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Opinions of Saturday, 9 January 2010

Columnist: Damptey, Daniel Danquah

“Huhuhuhu Nye Me Hu” (Threats or intimidations do not unnerve me)

. “Order is Heaven’s First Law”, it is said. But discipline begets discipline. Hence a disciplined life is an orderly life. A disciplined nation is an orderly nation. It is in the midst of discipline and order that a nation or an individual can make genuine progress in any desirable direction.

The Castle serves as the seat of Power or Government. Ordinarily, one should expect friendly and smiling faces all around. Intimidating faces of those who will draw our minds back to what existed between the Capulets and Montagues should be the last thing one should expect to see at the Presidency.

Unfortunately, this appears to be the norm in the First Year of the Mills Administration. People who are hell-bent in rekindling the brazen fires to make any meaningful discussions impossible are the ones the President has deemed fit in his own wisdom to put at the helm of affairs in most public institutions.

The Great Koku Anyidoho Himself. At the arrowhead of such hawks, scorpions and venomous vipers is somebody who has been trying very hard to make himself relevant in the scheme of things. Here, I speak of Koku Anyidoho. His unfriendly and intimidating mien suggest him as someone who wants to instill fear in the land, especially among opposition supporters and sympathizers so that it will be said that when Koku Anyidoho sneezes, those of us offering constructive criticisms will catch cold and shiver. But I assure him that such an accolade will definitely elude him no matter how intimidating his voice or face appears to be.

Koku issues threats and looks down on others as if he were the creator of the universe and that every other person should kowtow to him But one great lesson he is yet to learn, albeit, through the hard way is that, Ghanaians are no longer under the military and that things should and ought to be done with decorum.

Warnings and threats to Adomako Baafi: The other day, this bully of a Communication Director at the Presidency was beside himself with rage issuing threats here and there as if he was a Military Commander drilling his troops. “He will not be allowed. I say, Adomako Baafi, you will not be allowed. We know what you have done and what you are running away from. And I say, Adomako Baafi, you will not be allowed” What has Adomako Baafi done and what will he not be allowed to do?

Shamima Muslim too? Next at the receiving end of the Great Koku Anyidoho’s anger was the affable Shamima Muslim, host of the newspaper review segment of the “Good Morning Show” at Metro TV . She had cautioned the all-powerful head of the Communications Directorate at the Presidency on his use of harsh and uncomplimentary words to describe some members of the opposition NPP. But our unfriendly Director of Communications at the Presidency will have nothing of that. He reminded the host of some questions, which when asked, she (Shamima) would not be able to find answers to.

Utterances like “I hate ex-president Kufuor’s face more than any other person in Ghana” and I don’t like Kufour’s face, so I don’t want to hear anything about him” all came from the same source.

Koku Anyidohu is a confused Communications Director. What did Opare Ansah do wrong? He said Impeachment proceedings could be initiated against the President in line with article 69 of the 1992 constitution if it was established that indeed President Mills merely rejected the bribe offer but failed to report the people who attempted to bribe him to the police for prosecution. He did not say that President Mills should be impeached. Did Koku Anyidohu seek somebody’s help in interpreting Opare Ansah’s statement? Opare Ansah had qualified the statement with the conjunction “if”. And so if it is established that nobody attempted to bribe the President (but it was only figment of Kwame Pianim’s imagination) the status quo remains. Some of us doubted the truth in Kwame Pianin’s assertion. We believe it was an attempt to “smuggle” himself into Mills kitchen cabinet. Enti, Koku, wo haw ne sen? (So, Koku, wherein lies your worries?)

And so what is the big deal in the use of those big words which were used out of context and had no relevance to the issues being discussed. He was only trying to be verbose. I just don’t understand why Koku Anyidohu decided to use those words which had nothing to do with the bribery allegation. There was no correlation between what Opare Addo and Osei Kyei Mensah said and the use of words like capricious, whimsical and bellicose by the belligerent Koku Anyidohu. I checked the Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture and these were the definitions given for capricious, whimsical and bellicose. Capricious, when used as an adjective is defined as changing often, especially suddenly and without good reason. Whimsical is defined as amusingly strange, with strange ideas while bellicose as an adjective is defined as warlike, ready to quarrel or fight. The context within which Osei Kyei Mensah had used the words capricious and whimsical had to do with the changing posture of the chairman of parliamentary vetting committee who at times refused to allow certain questions and also came to the assistance of the person being vetted. The behavior and utterances of the chairman in most cases seemed strange and the use of those words connote the feelings of those members of the minority.

The vetting if Vicky Tetteh and Ken Noworsu: The minority was aggrieved because a similar scenario had occurred previously and a precedent had been set. When those two NPP members were being vetted for ministerial positions in Kufour’s administration, the confirmation of their appointment was put on hold pending the outcome of investigations into certain allegations which included the holding of British citizenship by one of the nominees. Thus, the minority had expected the chairman to adopt the same procedure. So, the behavior of the chairman appeared very strange and amusing and the use of those words was in its right context.

But Koku Anyidohu, your use of those words appears rather “whimsical and capricious”. It is out of context and nobody is going to convince me that it is otherwise.

Koku Anyidohu was Sports Editor of the Ghanaian Lens. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are all trying to build a prosperous nation and what is more irresponsible than what the Lens wrote of the then sitting President Kufuor. The Lens of 8th may 2007 under J.B column: “Is Dan Botwe not ashamed that a complete drunk and failure like Nebuchadnezzar, Ataa Ayi K4 woke up from his stupor and fired him? We want a serious creature to be firing people and not some dunce who does not know his left from right” The Lens of 29th may, 2007 under Letters to Diawuo vampire “those days, because you were drinking your favourite Chevas Regil whisky as well as spending too much time between the thighs of Gifty, Oboshie, Francisca,Lizzy,Nana Ama (the actress) “The Lens of 5th June, 2007 uncle J.B “The devil re-incarnate has killed the first First lady of our country. Of course, I know that the woman was suffering from debilitating health problem but that does not take away the fact that it was the visit of Nebuchadnezzar, Ataa Ayi K4 to her bed side that sent the woman packing to the world beyond. I am sure the ugly and monstrous look of Nebuchadnezzar, Ataa Ayi K4 sent the woman’s blood rushing in different directions of the death.

