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Opinions of Thursday, 15 July 2010

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

A Vindicated Nana Barfi Must Be Named CID Chief

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Following the early morning fire that thoroughly gutted the Ridge residence of former President Rawlings and his wife, a 27-year-old New Patriotic Party (NPP) activist, Nana Barfi, was picked up at an Accra radio station and summarily remanded in prison custody for simply claiming that there was a cold-calculating mastermind behind the conflagration that also, coincidentally, happened to be the official owner of the mansion.
As of this writing (7/11/10), I am not quite certain where matters stand vis-à-vis the Barfi saga. But what is increasingly becoming clear, based on the predictable evidentiary behavior of the Rawlingses, is the fact that had the high-powered panel that investigated the incident half-paid heed to Nana Barfi’s observation, the “experts” may well have saved the Ghanaian taxpayer quite a lot of hard-earned monetary resources.
Anyway, in a July 11, 2010 report captioned “Gov’t Exposes Konadu” which appeared in the Ghanaian Chronicle, reporter Bismark Bebli tells readers that the Rawlingses are now insisting that a completely new and architecturally different mansion suited to the peculiar taste of the bloody former first couple, and of the latter’s own specifications, be constructed on the site of the old one.
And here, we recall the fact that what precisely prompted Attorney-General Betty Mould-Iddrisu to summarily order the cuffing and locking up of Nana Barfi was the fact of the latter having stated categorically, fearlessly and unreservedly that, indeed, the motive behind the “Rawlings Conflagration” was to ensure that an ultra-modern mansion was built for the occupants at the expense of the financially strapped Ghanaian taxpayer.
While, indeed, no direct link points to the fact of the Rawlingses having torched their own Ridge residence, their apparently erratic temper and unconscionably persnickety behavior, at least as eloquently depicted by the Ghanaian media, heavily tilt the judicial pendulum in favor of Nana Barfi. Interestingly, not very long ago, a Rawlings partisan concocted a Straw-man’s scenario of the test for malice in a libel case and sophomorically concluded that Nana Barfi had absolutely no chance for vindication.
What made the aforesaid scenario appear even more unpardonably absurd was its facile pretense to academic disquisition. It, of course, was risibly obvious that the writer had then just completed an introductory course in media law or had just read a chapter on the subject from a standard textbook the previous night. For the sake of peace and tranquility in our country, as he exuberantly envisaged matters, the writer even called on Nana Barfi to exercise remorse by profusely apologizing to the Rawlingses.
One thing becomes embarrassingly, albeit predictably, clear about the place of the Rawlingses in Ghanaian society and culture. And it is the fact that so politically intoxicated have the bloody couple become that it is almost impossible to demarcate their private lives from the public. What is, however, even more irritating about this couple who hijacked the development of our country for some two decades, even as they systematically liquidated both their real and perceived enemies, is their imperious insistence on making their personal problems the central plank of our national agenda.
In the Chronicle article, we also learn that the bloody couple own a private pad, as it were, at a place called Adjirigano/Agyiriganno, in the East Legon section of Accra, and yet insist on living in a rented house, to be underwritten by the famished and “Rawlings-Necklaced” Ghanaian taxpayer for as long as it takes to get their gutted Ridge residence rebuilt. And to fathom the fact of the Rawlingses’ incessant pestering of the Mills-Mahama government to expedite the prosecution of members of the Kufuor government accused of causing financial loss to the state! Then again, whatever happened to the P/NDC ideology of “One Man, One House”? And the self-righteous accusation of members of the Danquah-leaning New Patriotic Party as the criminal preserve of “property-grubbing” democrats?
On first blush, it also appears as if the Rawlingses were morbidly afraid of their own proverbial shadows, thus their off-handedly serial rejection of publicly owned executive mansions. What I am, in sum, getting at here is that it appears as if having surveilled their political opponents and perceived detractors for two apocalyptic decades, the Rawlingses are afraid that each and every one of the executive mansions reportedly offered them by the Mills-Mahama government may be rigged up with listening and other surveillance devices.
Needless to say, one can appreciate such caprice being exhibited by the Rawlingses under the Kufuor administration, or even one led by Nana Akufo-Addo; but when it comes during the tenure of the man whom Mr. Rawlings personally and rigidly imposed on his party for three-consecutive election cycles then, of course, something must be curiously and seriously amiss.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author of “Sounds of Sirens: Essays in African Politics and Culture” (, 2004). E-mail: