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Opinions of Saturday, 19 June 2021

Columnist: Mohammed Salifu Angnunmah

Allow the president to choose his men, women to work with as governance is about choice and preferences

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Let me start my piece on a note of quotation from one of the eminent personalities of our time. Emile Coue once said that “When the imagination and will power are in conflict, are antagonistic, it is always the imagination which wins, without any exception”.

With this opening quotation, I am forced to react to an article published on a sister online page (of which I personally think they have stooped so low given their reputation) which needs addressing and the need to expose the hypocrisy embedded in that unfortunate publication which has created a negative reaction from the good people of the Upper West Region, where the said publication emanated from and was authored by a self-styled journalist, a charlatan by all standards, and it is none other than one Mr Umar Yakubu Kunatey Asprila who says in that publication that it is an “Open letter to the President”.

I read the said ‘open letter’ which is an apology of letter to a President, given the nature of the unacceptable standard of poor grammar, wrong use of expressions and incomprehensibly a letter without any meaning. As I read through the said letter to the president, I did so with reservation and chagrin, when especially the writer, in an amateurish attempt, tries or tried to say that the president should not at all re-appoint the various Municipal and District Chief Executives across the eleven (11) municipal and districts across the region of the Upper West Region.

According to this self-style and self-imposed spokesperson of the Upper West Region, ‘Without being immodest, as an Upper Westerner and a journalist, who is a major stakeholder in the development of the Upper West region and for that matter mother Ghana, it is imperative for me to draw your attention to certain key issues prevailing in the upper west region’.

Going further, Mr. Umar further stated that “when party folks are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government appointees in addressing the concerns of the grassroots base of the party, but who have preoccupied their minds with making enough wealth from their offices, the grassroots will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their demands individually and collectively”.

This is myopic and alien culture to the governance structure of the country which started way back in 1992. Is Mr. Umar saying that government appointees are kept in place to satisfy only party supporters and political affiliates? That is far from the truth. Mr Umar should go back to the classroom and learn the basics of governance and political science that, immediately a government is elected into power the sharing of the national cake is for all manner of people and the president must have taken an oath that he will be fair to all manner of persons in the country and therefore this warped way of thinking that party supporters should be satisfied before the rest of the country, to say the least is an unconventional convention from no any known written source therefore the likes of Mr. Umar should put their heads down in shame and go and learn the basics of governance and politics of development especially when it comes to appointments and regional development.

The controversial Upper West Regional self-styled journalist and modern communication charlatan went on to say that, “As a result, a very onerous cloud is gathering. And rain of party destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome” (whatever that means).

This is the ‘prophet of doom of the Upper West Region’ who on daily basis sits on a simple tool like radio because he has access to the microphone, to preach nothing but violence and spreading half-truths and outright lies for the consumption of the average listener of his so-called radio station, a propagandist tool brought into being by the Member of Parliament for Wa Central Dr Hassan Rashid Pelpuo.

In the Upper West Region, everyone knows Mr. Umar Kunatey Asprila as a person who has no element of credibility and his trade in stock is nothing but to engage in open insults, invective comments, vituperations and denigration of highly placed members of the Upper West Regional society. He is so reckless that, even his paymaster, the Member of Parliament for Wa Central Honorable Dr. Rashid Pelpuo, is also at the receiving end of his bashings, as he can sit on radio, and attack his person and belittle him before the Upper West Regional publics.

Before exposing who is this discredited character with the temerity of writing an “open letter” to the president of the republic, the cheek of it, and hell, advising the president on how to make appointments in the region, he says that “I am forced to write to you this open letter I decided to make it an open letter because of the enormous and weighty nature of the issue which must be greatly worrisome to all concerned New Patriotic Party folks in the Upper West Region and all right-thinking NPP folks including your good self”(can’t clearly understand what is being said here). Again when one cries more than the bereaved this is often the reaction leading to writing scurrilously on issues he or she never had an iota of working understanding of.

Who Is This Person Writing To The President Of Republic On Appointments In The Upper West?

When I was posted to Jirapa as a staff I started hearing the voice of Mr. Umar Kunatey some years back and he is known locally as Asprila probably taking the name from the Latin American footballer Faustino Asprila Hinestroza born on the 10th of November 1969 a Colombian former professional footballer who played for Parma, New Castle united and the Colombian national team.

