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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Africanity Illusion

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

Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen continues to lick his largely self-inflicted wounds over his very predictable failure to clinch the post of Director-General of the World Tradde Organization (WTO). It is a self-inflicted wound, because he woefully underestimated the sneaky vindictiveness of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) in glad-handedly endorsing his candidacy for the job. Obviously, the former Trade and Industry Minister under the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration must have taken a cue from his former boss' well-meaning and hearty endorsement of Mr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah, for the post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO).

Now, the woefully disappointed man is faulting disunity among some African heads-of-state as being responsible for his loss of that patently oversized plum job. At the same time, paradoxically, Mr. Kyerematen also claims that his candidacy had been widely endorsed by the African Union (AU). If so, then whence arises this curious question of disunity among the same representative membership that constitutes the African Union?

Obviously, somebody is not telling the truth. In other words, it is fairly reasonable to accept the complainant's argument of having, in principle, been endorsed by the African Union. But could he also make bold to argue that the AU had equally endorsed his candidacy in practice? Chances are the he would not be able to. For haven't we all witnessed the shameless arm-twisting initiated by the erstwhile Mills-Mahama government to get President Nkrumah and Ghana prominently positioned on the cusp of the incontrovertibly symphonic achievment that is foundation and establishment of the African Union?

For starters if, indeed, the African Union had resoundingly endorsed his candidacy, the other two, or so, African countries that continued to put up contestants for the same WTO post, in vigorous opposition to Mr. Kyerematen, even after his alleged hearty endorsement by the AU, would definitely not have done so. In all likelihood, they would have promptly and unreservedly lined up behind the AU's man.

Clearly, Mr. Kyerematen appears to have woefully underestimated the relative linguistic, ideological and cultural diversity of the members of the AU, compared to those of the commonwealth countries, particularly the grievous extent of such diversity in effectively regressing the collective onward march of the primeval continent in the critical realm of socioeconomic development.

Then also, the Ghanaian candidate ought to have taken prescient cognizance of the fact that candidates from countries whose industrial development and economic status were a force to reckon with, were far more likely to be preferred over those from countries and/or regions much lower on the rungs of the index of socioeconomic development. Thus, in the final analysis, it all boiled down to national and regional profile rather than the sheer academic and/or professional qualifications of the candidate.

Couple the preceding factors with the subliminal, albeit indisputably formidable, factor of racism and the results could only have turned out the way they became in the long run. Indeed, our ancient Akan sages recognized this grim fact of the reality of life on Planet Earth eons ago. And thus their timeless dictum that: "The pathmaker often does not recognize the crooks and twists of his path. That privilege invariably befalls the passerby/ onlooker."

I guess what I am trying to suggest here is that Mr. Kyerematen's hang-up with securing the WTO secretary-generalship was so acute that he all-too-unwisely failed to appreciate the bigger the picture, as it were.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Jan. 5, 2014