Feature Article of Sunday, 29 April 2012
Columnist: Amoako-Attah, Alex
Due to the unguarded pronouncements of the Assin north NPP member of Parliament, Ken Ohene Agyepong, the entire country has rightly condemned him for such behavior. I am sure, upon reflection in the cooler, Ken has come to realize his mistakes and must render an apology to the entire nation particularly, Gas and Ewes.
But what Ghanaians are overlooking is the immediate causes of Ken’s vituperations. I must state unequivocally that this is no way in defense of the NPP firebrand. Nobody can justify such dangerous statements. But we cannot also ignore the immediate causes. There is no place in Ghana that can be a no go area for any Ghanaian regardless of their political colors or ethnicity. For Nii Lante Vandapuije, the NDC parliamentary candidate for Odododiodio to banish non-Gas from the biometric registration in his constituency was an issue that should have been dealt with by the Electoral Commission without delay. This powder keg should have attracted the attention of the Christian Council, National Houses of Chiefs, the Muslim Community, the Civil Societies and other stakeholders. But every one of these institutions kept quiet even when Ursula Owusu and Samuel Abu Jinapo were beaten to a pulp, nobody spoke up.
To make matters worse, the Police looked on when Ursula was being beaten and did nothing to stop the assault and the culprits apprehended. When the NPP complained, the President of the Republic said he was not a police officer or a prosecutor to prosecute those thugs. That was a day of infamy when the president abdicated his position in favor of partisan politics. We are talking about a whole Law Professor and the Commander-in-chief of the Republic. In the US or elsewhere, he would have been impeached for that. This is a president who took time off from his busy schedule to go to a suburb of Accra to buy kenkey to ascertain the price and the size of that food when the director of communication of the NPP, Nana Akomea, had complained about the untold hardship Mills’ presidency has wrought on Ghanaians on an Fm Radio station. A true leader of substance would have visited Odododiodio to interact with the staff of the EC, the police and the participants thereby stopping the disturbances so the process would be available to all who qualify to register their names in the constituency irrespective of their language or ethnicity.
Mills failed to do this because he never had any intention to hold free and fair election due to his glaring failures and his inordinate ambition to hang on to power at all cost. While he is sanctimoniously throwing political sand in people’s eyes that he is not interested in tainted power with blood, Mills was mute when Nii Lante Vanderpuije and his machomen were denying people with Akan names the right to register their names to enable them vote in the general elections in December 2012. In another development, a twelve year old boy was shot by an NDC thug in the Ashanti Region the very first day of the biometric registration. A caring leader of any nation would have paid a visit to this boy in the hospital and give comfort to him and his parents but the man of God did not see it appropriate. In broad daylight, NDC thugs from Odododiodio under Nii Lante Vanderpuije’s pay roll ran amok with guns, machete, pick axe, clubs and other offensive weapons and chanting war songs in Central Accra with the police looking on. None of these social misfits was arrested for even a disorderly conduct. If this is not a declaration of war, I don’t know what it is. Again, Mills is reported to have complained to the US Ambassador to Accra about the horrifying greater Ashanti project whatever that means, Mills alone can explain that to Ghanaians. This is a revelation that the president of Ghana harbors ill-feeling towards the Ashantis. This is the man of God and Asomdwehene for you. Ironically and interestingly, it was the Asantehene, the leader of the “greater Asante project” who brokered peace between Mills and Rawlings. Do we still have to be afraid of Ken Agyepong who does not command even a battalion of an Army?
You see, it is not the Ken Agyapongs of this world who are going to start civil war in Ghana but injustice, vote cheating and irregularities with official complicity that is going to do it. By all indications, this general election is going to be the most contentious since the inception of the 4th Republic. The stakes are high. Mills and the NDC want to hang onto power at all cost and Nana Addo and NPP want to return to power at all cost so any slightest perceived cheating or irregularities on the part of the government can set Ghana ablaze and this will be spontaneous. No amount of military force can quench such a mass uprising unless the Government is willing to commit genocide. Maybe we should be thankful that the unguarded statement by Ken Agyapong has brought this reality to the fore now than on the D-day. It may have been an ugly statement but now every respectable institution in Ghana is talking about the need for the police to be neutral, balance and effective in performing their constitutionally mandated duties.
To reinforce this, a selected delegation from the National Houses of Chiefs, Christian Council, the National Muslim Council, the Catholic Bishop Council and other civil societies should meet with the president and drive home to him that the need for fairness and transparency in this election cannot be over-emphasized. They should tell him bluntly they would hold him responsible for any political disturbances and social upheavals as a result of official complicity in any vote cheating and irregularities. He is the sole protector of life and properties in Ghana because he is the Commander-in-chief not his appointees. And that they are willing to file a formal report of his behavior before, during and after the elections to the United Nations and The Hague. If any of his commanders have been compromised due to their political affiliations, he should remove them now before it is too late. These institutions cannot sit on the fence until the country is set ablaze before they speak up. No. They must be proactive. The time is now.
Kennedy Ohene Agyepong cannot command anybody to kill fellow Ghanaians and be obeyed. No way! But actions and inactions on the part of the president of Ghana can have devastating consequences on the people he leads. Let us carefully observe some events that have occurred since Mills and the NDC took over the administration of this country. Ever since John Evans Attah Mills burst onto the political scene, he has been very divisive both within the NDC Party and Ghana in general but his seemingly humility has fooled many a Ghanaian. It was such outward deception that mesmerized Jerry Rawlings into erroneously making the Swedru Declaration in his favor. With the subsequent conflict that ensued within the NDC party after Swedru, any peaceful person would have resigned to restore peace and harmony in the NDC but not this man. He stayed until the Party became fractured and splintered. The division in the Party has even become more pronounced since he became the president.
Upon his ascendancy to the presidency, one of the earliest appointments he made was to appoint Kofi Awoonor Williams, a tribalist extraodinaire who in his book, has vowed to exterminate Akans, particularly, Ashantis. Can anybody connect the dots? Remember “the greater Ashanti project?” Again, earlier in his administration, three NPP boys were butchered to death by some NDC thugs but the father for all Ghanaians, could not even attend their funerals neither did he later invite the victims’ families to the Castle for consolation. The killers are still walking free today even though their identities have been given to the Speaker of Parliament by the Minority Leader. Again an NPP supporter, a pastor, was gunned down by an NDC thug in the Brong Ahafo Region. The fugitive was later found hiding under the bed of the deputy Brong Ahafo regional minister at his residence at Sakumonor, Tema. That deputy regional minister is still at his post. How can a man of God allow an appointee caught harboring a fugitive remain at post?
Again, earlier in his administration, the Ga-Adamgbe Youth demanded the change of the Ohene Djan Stadium to Accra Sports Stadium because Ohene Djan is an Akan (Akuapem) and not a Ga and since the Stadium is on Ga soil, according to them, the name should be changed. The stadium has since been reverted to the old name-Accra Sports Stadium. Tell me any unifying force that will allow such a sad but dangerous and divisive thing to happen? The president being a former Hearts of Oak administrator and a soccer enthusiast knows the role the late Ohene Djan played in the advancement of Ghana soccer in African and the world. It is the same Ga-Adamgbe Youth, it may be recalled, which fought against President Kuffour having his office in Accra-a Ga soil. Do you see why Ghanaians must be afraid of Mills more than Ken Agyepong? Ken only barks but can’t bite.
Space and time will not allow me to chronicle the many atrocities and mayhem that have been visited on NPP supporters and a section of the populace by the NDC thugs and hooligans that have gone unpunished. There has been a complete breakdown of Law and Order on Mills’ watch and the NPP and its supporters have been the main victims of such a state –sanctioned lawlessness. In the absence of effective leadership, the Kennedy Ohene Agyepongs of the world become heroes because they are perceived to speak truth to power. But a caring and a unifying national leader will render the presence of such people unnecessary. As I have already suggested, the leadership of various societies in Ghana must meet with the president with a selected delegation at the Castle and tell him his actions and inactions are sending Ghana to a dangerous path and that they would hold him accountable if there should be any disturbances before, during and after the December elections. And that they are willing to file a formal report to the United Nations and The Hague because he is the President and Commander-in-chief of the country. His actions must speak louder than his words. Evil can only triumph when good people refuse to speak up.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org