The Lens of 2nd Oct., 2007. Letters to “Kofi Diawuo Vampire,” I have told you that ugly imp who is the chief of your staff is not to be trusted. Kofi Diawuo Vampire, when u were plotting to poison Hawa, little did u know that you were teaching the ugly imp and co how to use poison to eliminate opponent. Lens of 23rd Oct., 2007. Uncle J.B “ In those days competition was not keen, and so any jack ass could get up and walk through a low class and that is why we have people like Ataa Ayi K4 and Kwamena “Ananias” Bartels the serial liar masquerading as lawyers.

The Lens of 11th Sept. 2007. Uncle J.B “considering how block-headed Freddy Blay is, only God knows the number of sleepless nights that the law professor had to contend with as he tried to “open up” the empty skull of Freddie Blay and put a few law theories inside it. Oh yes, he can be so called First Deputy Speaker, but he can only be in that position when “foolish” men are in charge of affairs of the state. Let sane people assume the mantle of leadership and we would see who would allow a nincompoop like Freddie Blay to occupy that position”

All these were reported in the Ghanaians Lens when Koku Anyidohu was sports editor of the paper. What did he do about it? Nothing! He might even have been the author of such obscene and vulgar columns. The NPP was in power and the heavens did not fall. The position of the goal posts has shifted and NDC is now in power. And they want to use their power to gag the rest of us. But that will never happen. Which is worse - what they wrote about the sitting President and Opare Ansah’s innocuous remarks that the President stands to be impeached if …..?

Now to the substantive issues: I am glad Koku Anyidohu stated that he will call Opare Ansah honourable because the people of Suhum voted for him, so he will respect the people of Suhum. But what follows, “that I speak categorically that irresponsible people like him (Opare Ansah) will not lead the president down on irresponsible path” is the least we should expect from the man who calls himself head of the communications outfit at the presidency. He added that President Mills, having gotten the mandate of 23 to 24 million Ghanaians to build a better Ghana should not come and respond to this level of irresponsibility.

Which of the two statements – that of Opare Ansah that President Mills stands to be impeached if … and that of Koku Anyidohu that President Mills had the mandate of between 23 to 24 million Ghanaians is more irresponsible? What is the population of Ghana? And what was the total number of votes cast for the entire Presidential aspirant? By saying Mills had between 23 to 24 million votes is Koku Anyidohu not attempting to throw dust into the faces of Ghanaians? And the man claims he is the Director of Communications at Presidency! May God help Ghana!!

“And we are telling Opare Ansah and co that they better get ready, this their irresponsibility, their bellicosity is nonsense and I use the word nonsense again”. These were the exact words of the man who is expected to portray the Presidency in the best light possible.

It must be pointed out that Koku Anyidohu is just an ordinary mortal like the rest of us, put in a responsible position within the presidency. He should be seen to be making responsible statements and contributing responsibly to make the country peaceful. His outfit is the pivot around which the image making of the president revolves. Referring to our elected representatives ( who were merely making their views on certain public issues) as irresponsible is in itself an irresponsible act.

Koku Anyidohu is not doing much to polish the image of the presidency. It is only in a country like Ghana and a few others that you will have some one who issues threats and insults journalists and discussants of public issues on air as Head of its Communications Directorate at its seat of government. A very bad and dangerous signal: The script/statement contains inaccuracies, misinformation, and blatant lies. One would expect any such statement or utterances emanating from such an exalted office of the presidency to have gone through a fine tooth-comb so that even hyper critics would not have anything against it. But for the Head of a whole Directorate of Communications at the presidency to fabricate blatant lies with the aim of deliberately deceiving Ghanaians is unpardonable. If he has sought assistance from his colleagues at the Ministry of Information or the Presidential spokesperson, at least the error, “we are telling Opare Ansah and co that they better get ready instead of they had better would have been detected and corrected.

Structures and institutions must be allowed to work: If indeed it is true that the NDC is mobilizing a mob to disrupt proceedings of the Privileges Committee when Koku Anyidohu appears before it, then it will be unfortunate for that will be the recipe for anarchy. NDC is in charge of government machinery and the party should not be seen to bee doing anything which will be a complete anathema to democracy. The party should rather be seen to be strengthening those structures and institutions and not do anything to undermine them. I am confident that there are many sane heads in the party who will caution the hawks not to plunge the country to the precipice of anarchy. And so, for the peace and love of this dear country of ours, I will passionately appeal to Koku Anyidohu and his “think-alikes” to allow our structures and institutions to work un-impeded.

Conclusion: The seat of Government should be people friendly. Those assigned responsibilities should be made to go through a period of orientation to get them attuned to the realities of modern-day governance. The era of buga-buga politics when appointed officials paid with the peoples’ money could get up to heap insults on his/her political opponents is gone and out of tune with our nascent democracy.

If Koku Anyidohu hates so much the use of the word ‘honourable’ by elected representatives like Opare Ansah and Osei-Kyei Mensah, he should do the most honourable and responsible thing by resigning his appointment at the Presidency. He should submit himself to the electorate, and if he gets the mandate, he can call himself honourable to give him the opportunity to be making “irresponsible” statements.

Daniel Danquah Damptey

E-Mail Address : danieldanquah_damptey@yahoo.com