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Opinions of Saturday, 29 November 2008

Columnist: Asante, Sam Ohene

Asafo Hen’ Yer Dzene’aa wor mma na Akwaaba!

I dedicate the title of this article to Ghanaian Musicians for their patent involvement in 2008 election campaign and also for their seminal contribution to the development of our native languages. The title of this article was “nicked” from one of the highlife classics “Abbam Kofi” which I am casually translating that to mean “The Heroic warrior is worthy of a Heroic post-war victory parade”


This election, in as much as it is about contiguity of ideas and ideals, is also about rewarding the men who stood up against tyranny, extortion and gross human right abuses. Let us suppose Ghana is hosting a Democratic Olympic Games, who should carry the Olympic torch other than Nana Akuffo Addo? Ghana, Africa and the World need him. The nation will once again pay a horrendous price if it hands over power to anyone one who will comprise the nation’s democratic achievement in the last 8 years. This is not the time to ‘sub-prime’ democracy in Ghana else we turn the clock back! It is the time to deepen the nation’s democratic roots. In other words we don’t need a democratic reverse gear! Shall we all resolve to keep those with inconspicuous, flawed and deceptive anti-democratic antecedent nowhere near power? In the fight against oppression and intimidation of the people, which of the contesting presidential candidates in the 2008 elections can boast of an impeccable ‘anti-oppression’ antecedent? If George Bush Snr. was America’s last World War II heroes to be elected president of the United States, then we need our equivalent of WWII hero to be elected and that person I am afraid is Nana Akuffo Addo. Where was Prof Mills, Edward Mahama, Paa Kwesi Nduom & co when the guns were pointing at us?

Is there a better way of rewarding the fight against oppression other than voting massively for the man who mustered unrivalled courage to put his life on the line to fight for the freedom of all Ghanaians? Africa’s false liberators have had their day; let’s vote for those who have to “re-liberate” the continent for the second time around.

A clear, outright and indisputable victory for Nana will spare us from the dubious concept of Power sharing. For all you care to know, the No Democratic Comeback party’s Plan B is power sharing. NDC elected its flag bearer well over a year before NPP elected Nana but as at now the mnemonic message to the electorates from Prof Mills is how an election is going to be rigged. Are we to believe that the only thing standing between Prof Mills and victory is electoral malpractices?

In the real world of politics, fudged compromised solutions are no solutions at all. It would require guts, determination and puritanical patriotism to entrench democracy in Africa. For that to happen, political parties, which are engines of democracy ought not to see defeat as inconceivable, intolerable and suicidal. John McCain did not recant all what he stood for on the podium of defeat. In his magnanimity in defeat, he was effectively saying it is better to be wrong with the majority of American voters than to be right with the minority that voted for him. He has served America well but America wouldn’t trust him to clear the mess of a failed presidency. The perception of the American voter was that he was too close to Bush for comfort and as Obama put; “America don’t need four more years of George W Bush”.

If the cradles of democracy have no room for “collegial-democracy” why should they package it and sell it to Africa as the best thing since slice bread and why should Africa take it even it is free? In Alice in Wonderland, I am told there is a race in which all competitors start and finish the race at the same time. The competitors or rather the “contestants” are given an open ended start and finish line and run around the playground and when the race is over there is only one winner --- and that winner is “everybody”. Is Power Sharing emulating the race in Alice in Wonderland as a way to permanently ensconce Democracy in Africa? Power sharing is nothing but a mockery not an entrenchment of African Democracy and Ghana should give it a miss. All what Nana need is 50% plus one – the Jesse Helms model of winning elections and it must be given to him.

Ghanaians ought to be reminded that a vote for Nana Akuffo-Addo is an exact retribution to those men of letters whose active and passive backing of AFRC, P/NDC contributed immensely to the political longevity of Jerry Rawlings? Why should the best edifice of the longest government in the history of a nation be the “oppression of the people”? Should provisional redemption be pricier than eternal destruction? Prof Mills, a run of the mill politician should never be given a runoff for the second time. Nana Akuffo Addo deserves a one-touch victory and that is good for the nation. I happen to believe that democracy gives the right leader at the right time. NDC may be prepared to give Mills an unlimited chance to contest the presidency but there is one answer the nation can give to Mills and NDC: the past - your own, and your party’s - makes you an unelectable candidate! The nation should never give him a single chance to rule. He should be kept a million miles away from power.

It is amazing that electorates are being constantly reminded that Mills is not Rawlings, in the lyrics of Frank Sinatra, Mills will “do it his own way”; if that argument is cogent, is Nana Akuffo Addo the same as Kuffour? And by the way isn’t Kuffour better than Rawlings? If Rawlings achievement is so good to be replicated why is Mills distancing himself from it? Where would Rawlings be without coups and where would Mills be without Rawlings? It is one thing being a ‘conscripted’ politician, it as another proving to the voters that you a ‘conviction’ politician.

One of the implicit ironies of PNDC is that they believe by dropping the word Provisional, they completely erased the memory of an entire nation; Ghanaians, have certainly, completely and conveniently forgotten about instant injustice, executions, murders, extortionate and predatory business confiscation laws because NDC is not preceded by P. Even after dropping the P, there was “shit-bombing and Identity Hair Cuts. Well, it is said that the Elephant never forget and that Elephant today is the majority of the people of Ghana that Nana Akuffo Addo and others fought hard for their freedom and are now grouping together under an impenetrable umbrella of NPP.

Yere kor yen anim nanso yen were re’nfi yen amanehunu wor mmere tiaa bi a atwa mu. We are moving forward but should we forget our mortifying past predicament? A nation is not dying it is waking up!

Sam Ohene Asante The write can be contacted at