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Opinions of Saturday, 2 June 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Kabah’s Death Has A Political Twist

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

The May 27, 2012 reportedly violent death of a young physician resident on the sprawling campus of Ghana’s flagship medical center, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, ought to give great cause for concern (See “Parliament Mourns the late Dr. Desmond Kabah” Ghanaweb.com 5/31/12). An earlier report had, curiously, suggested the incident to have been devoid of foul play, although we had also learned that the corpse of the deceased showed signs symptomatic of a ritual murder of some sort; for the scrotum of the dead man was reported to be bruised and bloodied. And also, the skin of his lower-left leg was reportedly flayed, or peeled off, and his nostrils and an armpit dripping with blood when the body was discovered by a couple of his neighbors and colleagues.
That this gory and apparently preventable incident happened at all, has been widely attributed to perennial security lax at the hospital. As of this writing, though, the Greater-Accra Regional Police Command was reported to have established a highly unusual presence at Korle-Bu (See “Greater-Accra Regional Police Command Beefs Up Security at Korle-Bu” Ghana News Agency/Ghanaweb.com 5/30/12). The latter is being coordinated with the hospital’s own evidently defective security system. There, of course, needs to be a doubling up of efforts to promptly locate, arrest and prosecute the suspect or suspects involved in this most heinous crime.
At any rate, there are several factors behind this unusually swift decision by the upper echelons of the membership of the Ghana Police Service to boost up security at Korle-Bu, none the least of which may clearly have to do with the fact of 27-year-old Dr. Desmond Kabah’s having been the son of Mr. Alowe Leo Kabah, a Member of Ghana’s Parliament from Chiana Paga, a district in the Upper-East Region of the country. For in the recent past, the Mills-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has given short-shrift treatment to the work-related grievances of our nation’s doctors, a treatment that is only slightly better than that accorded the nation’s educators.
Of course, the decision by the colleagues of the deceased to embark on an indefinite cessation of duties – or a strike action – has also significantly contributed to the rapid response of the battle-weary Mills-Mahama administration to the security demands of these first responders to the quality-of-health needs of the country, particularly in an election year in which the government of the National Democratic Congress may be taking its final bow on the national political stage for a remarkable span of time to come.
In other words, in deciding to promptly respond to the security needs of the young resident doctors at Korle-Bu, the Mills-Mahama posse appears to have been more focused on damage control, rather than finding a lasting solution to the chronic security lax at the hospital. Still, the fact that it had to take the violent demise of an evidently bright young doctor who seemed to have a very prosperous career ahead of him in order to hurriedly install streetlights and, thereby, enhance nocturnal visibility on the vast campus of our national medical headquarters, is all the more to be regretted, lamented and pitied. Indeed, it makes one wonder whether the notorious “Cash-and-Carry” NDC government has any healthcare agenda on its Election 2012 campaign platform at all.
Needless to say, if I were the President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), I would adamantly seize this aperture of momentary clout engendered by the tragic passing of Dr. Kabah to demand an immediate streamlining of the so-called Single-Spine salary regime, or the Mills-Mahama Comedy Club may just as well decide to shut down all the medical and paramedical schools in the country and solicit the assistance of Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome in importing trusty replacements from Cuba, China or Russia.
The fact of the matter is that it was the perennially cultivated and systematically abject disregard for the quality of the lives of Ghanaian civil servants that resulted in the tragic death of Dr. Kabah. But that the tragic occurrence of the latter comes on the heels of the equally violent and suspicious death of Ambassador Hugh van Sekyi (or Kobina Sekyi), is all the more reason why Dr. Kabah’s death ought to be thoroughly investigated.
In the case of the young doctor, the very fact of his father being an actively serving member of the august Ghanaian Parliament, gives a formidable angle, or twist, to this tragic narrative which simply cannot and ought not to be lightly overlooked and/or ignored. In other words, somebody may well be out to get the elder Mr. Kabah or simply to intimidate the politics out of the “old man,” as it were. And my very close and critical observation of recent Ghanaian politics leaves me with absolutely no other alternative but to confidently latch onto the proverbial “Conspiracy Theory.”
On the preceding angle, the loud-talking editor-publisher of the Al-Hajj newspaper, Alhaji Bature Iddrisu, could lead our search for answers vis-à-vis the violent and utterly untimely demise of Dr. Desmond Kabah. Needless to say, the Chief-Propagandist of the Ghana Taliban (aka National Democratic Congress) has spent the last several months intensely demonizing Mr. Alowe Leo Kabah, whom we have reliably learned is a New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament from Chiana Paga, by making the latter epitomize the essence of that which is to be unreservedly loathed and destroyed, all in hopes of actuating the return of the Chiana Paga parliamentary seat to Mr. Abuga Pele, the hopelessly bumbling national coordinator of the Kufuor-minted National Youth Employment Program (NYEP), who reportedly lost the seat to Mr. Kabah nearly four years ago.
Whatever the outcome of investigations into the death of Dr. Desmond Kabah, the once enviably placid and serene Fourth-Republican Ghanaian political landscape has become eerily and strikingly reminiscent of the Nkrumah-led Convention People’s Party era. And this is no remarkable progress to cherish.

*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 “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net.
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