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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

What You Say, Not Who Speaks!

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

I am revisiting Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia's recent near-fatal accident, which occurred on the highway near President John Dramani Mahama's hometown of Bole-Bamboi, in the Northern Region, because Mr. Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, general-secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has made several statements in the wake of the aforesaid accident that warrant further discussion (See "Nana Akomea Does Not Speak for the NPP; I Do - Sir John" 3/21/13).

According to the NPP general-secretary, "the decision to blame the [Mahama] government for the [Bawumia] accident was taken at an executive meeting of [the NPP] of which [Nana] Akomea was not a part." This is all well and good; I am quite certain that not all the members of the executive committee of the NPP were present at the said meeting. What is significant to know here is whether, indeed, the NEC members had, in arriving at their said decision, also authorized Mr. Owusu-Afriyie to make it public as the party's official position. And if so, on the basis, or strength of what evidence was such decision based?

You see, it may well have been the collective position of the NPP-NEC members to fault the ruling National Democratic Congress and the National Security Agency, whatever the latter may be, for Dr. Bawumia's accident; still, the decision of whether to make such position public is quite a different ball-game altogether, as it were.

What is striking here is that while Nana Akomea, the communications director of the NPP (Sir John had earlier on insisted that the position of Nana Akomea was only limited to the Akufo-Addo presidential campaign, and that Akomea's job had ended with Election 2012), and Mr. Owusu-Afriyie both believe that the Bawumia accident had a "mysterious" hand behind it, the NPP general-secretary is certain that the smoking-gun belongs to the ruling National Democratic Congress.

The shocking difference here is that Nana Akomea prefers to take the more forensically positivistic and responsible approach, whereas Mr. Owusu-Afriyie seems to prefer the politically populist stance. The preceding is shocking because Mr. Owusu-Afriyie is a notable legal practitioner who, ordinarily, would be expected to take the more sober and forensically objective stance, which privileges hard evidence over emotive political propaganda, a widely discredited approach which is almost exclusively associated with the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress, especially with Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia.

It is also not wholly true that being the general-secretary of the New Patriotic Party necessarily lends greater weight to whatever Mr. Owusu-Afriyie says in public and facilely claims to be the official position of the party. That peremptory power, or authority, actually belongs to the chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.

Then also, according to Mr. Owusu-Afriyie, "just like a linguist, Nana Akomea acts based on what is communicated to him by the party's National Executive." If this observation has validity then, perhaps, what we need to ask Mr. Owusu-Afriyie is whether, indeed, he had bothered to find out if Nana Akomea had spoken to any of the executive board members of the New Patriotic Party before publicly dissenting with Mr. Owusu-Afriyie.

Personally, I believe that the NPP needs to elevate Nana Akomea's status to that of an executive committee member of the party, as well as making him the NPP's official spokesperson, while Mr. Owusu-Afriyie largely concerns himself with record-keeping and legal heavy-lifting, as he is best able to handle. For it is quite obvious that Nana Akomea is the more astute and better communicator and communicationist of both gentlemen.


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

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

March 27, 2013