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Feature Article of Friday, 20 July 2012

Columnist: Sarpong, Gideon Amoako

John and Johnson: Partners in Popular Pandemonium?

John and Johnson are unlike Jack and Jill. They are not the best of friends; not to talk of being concurring partners in any political undertaking whatsoever. Granted. But it is not uncommon to see them dining together at a restaurant after a hard day’s toil in the field of vitriolic panel discussions, political bickering and demonization. When the cameras and the microphones are powered on, you can count on their awesome abilities to inspire ill-feeling amongst followers. Switch the cameras and microphones off and I guarantee that you’d delight in their great sense of humour; the bantering remarks and the pragmatic congeniality. And if you care to know, some are business partners; others siblings and even in-laws, and this in spite of party affiliation. After all is said and done, John and Johnson are consistent in their fluctuating opinions on matters of national interest. It is interesting to note that John now bastardizes that which he used to defend even as Johnson presently commends what he used to vehemently criticize.

But for John and Johnson, the biometric registration exercise would have recorded no violent incidence. Political intrigues and the I-am-good-you-are-evil insistence were variously employed by these opponents. As usual, the machomen and unemployed young were quick to avail themselves to exploitation. The Electoral Commission (EC) and the Police Service as expected, were at the receiving end of whining protests, fault-finding complaints and accusations of complicity: “We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.”

There were further complications: Johnson threatened a blood-shedding resistance against what he perceived as John’s machinations. He and his group of unofficial election vigilantes put up a strong surveillance, to the extent of physically preventing John and some of his cohorts from registering. John was in no small way peeved. He piped, he danced, he mourned and there was supposedly no one (not even impartial Quaye) to console him. His response towards this perceived injustice was radical, and probably in the spirit of extreme “an eye for an eye” retaliation. War was unilaterally declared and the drama that this declaration occasioned is fully known to all and sundry.

All these were sounded out on the airwaves to the discomfort of Kofi Ghana. Only God knows the trauma he went through as a result of reckless and irresponsible utterances of devotees from the camps of John and Johnson. The question of where his neighbour comes from and the language he speaks suddenly gained an undue prominence. Subsequently, the one who does not speak his language became a suspect, and extreme caution was exercised in dealings with him. Comments given on websites about national issues became overly tainted with unnecessary ethnic hate. Kobla was pitted against Kwabena whilst Takyi stood aloof from Tackie, a hitherto close buddy. The striking resemblance in cultural traditions (and for that matter names) was grossly overlooked. By so doing, the farcical concept of ethnic superiority had a field day, an unhindered, great time of reclaiming lost territories – feeble hearts and minds. This is how far John and Johnson have brought us.

Are they the people they claim to be? The national Messiahs? Are they not leading many well-meaning Ghanaians astray? Are they truly representative of the average Ghanaian? I am sorry to say that the average Ghanaian they claim to represent has suffered a heart attack. His heart was too tender to stand the debilitating noise associated with the so-called constructive or sane political discourse. He is on admission at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Actually, he is comatose, clinically dead, if you care to know. If he were alive, he would have exposed their patriotism for what it actually is: a sham. He’d call them to order and discipline. Oh that Mr. Thinking Ghanaian would come back to life and ruthlessly deal with these partners of sorts! Let us see them as we see all others; enemies when they preach war, and friends when they preach peace.

Gideon Amoako Sarpong / University of Ghana / aca_education at yahoo

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