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Opinions of Thursday, 21 April 2016

Columnist: Boahen, Nana Obiri

Make John Kufuor the chair of the EC to please Nana Obiri Boahen!

“Let me be very honest. Should I see Dr. Afari Gyan suffering to the point of death on my way, I will never convey him in my car to the nearest hospital. I am being honest. I worship with the Catholic Church but I never help Dr. Afari Gyan. I will watch him die…”

THE COMPLEX PROBLEM OUR POLITICAL THEOLOGIANS POSE TO SOCIAL-POLITICAL SOLIDARITY

And that shameful and regrettable attribution supposedly originated with a self-styled Christian, a Catholic to be precise. Significantly, Nana Obiri insidiously refers and then takes to the moral import of the so-called “Good Samaritan” story as it were, but quickly disposes of it by replacing it with the more convenient concept of the bystander effect (apathy).

All because of his uncontrollable, murderous hatred for Mr. Afari Gyan, Madam Charlotte Osei’s workaholic predecessor, a professional political scientist respected around the world for his immense and near-impeccable contributions to electoral politics.

Of course, the bystander effect is not quintessentially African, arguably an idea that makes arrant nonsense of Nelson Mandela’s and Desmond Tutu’s ubuntu and of utilitarianism (normative ethics). Yet the concept of humanitarian intervention, as in a non-military sense, is a normative or core feature of Catholic social encyclicals (Catholic Social Teaching) passed down the years.

Ideally, if not technically, the picture would have been entirely different if Nana Obiri were referring to or invoking St. Thomas Aquinas’ “double effect.” Equally ironically, if not worst of all, Mr. Afari Gyan is not known to have physically threatened Nana Obiri in any way. Not even

Not even Nana Obiri opts for this convenient and self-serving option of Mr. Gyan ever physically threatening him, his person and that of his family.

It is all political opportunism, hot air, exhibitionism, and attack, adversarial politics as usual.

In that case recourse to a competent jurisdiction for redress would have been a better choice or option for Nana Obiri.

Still we wish Nana Obiri had not made those sad states of apocalyptic remarks.

Or better still, that those apocalyptic remarks were mischievous journalistic twisting of the facts or, simply, fraudulent attribution. We dare not put this suspicious theory past Ghanaian attack and adversarial (gotcha) journalists. We would have hoped then, thus that those unfortunate statements attributed to Nana Obiri would amount to a social stigma and verbal irony at best. Eventually.

WHAT NANA OBIRI BOAHEN SHOULD HAVE KNOWN AS A CHRISTIAN

Leviticus 19: 18 (King James Version): “Thou shall not avenge…but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Romans 12: 19-21 (King James Version): “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourself…for it is written; Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord…There for if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: or so doing thou shall heap coals of fire on his head…Be not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

A GREATER DILEMMA: THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION AND ELECTORAL POLITICS

Moreover, the idea that the Electoral Commission (EC) and whoever chairs it should not and cannot be criticized for, say, breaching constitutional requirements, is not beyond question. Constructive criticism enriches the democratic process while self-serving partisan nagging does not.

Thus, the EC and its Chairperson are not beyond or above reproach—if this is actually done with a modicum of respect and intellectual rigor, as well as within the perimeters of the Constitution. In such delicate matters, legal recourse is often the best approach or method. We should take note.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) particularly, and all persons and organizations with a stake in the political process should understand this basic fact of political realism. Alas, the NPP’s pleonasm politics of hypocritical irony is proverbially sweeping in its ideological-gene expression. Not too long ago for instance, Nana Obiri, the NPP’s Deputy General Secretary, reportedly made the following shocking remarks about his perceived, if not real, political nemesis, Mr. Afari Gyan (with our emphasis):

“As for the present EC boss [Madam Charlotte Osei], she is a pale shadow of Dr. Afari Gyan; comparatively, Dr. Afari Gyan was better…As the Electoral Commission of Ghana, if you consider the utterances and comments of some of the members, you will know that they have outlived their usefulness…”

This constitutes a perfect instance of selective amnesia. More so, how “better” Mr. Gyan was than Madam Osei is a serious political and moral question Nana Obiri is yet to categorically and sufficiently expatiate upon. Until then, the word “better” remains as emotionally vague as it is intellectually and psychologically meaningless and useless, perhaps just like the gingivitis-prone vocal cavity of its opportunistic enunciator.

Certainly, Nana Obiri, a chameleonic character with a Joe Viterelli-like puffy and chubby face (see the movie “Analyze That” featuring Robert De Niro, Lisa Kudrow, Bill Crystal, etc) marked out by an ever-present bulbous nose (rhinophyma), and the ethnocentric NPP will not even be happy if ex-President Kufuor mounts or assumes the chairmanship of the EC. This is a fact.

This is partly on account of the ongoing ethnocentric factional warfare between the Asantes and Akyems, with political spectators of mostly northern extraction within the party looking on and playing second fiddle to this polarizing duopoly of political ethnocentrism, a situation partly if not totally assuming the titular contents of Arthur Kennedy’s book “Chasing the Elephant into the Bush: The Politics of Complacency.” Indeed, the complacency of political ethnocentrism defines the ideological contours of the NPP and its core leadership, and even its membership.

Neither will making Akufo-Addo the chairperson of the EC render political opportunists, such as Nana Obiri, happy. Why the Nana Obiris will not petition the Supreme Court to replace Madam Osei with Akufo-Addo or John Kufuor as the new EC Chair beats our imagination. As for ex-President Kufuor the earlier we let go of him, the better, for he is likely to rig the 2016 elections for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and President Mahama, his knowing fully well that Akufo-Addo is not fit for the job. If he in fact did, he would not have left Akufo-Addo to endorse Alan Kyerematen.

Then again, Kufuor, a colorful symbol and embodiment of political ethnocentrism, did not see fit to endorse Aliu Mahama, one of our own able politicians of northern extraction. Even more ironically, there were neither no problems with Mr. Gyan and the EC nor did the NPP find fault with or call Mr. Gyan names when Kufuor and the NPP won national elections twice.

Thus, Madam Osei, leaders of civil society, and the leadership of the NPP should allow the EC to do its job without any partisan nagging interference in its affairs, a set of sacrosanct affairs ordained and shepherded by the Constitution. Nana Obiri, an anti-constitutional moral and political Luddite, behaves and fits the lyrical profile of Bob Marley’s “Mr. Brown.” Here it goes:

“Oh, oh, oh, oh…

“It’s Mr. Brown, Mr. Brown is a clown who rides to town in a coffin…

“Well, here he comes in the top is, three rows on top and two inside there…

“Oh what a confusion…

“What a botheration! Oh not now!...
“Who is Mr. Brown? I wanna know now!...

“He is nowhere to be found…

“From Mandeville to Slide-a-ville, coffin running around…

“Upsetting, upsetting the town, asking for Mr. Brown…

“I wanna who is Mr. Brown?...

“Is Mr. Brown controlled by remote?...

Yes, unlike Mr. Gyan who is enjoying his retirement farm after many years of outstanding public service to the nation, Nana Obiri goes about in a “coffin,” a “coffin” Akufo-Addo remote-controls, disturbing public peace with his screwed-up sense of emotional primitivism and senseless drive for a semblance of political agitation. The idea of Mr. Gyan coming out of his secluded retirement, even if momentarily, to rubbish partisan rumors that he was dead when he was actually not is deeply nauseating, to say the least.

How low can we sink as a people of a once-proud nation, a leader of Africa? “Every day the bucket a-go a well,” sang Bob Marley on “I Shot the Sherriff,” surely “one day the bottom a-go drop out!” Society and peace-loving people can only take so far.

Thus, Nana Obiri should not forget these apocalyptic words of Bob Marley.

OTHER QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

Peradventure, Akufo-Addo, it also turns out, has been spending all his quality time remote-controlling political misologists and village idiots such as Nana Obiri, without so much as offering any strategic and effective electioneering alternative to the political and moral rot that has become and is the NDC.

And since Akufo-Addo and the NPP cannot bribe the electorate en masse, will they resign to the 2012 crushing electoral defeat and strategize for a “second act”? This is exactly what President Obama meant when he wrote in his best-selling book “The Audacity of Hope” (p. 108-109):

“In politics, there may be second acts, but there is no second place. Most of the other sins of politics are derivative of this sin—the need to win, but also the need not to lose.”

Elsewhere he also wrote (p. 16): “With the rest of the public, I had watched campaign culture metastasize throughout the body politic, as an entire industry of insults—both perpetual and somehow profitable—emerged to dominate cable television, talk show, and the ‘New York Times’ bestseller list.”

These crisp observations, at least the second one, perfectly fit Ghana’s schadenfruede politics of perpetual duopolistic insults, hatred, acrimony…. Those shameless partisan village idiots! Those shameless partisan useful idiots! Those shameless partisan serial callers! Those foolish politicians…Those uncaring politicians…Those unpatriotic politicians and their stupid, blind supporters…Here we come!:

If Nana Obiri and his friends somehow think they are the “big fish,” then they better hear Bob Marley sing again:

“These are the big fish, who try to eat down the small fish…

“I tell you what: They would do anything to materialize their every wish…

“Say: Woe to the downpressors; they’ll eat the bread of sorrow!...

“Woe to the downpressors: They’ll eat the bread of sorrow…

“Guiltiness; pressed on their conscience…

“Woe to the downpressors: They’ll eat the bread of sad tomorrow…

Bob Marley: “Guiltiness.”

