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Opinions of Friday, 1 May 2009

Columnist: Appiah, Kofi

Mills Cries Wolf, Wolf, When None In Sight

Was it coincidence or what? And is it destiny or what? Why the sudden chronicle of events in this era when Prez. John Evans Atta Mills seems to be gasping breath to gain speed and momentum to surmount the myriad of Ghana’s problems, certain drawbacks/ setbacks come his way to pull-him-down - PhD. Are these additional degrees designed to prop the learned professor somewhere? However, Ghanaians woke up again on Wednes -day, April, 22, ’09 to witness yet another eventful scenario before sunset, and many people would want to know what exactly that thing was and how come. Many wagging tongues who would otherwise have wished to chance upon it and spread the news to the nukes and crannies of the country were taken aback because before they could do so, the electronic airwaves had filled the air and polluted it with the ‘virus’ that has become a great taboo as the Mexican swine flu. And what was the symptom of that virus? Readers, please follow this piece and know what actually happened and judge it yourselves.


Has the President heard it? Has someone told him? Was it either Moses Ayariga or Koku Anyidoho, the two fighting ‘goats’ at the Osu Castle? Could it have been Madam Naadu Mills, the First Lady and Amma Ghana’s Mother? If yes, what was the president’s response, reaction or inaction? What was his composure? Very sorrowful? Or did he also watch it on the television screens? What would have happened if there were casualties including deaths at the West Airport residence of Mr. Kufuor? Whose fault could it have been? Why no courtesy of an advance information as to the unruly visit? Why the disrespectful unlawful entry? May be, the president does not know. The unannounced, unorthodox, uncivilized, uncouth, unpolished behaviour of the team led by Kofi Portuphy and his platoon of NDC cum Radio Gold infested journalists probably ‘master-minded’ by the ‘rewarded’ Agyenim Boateng is a very sordid affair and smacks of suspicion or foul play. This is a very bestial action in this 21st Century that tele-communication and information technology are just by the press of the button and those hoodlums involved failed to do just that and pleased themselves to sing the master’s tune.. This is very unthinkable as it shows that none of them had ever stepped into the class one room before. By acting in such ultra vires and uncivilized manner, its not the ex-president whose name has become centre of ridicule but rather the existing president whose name and reputation get drowned into the mud everyday. ‘If the naughty sheep decides to litter the streets with its diarrhoeal excreta, its her tail that gets soiled’. The question many people tried asking themselves was, ‘did that action of Mr. Poturphy and the platoon of pressmen/women who entered the private residence of the former president at 2.05 p.m. on that fateful Wednesday, have Prez. Mills’ blessing? Was their action meant to take inventory of the property(ies) they saw that have not been returned to the national security to be so seized after they had reported back for yet another showdown? But why the photo-taking by all kinds of cameras? Do they know or realize their uncivilized action could have sparked off something big? Is it Kofi Portuphy’s duty to build Mr. Kufuor’s wall for him, assuming part of it is broken, or sheer publicity? Ghanaian politics has been thrown to the dogs indeed. Do they know that these little things could one day erupt like a volcano? Did the team have time to visit the ‘purported flood-prone’ area near Mr. Philip Gbeho’s residence near the Accra Polo ground that was only three minutes driving distance away; where the NDC demolished someone’s 55 room plush hotel? Mind you, that beautiful hotel almost near completion was razed to the ground in 1995 leaving the former Foreign Minister’s house and another house believed to belong to one Ben Sakpaku, formerly of the Civil Aviation Authority untouched. Mr. President, this nasty incident, that might mean something else to you plus some more others are the serialized minuses that will pluck your feathers daily to leave you bare skin as you try to win public sympathy.


