once greeting Kwesi politely at a funeral. The man who never stopped accusing him of murder!

"When it suited them, it was evidently clear that Adjei Boadi would have an axe or two to grind with Kwesi for pestering his life with the murder of Kwame Adjimah. Like a Hollywood movie, Adjei Boadi, a notorious murderer accuses an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, ace human rights activist of international repute, of an involvement in his nefarious activities and you want to take a known and culpable murderer's word against Kwesi? This only bears testimony to the nature of some of the politicians we have in Ghana today. The disgraceful manner people who were vying for public office decided to base their campaign strangely on lies and how to bring down the man they all saw as their OBSTACLE NUMBER ONE.

"In the early days of 2001, just after the NPP victory, Kofi Coomson, who was the secretly plotting to be an NPP parliamentary candidate, attacked Kwesi Pratt in "a ferocious debate" on radio over Dr Kwesi Nduom. Reports said "The debate later turned nasty off air when Coomson challenged Kwesi, calling him a traitor and revealed that he knew that he grassed on Kweku Baako, Kwasi Agbley and Freddie Blay, all three very close personal friends of both Kofi Coomson and Pratt."

The Chronicle, which Kofi Coomson founded featured an article which stated "Since the stunning revelation by the former PNDC hatchet man, WOI Adjei Boadi, at the ongoing NRC sittings, that Kwesi Pratt operated as a double agent who caused the arrest of his friend, Kweku Baako, and but for his timely intervention, Kweku Baako would have summarily been executed, the question of the credibility of the named parties involved has agitated the minds of many observers of the unfolding drama."

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since these allegations. Ndoum failed to become President, Kofi Coomson could not even go past the NPP primaries. and Kweku Baako is now well known for being an absolute opportunist. All those who tried to discredit Kwesi Pratt, Jnr. have been discredited. This attempt to hint at discredited facts without stating them clearly is no attempt to enlighten the public but to throw dust into their vigilant eyes!

"... Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jnr. must be credited as one of the most important architects of the democratic dispensation that we are all enjoying today under the Fourth Republic of Ghana. It was Akoto Ampaw and Kwesi Pratt, Jnr who following the mandates of the KNRG, NDM and URF went to see Professor Adu Boahene to discuss the formation of the Movement for Freedom and Justice in order to form a Kwame Nkrumah-Busia-Danquah coalition across the political spectrum, against the dictatorship of the PNDC!

But even if History is a matter of point of view, no matter where you are standing, no one individual from the people now attacking Kwesi as if there is no tomorrow can claim half of what people like Kwesi Pratt, Jnr. have personally done to bring us all where we are today. Nana Akufo Addo publicly acknowledged this role and mentioned Kwesi by name,at the press conference announcing his candiature for the presidency. Rawlings has already acknowledged this fact. President Kufour did. And so has President Atta-Mills!

I must be able to properly honour and show respect to those in the NPP who gave the call from Nkrumahists like Kwesi, a positive response, particularly Mr. Ray Kakraba Quarshie, and the late Mr. Kwesi Lamptey. I also know what happened when people like B. J. da Rocha were approached, and why apart from Adu Boahene none of the NPP presidential aspirants wanted to work directly with the MFJ and preferred not to sit in a meeting to save Ghana from the military dictatorship because it was chaired by an internal political rival!

Professor Adu Boahene was the second Busia-Danquah person to join the MFJ but he did not join without conditions. His only condition was that he would never join it if he was not made the chairman of the new movement! Kwesi's reaction was very funny. "Take it, we give it to you!" He thought he had just made a breakthrough! Being the Chairman was the thought farthest from his mind. His was complete dedication, not hunting for posts like some people from the party with a thousand and one presidential aspirants.

Any one who says that the overthrow of the PNDC was the work of just one individual must belong to bedlam. In the final analysis it is the collective efforts of all Ghanaians occasioned by increasing international pressure to stop bullying the population and allow government by universal suffrage that did the trick.

