Feature Article of Monday, 7 January 2013
Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku
The former president of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency, John Agyekum Kufuor, the best asset of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition, has contributed immensely to the democratic process of Ghana before, during, and after leaving office on January 7, 2009.
Even when it comes to participation of national events such as Independence Anniversaries, National Awards etc, his presence has always been felt in that regard. He has neither followed the negative course of his predecessor, Jerry John Rawlings nor his successor John Atta Mills. These two gentlemen have boycotted several national events, including the January 7, 2005 Swearing-in ceremony of John Kufuor as the president. Even when Kufuor tried to award the late Atta Mills for being an outstanding opposition leader during 1998 National Awards, the latter turned it down completely.
In the passage of important and crucial bills that had the tendency to improve the welfare of the ordinary Ghanaian, there had been several instances that the NDC and its leaders have taken entrenched positions to stay out. For instance,the NDC Members of Parliament boycotted the National Health Insurance bill, the National Identification Authority bill, as well as the Representative of People's Amendment Bill (ROPAL) in the past years.
However, Kufuor as an individual has deviated from such diabolic course of the NDC since 2009. Though some of the hardcore NDC members have called him Ataa Ayi ( a notorious armed robber), womaniser for 'fathering' unknown twins, corrupt and Hotel 'waa waa' when his son purchased a hotel, thief for awarding himself with gold medal, greedy for 'selling' all Ghana's gold reserves, selfish for 'backing' Alan Kyerematen (Alan Cash), wicked for not handing over power to Nana Akufo-Addo in 2008, globetrotter for seeking foreign investment, 'visionless' for taking advantage of the HIPC initiative, 'tribalist' for his political appointments, etc, Kufuor has never allowed the numerous accusations and insults to act as a barrier for him to serve his beloved country.
He was present when the US President, Barack Obama visited Ghana in early 2009. At the inauguration of the Ghana's Jubilee Oil in December 2010, Kufuor was there. Again, when John Mahama was being sworn in on 24th July, 2012 as the Caretaker president after the latter had "killed" Atta Mills at the Castle, Kufuor honoured the invitation. We were all witnesses to his tributes to the late Mills, especially when the news reached him that he had lost his former compatriot. Whilst J.J. Rawlings said; if Mills was wise, he could have lived longer, this was what Kufuor said; "There was air of peace on this man; let's celebrate his life for he lived a fulfilled fruitful life".
Fellow citizens, who would have thought that my role model, John Agyekum Kufuor would move from his house and honour an invitation of the late John Evans Atta Mills at the Osu Castle on 22nd February 2011? Prior to this invitation, the late Atta Mills had failed to acknowledge Kufuor's presence in Parliament when he delivered the 2011 State of the Nation Address. But this man, in the name of national interest, offered his help to the late president when he was confused about the signing of the Millennium Challenge Account. This clearly shows how accommodating John Agyekum Kufuor is and has been. He believes that two wrongs do not make a right, a trait of a true democratic and Christian.
Since Kufuor left office, he has never had peace in the hands of these babies with long and sharp teeth. For example, he was lambasted for the ex-gratia for the Executive, Parliament, and other public officers. As I write today, his ex-gratia had not been paid to him. All his 6 official cars were seized by the current government and Tony Aidoo, who is now the Head of Monitoring Team at the Castle was one of the beneficiaries of the seized cars. He was chased out of his office by NDC thugs for building an office on Ga land because he was an Asante not Ga. He requested $1m to set up a Leadership Training centre and people described him as greedy and wicked. Attempts were even made by Gbevlo Lartey to pull down his house in Accra. He built a Presidential Palace and purchased Presidential Jet for Ghana, but he was constantly verbally abused for being insensitive to the poor and needy. But who is the ultimate beneficiary of these national assets, if I may ask? Apart from changing names of national monuments, most of Kufuor's social intervention policies are being left to rot. The over 5,000 units of Affordable Houses come to mind, not to talk about the National Health Insurance Scheme. When the Mo Ibrahim Award popped up, the NDC mounted an attack on Kufuor, overtly and covertly to deny him the award which he rightly deserved.
Just recently when Hon. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin North, was arrested on the flimsy excuse that he had caused "fear and panic", tension started mounting in the country. Kufuor, as a Statesman, advised the late Atta Mills to use his presidential powers to set the man free for the sake of peace. Kufuor described the action of the police as "using a sledge hammer to kill a fly". However, this sensible advice did not go down well with the then Vice President of Ghana, John Mahama. Within a few days, in his full arrogance posture, John Mahama told the world that he and his party wouldn't mind using bulldozers to kill flies, if any fly tried to disturb the peace of this country.
Today, John Mahama, with the help of his 'co-criminal', Kwadwo Afari Gyan, is the President-elect and be wants John Agyekum to grace the occasion. John Mahama and his NDC members now see Kufuor as a Statesman and former president. They see him as a national figure. They are now telling Ghanaians that Kufuor has risen above partisan politics and as a result, he needs to attend the inauguration to keep his legacy intact. The NDC is doing all these to cover the party's misdeeds during Election 2012.
Hmmm! Wonders, they say, shall never end. The stone that the builders refused, Bob Marley said, shall be the head of the cornerstone. For me and many others, Kufuor's presence at the Swearing -in ceremony wouldn't be a problem, if the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had not filed a suit against the very person being sworn in. Some of us see Kufuor's action as counter-productive to the NPP's quest to seek justice at the Supreme Court. How could you accuse somebody of stealing your vote and be part of his inauguration at the same time? How could NPP MPs boycott the whole event, yet allow the 'face' of the party (Kufuor) to be at the event? This is our worry.
But this is the decision made by the National Council of Elders of our beloved party. They know what is good for us and we need to abide by the decision. The Youth in the party are aware of the propaganda that would be spun around Kufuor's participation. But, if the NDC Communicators now see and take Kufuor's invitation as a national issue, but not partisan, so be it. We shall all side with them and move Ghana forward. It's good now that the NDC members have seen the political light. It's a victory for our democracy.
In conclusion, I would like His Excellency, John Agyekum Kufuor, to understand that he is so dear to me in particular, and many people in the World. I know he is in a dilemma as what to do in this circumstance, but I trust him to make the best out of it. Any action he takes on January 7 should be in the interest of the NPP and Ghana. For me, I'm totally against his participation in this particular event. I would therefore like to advise that he either feigns ill on the day or leaves the shores of this country for a private visit as our Christian president did to Christians during the Christmas period. This would avoid a situation where some party members and sympathisers would feel betrayed by his actions which he has no control over anyway. You cannot eat you cake and have it.
God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!
Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Enfield, London.
(Free SHS Ambassador) Official blog: (www.katakyie.com) [email protected] 07577626433 A native of Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri