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Opinions of Thursday, 31 March 2016

Columnist: Antobam, Kobina

Akufo-Addo has done it again

Do you all remember that it was just a few years ago when Mr. Akufo-Addo and his beloved friend, Kennedy Agyapong, were all over the place with their “Let’s get some cutlasses and clubs and go after Gas and Ewes,” and “If the opposition becomes violent, we will face them headlong because ‘all-die-be-die’,” and “We Akans are an elite group of Ghanaians?”

Do you also remember that as a result of those divisive and threatening outbursts, majority of Ghana’s safety forces, the military, police, and other law enforcement personnel, together with many other Ghanaians, who collectively were concerned about the implication of that reckless stinky flatulence emitted by those two personalities in 2012, rejected New Patriotic Party and voted overwhelmingly for the National Democratic Congress party in the 2012 elections?

Yet again, just a little over week ago, Mr. Akufo-Addo telegraphed another veiled eerie message to Ghanaians which unexpectedly became clear as a result of an embarrassing revelation that the NPP has quietly and clandestinely imported foreign mercenaries to train Ghanaians in military-style defense tactics and combat preparedness in advance of the upcoming presidential elections.

I would like to reiterate, because I have said it once before, that Mr. Akufo-Addo is a bumbling and mumbling political masochist. He often makes reckless statements that easily come back to bite him. Akufo-Addo’s veiled telegraphed warning, reminiscent of “all-die-be-die,” which was quoted by the Daily Guide, a little over a week ago, obviously went over the heads of many Ghanaians, and went like this: “NPP is ever ready to ensure there are peaceful elections at all times, …PROVIDED those responsible for organizing the elections organize them in a free and fair manner.” And Mr. Akufo-Addo was quoted further as saying that “the New Patriotic Party is a party that believes in the rule of law.” “However,” he warned, “this year’s election would ONLY be peaceful if those in charge organized it in a free and fair manner so that the OUTCOME WOULD BE ACCEPTED by all parties.” Akufo-Addo was indeed telegraphing a warning to all Ghanaians when he was speaking to the people of Jaman North in the Brong Ahafo Region. That was before the South Africans were discovered and arrested.

Akufo-Addo’s unambiguous implied message was that, “The presidency this time is mine or get ready for an uproar of serious repercussions!” Please, Mr. Akufo-Addo, sir, did those veiled threats in your statement have anything to do with those South African mercenaries who were later exposed and arrested and who have just been deported? I gravely wonder because the timing of your speech couldn’t be more appropriate.

I don’t know about you the reader, but I wasn’t surprised when barely a week had passed after Akufo-Addo spoke when Ghana’s ever vigilant Bureau of National Investigation picked up three ugly thuggish-looking dangerous South African mercenaries (SA3) imported into the country, under false pretenses, by no other organization than the New Patriotic Party. The mercenaries disclosed to the BNI that their presence in Ghana was sanctioned by the NPP’s candidate for the office of the President of the Republic of Ghana (POTROG) through the ex-convict head of his security detail.

Now, these NPP Ghanaians, who cannot put their own house in order, are scrambling to spin this embarrassing tragic decision to illegally use foreigners to train Ghanaians, whose only roles in the upcoming elections would be to apply their acquired training to disrupt and foment chaos and trouble by any means possible. In other words, according to Akufo-Addo, if NPP does not win the upcoming elections, he may NOT ACCEPT THE “OUTCOME.”

Of course, for me, Akufo-Addo knew of the presence of those ugly South Africans when he ominously threatened Ghanaians with his “this year’s election would ONLY be peaceful if…” braggadocio. I believe strongly that Akufo-Addo and his NPP dunces didn’t want all of us to know of the South Africans. Those South Africans would have completed their military instruction and training exercises and snuck out of the country and we would have been left with well-trained Ghanaian thugs and disruptive trouble makers and we would never have a clue about how the Ghanaian NPP thugs acquired their criminal skills. The probable unwelcome unintended consequences from the whole mercenary fiasco are too much to contemplate.

It is also without doubt that, if Akufo-Addo wins the upcoming elections, those fifteen Ghanaian bodyguard recruits would become the official security detail of the new NPP president, his vice-president, and other NPP government officials, and those recruits would automatically be absorbed in the civil service payroll. You and I would be paying the trained thugs with our taxes.

Right now, it becomes logical to try to imagine how much the contract with the South African mercenaries will cost the NPP. Mercenaries are not cheap. So, if NPP can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars to undertake this military-style training exercise, imagine what other sinister costly activities they can afford. Another logical fear is that, with the deportation of the SA3, the NPP may not abandon the whole deal but arrange with the SA3 to set up base outside Ghana and complete the training of those fifteen Ghanaians. BNI should, of course, be warned that the whole bungled deal may not be over with the deportation of the SA3.

We also have not lost sight of the fact that Ghana is fast degenerating into a gun-toting chaotic crime-ridden country. Mr. Akufo-Addo was born before Ghana had its independence and I bet he remembers quite well how safe, quiet, and peaceful the country was then compared to now. He can tell the difference in his seventy-two years of existence, and that is why he goes everywhere these days with VISIBLE bodyguards by his side at all times which he certainly didn’t have twenty years ago. Of course, “the times, they are changing.” But a prospective POTROG has to have a softer persona and image. Furthermore, Mr. Akufo-Addo who wants to become the next POTROG, should have known better than to get himself and his party involved in the underhanded importation of those mercenaries whose only stock in trade happens to be dispensing bloody violence.

To those who are trying fruitlessly to distance and shield Akufo-Addo from the SA3, all I can say is that the more you try the more you make Akufo-Addo look clueless and stupid. And any time a prominent leader and a presidential hopeful like Mr. Akufo-Addo claims innocence about such a rotten deal in his party, the more he looks like he is lamely passing the buck and his underlings are the ones running the affairs of the NPP and that he is just a figurehead. How then is he going to lead Ghana if the buck does not stop at his desk? Huh?

Also, the longer he stays quiet about the public outcry about the SA3, the more culpable he looks. The silence of the possible future President of Ghana is a tacit acceptance of his hand-tainted guilt. Though still unfolding, how does our prospective future President, Mr. Akufo-Addo, address the SA3 saga? True to form, he doesn’t. He parries and skirts the issue by trying laboriously to assure Ghanaians that he is not a violent person.

Just a few days ago, Mr. Akufo-Addo lamely claimed that, “Everyone in Ghana will attest to the fact that I am a very patient man. Patience is one of my characteristics. I am not and have never been a violent person.” And he added, “If I was truly a violent person, in 2012 I could perhaps have caused an inferno to engulf the nation in the aftermath of the disputed election results of 2012… I love Ghana more than myself, and that is why nothing of that sort happened.”

Wow, Mr. Akufo-Addo! When Ghanaians become seriously concerned about their lives and by the violence that may fall out of the planned instruction by the SA3, that is, if the BNI had let them, you chose to ask Ghanaians how they should think about you instead of addressing their concerns. Not anywhere in your speech did you explain your party’s reasons and provide a palpable justification for the SA3. You deftly deflected the issue, or what we used to say when I was kid, “well-dodged!”

What you said reminds me of White racists. Whenever a White person tells you, “I don’t hate Black people, but…,” you better get out of Dodge before sundown! When Mr. Akufo-Addo implied, without being asked, that “I would have caused mayhem in 2012 if I was a violent person,” the question to ask him is, “Did you even think about violence in 2012?” Poor Mr. Akufo-Addo. Instead of projecting a softer image of a baby-kissing and a huggable candidate for the POTROG, he is rather spending precious campaign time in his fruitless attempts to explain to us how and why he is not violent.

Whenever Mr. Akufo-Addo has tried to assuage the concerns and fears of the disaster that Ghanaians fear might follow him in his presidency, that is if he is elected, whether it is his inability to deal with the factionalized leadership in his party, his wanting leadership skills in unifying the whole country when there are powerful fiery competing parochial and ethnocentric interests churning within the NPP that seem to be beyond his control, accusations of his involvement in corruption in Kufuor’s administration, and even his age, Akufo-Addo’s best defenses have often not been good enough. Ghanaians don’t seem to be swayed by his simplistic responses of “I will not steal from you,” “I am not violent,” and “I am fit and healthy despite my age,” and the many I, I, I responses.

So, if Mr. Akufo-Addo professes to have any leadership attributes at all, my only advice which should be ingrained in him is that THE CULTURE OF ANY ORGANIZATION IS SHAPED BY THE WORST BEHAVIOR THE LEADER IS WILLING TO TOLERATE. And to those who are trying so hard to insulate Mr. Akufo-Addo from the SA3 and other explosive issues in the NPP, remember that ANY TIME YOU ARE AMONG A GROUP OF PEOPLE IN ANY SITUATION AND YOU EGOTISTICALLY BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THAT GROUP, YOU DEFINITELY ARE THE DUMBEST. So stop defending the indefensible!

Good Day.