Within two years that I was listening to local FM stations in the region, this man has ‘roamed’ all the radio stations in the region. For example, He worked for Sungmale FM as a manager, where he was sacked and there were allegations of stealing power from the Volta River Authority/Northern Electricity Department (VRA/NED) and going to politicians and businessmen and women to pay the station’s electricity only to pocket such funds.

He then jumped to Pupeli FM where one day he was chased by the police for ‘showing’ the nude pictures of a woman who he once proposed love to and she refused. The story has it that he together with other friends of his ever took the woman to a juju man at a certain village for money ritual, to wit, to conjure money for her and parts of the rituals involved the woman going naked. It was during the course of the rituals that Mr. Umar secretly filmed the entire process and was later using the same thing as a ‘bargaining chip’ to demand sex from the woman of which she refused which led to the exposure of her nudes pictures leading to the involvement of the police to cause his arrest.

Mr. Umar Kunatey is now preaching ‘political virtue and practising vice. At the same Pupeli FM the owner being Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Mr. Umar surreptitiously ‘secured’ a conversation between two lovers and used it in a radio programme and that generated a problem for him and the radio station and he was eventually kicked out of radio Pupeli.

He then moved to Radio Waa but the owners refused to allow him to work due to his controversial nature, because of his ability to stoke religious fire. He was the ‘formulator’ of the theory that if any orthodox Muslim voted for an Ahmadi Muslim in the Upper West Region, he or she will not go to heaven. That was the time the incumbent MP Dr Rashid Pelpuo was contesting Dr Alpha, an Ahmadi Muslim.

He then went to Bugli FM founded by a ‘German burger’ (returnee) and over there too he could not last until the Member of Parliament for Wa Central, Honorable Dr Rashid Pelpuo founded a radio station called Home Radio, a propagandist tool, and in a very strange situation, the MP made him the general manager of the station where now it is being used to unleash insults and outright lies perpetrated by Mr. Umar Kunatey.

Insiders are of the opinion that his appointment was meant to ‘gag’ him from publicly embarrassing the MP on other platforms and that worked to perfection.

Strangely enough, Mr Umar has on countless occasions, mentioned on air that he is a card bearing member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and that he does not regret associating himself with the then ruling NDC and now. Is he not is crying more than the bereaved by writing to the president on the appointment of MDCEs in the region after declaring his party affiliation?

Everybody in the Upper West Region knows that he is an NDC man and a protégé of the Wa Central MP. For strange reasons this self-styled charlatanic journalist who claimed to have graduated from the African University of Communication in Accra (there are doubts whether he really completed the full course) is a very close ally of the current Upper West Regional Minister Dr Hafiz Bin Salih. He has him at his beck and call and they run around for reasons many do not understand.

The NDC supporters in the region are so peeved that a station which is founded by their Member of Parliament as their main propaganda tool is the ‘mouthpiece’ of the current Regional Minister, Mr Hafiz Bin Salih and there are agitations that he should be removed from the station but because the MP is ‘afraid’ things are what they are today. In fact, many believe that most of the things he does including some of the write-ups are ‘engineered’ by the regional minister Dr Hafiz Bin Salih.

Both the New Patriotic Party Members and the NDC in the region are aggrieved with the association of this controversial character with the Regional Minister. The reason is that both the NDC and the NPP do not find anything useful in him.

Over 70% of his political activities are devoted to the Regional Minister (on an NDC station) in the region and the reasons are very simple and pure. Mr. Umar deals with all kinds of politicians especially those in power for that is how he makes his ‘daily bread’, and so he can afford to ‘reject’ his own NDC to the satisfaction of his political opponents.

For example, there were allegations during the heat of the 2020 elections that he had gone to collect seven thousand Ghana cedis (Ghc7,000.00) from the Wa Central parliamentary candidate Hajia Humu Awudu to pay his school fees, and the allegations were that the entire process of ‘giving and taking’ were filmed to teach him a lesson in time to come.

In 2018 he went to the then Upper West Regional Minister Alhaji Alhassan Sulemana to assist him to pay his school fee when he claimed to be doing a post-graduate course at the University for Development Studies (UDS) and the man ended up giving him one thousand Ghana cedis (1,000.00.) One can go on and on about his dirty and underhand dealings with his charlatanic sort of journalism he is practicing in the Upper West Region, especially with the political class.

He has lost all his credibility to all and sundry and this include the very NDC he claims to be card bearing member, and the NPP, he tries to court their friendship for nothing else but for ‘goodies’ he gets from them and therefore, any delay in appointing new MDCEs in the region, it affects him financially. Is this is not the reason for the loud cry for the appointment of new people?

One day in Wa doing my business I heard him interviewing Nana B of the NPP and told the guest that he was willing to use his station to promote the activities of the various Municipal /District Chief Executives but he complained to Nana B that the various MDCEs are not giving him attention (does that ring a bell why he wants all of them changed?)

For him to say that “You must understand and appreciate the significant implications and likely consequences in your attempt to retain the incumbent MMDCEs in the Upper West…….” It is pregnant with a lot of arguments and permutations. Where did he get the information from, Is it the Regional Minister Dr Hafiz Bin Salih his main man(it is alleged by party insiders that the regional minister has kept him on a monthly stipend of five hundred Ghana cedis(Ghc 500.00), the Bureau of National Investigations or from the flagstaff house or the usual ‘journalistic sources?

Anyway, he is a friend to the regional minister Dr Hafiz Bin Salih. He has unfettered access to him. The regional minister has been abandoned by all grassroots in the region. The office of the Regional Minister is on a virtual holiday as party gurus. Ordinary supporters,the so-called grassroots have all declined to have anything to do with the Regional Minister(Is the President and Mr. Umar aware of this?)He claims that he has connections with both the NDC and the NPP; little is he aware that ‘political prostitution’ in the eyes of the ordinary person of the Upper West Region is unacceptable and something frowned upon.

Listen to him say that…… "in my many radio programmes, I said, among other things, that: the survival of the New Patriotic Party in the Upper West Region depends largely on the appointment of MMDCEs for your next administration……..(an administration that is already in motion) and wants the president to listen to the cry of the grassroots in appointing MMDCEs, based on what research?

This is a man who could not research on his own personal affairs let alone on the entire Upper West Region. For example on the eve of his wedding, the lady absconded with another man from Wa to Kumasi without his knowledge only for him to get to the wedding grounds at Dondoli, a suburb of Wa with his family and a whole entourage only to be told that his ‘baby’ he loves so much had eloped with another man the previous night. Is this a person worth our attention when he does not know anything about his personal affairs? It is happening all the time to him.

I conclude by calling the president of the republic Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to call his Regional Minister Dr Hafiz Bin Salih he ‘forced’ and foisted on the people of the Upper West Region to order. The people accepted him because it is within the powers of the President to appoint anyone he thinks fit to work with and cannot be dictated. Otherwise, the people here are privy to the kind of ‘underhand dealings' that led to the re-appointment of the current Regional Minister Dr Hafiz Bin Salih. Even him, the people are allowing sleeping dogs to lie. The people could have ‘rocked the boat’. NO BE SO?

The President must advise the Regional Minister because journalists in the region have all been sidelined in all government programmes. Sometimes the Regional Minister will cause journalists in the open embarrassment sacking journalists from taking part in refreshment after assignment. It is in bad taste.

The journalist he knows in the Upper West Region is Mr. Umar Kunatey and he deals with only the Home Radio (an NDC mouthpiece) because of the minister’s association with Mr. Umar Kunatey, this is his only channel source. This radio station cannot go up to 40 kilometers within the region.

So Mr. President the Regional Minister wants you to fail or what? Where are journalists from other media houses like Daily Graphic, The Ghanaian Times, Multimedia, Ghana News Agency and GBC who are well trained and experienced? Remember during the campaigns the same Regional Minister took you to a party affiliated station and the net effect of your visit to the region was nothing to write home about.

Mr. Umar Kunatey should be aware that the Regional Minister is never in touch with the grassroots and sits in office with no party man or woman coming to him the reason why he has ample time to go ‘Facebooking. For him (the Regional Minister) postings on Facebook solve the problems of the region.

Carl Sandburg says that “A politician should have three hats. One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected”.

And to cap it all, it is trite to say that, “in order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant”, as said by Charles de Gaulle. The Regional Minister must mend his ways and be told in plain language that being “politically stingy” can be very costly for the fortunes of any political party in power especially after serving its eight(8) year tenure!
Mr. Umar Kunatey should find ways and means of helping his friend the Regional Minister,Mr Hafiz Bin Salih and stop writing on things he is very ignorant about and does have working understanding of.