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Opinions of Friday, 17 August 2012

Columnist: Abugri, George Sydney

Hurray for a safe return to chaos!

By George Sydney Abugri

We were taught this nursery rhyme in the very early 1950s about a bloke called Roger who died and went to his grave, see? A mango tree is planted over old Roger’s head. The tree grows tall and its fruits are ripe and ready to fall. A bloke comes along and plucks them all. This gets old Roger hopping mad in his grave. He jumps out and fetches the intruder a hefty knock, sending him sprawling to the ground…

When scenes of indeterminate environmental stimuli unfold before our eyes at the funeral of our departed president, who can blame us for joining the ranks of those inclined toward superstition and the metaphysical, Jomo?

Toward the end of the burial service for the late President J.E.A Mills last Friday at the Peace Park for example, my roving eye picked up an unusual sight: An old and graying chap in a dark suit misses a step, tumbles, falls and crawls on all fours, before picking himself up again with very few dignitaries around him appearing to notice.

I could have sworn, Jomo that the hapless geezer was the late president’s National Security Advisor General Nunoo-Mensah, but it could really have been anyone other then the retired general.

Someone insisted it him alright and proceeded to suggest the late president may have done the Old Roger on the General, for having prevailed upon him to stay in office when he wanted to quit!

It was only one of the apparently insignificant but curious scenes some television cameras picked up as they swept the crowds. Another was the sight of a white dove sailing down out of no where and settling on the packed vehicle carrying grieving former first lady Mrs. Naadu Mills and staying on the roof of the vehicle even as it was driven off.

The white dove is a symbol of peace which the late president preached all the way to the grave. Spooky, Jomo. Absolutely spooky.

The clarity of the significance if any, of what appeared to be metaphysical scenarios playing out was not helped by the mystery of the “…I have finished my time here on earth.” letter to the nation, purported to have been written by the late President.

The undated letter written in the first person’s singular and bearing the late president’s signature, said he had completed his time on earth, was actually not dead but was resting with the Lord and prayed for God’s protection over the republic...

It was generally agreed that the letter which has since been widely published in the newspapers and on the Internet, is either the most blatant of forgeries, one written by a dead man, a suicide note or one written by a man who was a hundred percent cock sure he was going to die. Why? Spooky, Jomo. Absolutely spooky.

Recently sworn in President John Mahama picked up the peace theme where the late President Mills left off, at his first televised presidential broadcast to the nation on Wednesday night, calling for a break with the past political culture of pettiness, personal attacks and name calling. He wants a more decent campaign.

It was all sanitized and tidy, President Mamaha’s speech. He pointedly avoided trying to smuggle in any veiled vitriolic diatribe against his opponents as some politicians have tended to do on media platforms

He promised executive sensitivity to the needs of communities with ran-down or no infrastructure at all for socio-economic development and repeated for the umpteenth time, the need for national unity in spite of the diversity of political opinion.

He added something else that must have raised the curiosity of political watchmen: The publication a fortnight hence, of a national new policy framework for what sounds like a programme of national civic revival of sorts in the making.

It probably has something to do with his call on all and sundry to help neutralize the prevailing atmosphere of “negativity” engendered by the country’s acrimonious politics: Accusations and counter accusations. Attacks and counter attacks…Ping pong politics. That is what I call it, Jomo.

Oh no, the country’s two leading parties wont let us have the haziest semblance of peace. Every single day without fail, they must find something to keep national tension at peak levels.

I like solving riddles, Jomo but there is one that my poor skull cannot crack no matter how much I try: Is not possible to campaign without malice and hostility towards anyone and leave the choice of the nation’s next leaders to the informed discretion of voters?

Given the extreme partisanship and antagonism between the NDC and NPP, it will be interesting to see what happens between now and the elections in December, in the wake of President Mahama’s address and the NPP’s press conference.

Walking backwards is a bizarre method of physical locomotion, don’t you think? Even the clumsy crustaceans called crabs which move with a drunken swagger do not do that!

One step toward national peace eight steps backwards to chaos: Last week one clergyman suggested that voters keep their eyes fixed on the battle lines between the NDC and NPP, and take note of the party that will be the first to fire a salvo from its trenches after the customary period of mourning the late president, and resolve not to give them even half a vote.

A fat lot of good admonishment did: The two leading hostile political groups who seemed temporarily mortified by shock at the very sudden death of the late president are moon walking back to their bad old ways.

The vicious spin, rabid propaganda and angry exchanges appear to be resuming on radio morning talks shows with an unrelenting vengeance.

Early in the week, the NPP addressed a press conference where party Chairman Jake Obestebi-Lamptey launched a scathing attack on the NDC’s performance, citing instances of corruption and alleged mismanagement and questioning the efficiency and honesty with which President Mahama and Vice-president Kwesi Amissah-Arthur played their respective roles as Vice-President and Bank of Ghana Governor previously.

I said unhuh, asem aba! If the NDC decides to address a press conference around similar themes, we could be marching back to acrimony all over again!

I have kept insisting that the insults, malicious propaganda, the free-for-all libeling of opponents, the obscene skullduggery etc are all pointless. They wont change a darned thing about the outcome of the elections because by now, most voters would have made up their minds about their preferred candidates.

You cannot rule out the possibility of a few voters changing their minds at the last moment but methinks that possibility is not so significant as to make all the fire-spitting, heaving and shoving and pushing and pulling and huffing and puffing all over the place worthwhile for both political parties, anaa?

Website: www.sydneyabugri.com Email: georgeabu@hotmail.com