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Opinions of Sunday, 9 October 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Whose cash are we talking about here, Mr. Adams?

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

The 2016 National Coordinator of the Mahama Presidential Campaign has been widely quoted to be saying that “Politics is limiting our pride in Ghanaian culture, as one people where [sic] one can easily attend to a brother’s need.

This is part of our culture, and we must not throw these things away because of politics” (See / 9/22/16). I have absolutely no problem, whatsoever, in sharing my nationality with Mr. Kofi Adams, who also doubles as the National Organizer of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the rest of the NDC hoodlum pack.

But, of course, when it comes to the critical question of sharing a common Ghanaian culture with the former Babysitter for the Rawlingses’ children, I vehemently beg to differ.

The issue that resurrected this question of a common Ghanaian culture regards the profligate doling out of monies to spectators by President John Dramani Mahama, during his most recent electioneering campaign tour of the Greater-Accra Region.

We have yet to be informed about the source of the wads of Cedi notes which are reported to have been stashed in the President’s campaign vehicle, and which he is alleged to have reached down to, from the open-top hatch of his V8 Toyota Land Cruiser, to generously dole out to some specially selected spectators among his supporters and sympathizers.

Well, what intrigues me here is the fact that such wasteful doling of out the proverbial taxpayer’s money for personal political gain was being done at Sabon Zongo, one of the most economically deprived and neglected parts of the Accra Metropolis, to wit, the Muslim-dominated slum adjoining Abossey-Okai suburb of Accra.

And here, also, we are compelled to cite the following ageless and highly edifying Chinese proverb with the hope that Mr. Mahama might learn a thing or two from the same. The aforesaid proverb goes something like this: “If you give a piece of fish to a man, that fish will only feed the receiver for a day; but if you teach the same person how to fish for himself, he will be able to feed himself and his family for the rest of his life.”

This simple and basic lesson in life is what many a Ghanaian politician, including the likes of Messrs. Adam, Asiedu-Nketia, Portuphy, Anyidoho, Amissah-Arthur and, of course, Mahama have yet to learn. And until they learn this most meaningful lesson, taxpayer monies would continue to recklessly go to waste.

And on the foregoing score must also be recalled then-Interim President Mahama’s vitriolic tirade intemperately launched against the three-time Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), in the lead-up to the 2012 general election, when Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo mustered both the courage and foresight to let the Ghanaian voter in on his intention of establishing reasonably priced healthy and habitable facilities for housing female head porters, commonly called Kayayei, in the event of the New Patriotic Party’s being afforded the mandate to administer the affairs of the country for the next four years.

Well, guess what? Four years later, as well as two manifesto launchings later, President Mahama has yet to lay before the people any concrete plans for the easing of the horrific living conditions of these female head porters, largely of northern Ghanaian descent, by the man who would have his countrymen and women believe that he is the best equipped politician to tackle the horrendous existence of the Kayayei problem, primarily because like the overwhelming majority of these marginalized and wantonly exploited young women, he was also born in the North.

Mr. Mahama had cynically and conveniently failed to add that although like most of the Kayayei, he had been born in the North all right, except that significantly unlike these victims of unrelenting exploitation, Little Dramani had been literally born with a diamond spoon in his mouth.

Recently, the Gonja Boy has been speechifying pontifically about the intention of his government to resettle some 10,000 Kayayei, but it is all too clear that the allegedly Moscow-trained communications maven does not even have a clue as to the exact number of Kayayei plying their hazardous trade all over the country, especially in the relatively economically more advanced Down-State section of the country.

I am afraid to have to inform Mr. Adams, the Mahama Campaign Coordinator, that the people of the Mega-Akan Ghanaian culture amidst whom I was born, firmly believe in the essence of the globally renowned Chinese proverb quoted above. Needless to say, knee-jerk and politically opportunistic splurging such as President Mahama is widely reported to have indulged at Sabon Zongo, is decidedly non-Akan.

And I am also quite certain that practically every reasonably well-educated and enlightened Ghanaian citizen does not subscribe to this embarrassingly primitive political culture.

Indeed, were he alive today, my very hardworking and slavishly sacrificial maternal grandfather and Presbyterian Church of Ghana clergyman, the Rev. T. H. Sintim (1896-1982), would have asked this very simple question: “How did President Mahama come by these wads of money that he has been, reportedly, splashing around so blindly and unwisely? And also, “Couldn’t such money be used for programs aimed at making the lives of the suffering Ghanaian masses a little better?

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