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Opinions of Sunday, 2 March 2008

Columnist: Amankwah, Ken

Isaac Osei: An opportunist par excellence- A rejoinder

Isaac Osei, Chief Executive of Ghana COCOBOD is a good friend. I have known him since our University days in the 70’s. He is a first rate brain, in fact, the thinking man’s compass. I know all his family and friends and Kofi D. Mensah Bonsu, contrary to his assertions, is not one of them. Kofi D. Mensah Bonsu wrote the article headlined above and posted on Ghanaweb on 16th February 2008.

Obviously the byline Kofi D Mensah Bonsu is a pseudonym. But why the disguise? He claims to “know Isaac Osei from his youth at Ashanti New Town, as a student at Achimota and a work colleague at Koforidua”. So what is he afraid of? Isaac Osei has no private army to terrorise disagreeable citizens. He is not built like a wardrobe to put the fear of God into political opponents. Why does Kofi D Mensah Bonsu choose to wear a mask? These are liberal days in Ghana. The organized terror of “shit bombing” and “designer” burglaries visited upon political opponents in previous regimes is history. NPP politics is a contest of ideas in a free, unfettered environment. It is therefore puzzling the enforced anonymity of Kofi D Mensah Bonsu. But in every town, there is always a Mensah and Mensah Bonsu is one of the social irritants in a nation. They feel sad at the success of others. They are obsessed with plots, conspiracies and blackmail. They are professional hatchet men wired to political mischief. They lie shamelessly and when exposed manufacture denials with brazen effrontery. So what is the gripe of Mensah Bonsu regarding Isaac Osei?

Concordia Leaks

This is a fire that warms nobody. If President Kufuor believed that Isaac Osei was a quisling, he would not have appointed him twice to positions of national preeminence. Please let us credit the President with some intelligence and discernment in these matters. He does not need the self serving expose of latter day Achitophels. The President, I am aware, has absolute confidence in Isaac Osei and contrary to what Kofi Mensah Bonsu believes, time will not tell anything.

It is interesting that Mensah Bonsu in a previous article – NPP at Crossroads - posted on Ghanaweb on 18th December 2007 observed that “Kufuor is definitely worst than Rawlings. He is a dictator bent on destroying our tradition”. His advice to all NPP delegates to the December Congress was to “take any money Kyerematen brings because it is from Kufuor. Kufuor and his family have looted, bought hotel (sic), invested monies abroad etc from their toil and sweat. He has taken you for granted for seven years now. Show him that no future NPP President will be given a free ride to dictate his nonsense to us again”.

Is this the same Mensah Bonsu who feels ‘sorry’ for President Kufuor in the Concordia matter and calls for Isaac to be sent to the Traitors’ Gate? What a hypocrite!

Ghana’s Envoy to the UK

Isaac Osei is accused of praising Nkrumah and the CPP and downgrading the contributions of Dr Danquah et al to independence and national growth. He did so, according to Mensah Bonsu, in several speeches in the UK. He also supplanted in favour, the UK NPP with Ghana Union – an association believed to have NDC leanings. All these point to one fact. Isaac Osei is a closet CPPist. I know for a fact that Isaac paid his dues as a member of NPP (UK) branch and made other substantial financial contributions to the welfare and development of the party. He never failed to honour NPP invitations to meetings. But it is important to stress that Isaac Osei was a High Commissioner for Ghana not the NPP in the UK. He had to deal with all Ghanaians and every Ghanaian association. And he did this so well that when he was recalled, 2,000 resident Ghanaians in the UK signed a petition to the President for his retention. I lived in the UK for 23 years. I had never seen a High Commissioner so loved by Ghanaians. Isaac was a breath of fresh air. He brought the High Commission to the doorstep of every Ghanaian. There was no Ghanaian enterprise in Brixton, Tottenham, Walthamstow, Middlesbrough, Edinburgh – infact in any corner of the UK that Isaac did not visit to encourage and support. For the first time in the 50 year history of the High Commission, a day (Thursdays) was set aside for surgery. There was no need for an appointment. You walked in to the reception, waited your turn and saw the High Commissioner “filifili” to discuss your problem or get advice. Ghanaians loved it, especially the women, dressed to the nines and cooing “ooh we just want say ‘hello’ to ‘HE’!

Kofi Mensah Bonsu eat your heart out! Isaac Osei was the best High Commissioner in the UK for a long, long time. And if he made speeches praising Nkrumah in our Jubilee year does that make him a fifth columnist in the NPP? Isaac cannot rewrite history. It is a documented fact that Nkrumah and the CPP brought independence to Ghana. The foundations were laid by the UGCC of Pa Grant, Danquah, Ofori-Atta and the rest of the Big Six. But the energy and dynamism of the CPP provided the ultimate boost. President Kufour, himself, devoted a third of his 50th anniversary speech at the Independence Square to acknowledge this fact. He went on further to recognize the achievements of the CPP and commended their success in the early years of independence. So does this make the President a closet CPPist? In any case politics, if Mensah Bonsu cares to know, is a numbers game. If Isaac, through his balanced speeches won the hearts of the some minority party members, he should be given bouquets not brickbats

Tenure as Cocobod Chief Executive

Those that the gods want to destroy, they first make mad. Sometimes frustration can easily push people to the lunatic fringes to say all sorts of things. How on earth can Edem Amegashie be cited as one of Isaac’s Achimota cronies? The gentleman was at post before Isaac became CE of Cocobod. Besides, he is not an Achimotan. I wonder what his classmates in St Peter’s would be saying now. I also wonder what the Board of Cocobod would be contemplating because the writer of the article in question portrays the issue as if somebody in the Board said so. I want to dare the writer to name one person on the Board who can support his claim or forever hold his peace. Isaac has become the darling boy of the stakeholders of the cocoa industry. Farmers, Hauliers, License Buying Companies (LBC’s) and the entire staff of Cocobod adore him because of his affability, accessibility and sheer competence. Those who doubt this should wait till he declares any intention to contest any position in the country. His achievements as CE, is public knowledge: syndication of loans, mass spraying, fertilizer application, new farming practices, prompt bonus payment, etc. I encourage those who seek the truth to read around to see what Isaac Osei has done at Cocobod in less than two years at post.

Kyerematen’s Support

It will not take a student of political thought to notice that this article comes from a camp other than Kyerematen. Otherwise, why make support of Alan an issue. Is it a crime to support a candidate in a party primary? And who knows if Isaac did not support any candidate apart from what is being alleged? The mere fact that Isaac was seen (allegedly) behind Alan in an interview on TV does not imply support.

Besides it has been Isaac Osei’s passion to help party candidates and foot soldiers. It was the reason why he allowed his company office premises to be used to complete the NPP manifesto in 1996 and also serve as the as the nerve centre of Nana Akufo Addo’s campaign in 1998. Those who doubt this fact can verify it from Victor Newman, Nana’s current Director of Research. Other prominent NPP loyalists like Kwabena Agyepong, Agyiri Blankson and Major Courage Quashigah can also testify. Again, it was the same Isaac Osei who hosted the entire entourage of the then candidate Kufuor at the Osei family estate in Gyenyasi in Kumasi during the 1996 campaign. Presently, the offices of the Statesman Newspaper are housed in his late father’s residence at Kokomlemle. Isaac is the executor of his father’s will as well as a beneficiary of that estate. He could have stopped the rental of the house to the newspaper if he was not comfortable with the idea. So where did Mensah Bonsu get his story about Isaac scuttling the Statesman’s bid to rent his father’s property?

A lot of people do not know the rapport between Isaac and Nana. The two have a lot of respect for each other. They share the same birthday. They worked together in the Foreign Ministry when Nana was the Minister and Isaac was the High Commissioner to the UK. They have other common areas which I will not dare put in the public domain but I am sure both know what I mean. Nobody should therefore attempt putting a wedge between them because of politics. It will not work.

Corruption of Party Executives

This is the most banal of all the claims. When did entertaining party officials become a crime in NPP? Is a gift of ticket to a person who belongs to my party a misdemeanor? Mensah Bonsu must be very confused. The inconsistency in the claims is enough evidence. In one breath, Isaac Osei is accused of not giving party members contracts. In another, he is doling out Cocobod contracts to Subin party executives. What flim flam!

Party Officials

This is the epitome ‘Kwaku Anansesem’. And what has the Ahanta origin of Isaac got to do with corruption of executives? So what if he had become Asanteman Nkosuohene? Were Ashanti’s going to reject him? Isaac by Ashanti custom succeeded his late father as Nkosuohene in the Gyasi lineage of Otumfuo’s palace. But he passed on the succession to his younger brother. Unless Mensah Bonsu is a better authority on Asante custom than Asanteman, I fail to see how his “explosive” revelation that Isaac is part Ahanta because of his mother’s lineage should prevent him from standing at Subin? After 50 years of independence it is amazing that characters like Mensah Bonsu can still espouse such sectarian drivel!

Conclusion

If anything has firmed the resolve of Isaac Osei to enter Parliament, it is the ruinous political envy of people like Mensah Bonsu whose political consciousness is rooted in the “we no go sit down” revolutionary days. He and his mentors from that era destroyed lives in the name of justice. But it was sheer envy that fuelled their sadistic ambitions. Envy is a powerful emotion and was used effectively by the revolutionary zealots to punish hard work and reward laziness. The result today is the malignant indiscipline in all aspects of our national life. I am all for the politics of equitable distribution. But we need to create the wealth first before distribution. People like Isaac Osei who are innovators, creators of wealth in the nation should be celebrated not calumnised. I challenge Mensah Bonsu to drop his mask and meet me at Subin for political orientation. Cowards die many times…….

Submitted By Ken Amankwah, PO Box 10844, Accra North

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.