Feature Article of Sunday, 6 January 2013
Columnist: Damptey, Daniel Danquah
Ex President John Agyekum Kufuor should not stab Akufo Addo in the back by attending Mahama’s inauguration.
Our elders say if you want to send a message to Heaven, just send fire and the smoke will do the rest for you.
I am one of those people who are vehemently opposed to Kufuor’s attending the inauguration of John Dramani Mahama as President. Ask me why and my answer is simple. I am buoyed by patriotism. Yes, I am indeed a patriot. You may dispute the assertion but that is the simple truth. I want things to be done in a fair and orderly manner. Ne cheating, please!
The reasons militating against Kufuor’s attendance far outweigh those in favour of his attendance.
In the first place, attending the ceremony will give credence to Alhaji Bature’s assertion that Kufuor is strongly opposed to the court action initiated by Nana Akufo Addo and the New Patriotic Party. In the last couple of weeks there have been persistent attempts in the Al Hajj’s newspaper to create a schism between Akufo Addo and ex President Kufuor. The Newspaper and its editor had at the least opportunity, sought to create the erroneous impression that the Former President had warned the NPP’s Flag-bearer to desist from seeking redress over what he termed electoral irregularities in the December 7, 2012 Presidential Elections.
Even though, Frank Agyekum, Kufuor’s Spoke-person has come out with a denial, Alhaji Bature would not take that rebuttal for an answer. If Kufuor attends the inauguration, will that not be tantamount to adding fire to petrol and create the impression that Kufuor did that to show disdain for Akufo Addo because the latter refused to heed his advice? Would it not be in the interest of the ex-President and the NPP if Kufuor did not show his face at the inauguration? President Mahama and his NDC have not created any level playing field to enable the New Patriotic Party and other minority parties to pursue their legitimate aspirations of aspiring to become the Number One Citizen of the country and their members aspiring to represent their constituencies.
Again, I have some posers for the hawks, rabid dogs, wolves and vultures in the NDC. Was it not under the NDC’s administration that ex President Kufuor was given the worst humiliation ever meted out to any living President in the world? Was it not under the NDC administration that Kufuor was locked out of a facility which he had wanted to use as an office at Osu?
The NDC deliberately set up a so-called non existing group whose main aim was to ostensibly protect Ga lands, but in actual fact it was to make it impossible for the ex president to use the facility at Osu as his office. This Group had the support of the National Security Coordinator who personally locked the ex-President from the facility which he (Kufuor) had wanted to use as his office. Even, if Kufuor had at that time not been given official permission by the Presidency to occupy the building, was that the best way to handle the issue? Was the action of Gbevlo Lartey not tantamount to humiliating the ex-president by cutting him down to size? Well, if today, Kufuor has forgotten all the humiliation the NDC had meted out to him and is hell-bent on attending the inauguration of somebody whose election is being called to question, I will leave that to his conscience.
I am not by my stance suggesting that two wrongs make a right. No, far from that! But the time has come for all the stake-holders in our political dispensation to sit down and iron out the things which seek to divide us and which are being pushed under the carpet. We need to discuss them with a view to arriving at amicable settlement. And the time to do so is not! We cannot postpone to tomorrow what we can do for the country today.
How has ex-President Kufuor been treated since the NPP lost power nearly four years ago? That of ex-President Rawlings is no better. Up to the time Professor Mills died, information available indicated that Kufuor was yet to be paid his ex-gratia. The same applied to his staff. Is this how to treat a former leader? Is this not in direct contravention to the tenets of our constitution? Has ex President Kufuor forgotten all those things?
Again, has ex President Kufuor forgotten how the NDC humiliated him by rejecting the state honours he bestowed on some NDC stalwarts? What was their grouse? That Tsatsu Tsakata, who himself was sacked from the GNPC by Rawlings at the tail end of the NDC administration had been jailed by a court of competent jurisdiction? Yes, that was their reason!
Don’t we also have a justifiable reason for boycotting the ceremony? Yes, we do! Also remember that in January, 2004 the late President and prominent members of the NDC boycotted the swearing in of President Kufuor on the grounds that the election was marred by many irregularities. This was against the background that the late Professor who was the Presidential Candidate of the NDC had earlier conceded defeat and congratulated ex President Kufuor on his re-election. Again what happened when Tsikatsa was jailed by a court of competent jurisdiction for causing financial loss to the state? The party’s Members of Parliament boycotted Parliament. So the action of our Parliamentarians in boycotting of the inauguration of John Mahama as president is based on principles. You accuse your neighbour of using witchcraft to kill your child. If the accused decides to go to celebrate his so called “vindication” in church to be followed with a “victory party” do you (the accuser) attend the church service and victory party with him? Will that not be translated to mean your accusations were baseless? This is not in our culture.
The only way out for Kufuor to attend the ceremony is for the NDC to publicly apologize to him for all the insults and disrespect shown to him. If they could swallow their pride and do just that, it would have introduced a new era into our politics. Then Kufuor would have no qualms in attending the ceremony in his individual capacity. But I doubt they will do that.