On the other hand if Nana Obiri thinks he is “the big tree,” then he better hear what Bob Marley’s “Small Axe” has for him:

“Oh, evil men…

“Playing smart and not being clever…

“I said, you’re working iniquity to achieve vanity…

“So if you are the big tree, we are the small axe…

“Ready to cut you down…

“And whoever digeth a pit, shall fall in it…

“If you are the big tree, let me tell what: We are the small axe, sharp and ready, ready to cut you down…

MR. ERIC OPOKU: ANOTHER DANGEROUS AND SUBVERSIVE POLITICAL JOKER

“All Muslims who align themselves with the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP” are fake because the Qu’ran advises Muslims to stay away from elephants (sic) which is the emblem of the NPP.”

“The member of Parliament for Asunafo South supported his claims with a chapter in the Holy Qua’ran, Surah verse 105, which he said stipulates that Muslims stay away from elephants and that any Muslims who has something to do with an elephant is not a real Muslim.”

Sorry readers! We had expected this to have come from Nana Obiri. But unfortunately not!

Besides, what about politics and pigs and pork? Should Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and NPP Muslims resign en masse from the NPP because some of the party’s leadership eat pork and like pigs?

Indeed, one actually wonders if Dr. Amoako Baah, Bishop Obinim, Eric Opoku, Kweku Bonsam, Rev. Owusu Bempah, Okomfo Yaw Appiah…Nana Obiri Boahen. Worst of all, any of these men could have been the same smock- or fugu-wearing Traditional Priestess who allegedly stormed the Secondi/Tarkorado-based Prayer of Breakthrough Ministries International, a Charismatic Church, under the guise of what, in her won words, she described as: “I have come to confront the church why they had not allowed me to carry out my spiritual mission in the vicinity,” a mission that entailed her being contracted to kill someone spiritually in the same vicinity the church is situated.

What a load of cow dung! Well then, it just so appears that these men possibly take or are on the same psychotropic medication. In fact, it appears almost all of our politicians are on some form of psychotropic drugs. Their behavior calls for an explanatory theory such as this. What a bunch of crazy baldheads…These are our latter-day political and religious conmen, crazy balheads.

Bob Marley, “Crazy Balheads”:

“We gonna chase those crazy, chase them crazy…Here comes the conman, coming with his con-plan; we won’t take no bribe, we’ve got to stay alive…chase those crazy baldheads out of town…”

OUR FINAL THOUGHTS

“Don’t you know when open door is closed,” sang Bob Marley on the track “Coming in From the Cold,” “when one door is closed, many more is opened.”

Since that door of bribing and intimidating the EC and its Chair finally is closed to all political opportunists—of course, we have Nana Obiri and the NPP in mind—what are Nana Obiri, Akufo-Addo and the entire leadership of the NPP doing in terms of taking full advantage of the “many doors is opened” to win the hearts and minds of the masses by speaking truth to power and by selling effective electioneering strategies and tactics to the electorate?

It appears the NPP and the members of its calculating leadership are not interested in this question.

Rather, like our ever-sleeping political theologians, but unlike, Pastor Kwadwo Safo, the celebrated owner of the Kantanka Group of Companies, the conniving Machiavellian brothers of these political theologians, the likes of Bishop Obinim and Okomfo Yaw Appiah, do not seem to take to serious questions of technocracy, science and technology, or industrialization as a focal point of strategic and tactical prioritization in matters of political economy and development economics.

No doubt this corps of political theologians comes to politics mostly accompanied by Mr. Brown’s clownish “coffin” of electioneering promises that, eventually, turn out to be vacuous if not rather agitprop politics.

And, like Bishop Obinim and Okomfo Yaw Appiah, this corps of political theologians capitalizes or uses the emotional allegory and strategic gimmicks of Mr. Brown’s “coffin” to fool the masses. Hear the great Bob Marley again:

“Stiff-necked fools, you think you are cool…

“To deny me of simplicity…

“Yes, you have gone for so long…

“Yes, you have got the wrong interpretation…

“Mixed up with vain imagination…

“And forever, yes, erase your fantasy…

“The lips of the righteous teach many…

“But fools die for want of wisdom…

“Yes, you have gone—gone for so long, with your love for vanity…

“But I don’t wanna rule ya…

“I don’t wanna fool ya…

“I don’t wanna school ya…

“Things you—you might never know about…

CONCLUSION

There is no doubt in our minds that the NDC and the NPP are the same except, perhaps, in name only.

The nature of duopolistic politics is such that, incumbency advantage confers on it sweeping constitutive powers which it does not fail to deploy to sustain its comparative advantage, to, as a matter of fact, the detriment or disadvantage of the opposition. A known fact of political realism.

For now that is how far we can go, as we have variously belabored this very political concept in many of our articles published on Ghanaweb and elsewhere. Readers should see those essays!

REFERENCES

Ghanaweb. “I’M Not Dead—Afari Gyan Hits Back.” April 18, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “I’ll Watch Dr. Afari Gyan ‘Die’ If…—Obiri Boahen.” April 9, 2016.

Barack Obama. “The Audacity of Hope.”

Ghanaweb. “NPP Muslims Are Not ‘Real’ Muslims—Minister.” April 13, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “Fetish Priestess Storms Church; Confronts Pastor.” April 18, 2016.