Yet history would not be complete if we forget the self-sacrifices and courage of men like Kwesi Pratt in those crucial moments. People would not even dare compare Rawlings with Kwesi Pratt, Jnr. He has no blood on his hands to begin with, whilst Jerry Rawlings needs to account for the whereabouts of 246 Ghanaians who disappeared or were extra-judicially murdered under his military junta.

I have always known that truth never hides. After the 1966 CIA-inspired coup d'etat, we were all here when the use of the name, photo and image was banned and possession of them was made a criminal offence by those who claim to be following a tradition that promotes democracy and freedom of speech. Despite the bombs, the coups, the banning of even the use of his name and photographs, today, we have the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, and next month on the 6 of March 2010, Ghana and the rest of Africa shall again be observing a special national holiday in his honour of the centenary anniversary of his BIRTHDAY.

To the chagrin of his traducers Nkrumah is being taught to a new generation of Ghanaians in eloquent and practical ways. One such self-sacrificing apostle of the Osagyefo is the fearless Comrade Kwesi Pratt, Jnr. The one thing some people can not stand about Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., is the kind of things he says about Kwame Nkrumah:

"Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was not just the first President of Ghana but a very extraordinary man whose life and works contributed significantly to changing the world." He recently wrote, "He grew from a little village boy in Nkroful in the Western Region of Ghana to a world leader fully devoted to the struggle to free all black people from all forms of racism.

He was also against everything which kept people irrespective of their colour in conditions of slavery. He opposed oppression and exploitation in all its forms. Many historians including Basil Davidson and F. K. Buah credit Nkrumah with the leadership of the struggle which led to granting independence to many African countries under various forms of colonialism. Indeed Nkrumah is placed in the same category as Einstein, Karl Marx, V. I. Lenin, Toussant L'Ouverture and Mahatma Gandhi whose ideas and actions helped to make the world a better place."

Certainly not the kind of language that those Busia-Danquah elements that the CIA referred to as "pathetically pro-Western" would take kindly to! For the economy of time, and without affecting simplicity at the cost of accuracy, I want to launch an open challenge to the senseless attempts to undermine the integrity of one of easily the cream of the cream of Ghanaians who toiled day, and deep into the night, woke up with insufficient sleep in the eyes to go to demonstrations, tired before it begins because he was constantly a centre of action!

If today, Ghanaians are enjoying the praises being heaped on us by the international community and expecting to reap the fruits of peace, political stability, and God-willing economic prosperity with our soon to be out-doored credentials as an "Oil exporting country", in dignity and in peace, it is squarely thanks to the yeoman and gargantuan efforts by people like Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.

The recruitment of the NPP leadership into the MFJ must not be under-estimated, because like the open letter of Dr. Hilla Liman that broke the culture of silence, the formation of the MFJ is what marked the begining of the end of the PNDC dictatorship. It was an initiative between the NDM and the KNRG. The URF and the AYC joined later. The AYC pulled out as they refused the admission of Adu Boahene on the basis of chairman. They would have preferred one of the original brains to head. Translated into everyday language, it means Nkrumahist because all the founding groups were Nkrumahist groups.

The attempts to smear Kwesi, ridding on the waves of the current uproar shall not work. And no one can deny the noble role he has played and continues to play in our nation's history. Certainly Kwesi alone did not make everything happen, but Kwesi was certainly a medium when he was sent by his colleagues to see Adu Boahene about the MFJ. Because Kwesi readily agreed with him to chair the movement the MFJ was able to put to sleep the Nkrumahist tag and assumed a truely national character. Because Johnny Hansen was the Vice Chairman, Kwesi Pratt, Jnr as Secretary, it was also not a purely Busia-Danquah affair. The fact that Prof. Adu Boahene himself testified several times that this unity was thanks to a great extend the personal chemistry (I'm sorry, Kwesi, but for the lack of a better word!) was fundamental in creating the united front. The trials of Kwesi and Adu Boahene was also another way of looking at the sights and sounds of the heroes of the 4th republic."

-- Nana Akyea Mensah follow me on Twitter; http://twitter.com/TheOdikro

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