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Opinions of Sunday, 27 February 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Ken Agyepong Ought to Sue Bature Out of Business!

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

I don’t know him personally, although almost everybody who has spoken to me about the man firmly and unreservedly believes I am very likely to have encountered and even, perhaps, had a chat or two with him. The man in question, of course, is none other than Mr. Kennedy Agyepong, Member of Parliament for Assin North.

Those who have spoken to me about Ken, as he is popularly and affectionately called, firmly believe I might have met him, because Mr. Agyepong lived and worked as a lawyer and/or businessman, I forget which, for quite some time and was notably gregarious at public functions and ceremonies, before wisely pulling up stakes and returning to the land in which the gods were born.
What is strikingly common to virtually every one of my conversations with Bronxites about the Assin-North MP regards the question of his diligence and decency. Most of my interlocutors readily agree that Kennedy Agyepong is a self-made man. And so I wasn’t the least bit surprised that when Alhaji Iddrisu Bature, who had allegedly impugned both the credibility and dignity of Mr. Agyepong with a cocaine-running charge was called upon to substantiate his rather outrageous accusation, the editor of the so-called bilingual Free Press could not rise to the occasion (See “MP’s Threat to Kill Journalist Condemned” 2/21/11).

Anyway, I don’t know what many a so-called mainstream Ghanaian journalist understands by the concept and principle of free speech and/or freedom of the press, but reading the Agyepong-Bature news story gave me the quizzical impression that Mr. Bature had absolutely no remarkable sense of what it means to be a “responsible journalist” or media operative. And so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Free Press’ editor happens to be just a loudmouthed amateur practitioner of the proverbial “inky trade” pretending to be a real one.
The mere fact of being an amateur media operative in of itself does not in any way protect Mr. Bature from being sued for libel. For in gratuitously accusing Mr. Agyepong of cocaine peddling, what the false accuser may well have viciously succeeded in doing is to have seriously, and almost irreparably, damaged the hard-earned reputation of the Assin-North MP. And the latter objective appears to be precisely what Mr. Bature was aiming for.

Now, as to whether Mr. Agyepong, in twice threatening to liquidate or rub out Alhaji Bature on a live radio talk-show, had overreacted, is a question that could best be resolved within the context of Ghanaian society, particularly how an accusation of cocaine dealership is generally perceived. We also need to quickly point out that Mr. Agyepong is known to be a far more successful man in Ghanaian political and media circles than his false accuser who, by the way, Mr. Agyepong was also widely and roundly condemned for calling such derogatory and stereotypical epithets as an “Opepeni,” “Watchman’s son” and almost every other abusive name in the book (See Muhammad Suraj Sulley Jawando’s “Kennedy Agyepong, ‘Pepeni, Watchman’s Son’ & Tribalism” 2/23/11).
On the sticky question of “tribalism” or ethnic chauvinism, however, we presume Alhaji Bature’s libelous characterization of Mr. Agyepong as a cocaine dealer to be as viciously tribalistic as the Assin-North MP’s riposte, minus the alleged death threats. This is because it is quite a well-known fact that most “Mpepefo” have an envy-tinged disdain for their mainly “Kabonga” relatives in the South, who are generally known to be more economically successful that their Northern kinsfolk. And also the fact that such economic success, largely borne out of diligence, has often been used by such non-Akan rabble-rousing politicians like former President Jeremiah John Rawlings to whip up electoral disaffection against Ghana’s Akan majority populace.

We must also quickly note the fact that Alhaji Bature is known to be a prominent member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), whose fire-spitting and gun-toting patriarch, Mr. Rawlings, is widely credited with having introduced a deadly culture of envy into Ghanaian politics, in the form of a “revolution” that largely and primarily targeted wealthy Ghanaians of Akan descent. And it is not very far-fetched when one couples the fact of Mr. Agyepong being quite well-heeled and Akan with the intrinsic NDC culture of summary expropriation, execution and proscription of well-to-do Ghanaians of Akan descent.
In terms of his civic responsibility as a respected member of the Ghanaian parliament, one would, nonetheless, have expected Mr. Agyepong to have tempered the thrust of his response to Mr. Bature’s patently false accusation. And it is precisely on this score that we cannot but unreservedly concur with Ms. Ursula Owusu, Vice-President of FIDA International, that under absolutely no circumstances ought Mr. Agyepong to have allowed himself to be dragged down the bottom of the proverbial porcine trough, where Alhaji Bature and his ilk appear to have created an unenviable berth for themselves.
By the same token, however, we need to significantly bear in mind that similar false accusations in the past have been leveled against NPP Presidential Candidate for Election 2012, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and seem to have gained remarkable traction, unfortunately, though none of his detractors, overt and covert, have been able to produce any forensic evidence!
Our fear here, however – and may God forbid! – is that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has an established history of causing the disappearance of people it deems to be undesirable and then creating diversionary scapegoats to make it seem as if the Dzelukope-Sogakope Mafia gang had absolutely nothing, whatsoever, to do with the same. Horrified Ghanaians witnessed one such scapegoat in the person of Mr. Joachim Amartey-Kwei, in the wake of the brutal assassination of the three Akan-Ghanaian Supreme Court judges and the retired Ghana Army major, on June 30, 1982.

As for Nana Akufo-Addo’s “All-Die-Be-Die” clarion call, the NPP had better start printing the same on T-shirts, vehicles and other campaign materials. Let us frontally counter the NDC bloody mantra of “Akatamanso” with “All-Die-Be-Die.”

Long live the House that Danquah-Busia-Dombo built!

*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 author of “The Obama Serenades” (, 2011). E-mail: