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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Katakyie Addresses Kwesi Pratt and Co.

This writ-up seeks to expose the hypocrisy and opportunistic preoccupation of Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Koku Anyidohu and other mouth-watering guys in the National Disappointed Congress (NDC) who are bent on taking our beloved country to the dark ages through their unguarded pronouncements. According to Abbie Hoffman; the idea that media is there to educate us, or to inform us, is ridiculous because that is about tenth or eleventh on their list. In using the above quote in examining the recent chattering and vituperations by the Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt and the so-called Communications Director at the presidency – Koku Anyidohu, I will not hesitate to describe these two guys as buffoons.

In fact, when I read Auberon Waugh’s assertion that; the best people nowadays go into journalism, the second best into business, the rubbish into politics and the shits into law, I was nearly swayed by Auberon’s remark until I did a critical analysis on Kwesi Pratt’s actions and inactions where my findings proved me otherwise. Kwesi, to me is not only hypocrite but has proven to be a stomach journalist and a sycophant. As for Koku Anyidohu, the least said about him, the better. Who at all do these guys think they are? According to Confucius; he who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good. And to this Prophet Bob Marley adds; the lips of the righteous teach many but fools die for want of wisdom. To contextualise the above quotes, Confucius and Bob advise mankind to be circumspect in making public statements because once an irresponsible statement is made, it becomes difficult to retract it as the damage might be irreparable. ‘Mpanin se, de3 ntoa duru no nsan nuru ho’.

Kwesi Pratt thinks by virtue of practising journalism for a long time he has a repository of knowledge. He has arrogated to himself the spokesman of the 22 million Ghanaians and thus assumes he is the only one who is expected to take the mediocre NDC government to the cleaners. Kwesi Pratt should know that in this modern world, it is not how long you live that matters but how you have lived. In other words, it is not the number of years that Kwesi Pratt has practised journalism that matters, but how his ‘sacrifices’ and experience in the job had benefitted the ordinary Ghanaian that counts. What is Kwesi Pratt’s track record in journalism? That he, together with other colleagues in the media was jailed by Rawlings; that he once stood on the ticket of the CPP as a parliamentary candidate and lost miserably; that he is a leading member of the useless Committee for Joint Action (CJA); that he wakes up every morning and most of the time misinforms the public through other media network; that he is the Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper which is read only by his cronies in Accra; that the Insight newspaper is being funded by people close to the Vice President; that he portrays to be a CPP stalwart but is an NDC sympathiser in disguise? Is that all, Kwesi?

In fact, Napoleon Bonaparte should be highly commended for stating that ‘in politics, stupidity is not a handicap’. This assertion is true because this is where the strength of the NDC lies. Indeed, if stupidity was a handicap, what would have been the worth of empty-headed and mouth-watering people like Sebgefia, Anyidohu, Kwetey, Ablakwa, Jamal, Asiedu Nketia, Gbevlo Lartey, Victor Smith, Benyiwa-Doe, Hanna Bisiw and the rest of the ‘greedy bastards’? Who would have also known Kwesi Pratt – the chatterbox? Under no circumstance should Pratt and Anyidohu mistake knowledge for wisdom because there is a clear difference between the two words - one helps you make a living and the other helps you make a life. As Albert Einstein puts it; wisdom is not the product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.

Ladies and gentlemen, as a Ghanaian, I am not enthused about the way Kwesi Pratt and Koku Anyidohu use the media and their positions to launch scathing attacks on our elders, especially His Excellency J. A. Kufuor, the Minority Leader – Hon Osei-Kyei Mensah as well as Hon. Opare Ansah. What has ex-President Kufuor done to warrant these abuses from Kwesi Pratt and Koku Anyidohu? This is a man who served and continues to serve the country with patriotism, humility and competence, the man whose administration discovered oil in commercial quantities, the man who made history by being the only president to have successfully served two four-year terms in office through democratic means, the man who featured regularly in all the G-8 Summits and continues to secure international appointments, abolished the Criminal Libel Law that sent Kwesi Pratt and some of his colleagues to jail, stopped the serial killings of women and instituted the People’s Assembly Concept.

It was therefore not surprising to see Ghana emerge as the first country in Africa to subject herself to the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), become one of the few recipients of the Millennium Challenge Accounts of US$547 million and to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 1 where poverty in Ghana was reduced significantly (57.1% in 1999 to 28.7% in 2008). Again, under his distinguished leadership, every right-thinking Ghanaian witnessed the proliferation of FM Radio Stations, the National Reconciliation, the promotion of rule of law and press freedom, the implementation of pro-poor policies – NHIS, school feeding programme, free maternal care, capitation grant, LEAP, metro mass transit, single spine salary structure, ROPAA, the 3-tier Pension Scheme, among others. Can’t Kwesi and co. try to give credit to where it is due? A nation that does not honour her citizens is not worth-dying for, so goes the adage. Kwesi, if you could be honest to yourself, just provide answers to the following questions using Kufuor’s first eleven months in office as a reference. I ask these questions because according to Carl Sagan; we make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.

• How many teachers were stripped naked and made to parade in the principal streets of Bawku?

• How many journalists were assaulted in the course of performing their duties and how many of them had their personal belongings stolen?

• How many high profile court cases did Kufuor-led NPP government lose?

• How much money was spent on the renovation of seven ministerial bungalows?

• How much Ghana cedis was spent by the transitional team on ‘tea mpampa’?

• How many ministers bought diapers and ‘kyinkyinka’ for their girl friends? • What was the price of a gallon of petrol in 2001? • How many ministries, departments and markets were completely burned down? • How many army recruits were dismissed?

• How many people were arrested and detained for several days without trial for allegedly committing a crime?

• How many government vehicles were seized from civilians and distributed to party serial-callers and sympathizers?

• How many directives were issued by President Kufuor to political appointees to consider the plight of party foot soldiers to the neglect of other Ghanaians?

• Was there any directive by the president to ban university graduates from accessing public sector employment?

• How many government imported tractors were stolen by Kufuor’s spokesman and the then Majority Leader?

• How much money was loaned to Members of Parliament to purchase cars, $20,000 or $50,000?

• How many leading members of the NPP including the party’s Members of Parliament openly criticized President Kufuor’s style of governance as slow-paced and incompetent?

• How many ‘greedy bastards’ bootlickers, sycophants or Team B ministers surrounded Kufour?

• How many leading members of the party were involved in an international bribery scandal (M & J)?

• How many queues were formed as a result of frequent fuel shortages? • How many professional bodies – NAGRAT, GNAT, TEWU, etc threatened to go on strike as a result of poor conditions of service and the inability of the government to address their concerns?

• How many public toilets, car parks and markets were seized by party foot soldiers? • How many economic refugees masqueraded themselves as physically challenged sportsmen to participate in a sporting event meant for the handicapped?

• How many power outages did the country experience?

• How many public employees complained about non-payment of their salaries for seven months?

• Did Kufuor tell Ghanaians of complaining too much in his first 11 months in office?

• Did Kufuor appoint over 40 people from the Volta Region to head all the sensitive positions in Ghana?

So Kwesi Pratt, what is the rational of preferring Mills’ mediocre administration to Kufuor’s enduring legacy? In fact, every discerning Ghanaian will attest to the fact that the above-mentioned ugly things never raised their ugly heads in the first eleven months of Kufuor’s leadership. Indeed, it is an undeniable fact that common sense is common but it is not common to common people like Kwesi Pratt and Koku Anyidohu. I personally do not have any qualms with Kwesi with regard to his choice. Opinions, they say are like noses, everybody has got one. ‘Obi nso akonode3 ne dompe nsono’. ‘3na de3 odwan p3 na ode ne kaka kohy3’. But I strongly put it to you, Kwesi that I, Katakyie, like any other objective-minded and sensible Ghanaian will forever disagree with you anywhere, any day and at any time should you back your stance with such ridiculous and childish remarks that; Mills’ administration had done better than Kufuor all because you were given only $500 as per diem for the six days that you spent in Cape Town. You also showered praises on the NDC government for the award of contract for the construction of ‘200,000 houses’ to cut back on housing deficit, the expansion of the school feeding programme, a stable cedi over the last five months, a drop in inflation, the New Pension Scheme and the Right to Information programme. And Kwesi Pratt, who wrongly thinks he knows it all admits that based on the above, the NDC is on course.

I hope Kwesi has not lost his sense of judgment and memory and more importantly his common sense that could help him make critical and objective analysis. Is it not the same Kwesi Pratt who was once quoted as saying ‘if you look at the direction of policies in the country, whether the policy is economic, social or political, you begin to wonder whether our policy makers do anything at all, because the policies simply do not make sense’? That was one of the unnecessary attacks launched on Kufuor-led NPP government by Kwesi Pratt in 2005. So does the collection of $500 per diem by Kwesi Pratt makes sense now? In fact, I have come to understand what our former Social Studies tutor at Wesley College - the late Mr. Nyame Kwarteng (Nyame K.) used to tell us anytime we made a complaint about the school administration. He would declare ‘You seriously criticize the authority when you are not part of it, but as soon as you become part of the authority you keep your big mouth shut’. So whether the silence on the part of Kwesi Pratt on President Mills’ mess is a sign of him being part of the National Disaster Congress (NDC), I leave it to readers to judge.

