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Opinions of Sunday, 28 June 2015

Columnist: Antobam, Kobina

Akufo-Addo Is Trying To Be Slick

By: Kobina Antobam

The man, Akufo-Addo, has sinned and sinned grievously. He has broken the overriding cardinal rule of the mate-me-ho clan. It is very clear to all Ghanaians that one of the top sacred tenets of the New Patriotic Party is to never say anything good about Kwame Nkrumah. And a true mate-me-ho will only talk about “evil” Kwame Nkrumah. So, it is certainly shocking when Mr. Akufo-Addo gave a puzzling answer when he was recently asked by the “Africa Report” how come many of his proposed policies have leftist or socialist tinge when his party claims consistently to be “rightist.”

This is what Mr. Akufo-Addo said, “These are the policies that have developed Korea and Japan. My understanding is that the United States was the first country to have free secondary education. It’s difficult to call America a country on the left. These are tools of development.”

All of us are fallible humans and are guilty sometimes of rhetorical contradictions and double-talk, so Mr. Akufo-Addo, who clearly had not thought through thoroughly his politic-speak, couldn’t stop there and proceeded to expand on his response this way, “You couldn’t build a modern economy with a mass of illiterate and ill-educated people. I don’t see this as Nkrumahist or leftist.”

Here we go again. The fact that Akufo-Addo invokes Nkrumah in order to try so hard and unsuccessfully to distance the not-so-dissimilar socialist-tinged free secondary education he has constantly proposed to Ghanaians away from Nkrumah’s well appreciated, nationally transformative, and timely expanded free educational system makes Akufo-Addo seem disoriented about where he stands ideologically.

It is also so conspicuous that Akufo-Addo couldn’t bring himself to admit that he is aware that Kwame Nkrumah introduced and expanded free primary, secondary, and university education in Ghana and it was an excellent policy then; and that he wants to emulate Nkrumah. Of course, Akufo-Addo probably wouldn’t be where is today if it weren’t for Nkrumah’s educational expansion policies. Yet Akufo-Addo explains that his proposed social program of free secondary education is neither socialist nor has any leftist flavor, but Nkrumah’s was.

My dear NPP people, I would like to make an earnest request to you to search and search Akufo-Addo well. You better put the man under the microscope and seriously interrogate him. Why? Because Akufo-Addo might be a closet Nkrumahist! Do you remember J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI Director, who was a closet homosexual but who persistently enforced U.S. laws on sexual deviancy and relentlessly pursued homosexuals of his time? Do you also remember the notorious masochistic televangelist Jimmy Swaggart (Mr. I Have Sinned) who used his pulpit and preached against prostitution, publicly berated prostitutes and damned them to hell, but was video-taped patronizing their services? A lot of people choose to publicly express their abhorrence and distaste for certain people and ideas only for political, ethnocentric, and career expediency, but probably harbor private thoughts of love and adoration for the same people and issues they claim to hate.

I personally doubt that Akufo-Addo is a closet Nkrumahist. Still, a true mate-me-ho would never have mentioned Nkrumah in any positive light but would have attributed educational improvements and all other national development achievements immediately after Ghana’s independence to Danquah, and Danquah only. Akufo-Addo only tried to debase Nkrumah’s educational achievements, as it is typical of all mate-me-ho people, but missed esteeming Danquah instead, as it is also typical of their usual replacement historical rewritings.

I believe strongly that Akufo-Addo is a staunch dyed-in-the-wool mate-me-ho. He has said so himself. And, of course, it is a well-known fact that the obscurantist adherence and the herd internalization of the separatist tribal dogma often dressed up euphemistically as the Danquah-Busia-Dombo “tradition,” and of course, the restrictive self-imposed Akan identification, have always been Akufo-Addo’s repeated sentimental ritualistic mate-me-ho incantation.

All the same, the fact is he is your man; so, you better look him in the eye, search his heart, and make him deny even the slightest appreciation for any of Nkrumah’s accomplishments, because the mysterious explanation of his planned revival of Nkrumah’s educational achievements has left my head spinning wildly.

When Akufo-Addo’s proposed social programs are probed further, a thousand and one questions do pop up. First, is Akufo-Addo going to pay for his free secondary education with a hundred percent of the funding coming from private sources? If he can accomplish that, that will definitely be a miracle and will make him a true rightist! Or, is he going to make all of us pay for it? Then he might as well admit that he is a closet Nkrumahist or a socialist in disguise! If he is, then when is he going to come out of the closet? Or is he waiting to be president and then spring a surprise on us?

Additionally, by trying so fruitlessly to run away from Nkrumah, does Mr. Akufo-Addo have under his sleeve some strangely whimsical ideology resembling a yet to be discovered quasi-socialism or quasi-capitalism? If that is the case, what will be an acceptable healthy mix or an optimal blend of rightist and leftist economic, political, and social programs for Ghana and Ghanaians? It is also important to let Akufo-Addo know that in spite of the adoption of both ideologies over time by many countries, an optimal healthy mix of these polar ideological principles has eluded many governments around the globe. When Akufo-Addo finds his ideal ideological mix what name is he going to give it? Economists around the world can’t wait!

Also, is America a pure unadulterated rightist and capitalist country even with its numerous government-funded social programs? America has government-funded public pre-school, kindergarten, primary, middle, and secondary educational systems; social welfare programs comprising monthly stipends, housing assistance, and food stamps for the poor and other challenged Americans; Medicare and Medicaid programs for doctor visits, prescription drugs, and hospitalization costs of uninsured or inadequately insured Americans; social security retirement benefit payments; workers’ compensation payments for on-the-job injuries; PELL grants and other educational assistance at the university level; and the list goes on.

Again, with all these programs, is America a true capitalist country? Or America admittedly has some leftist tinge? Also, how does one define America’s ideological blend? Furthermore, what then does that make Korea and Japan when all of the three countries cited by Akufo-Addo have a decent amount of government-funded social welfare programs? Maybe, Akufo-Addo can clear up that confusing capitalist/socialist or rightist/leftist contradiction, because he is the one who injected Nkrumah leftist insult in his conversation with “Africa Report.”

I think that Akufo-Addo supporters should be serious and admonish him that just offering such abstruse explanations on very costly and generationally life-changing programs, such as free education, will not cut it. How he plans to finance this and his other proposed programs is the critical issue here; but we really don’t care about Akufo-Addo’s ideological stance.

In some ways, I wonder if Akufo-Addo is trying to woo Nkrumahists for their votes next year. If he is, then that’s being too slick. Motives and intentions can’t be hidden behind the veil of obscure empty political speeches forever.

Good day.