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Feature Article of Sunday, 13 May 2012

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

Akufo-Addo Is His Own Straw Man!

Feature Article, by Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

"What has Akufo-Addo done, and why can't you understand Sarpong's piece! What you done here is a subtle construction of a straw man, in fact, a very weak one, and cutting him down. Grow up Akyea! You are old enough to be a great great grandfather!"

Author: Akadu Mensema, Date: 2012-05-11 00:37:14 See: Akufo-Addo Is Still The Greatest Threat To Peace In Ghana. | Feature Article 2012-05-11 http://bit.ly/J3AZyK.

Here is a supporter of Akufo-Addo who has seen the light without knowing! If I had been deliberately constructing my portrait, it would not have so surprised me. But the fact that I have been painstakingly putting facts together to arrive at a better appreciation of the danger lurking around, makes this observation very pertinent. Akadu Mansema, claims that "What you [I have] done here is a subtle construction of a straw man, in fact, a very weak one, and cutting him down". Whilst I readily agree with the opinion that I have successfully exposed "a straw man", I refuse and reject the insinuation that I have anything to do with it! Nana Akufo-Addo alone is responsible for his weaknesses and his downfall, not me!

I was not the one that asked him to go and utter those ethnocentric and highly stupid statement of “We Akans are not cowards...” I did not teach him to chant “All die be die!” I was equally not the person who reported to him of his impending defeat in the wake of an inevitable second round of voting for the 2008 Presidential elections! When in January 2009, the Akufo-Addo camp was experimenting with everything to subvert the will of Ghanaians, and refusing to gracefully concede to defeat, they were acutely aware of the fact that they had genuinely lost the elections. The fact that this nearly brought Ghana to the brink of a civil war makes it even all the more despicable.

I find it alarmingly significant that for the first time in the history of our country an individual has been identified by a report produced by group of experts commissioned by the US Africa Command as saying, “The role of the NPP leader and expected presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, will be crucial, and early signals suggest reason for worry. Akufo-Addo is desperate to mobilize support, and he has played the ethnic card, referring to the NPP as “We the Akans,” urging his supporters to “all die be die”—that is, they should be willing to die to ensure the NPP’s victory…” from: Scenarios: A Contested Election Result, GHANA: Assessing Risks to Stability, By David W. Throup Contributor: Jennifer G. Cooke, Richard Downie, Jul 7, 2011.

What hope do we therefore have for peace in Ghana if it depends upon an individual we all know fully well is most unlikely to concede defeat, even where it is crystal clear that he had been fairly beaten. If he had done so in the past, what makes you think he is not going to do the same thing? To begin with, this report is not some NDC propaganda, but the basis of a professional assessment by security experts in the United States, good enough to be commissioned by the US Africa Command. The report states clearly, “a second, low-to-medium-probability but high-impact scenario would be a violently contested presidential election in December 2012, which would have the potential to produce chaos.”

This is death and mayhem for thousand of innocent Ghanaians we are talking about here. Since this is about Peace and War, it is very much worthy of the attention of those of us who want peace to prevail in our country. The report specifically pin-points Akufo-Addo's role in ensuring the peace to be “crucial”. But gives a very pessimistic account of the prospects. So, if the peace of our country depends upon a serial sore-loser to gracefully concede defeat when defeated, are we not already in trouble? Just as we all know, the report rightly points out that “The role of the NPP leader and expected presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, will be crucial, and early signals suggest reason for worry. Akufo-Addo is desperate to mobilize support, and he has played the ethnic card, referring to the NPP as “We the Akans,” urging his supporters to “all die be die” — that is, they should be willing to die to ensure the NPP’s victory…”

If the future of this country depends upon a serial sore-loser accepting defeat, are we not leisurely strolling into war if we do not challenge and expose this man? People like that should not even be allowed to contest. They should be automatically be disqualified from contesting, the moment they illegally take measures to undermine the integrity of the Electoral Commission. We all know what happened when Akufo-Addo contested with President Kufour in 2000 NPP Congress. Even at that time, Nana Akufo-Addo's reputation of being someone who loses in a fair competition but whines about it on a constant basis, blaming everyone around him for his loss except himself, had been established already.

