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Opinions of Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

Medals of Honor for the 90 Minus 1 Brave souls.

The most remarkable thing that stood out in the just ended P-ndc Congress was the 90 minus 1 brave souls who voted against President Mills. Do not think for a minute that these brave men and women voted for the Chairman’s wife. In their heart of hearts, the 90 minus 1 knew that the other candidate on the ballot had no chance of winning. But they believe, as many Ghanaians do, that President Mills has been a disappointment.
Like Brutus, these 90 minus 1 men and women are honorable men. And like Brutus, they placed their country above personal and party interest. They must have known that their votes might spell doom for their party. But they were prepared to “kill” the Mills administration to save the country- with their votes instead of a knife.
The 90 minus 1 are honorable men and women because they didn’t succumb to the “politics of financial influence.” Many people would have relegated the nation’s interest to the background as soon as the news of GH90m earmarked for the primaries broke. Even on the Congress grounds when it was reported that delegates were getting an additional GH500 each, they were not swayed. They stuck to their guns.

The 90 minus 1 souls must also be commended for their bravery. In the face of intimidation, attempted assassinations and threat of ostracization, they stood their ground. Not even the knowledge of closed circuit cameras watching and recording their activities on Congress day could damper their spirits. There is no doubt that many who had intended to vote against Mills buckled under pressure when D-day approached but not these brave and honorable men. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that only a few were able to withstand the pressure. For history has repeatedly shown that brave and honorable men and women are not easy to come by especially when it has to do with a tyrannical majority.
This brings us to the most outstanding aspect of the votes of the 90 minus 1: their number, only 89, out of 3000 delegates. If Leonidas had faced 300,000 Persians with 10,000 Spartans instead of 300, History would not have recorded the battle of Thermopylae. Every of one the 89 people must have known that their individual vote could potentially be the only vote cast against Mills. But that did not deter each one of them.
The 90 minus 1 believe as many Ghanaians do believe that Mills is presiding over corruption, over lawlessness and over economic stagnation. Mills has not said a single word concerning the bribery of State officials by a United Arab Emirates’ company, TAQA. Nor has he said anything about his vice president dining with an official of a smuggling Cocoa Company, Amajaro, which
Subsequently led to the lifting of a ban placed on the said company. No foot soldier has been punished for burning down properties, locking up State properties, seizing toll booths and for chasing out and threatening MCEs and DCEs. No one was fired when some officials at the Castle tried to hijack our oil. Nothing was said about government and party officials fighting over contracts on air.
The 90 minus 1 brave souls could have ignored the above ills- and many others - in the Mills administration just as the other 2,700 plus of the peers did. And it was not because they had nothing to lose. They had everything to lose. As it is well known, many, if not all of the delegates have some kind of a job within the Mills government: whether as MPs, ministers, MCE/DCEs, councils of State, Chairmen of numerous boards etc. Their livelihoods were at stake and depended on retaining Mills. But that they did not allow their stomachs to think for them. They valued the country more than sycophancy.

As a result, the brave and honorable men and women of the 90 minus 1 deserve our accolades. They deserve a special place in our history. They deserve Medals of Honor for not voting for Mills against all odds.

As for the minus 1- the Chairman and his wife- there was nothing courageous or honorable about what they did. Nor did they have anything to lose except their love for pure power. For once in their lives though, they were right about something -after crying wolf in 1979, 1981 and during Kufour’s administration. And although they were right this time concerning the ineptitude of Mills administration, they were mostly motivated by sheer power than the welfare of the country (based on their record) and thus deserved the humiliation, the jeering and booing they received at the Congress.

Akwasi A. Afrifa Akoto.