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Opinions of Sunday, 24 February 2008

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Help Yourself, Kofi Wayo!

He has been variously described as a controversial politician, businessman and a social commentator. And yet, he may really be none of the above, except a noxious rumor-monger. And the politics of rumor-mongering, it must be noted, is nothing new to Ghanaian politics.

Indeed, legend has it that the politics of rumor-mongering was invented by President Kwame Nkrumah and his so-called Convention People’s Party (CPP). But that was more than four decades ago, when the literacy rate in Ghana was well below 30-percent. Interestingly, a half-century after Ghana attained its sovereignty from Britain, rumor-mongering as a crude political weapon remains quite potent.

The strange reality is that rumor-mongering, in Ghana, is largely the staple fare of the highly literate and intellectual. Maybe it is just a question of tradition dying hard.

Still, the fact that Ghanaian society is, literally speaking, effeminate may have something to do with the sinister centrality of gossip and rumor-mongering in national political culture. The country is also far from being a reading culture which, of course, does little to meliorate matters. And the country’s quite disturbing effeminacy, generally speaking, is almost uniquely exemplified by Mr. Rawlings’ ability to comfortably hang onto the dictatorial reins of governance for nearly two decades, even as the dictator himself, perhaps out of paralyzing guilt for the virtual lack of any formidable resistance to his throttlehold on the citizenry, bitterly complained about “this [abject] culture of silence.”

In the latest installment of his actionable accusations against the Presidential Candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Mr. Kofi Wayo, finding his earlier drug charge against the former to be unpardonably baseless and absolutely without any foundation, by way of credibility, is now also claiming that Ghana’s former Justice Minister has been deeply involved in illegal gold racketeering.

Not surprisingly, challenged on a local Ghanaian radio station to substantiate his baseless allegations, Mr. Wayo, reportedly, claimed, rather lamely (to speak much less of the downright fatuous), that he had heard enough rumors from some unspecified sources to make such rumors believable. Maybe somebody ought to advise Mr. Wayo to seek immediate psychiatric help and/or treatment.

To be certain, several years ago, it was widely rumored in some Ghanaian quarters, including the country’s metropolis of Accra, that while sojourning in the United States, Mr. Wayo had nearly been run over by an omnibus owned by the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The stentorian soap-box politician had, strangely and quite inexplicably, refused medical treatment. The grapevine also alleges that Mr. Wayo had sustained massive head injuries in the accident.

Indeed, some reliable close associates and observers of his are also speculating that Mr. wayo’s recent bouts of seemingly endless spewing of mendacities against his wildly perceived political and ideological foes, may likely have a lot directly to do with the said accident.

Mr. Wayo, legend has it, had received quite a remarkable insurance payout, after which latter payout the “victim” had purchased a plane-ticket and headed for Ghana, having woven the mendacious yarn of having been a formidable businessman in the United States. Other detractors also believe that Mr. Wayo’s purported monetary wealth is largely the result of “the Renaissance man” shamelessly using his smoking-pipe to transport sizable dosages of crack-cocaine for commercial distribution abroad.

And regarding his near-fatal accident, legend has it that Mr. Wayo had been busily ogling a young, white teenage male in the middle of New York City’s Broadway and Times Square when he was spiked silly by the bus, coincidentally driven by a recent Ghanaian immigrant. Perhaps he had wanted to spend a torrid night at Hotel Roosevelt with the white-teenager, according to the grapevine.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. E-mail:

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