Feature Article of Monday, 28 February 2011
Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea
Part 1A Rejoinder to: '“All-Die-Be-Die” Clarion Bests Mills’ State-of-the-Nation Address', by **Okoampa-Ahoofe,
Kwame, Feature Article of Sunday, 27 February 2011. I suppose that Okoampa would argue that he writes out of his own volition and that Akufo Addo has nothing to do with it. I don't mind believing that. Trouble is, Okoampa writes for his cousin. He sits on his board as a governor of the Danquah Institute. So the association is there. Secondly, if Akufo-Addo does not agree with what his cousin writes, he should be able to tell him to cool it. Unfortunately anyone expecting Akufo-Addo to pump some sense into the head of Okoampa must be disappointed by the fact that Akufo-Addo himself is even talking more nonsense of late than Kwame Okoampa himself!
What we rather see Okoampa attempting to do is the political damage control of the stupid utterances made by Mr. Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, the blood-thirsty presidential candidate of the NPP who is crying for the blood of non-Akans in Ghana! The only problem with this latest attempt at damage control lies in the fact that there is a wide dichotomy between what the title promised to deliver in the article and what the content of the article was about. It reminds me of London Underground Railway system and the constant admonishment to passengers to "Mind the Gap!"
Okoampa wrote an article which purportedly announces '"All-Die-Be-Die” Clarion Bests Mills’ State-of-the-Nation Address'. It was therefore not my fault that I was expecting to read a genuine comparative analysis of the two speeches which show which one of them was better and why. The essential elements in the Akufo-Addo's infamous "All die be die" slogan and speech was the simple fact that as a national leader leader of a political party in today's Ghana, he was caught on camera identifying himself with a particular ethnic group and asking them to wage war with other non-Akans, and is therefore unfit to be offered the job as the President of Ghana.
It is ethnocentrism in his speech which is unacceptable and completely repugnant. Contrary to the stated objective of President Mills to be a "father to all" Ghanaians, here, we have a political leader presenting himself as a tribal leader beating war drums mobilizing Akans against their imagined enemies:
"They have made up their minds that they are going to intimidate us in 2012." Akufo-Addo was caught on the microphone, speaking in Twi, an Akan language, 'I sometimes explain this as the claim that we Akans are cowards. They argue that if one is able wound one or two of us, then all the rest of us remaining take to our heels! Is that so? Well, We shall see! Atiwa for example, was a little illustration of this. During the by-elections at Atiwa we did "something small" that showed a little bit of this. And so we have to understand that this party was formed by brave men. Our elders who formed this party which is now the biggest political party in Ghana, were not people who were hiding under beds! The courage that is needed now to face the 2012 elections is 'All die be die! All die be die!' Nobody is a man more than his fellow! Nobody more manly than the other. No matter how tall you are, no matter how small you are in size, by God's plan, all of us are endowed with exactly the same thing. You cannot tell us that you have three inside yours. All of us have how many? Two! Ha! ha! ha! So we are going to pick up courage. Ghanaians need us to come back to power. Whatever courage we need to stand firmly and to ensure that we come back to power in 2012, we are going to have to do it!" (Transcription by the Office of the Odikro, from audio, source: @joyonlinenews: Listen to key voices on Nana Akufo-Addo's 'all die be die' http://dlvr.it/Gb2v7)
I have never heard of a divisive political speech in the history of the entire country by a leading political leader and aspirant that is so divisive, and so disgustingly ethnocentric! It is very obvious that Akufo-Addo has spoken absolute nonsense. I have seen attempts to beat around the bush and make this absolute bunkum look a bit presentable. A lot of spin has passed under the bridge since this nonsense was uttered. I particularly found the efforts of Justice Sarpong and Arthur Kennedy rather pathetic apologies which did nothing to help the Akyem dwarf out of his political predicament.
It is normal to see Justice Sarpong, a staunch supporter of Akufo-Addo, after two years of "treatment" by the Odikro in the forums of Ghanaweb.com, to be able to point out on his own what was exactly wrong with the speech and to distance himself accordingly:
"Let me make it crystal clear here that, I do not agree with the part of Nana's speech talking about the bravery of Akans and making it seem like NPP is an Akan party at war with the Ewe dominated NDC Party. Ghanaians are not going to war war with each other, we have come a long way in our democratic rebirth we will not resort to the Kenya or Ivory Coast examples but we will not allow any Party, either NPP or NDC to hijack any election in Ghana, that NDC should not try to rig the 2012 election." (See: 'NDC Dunderheads, Atta Mess "Threatened" Kenya On Ghana', by Sarpong, Justice, Feature Article of Sunday, 13 February 2011).
