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Opinions of Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Akufo-Addo Tackles Cameron with Style and Substance

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

Rather than cheapen himself and the Danquah-Busia-Dombo caliber of Ghanaian leadership, the Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, predictably chose the most civilized path towards the resolution of the Cameron-African impasse. And that path, of course, is quiet diplomacy.

On a tour of the ancient British capital city of London recently, Ghana’s former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice was reportedly invited to Number Ten Downing Street for a frank and hearty tete-a-tete on the proposed gay-aid policy of Prime Minister David Cameron, vis-à-vis African and other Third-World countries which fail to respect the fundamental human and civil rights of the non-heterosexual community (See “Nana Addo Finally Speaks on UK’s Anti-Gay Aid Threat” 11/11/11).

Like the astute and savvy diplomat that he has always been known for, rather than adopt the shockingly and embarrassingly crude and brusque tack taken by President John Evans Atta-Mills, the New Patriotic Party leader urged Mr. Cameron to show a modicum of sensitivity towards the “cultural and religious” reference frame – or worldview – of many a bona fide African polity.

Still, what ought to be highlighted here is squarely the fact that as a firebrand human and civil rights activist of global renown, Nana Akufo-Addo did not at anytime attempt to proscribe or offhandedly ignore the fundamental and inalienable right of gays, lesbians and transsexual people to living in peace with dignity.

It is also worth underscoring the fact that rather than invite a clinically addled and emotionally troubled President Atta-Mills, or even his deputy, Prime Minister Cameron chose to hobnob with the New Patriotic Party leader. The latter diplomatic gesture ought to send a strong and meaningful signal to the rambunctious Rawlings posse constituting the ruling National Democratic Congress, that in the civilized world of the twenty-first century, diplomatic civility stands the practitioner in a more productive and efficacious stead.

What is also remarkably admirable about the NPP leader, of course, is Nana Akufo-Addo’s flat refusal not to be governed by the petulant and emotional crudity of the key operatives of the Mills-Mahama government. Indeed, as an elderly fraternal good friend of mine recently noted, the “Kwadwo Basia” phenomenon is one that has been with Ghanaian society and culture since the beginning of time. Thus, it constitutes the very apogee of fatuity for anybody to pretend that gay and lesbian existence and culture were suddenly and only recently dropped into the laps of continental Africans by some Western imperialists.

And it is precisely along these lines that those of us to whom the fundamental human rights of non-heterosexual Ghanaians, and Africans, as well, are even more important than the right of prisoners to exercise the franchise part company with the so-called pan-African relativists. Indeed, the proverbial African personality is no more or less unique than the European, Asian and American personality and, by extension, of course, the composite global personality.

*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 Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Ghanaian Politics Today” (, 2008). E-mail: ###