Kwesi, is that all that Ghanaians could benefit from your so-called experience in journalism? If you distant yourself from ignorance, mischief and hypocrisy, then I challenge you to retire from your profession because you have proven beyond all reasonable doubt that you are not a patriotic citizen but an opportunist. You claim to be a social democrat – Nkrumaist - communist or whatever you call yourself and thus believe in state intervention in the economy to improve the lot of the hoi polloi. Why did you collect per diem of $500 for spending only six days in South Africa for a ‘national cause’? When did you turn to a sports journalist and how much could you have earned over the period if you were not wrongly selected as part of the government delegation? I hope you are aware that currently over 45,000 pupils study under trees whilst several others write on their stomachs due to inadequate classrooms and furniture. On the issue of the Affordable Housing, are you aware that the NPP initially invested 30 million Ghana cedis (300 million old cedis) in the project with the aim of building 1000 houses for Ghanaians? Go to Borteyman and Kpone in Greater Accra and 1500 flats are near completion. Get your ass to Asokore-Mampong in Ashanti Region and another 1,192 would be ready soon. Move to Koforidua in the Eastern Region and 400 flats near completion. Plans were also underway to expand the project to Sunyani, Cape Coast, Wa, Bolgatanga and Ho in 2009 until Ghanaians mistakenly decided otherwise in the general elections. A journey of thousand miles begins with a step.

Again, a Rural Housing Scheme for cocoa farmers was started in the Western Region. The NPP government in collaboration of Housing Finance Corporation invested US$10 million for a housing scheme for civil servants unit. So what is the hullabaloo about a mere promise of construction of houses? What is so unique about President Mills’ promises? Kwesi, gye wo ahome, na yeate abr3. What happened to the free school uniforms? What happened to the fuel prices which were to be reduced drastically? What happened to the restoration of peace in Bawku to the extent that the people of Bawku had to use only three hours a day for their economic activities? What about the filth in our cities which was to be cleared within 100 days of Mills’ assumption of office? May I also ask Kwesi how ‘expanded’ the school feeding programme has been expanded? Does it cover every basic school in the country? So now the NDC recognise the school feeding programme? Ei! ‘Ewiase y3 hu’. Did Pratt also talk about a stable cedi and a drop in inflation? What does that mean? Does it mean our pockets have been filled with the money then candidate Mills promised us? Never mention the New Pension Scheme or the Right to Information act at all because they are all NPP policies which Nana Akuffo-Addo promised to bring into fruition in 2009. In conclusion, I would advise Kwesi Pratt and Koku Anyidohu to leave President Kufuor alone. The countless achievements of this noble citizen of Ghana are visible for those who have eyes to see and no amount of vilifications could dwarf the remarkable record of Kufuor-led NPP administration. We hold ex-President Kufuor in high esteem and we will forever do so because he deserves it. The fact that the NPP unfortunately ‘lost’ the 2008 general elections does not mean that the party cannot come back to power again. Time will tell. The NPP is not the only political party in the world to have lost power on a silver platter. In the United States, Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party lost the 2000 general elections regardless of the remarkable successes his party chalked between 1992 and 2000. That is the beauty of democracy. A political position should not be seen as a personal possession. We of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) do believe that though we are down, we are not dead yet. We take consolation from Confucius that; our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. We have done it before and we shall definitely be back in 2012. Kwesi should expend his energy on rebuilding the CPP which boasts of only one Parliamentarian out of the 230 and 118,000 votes out of a voter population of 12 million. Again, he should emulate the shining example of Mr. Anas Ameyaw Anas, the young journalist who has swept over 14 domestic and international awards. He could even learn from his buddy, Malik Kweku Baako. Ghanaians have already seen the deceit, lies and the true colours of the National Diabolic Congress (NDC). They have also recognised their error of judgment in giving their mandate to this oppressive P/NDC administration. It is therefore hoped that come 2012, such a terrible mistake will never be repeated.

Only a fool tests the water with both feet.

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang (a.k.a. Paulucious)

Member of Communications Directorate, NPP – UK & Ireland

kpaulucious@yahoo.com 07944309859

“Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success”