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Opinions of Tuesday, 15 January 2002

Columnist: Adu-Asare, R. Y

In the Matter of Hamidu, Tony Aidoo:

...the Threat to Security of the State of Ghana

Is it worth the public space and time for Ghana’s National Security Advisor to engage in personal debate with a politician out of office, Tony Aidoo, Deputy Minister of Defence in the former Pres. Jerry Rawling’s Administration? This is the first question that popped up in my mind on reading the story ““JJ Opposed Afrifa’s Execution” ---Hamidu,” (Ghanaweb.com, Dec. 31, 2001).

Another question that arises from the story cited above concerns whether Lt.-Gen. Joshua Hamidu (rtd.), National Security Advisor to Ghana’s Pres. John Agyekum Kufuor, is in the business of protecting his personal image and that of the political party in power or the security of the state of Ghana?

According to the news story under discussion, Joshua Hamidu, reportedly, “reacted angrily to a seven-page rejoinder” by Tony Aidoo, “to statements he (Hamidu) made at a press conference” in a previous week. The news story is a report of an interview Hamidu granted The Dispatch, a private Ghanaian newspaper on Friday, Dec. 28, 2001. Unfortunately, typical of today’s Ghanaian journalism, the news report does not give any background about the content of Hamidu’s press conference.

Clips of what Tony Aidoo wrote in his reported rejoinder typify what Ghanaians have come to expect of the former Deputy Minister ---callous rabble rousing. In fact, Tony Aidoo’s public conduct while he served as deputy minister reflected that of an adult living out his youthful buffoonery. These are the reasons why I think Hamidu’s personal engagement in public exchange with Tony Aidoo tarnishes the office of national security advisor.

Lt.-Gen. Hamidu (rtd.) was generous enough to have described Tony Aidoo as “academic” and “articulate” and yet he said, “I would like to see what kind of intellectual dishonesty he is displaying to this country.” Hamidu characterized certain statements made by Tony Aidoo as “mischievous and at best, a big lie.” Given this type of judgment, it is fair to ask if the time taken by Hamidu to respond to Tony Aidoo’s vituperations does not deprive Ghanaian taxpayers of his full attention to national security matters.

What can be derived from the attention given by Hamidu to Tony Aidoo is that it gives the latter an undeserved national forum to extend his mischief.

As a public official, Hamidu is fair game for criticism in the context of performance of his duties and assignments. However, should Tony Aidoo over-step the bounds of constitutional legality in his zeal to be critical of actions of officials of the ruling New Patriotic Party, NPP, then it must be the responsibility of Ghana’s attorney-general to institute a case against him in court. In that instance, the national security advisor would have more time to spend on relevant matters thereby relieving Pres. Kufuor of the need to worry about security of the state of Ghana.

In a recent interview former Pres. Jerry Rawlings gave to a reporter, he lamented that he spent too much time worrying about national security to the detriment of paying attention to other significant matters. The interview was cut short by downtime in electric power supply. It is fair to assume that if former Pres. Rawlings had paid less attention to the security of the state of Ghana, he may have found more time to stop some of his appointed officials from indiscriminate looting of the national coffers.

Once deprived of power, Tony Aidoo and the other tormented opportunists who jumped on Jerry Rawlings’ political bandwagon are likely to behave in the manner of wounded and crippled tigers groping in the dark; they will continue to hunt for food but can do no damage to their targeted prey.

Power, like opium, can be intoxicating, especially if it were as sweet as was handed down by Jerry Rawlings to those who went beckoning and did not have to work for it.

As the minority opposition party National Democratic Congress, NDC, continues in its downward slide, Ghanaians are bound to see a number of powerless politicians and erstwhile public officials doing and saying things in attempt to keep their names in the minds of the populace. After all, before becoming the anointed Deputy Minister of Defence, Ghanaians could not tell the difference between a faceless Tony Aidoo and my cousin, the palm wine tapper.

To sum up, Tony Aidoo’s attack against the national security advisor should be seen as threatening protection of the state of Ghana, as a state, as well as the human rights of the Ghanaian population.

Can Ghana which has experienced four Republics in less than 50 years, afford the form of distraction directed at its national security brought about through political game playing by Tony Aidoo and people of that ilk?

Based on conversations with individuals connected to the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, AFRC, that came to power in Ghana through military insurrection on June 4, 1979, I have reason to believe Lt.-Gen. Hamidu’s story that Jerry Rawlings was not in favor of killing Akwasi Amankwaah Afrifah, the self-appointed general who ruled Ghana like a fiefdom. Afrifah was one of the architects who overthrew the constitutionally existing government of Ghana’s First Republic on Feb. 24, 1966, through a military coup d’etat.

On reflection, I cannot see why anybody worries whether Jerry Rawlings was in agreement with his colleagues on AFRC to kill or not to kill Afrifah. Let it be known that Afrifah did not have mercy on a fellow military officer on Feb. 24, 1966, when he sanctioned the killing of Brigadier Bawah, Commander of the Presidential Guard and some members of his household.

Please submit all comments and questions to: asare@erols.com