You see, during the Ghana@ 50 Celebration, the then President Kufuor sent a high powered delegation led by Professor Adzei Bekoe, Chairman of Council of State to plead with former President Rawlings to reconsider his decision not to attend the Ghana @ Fifty Celebrations and that if his (Kufuor’s) administration had offended Rawlings, the former President should forgive him.
That was a pragmatic attempt by Kufuor’s administration to defuse the frosty relationship existing between his administration and that of former President Rawlings. I sincerely feel that if the doves in the NDC have had the upper hand, the situation would not have degenerated to the level we now find ourselves in. The issue would have been simple if ex President Kufuor had not publicly commented on the outcome of the election when the Beninois President and African Union President, Yaya Boni called on the latter in his attempt to convince the NPP Flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to concede defeat. Kufuor catalogued a lot of irregularities which put the outcome of the election in doubt. One may ask whether Kufuor, while speaking on the alleged irregularities actually believe in their genuineness or he was just playing to the gallery in an attempt to create the impression that the so-called tension between Nana Akufo Addo and himself were non existent.
And if indeed these irregularities were strong enough to invalidate the outcome of the election, should they not be strong enough to persuade you, an elder statesman from having anything to do with any such act? Is Kufuor by his attendance not giving cover to an act of illegitimacy? If he goes there in his personal capacity as an ordinary citizen, there will be nothing wrong with that. But to go there as an elder statesman, I have my doubts. It will give sanctuary to the idea that “the end justifies the means”. But this is not what we need now.
And the outbursts of some NDC wolves, scarecrows, sharks, rabid dogs, scorpions, and vicious vipers like Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa are deepening the schism between the two opposing sides of the political divide. The insinuation that they will make the only PNC member of the House the Second Deputy Speaker is not what we need at the moment. I know the NPP had done a similar thing to the NDC earlier on when the latter sponsored Peter Ala Adjetey who indicated interest in the speakership of the house. By the action of the NDC, they lost the opportunity to present any of its members to vie for the Second Deputy Speaker’s position. Okudzeto’s outbursts smack of arrogance, and that is not the way to build consensus. There was no need to the Baby Minister of Information to have come out with a preposition like that. Why did he have to be okro mouthed and speak the way he did at a time that we were in need of sane minds to douse the inferno on our political terrain? In such situations, silence becomes golden. Has Ex President Kufuor forgotten how the NDC humiliated the NPP Flag bearer, Nana Akufo Addo both at festivals in Cape Coast and Akropong Akuapim by preventing him from greeting the Chiefs and other dignitaries gathered on the occasions? Till date, the NDC has not offered any apology for the disrespect shown our flag bearer. Yet, Kufuor wants to honour them with his presence! During the latter stage of his administration, he started increasing fuel prices. Some of us warned that such acts were inimical to the interests and fortune of our party, but he refused to heed the handwritings which were clearly written on the wall. What happened to all the monies that accrued to the national coffers? Did the NDC give him any credit for that when it came to power? No! Rather, he was lambasted and called all sorts of names, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa being the tormentor in –Chief.
Will his attendance at the function remove his name from the list of what Asiedu Nketiah refers to as “idiots” who go to court to ensure that legitimate means are used to right some wrong doings? Well, if that is his reason, then, I pity him. For me, I choose to be one of such idiots. I believe that ex-resident Kufuor’s attendance at Mahama’s inauguration will be a negative stain in the latter’s political career. It will be misconstrued as giving legitimacy to an otherwise illegal administration.
Who are the top advisers of the New Patriotic Party? Couldn’t they advise him to shelve his “holier than thou” toga and face realities by droning the garment of fairness, truthfulness and transparency? If for any reason, ex-President Kufuor thinks he has found a new ally in the NDC and is being impervious to genuine advice from his old friends. Let him go ahead. Let him go and wine with his newly found allies. But I want to offer a word of caution to him because I love him and appreciate him for all that he stands for in Ghana today. Let him not take part in any refreshment organized for dignitaries at the end of the ceremony. The way and manner the former President Professor John Evans Atta Mills are too fresh in our minds. If they could sacrifice their own man for their selfish ambition what wouldn’t they do to their political opponent?
A friend of mine made a deduction and I am beginning to come to terms with that. He said if you see a snake and an NDC man, kill the NDC man first. I asked why. And this was her answer. “Because there is an antidote to a snake bite. But for an NDC person to bite you, … well … errr …. Emmm….., I fear ooo”. !
If, in spite of all the above misgivings, President Kufuor insists on attending the inauguration, he should not forget the fact that it was a cup of tea that Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olabisi Abiola, acclaimed winner of 1993 elections drank in the presence of international statesmen that led to his untimely demise. He should also be on the look out that no photographer gets so close to take a snapshot of him enjoying the delicacy placed before him. They will later enlarge the picture “blowing it out of proportion” to be used in their propaganda game. My candid advice to ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor is this. Do not honour the invitation if you love yourself, the New Patriotic Party and the country, Ghana. This is a political bait. It is a Greek Gift, and a betrayal to all that the New Patriotic Party stands for. It will be a setback to our search for justice and truth. It will be a stab in the back of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, our Flag bearer.
The past cannot be changed. But we must work through the present in order to shape the Future.
Daniel Danquah Damptey (email@example.com) 0243715297