Quite unlike Sarpong who wanted to make it "crystal clear" that, "the part of Nana's speech talking about the bravery of Akans and making it seem like NPP is an Akan party at war with the Ewe dominated NDC Party" is wrong, Okoampa has always believed that the NPP is not just an Akan Party, but Christian. Advancing his reasons why the NPP should reject the candidacy of Hajia Alima Mahama, who was then the Kufour Administration's Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, Okoampa vehemently expressed his disagreement with Mr. Akilu Salisu, of the Nasara Club, who proposed Hajia Mahama as Akufo-Addo's running mate. First he stated the offence:
"Mr. Akilu Salisu, of the Nasara Club, stakes the unpardonably preposterous claim that “giving the position [of Vice-Presidential Candidate] to a Muslim woman would help remove the perception that NPP is an Akan party as well as help to promote gender balance” (see “FOMWAG ROOTS FOR ALIMA” Modernghana.com 7/10/08)."
The Okomapa passed his judgement:
"Indeed, as this writer stated quite awhile ago, in one of his columns, to describe the New Patriotic Party as an Akan party ought to give absolutely no occasion to invidious charges of ethnocentrism. For one, to be an Akan party simply means that democracy is active an alive in Fourth-Republican Ghana – for Akans, indisputably, constitute at least 50-percent of Ghana's electorate and citizenry. This means that no political party could be accorded an electoral mandate without having carried a sizable portion of the majority Akan vote; and so disingenuous and hollow attempts by the likes of Nasara Club's Mr. Akilu Salisu to politically malign the NPP are just that, totally hollow, disingenuous and practically unsound."
And as though that was not enough, Okoampa added:
"This writer personally believes that, indeed, Hajia Alima Mahama, given the chance, could well become one of Ghana's best Vice-Presidents. But this writer is also wary of the fact that Ghana and the NPP have just had a Muslim Vice-President for nearly 8 years now. And, indeed, it is an unprecedented and, perhaps, also an unbested first in Ghana's history, since no ruling party before the emergence of the New Patriotic Party had a publicly professing Muslim as Vice-President. Even more significant is the imperative need for Ghanaians to guard against the eerie possibility of setting an unsavory and morally unsound precedent of making a habit, or culture, of permanently reserving the Vice-Presidential spot in the NPP for Muslims and Northerners; for political entitlement, of the sort foolhardily championed by the likes of Mrs. Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, has absolutely no place in a constitutional democracy. What must be done is to strongly encourage, as well as actively support, qualified Ghanaian women to enter mainstream politics, not create an unsavory political ghetto – or “tokenistic” entitlement institutions – such as the reservation of a certain number of parliamentary seats for women, as was wildly and vehemently advocated in the recent past."
(See: "Mr. Akilu Salisu Should Argue Sensibly", by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Feature Article | Sat, 19 Jul 2008).
Of course, I don't expect Okoampa who has already characterised the NPP as an "Akan Christian Party" to be bothered with, or see anything wrong with this declaration which sounds more of a tribal warlord than a decent political party candidate contesting for the high office of the President of the country! for a Presidential elections! There is no amount of comparisons with speeches made by President Mills that can wash away the spectre of a presidential candidate telling his tribesmen and women, 'I sometimes explain this as the claim that we Akans are cowards"! And calling for blood, anybody's blood, for the simple reason that according to him every death is the same!
Okoampa then raves and rants about the MV Benjamin cocaine episode, the President's "promise to round up, vigorously prosecute and severely punish the alleged killers of the Ya-Na", and "his strongman-mentor and his politically ambitious, erratic and ever-scheming wife". How any of these answer the silly tribal nonsense uttered by Akufo-Addo baffles me! The trouble is if you can not deal with your cousin's problem, you don't have to make it worse by thinking you can insult the intelligence of Ghanaians and get away with it. Perhaps if Akufo-Addo has been stupid enough to make the utterances, he would be stupid enough to believe that what Okoampa is doing would do the trick instead of coming out like a gentleman to apologize and promise to turn a new leaf.
There are gaping holes in the damage control articles being churned out in the support of Akufo-Addo. Those gaps represent insults to our intelligence. It can never produce anything positive in the long run. Indeed, what it can do, if this continues, in the absence of a clear apology, people are rather going to be infuriated, including myself, because we want peace in Ghana, and we are in no mood to countenance irresponsible statements that do nothing to promote peace and stability of the nation. You may not be able to stop Okoampa from writing. He seems to have a compulsive urge to write even when his head is empty, so no point to stop him. Just tell him to mind the gap!
*Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!!* *Cheers!*
*Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro*
*E-Mail: [email protected]*
* *Feature Articles: http://nanaakyeamensah.blogspot.com/*