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Opinions of Saturday, 28 April 2018

Columnist: Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Is Akufo-Addo really learning the lesson that Ghanaian politics teaches? (Part II)

Folks, we continue with our exploration of the idea that necessitated this opinion piece because we see goings-on in Ghana under Akufo-Addo as a major mis-step. We say it all, as usual, holding nothing back. Those who disagree with us are free to tell us why.

LESSON 7

Akufo-Addo has so far made foreign trips his fancy. As we write now, he is in the United States to attend a conference that has no direct benefit for Ghana except to boost his ego. We have been closely monitoring all the junketing that he does in the mistaken belief that it will put him on the centre-stage in world politics. Pitiable.

He must be picking a leaf from Kufuor’s wanderlust, which makes me wonder whether there is any seasoned counselor at the President to move Akufo-Addo where he has to go. In truth, it is not all invitations for participation in events of the sort that has taken him out of Ghana that he must honour.

The cost is high, whether it is being borne by the organizers of the events or not. But a reasonable politician entering office on account of his own political campaigns about misplaced priorities that couldn’t put Ghana where it should be must honestly be the first to value such external trips and advise himself thereby.

Over the past 14 months, Akufo-Addo has spent many days outside Ghana, attending such events at the cost of the tax payer. And he goes with a large contingent of per-diem seekers.

The question is: How much per diem is Akufo-Addo paid? At least, under Rawlings and Kufuor, we got to know. Atta Mills rejected his share. John Mahama didn’t tell us anything as such. However, under a man who claims not to be seeking political power to steal Ghana’s money, nothing has so far emerged on his per diem allowance. How much is he paid? How about the hangers-on that he shuttles around with?

LESSON 8

The history of “development projects” in Ghana is clear to the point that any politician damning an opponent on initiating such projects at the expense of other sectors of the human condition must re-think. Beginning with Nkrumah and ending with John Mahama in our time, we can attest to the value of such projects. The negative propaganda by the Danquah-Busia treacherous camp against such projects is etched in our minds.

When Nkrumah sought assistance from Jon Kennedy to prevail on the Kaiser Aluminium Company to support Ghana financially in building the Akosombo Dam, the Danquah-Busia anathema stridently opposed him and sent a delegation to urge President Kennedy not to grant Nkrumah his wish. They lost it. Nkrumah did a lot in the teeth of opposition from them.

When Busia had the greatest moment to shine, he dimmed his own light by telling his own people in the Brong-Ahafo region and Northern Ghana that it was impossible fir anybody to think that the Akosombo Hydro-electricity Project could be extended to Brong-Ahafo and Northern Ghana. Yet, this was the prime Minister boasting of a Rural Development Programme.

Rawlings shamed Busia and his followers by extending that grid to the 110 Districts in Ghana by the time he left office; and John Mahama followed up with that vision, even when confronted with the “Dumsor” crisis that proved to be a major blow dealt him by his detractors.

But he laid the foundation which Akufo-Addo is claiming because that crisis has been minimized, thanks to Mahama’s foresight and bold initiatives. Are these NPP people led by Akufo-Addo people with any modicum of conscience at all?

Having mounted roof-tops to damn Mahama and the AMERI deal—and vowing to end it all if voted into office—they shamelessly ate back their own vomit to renew that agreement. We recall how they even formed a team of investigators led by their Election petition fiasco of a lawyer (Philip Addison) who were fed fat by the very AMERI Group that they were tasked to investigate. Corruption or not?

LESSON 9

Shamelessly, since entering office, Akufo-Addo hasn’t initiated a single development project. Instead he and his appointees are busily going about the country plastering history, commissioning and re-commissioning projects done by Mahama. And they are so shameless as to erase his name and plaster their own on the plaques symbolizing the official status of such projects. Do these people have any conscience at all?

