Feature Article of Saturday, 7 August 2010
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
If Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, one of the four fractious as well as factious contenders for flagbearership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), otherwise called the Gang of the Defeated Four (GDF), truly believes that the hectic and convoluted race for the party’s presidential nomination for Election 2012 is not a routine and humdrum process of queuing up in order for one’s qualifications to be determined largely on the basis of one’s party contributions and loyalty to the proverbial party line, then, it goes without saying that the Ejisu (Edweso) native and former handpicked Trade minister ought to have squarely addressed his riposte to former President John Agyekum (Kofi Diawuo) Kufuor, his chief patron and the man whose evidently unprincipled patronage doomed the presidential election of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
And on the latter score, we must recall for the benefit of our readers that it was, indeed, Mr. Kufuor who, being apparently disgusted with the 2007 NPP “presidential gold rush,” in which a whopping 17 aspirants of largely marginal-to-average credentials bullishly and sheepishly put forth their grotesque and outright comical desire to succeed the former president.
Most likely, Mr. Kufuor squarely predicated his “Join-the-Line” mantra on his own long-standing practical political experience. He would both deviously and mischievously contradict his own counsel by clandestinely orchestrating an abortive behind-the-scenes coup for Mr. Kyerematen whose illustrious father and founder of Anokyekrom of the Ghana National Cultural Center, Kumasi, Dr. Alexander Kyerematen, had evidently shown the former president his proverbial political ropes (See Ivor Agyeman-Duah’s Between Faith and History).
Needless to say, it is rather unpardonably presumptuous for Mr. Kyerematen to publicly imply that, somehow, the sole criterion for endorsing an Akufo-Addo presidential nomination is both wholly and squarely predicated on the former Justice and Foreign minister’s long service and enviable contribution to the founding and development of the NPP.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Indeed, even a cursory glance at the credentials of the former Member of Parliament for Akyem-Abuakwa South richly hints at the enviable stature of an ebullient and dynamic path-paving statesman whose peers on the contemporary Ghanaian political scene are few and far between. Needless to say, it was quite elating to publicly witness ex-President Kufuor recently gloating over the enviable fact of his government’s salutary repealing of the odious Criminal Libel Law, a patently extortionate legal instrument created in the British colonial era but ravenously applied by the dictatorial likes of Messrs. Nkrumah and Rawlings, among others, to cynically muzzle both the media and their most vocal political opponents.
At any rate, while it was, indeed, indisputably worthwhile to celebrate and proudly claim credit for the auspicious passage of the Repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, nonetheless, Mr. Kufuor would have quite remarkably enhanced his stature as a respectable statesman if he had also promptly acknowledged the fact that it was, indeed, Nana Akufo-Addo who almost single-handedly designed and crafted this legal instrument that effectively abrogated Ghana’s antiquated Criminal Libel Law. Of course, Mr. Kyerematen can ululate all he wants about having made cassava a diet of choice in an economically depressed Ghana.
Rather sad for me to have to acknowledge, but this is not the very first time that a bona fide Ghanaian statesman of the first order and son of Akyem-Abuakwa has had his seminal contributions to the development of Ghanaian political culture conveniently and deviously subsumed under the largely impersonal and amorphous achievements of the ideological collective – in this instance the New Patriotic Party – and then to have an arrogant and megalomaniacal upstart cavalierly impugn the hard-earned stature and achievements of an altruistic and indefatigably selfless pioneer! In the early 1950s, Ghanaians witnessed then-Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah sarcastically and obliquely trivialize the enormous contributions of Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye-Danquah to both the constitutional and democratic development of our beloved country (See Dennis Austin’s Politics in Ghana: 1946-1960).
It is also rather amusing to hear Mr. Kyerematen vehemently insist against both factual reality and common sense that, indeed, he had not in any way, shape or form conceded defeat to Nana Akufo-Addo in the wake of his sound trouncing by the latter at the 2007 NPP delegates’ congress. And so, perhaps, in the opinion of Mr. Kyerematen this eloquently justified his shamelessly public attempt to stall the already belated presidential campaign of Nana Akufo-Addo (See “I Did Not Concede Defeat In 2007 – Alan” MyJoyOnline.com 8/6/10; and also, “Alan: NPP Race Not A Queue, We Want A ‘President’” MyJoyOnline.com 8/5/10). And if, indeed, enviously stalling Nana Akufo-Addo’s presidential campaign with his infantile resignation tantrum is Mr. Kyerematen’s classic notion of fostering party unity, then, it goes without saying that those who have hedged their bet around a Kyerematen presidency ever coming to pass, or fruition, had better advise themselves long before the man gets embarrassingly certified as a cognitive basket case.
I have said this before and hereby reprise the same for the benefit of those who may be reading my analysis of Fourth-Republican Ghanaian politics for the very first time. And it is my convicted contention that it constitutes the height of unpardonable arrogance for any Ghanaian citizen hoping to be accorded the people’s mandate to govern our beloved motherland (and fatherland, of course) to cavalierly presume that the seemingly heady wave of sheer political patronage of the sort facilely ridden by Mr. Kyerematen into national political prominence trumps diligence and hard-earned and personal parliamentary cultural experience.
In other words, perhaps, somebody had better remind President Kufuor’s patronage pet that this is Fourth-Republican Ghana in 2010, not Transitional, Pre-Republican Ghana in 1947 or 1951. And were this politically desperate man reasonably capable of wise counsel, of course, I would have penned this missive in proverbs.
*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 a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of 21 books, including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.