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Opinions of Thursday, 9 August 2018

Columnist: Africanus Owusu – Ansah

Sit up, political parties

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Reinhold Niebuhr

“Forewarned, forearmed: burnt children dread the fire”

Robert Green: A Notable Discovery of Coosnage AD 1592

‘Praemonitus, praemunitus’ in Latin is loosely translated as: ‘forewarned, forearmed’ or ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed.’ Elaborated, it means: “Those who know that a thing is going to happen are better prepared to face it than those who do not know.”

A few things may not be smooth within the circles of all the opposition parties, typically the largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress. On the surface, they may appear to be doing well. But people ask if their ‘wellness’ could not be like the ordure of the animal: hard and crunchy on the surface, wet and putrid when stepped upon. It could be John Mahama, Ekow Spio – Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Alban Bagbin, Victor Smith, Oko Vanderpuiye or any other person for flagbearership. It is yet to be seen whether they can paper over the cracks.

When it comes to the ‘watchdog’ role, they appear to be ‘looking sharp’. Ubiquitous and loquacious Asiedu Nketia appears very active, and seems to be whipping everyone into shape. They can pick on the least and minutest rumour, and make mountains out of molehills being very sharp and crafty, they can set traps and the ruling party may fall into them. And what is Asiedu Nketia saying? The ‘dog’ should hang itself? Oh, Asiedu Nketia, get a little serious. Ameri? So you link the President with it? Trace the history of Ameri and you yourself will see that the NPP has been most transparent—at least, more transparent than the originators. There could be a slip—of the tongue or the pen. What has gone wrong can be corrected.

As for the other opposition parties, including those of Odike, and Akua Donkor they can be described as ‘also-runs’, at least, for now. They all have to do massive recruitment drives. We wish them well.

With the ruling party, things are different. ‘Things’ are happening with ‘volcanic rapidity’: concerned people have had cause to bring this up in some circles. The question is: “Is anyone listening?” Or do the issues not get to the right quarters? The President, as leader of the NPP, or the National Chairman of the Party cannot be everywhere; they do not have the leisure to read all the newspapers or listen to the radio or watch the television to keep abreast of the goings-on in their own camp, not least in the country. Thus, the top people have to rely on those around them for good briefing (or debriefing). But do the close associates, bodyguards, give these men suitable briefing (or debriefing)?

Why have some people resigned their fates, giving up hope: or felt frustrated/ disillusioned? Time was when those who now call themselves top government appointees were sharing their struggles and tribulations with those who are downtrodden, including communicators. They would call the down-trodden and receive calls from them at odd-times, including the wee-hours (the aurora) as well as morning-tide (ante meridiem). There were sacrifices of various forms – not only monetary offers—that brought the NPP to power. No sacrifice was mean or little—and where is their ‘thank you’.

Why are people expressing ambivalence over Boakye Agyarko’s ouster? We were not told what Agyarko had done to deserve the sack: the message was terse: “The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has, by letter, dated 6th August, 2018, relieved the Minister for Energy, Mr. Boakye Agyarko, of his position with immediate effect.” Why not, it is within the President’s power to ‘hire and fire’. All the reasons people assign are mere speculations. Until we are told what Agyarko’s ‘sins’ were, we would have to bide our time – except to say that he was a fine, affable, approachable, likeable Minister while he was at it. A woman named her generator ‘Agyarko’ because it was Agyarko who had saved the nation from ‘dumsor’ and rendered her generator de trop (inutile, unneeded).

Times are rough, there should not be any kidding. The men at the top should watch it, and remember the struggles from 2008, up to 2012 – till the ‘Heaven’s gate’ opened in 2016. Apostle Paul refers to the acts of the ‘flesh’, … idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition… but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Check from Galatians.

Political watchers are keenly watching. It is never too late to sit up. Let the past be our guide for the future. In 64 BC, Marcus Tullius Cicero’s brother Quintus wrote and offered him advice. He stated: “My dear Marcus, you have many wonderful qualities, but those you lack, you must acquire and it must appear as if you were born with them…” Among the advice Quintus gave Marcus was: know your opponent’s weaknesses and exploit them. He also advised Marcus to give people hope. Heraclitus notes: No man bathes twice in the same river. Plato, through Cratylus puts it this way: “you could not step twice into the same river.”

The ‘river’ you step in with one leg will pass before you step in with your other leg. Everything in life is in a constant flux. In 2017, President Akufo – Addo said he was “in a hurry”. His Ministers must be “in a hurry” with him; they should give people hope, not only by their speeches, but most importantly, by their actions. Let no one display pomposity.

Let us repeat: Times are rough; we are in rough times. The soothsayer in Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ warned Caesar “Beware the Ides of March (Idus Martiae)”. Caesar adamantly responded: “He is a dreamer. Let us leave him. Pass!” And the procession ‘passed’, With Caesar ignoring the warning of the soothsayer. Caesar mockingly remarked: “The Ides of March are come”: the soothsayer responded: “Aye, Caesar, but not gone.” “What was the reward of Caesar’s intransigence? Assassination by Brutus, Cassius and the conspirators.

Nobody wishes any ill for any political party—far be it; but the signs are there for those who are savant to see.

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