LESSON 10

Akufo-Addo’s recourse to the politics of duplicity is undeniable and unquestionable. He was part of all groupings challenging the legitimacy of Rawlings to rule Ghana, joining forces with anti-Rawlings movements and actively participating in the series of street demonstrations (dubbed differently as “Kume Preko”, “Wieme Preko” and “Sieme Preko—with fatalities in some case).

He incurred the animosity of the Rawlingses, forcing Jerry Rawlings to damn him as a “wee smoker” and his wife (Nana Konadu) to write him off as not being a lawyer—hurting his professional underbelly.

Akufo-Addo is strongly upheld as the motivating factor for the debasement of Rawlings through the withdrawal of all protocol support for him in the Kufuor era, which angered Ghanaians sympathetic to Rawlings. As the bouts of political somersaulting would have it, the Rawlingses and Akufo-Addo are comfortable political bed-fellows today. Phew!!

MANY OTHER LESSONS

Akufo-Addo insisted that his government would save Ghana and fight corruption to the hilt. To his credit, he has worked for the Office of Special Prosecutor to be established and appointed Martin Amidu and Naa Torshie to spearhead affairs. It is clear that the government is carrying all its eggs in this single basket, counting the chickens before they get hatched.

The parameters have already been set to nail appointees of the Mahama administration (as we can see from the hubbub about double salary and the trial of officials of the national Communications Authority, Dr. Stephen Opuni, and others of SSNIT).

I am reminded of the narrow scope of such a move, especially given the fact that under Akufo-Addo’s watch, many acts of corruption have occurred but been swept under the rug. Is it about the BOST one, or the KENBOND rot that the CHRAJ confirmed? And many others too. What is emerging is that once attention is focused on political opponents by this government, no amount of well-intended caution will turn its crank to rise above mischief.

It reminds me of all that happened under former governments aimed at punishing functionaries of the preceding government. Whether through Commissions of Inquiry or kangaroo courts of the kind institutionalized by Rawlings that subjected identifiable persons and institutions constructed as “corrupt” to “unprecedented revolutionary action”, the endemic canker of bribery and corruption couldn’t be eradicated. Instead, it survived and grew tougher horns that couldn’t be clipped.

Paradoxically, the very apostles of that mantra of “probity and accountability” brought shame unto themselves by being caught pants down in acts of the very kind that they had shed blood futilely attempting to weed out. You can figure out those characters, folks. And these are the grandstanders sending their own political baby to the slaughter house of Akufo-Addo.

WHAT, THEN?

As we have insisted on here and elsewhere all along, the kind of politics being done by Akufo-Addo and his followers leaves room for much to be desired. It is nothing new, which raises eyebrows. While the hatchet job is primed against political opponents, living conditions in the country worsen.

Folks, add your own lessons, especially on national insecurity, the collapse of private-sector banks, armed robbery, job insecurity, lowering of productivity (I hear cocoa farmers are now moving into other cash-crop or food-crop areas because of the falling price of cocoa on the international market).

Then, let’s get our conversation going. Having observed all that has been going on since Akufo-Addo entered office, I can stick my neck to say that he hasn’t learnt the lesson that Ghanaian politics teaches. Otherwise, he would tread cautiously so as not to go the way his predecessors did. Should I be surprised, anyway?

The truth is that history doesn’t only teach lessons to turn humanity away from the byways of past mishap but it also judges, rewarding those who learn its lessons and use them to improve the human condition, even as it punishes those who don’t learn those lessons and end up repeating the mistakes of the past. Such non-learners are doomed to suffer the whirligig of history.

The political history of Ghana is replete with such lessons, which Akufo-Addo and Co. should learn so as to save themselves from the tragedy and farce awaiting them at the end of their “Concert Party” road in political experimentation. Those of us who have known Ghanaian politics over the years see nothing new coming from them.

Probably, Akufo-Addo needs to connect and re-connect with his own father (first and only titular President of Ghana) to know how the history that is unfolding right in front of his eyes can transcend the realm of tragedy into a less painful one of farce!! History has it all.

I have spoken…