Ghana was very lucky that in 2008, we had a President from his own party who knew him very well from his own bitter experience, and was ready to put his big feet down. Akufo-Addo's political tautology of calling on the Kufour Administration to protect NPP supporters, could have been laughable, but for ominous warnings for the future. In his speech "acknowledging" the announcement of the Electoral Commissioner, he called on President J.A. Kufuor, the security forces and the law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of the party’s supporters, because “I am concerned that if positive steps are not taken to protect and to reassure them, they will be compelled to defend themselves.”

If Akufo-Addo was already speaking like that, even under the NPP Administration, when his own bodyguards were doing most of the beatings in town,including beating the body guards of candidate Mills in public at Cape Coast during the Afahye, and in Kumasi, during the Odwira Festival, what is he not going to say next time around? Akufo-Addo was fully aware that he was bound to lose, as soon as the vote went up for a second round. That is what Dr. Arthur Kennedy tells us from his book, "Chasing the elephant into the bush". This has been unwittingly confirmed by people close to Akufo-Addo like Gabriel Asare Otchere-Darko, who claimed only five Ghanaians have set eyes on the report so far.

The first time we got a hint of the Larry Gibson prediction was from his book, “Chasing the elephant into the bush”. This is how Colin Essamuah put it in his book review:

“Dr. Kennedy makes clear, line after line in his book, that the NPP as a corporate body, then and now, suffered fatally from a delusional triumphalism that electoral defeat was impossible, and therefore, unthinkable. This illogical belief affected every political decision, and every propaganda step they took during the campaign. It is delusional triumphalism which produced 18 presidential aspirants, including ALL the senior ministers in the Kufuor cabinet, including his blood brother, Kwame Addo-Kufuor, plus three sojourners in Europe and America, Boakye Agyarko, Agyei-Barwuah and the author himself. It is the delusion of victory that produced the inherent belief in party ranks that the opposition NDC was no factor, even though as early as August, 2008, the NPP had been warned that the non-existent opposition NDC could force a second round, courtesy the advice of Professor Larry Gibson.” [Book Review: CHASING THE ELEPHANT INTO THE BUSH: THE POLITICS OF COMPLACENCY – by Colin Essamuah, 5 January 2010, ModernGhana.com http://bit.ly/yB7sQq]

For Akufo-Addo to pretend that he lost the elections because his millions of supporters in the Volta Region were prevented from voting for him, is to take all of us for fools! Even in his contest with Alan Kyeremanten, the Volta Regional branch of the NPP gave 96% of their votes to Alan Kyeremanteng! Which votes was he talking about that he nearly led Ghana to the precipice of war as a result of such bêtise? Who in Ghana did not know that the Volta Region was an NDC "world bank"? The NPP was then in power, and in charge of law and order, yet these so-called "learned men" did not even know how to file a simple electoral complaint. They even confused Ghana's electoral laws with our criminal law! And they call themselves lawyers! Even though the Minister of the Interior was an NPP stalwart they chose to complain like children to the Electoral Commission instead of directing their criminal complaints to the police!

Even though his party boasts of brilliant lawyers, there was no one available to furnish the Electoral Commission following the laid down procedures of Ghana's Electoral law. As indicated by Dr Afari-Gyan, “In respect of the materials submitted by the NPP in the nature of evidence, the Commission found out that; some of the issues raised bothered on criminality and, therefore, fell outside the competence of the EC.” He went further to indicate, "In the purely electoral matters, the Commission did not find the evidence provided to be sufficient to invalidate the results. "In view of these findings about the complaints of the two parties, the results as previously tallied from the 229 constituencies remain unchanged. Accordingly the results of the runoff in the Tain constituency, which was held on January 2 2009, have been added to the national tally," Dr Afari-Gyan stated. [Prof. Mills wins Election 2008, General News of Saturday, 3 January 2009, GNA http://bit.ly/zKNpH3]

A further attempt to throw the entire electoral process out of gear was thrown out of court, when on January 1st, a Public Holiday, an ex-parte motion calling on an injunction on the Electoral Commission to provide the electoral results was dismissed because it was secretly served on the court, and on the blind side of the principal stake-holders, namely the Ghana Electoral Commission, and the New Democratic Party which won the elections. The court, instead, indicated that looking at the nature of the case and the exigencies, it was prudent for the interested parties, namely, Prof John Evans Atta Mills, Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the NDC to be served on notice with the pleadings to enable them to react appropriately. Even though the NPP was in power, not even the President was informed about this dirty move against our democracy!

There was also a condemnation by the legal brain and a former National Chairman of the NPP, and a member of the Council of Elders of the New Patriotic Party, the late Mr. B.J Da Rocha considered “the action taken by the party against the EC is neither in the interest of the nation nor the credibility of the NPP.” The Party Chairman Peter Mac Manu, and counsel Atta Akyia had earlier filed two writs to put an injunction on the Tain election and to stop the EC chairman from declaring the results of the December 28 run-off. Mr. Da Rocha said the "action is wrong and must be abandoned." He told Joy News on Friday, “the constitution must be allowed to play out without any interference.” He intimated “there are provisions within the constitution which allows for the party to seek redress of all their grievances, adding the process must be allowed to go on.”[Da Rocha: Leave the EC to do their job | Elections http://bit.ly/wgqCmZ]

Meanwhile, the Akufo-Addo camp, fully aware the end had come, refused to give up! A member of the Governing Body of his public relations outfit, The Danquah Institute, even wrote a complete feature article calling on the President-elect to hand over power to Akufo-Addo! [See: “Atta-Mills Must Concede Defeat!” By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., ModernGhana.com, Featured Articles, 31 December 2008] The refusal by Nana Akufo-Addo to concede defeat in the 2008 Presidential elections nearly plunged the country into a political turmoil.

And political turmoil is exactly what the President warned about in his New Year message: “For many Ghanaians the joy of the New Year has been tampered to an extent by the intense anxiety and high tension arising out of the ongoing Presidential elections which is yet to throw up a clear winner, despite last week’s run-off. The two contesting parties have raised pertinent concerns which are being addressed by the Independent Electoral Commission, among others. It is important however that we meet the Constitutional time table for handing over on the January 7th. I therefore urge all stakeholders to yield to the authority of the Electoral Commissioner when he declares the results. Any outstanding issues may be settled later by due process.” [Ghana: President calls for calm - Posted on Friday 2 January 2009, Kent Mensah, AfricaNews editor in Accra, Ghana http://bit.ly/wGfhmj]

We never got much information from what was in the report until the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, and Akufo-Addo's right-hand man, felt compelled to react to the speculations raised by the Dr. Kennedy revelations. He began: “EVER SINCE Arthur Kennedy published his book, 'Chasing the Elephant into the Bush', and more so since the NPP presidential primaries got going, several commentators have used the analysis of Larry Gibson to score points against Nana Akufo-Addo.” Yet reading in-between the lines, it was clear that Larry Gibson has not predicted a win for Akufo-Addo.

Even though Otchere-Darko asserts that: “Larry Gibson's work was assisted by the Danquah Institute, and I can say that only five people, including me but excluding Dr Kennedy, have copies of the full details of his work which helped inform the 2008 campaign. Arthur K, like the candidate, only benefited from the briefings of the opinion polls and other analysis made by Larry.” Which by implication, gave him more authority to correct the impression given by Dr. Kennedy that Professor Gibson predicted the defeat of the NPP flag-bearer. He ends up confirming what Dr. Kennedy was claiming to be true, providing further damning details in the process.

For instance, Otchere-Darko states that: “Larry's first opinion poll was conducted in May 2008, five months after Nana Akufo-Addo was elected for the first time as flag-bearer. Prof Mills had been consistently on every NDC presidential ticket since 1996.” A statement that could only mean that the result of the Larry Gibson first opinion poll was negative to Akufo-Addo. He also asserted that: “There is a lot of talk these days that the NPP lost the 2008 elections because the party did not market well the achievements of President Kufuor. Yet, Larry Gibson's polls had shown that Ghanaians simply were not convinced about the NPP record on the economy – the most important indicator on all the electoral indices.”

If our peace of mind as a country depends upon such a person accepting defeat when he is defeated, don't you think we are already in trouble? Don't you think we need to talk to him not to cause trouble next time? Don't you think he needs to be exposed for what he is really is and starve him of any public support for his nefarious plans? I do! And that is exactly what Nana Akyea Mensa, The Odikro, has done here! We do not have to invent a straw man, all we need to do is to show who he is. And trust Ghanaians in their wisdom, to take care of the rest, and put the appropriate pressure on Akufo-Addo to do what is right and just.

Forward Ever! Backwards Never!

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