I would like to quote the then Candidate Mills with my little knowledge of the Fante language he used wherever he went campaigning except the Volta Region and a few places in the North. Please let me have your attention and listen to what the then NDC Candidate said and his gestures, “Mara Prof. John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, mepe asomdwoe, se Ghanafo, wobo mmodzen na wotowon mmba wodze ma amme a, mehwe dee, mete hom fuel anaa de won petrol no do; Ghana sukuufo mbofra nso m’aban bema ibiara sukuu ataade, me nuanom afarefo pre-mix fuel a wodze ko epo no nso, m’aban behwe na yeatsew do; enyigye beba, ahoto beba, ahomka nso beba, asomdwoe nso beba; mehwe na matsew tax owo do nyinara na efei nso dweetee aba ibiara ne kotokum”. This message was said by the President and literally he used this last minute onslaught campaign message to induce us to canvass for our votes. This typical Fante language won more sympathy votes that he would not otherwise have won. And the message, “I, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, I love peace just as am a man of peace, integrity et cetera, if Ghanaians vote massively for me and my party to win power, unlike the insensitive Kufuor government that thrived on wealth and self-aggrandizement, lust for power and frowns upon poverty, the Atta Mills government would ensure that all Ghanaian school children will be provided with uniforms; I will again reduce all taxes on fuel. Let me assure you once again and reiterate here, especially, my kith and kin the Fantes, who predominantly depended on sea-faring for your living and source of livelihood would see a better Ghana under my administration; your pre-mix fuel would be drastically reduced. There would be work and happiness;, plenty of money in people’s pockets, filth that has engulfed our cities and towns will become a thing of the past. Trust me I will reduce fuel drastically to C.2.00 i.e. 20,000.00 per gallon. Certainly, these were the sugar-coated words Candidate Mills used to woo Ghanaians just the same way when a man meets his lover for the first time in his life and he did just that to perfection. He has won the recent past elections, but his PR department seems to be refuting the very statements he made which he cannot, as a Christian, deny. Almost everything is on tape and the clips are there for posterity. You can run but not hide.


The first 100 days honeymoon have come and gone; to many discerning minds and those who face realities and are very constructive, the 80% pass mark he has scored on the score sheet should be reduced to 35%..I did consult some elders, clergy, students, techno -crats, chiefs and the ordinary man in the street before arriving at the figure. During the period, many were those who accused NDC members for causing mayhem, arson by burning party offices, party paraphernalia, furniture, thuggery, in-fighting, extortion of huge sums of money and special gifts/presents from presidential nominees for the positions of MMDCEs etc; snatching of cars belonging to the household of former President Kufuor, Nana Akufo Addo’s cars were not left either; as you read this article, the National Security Co-ordinator, the incorrigible Lt.-Col. Larry Gbevlo Lartey has persistently caused the CEPS to do all it can to find fault with the customs duty on one particular car that belongs to Nana;. Furthermore, there is hostile in-fighting for the supre -macy over ‘bomber’ latrines all over the country – what would have happened if the said toilets were water closets and even kept clean devoid of stench? Ghanaians saw and heard what actually transpired at the ministerial vetting and other appointees. And the omni -potent Council of State nominations, certain regions had to fight the heavens before sanity could prevail. Some of us also realized the way the President despised the clergy from Ghana and trespassed the country’s borders for a saviour and prophet,.Temitope Balogun Joshua from neighbouring Nigeria. Meanwhile, did you use state resources or your own private money for the trip? Nobody knows, may be he had been ordained by God to anoint our president with ‘St. Mary’s alabaster ointment’ to be able to cross the Rubicon and conquer his two-term office without much health problems. The first quarter of the year and its attendant motor accidents have claimed so many lives and property including the two glorious daughters of Reverend Annaba. May the souls of these future leaders rest in perfect peace. May be, the President did not know that if there were prophets of old yesterday in the Holy Bible, there is the possibility of some prophets today in the form of earthly mortal beings right under his nose in Ghana. These people can equally help turn things round for him rather than crossing borders to waste time and exhaust the already feeble health.


To me, he scored 85% receiving the Ghanaian Clergy to his Castle Office; the Transitional Team has not done the best either; the mainstream party apparatchiks have soiled their name on the international website; apart from a couple of personalities who command respect, there are others who could be thrown out at international confabs just as a regional minister was reported to have used his weight to throw out the regional police capo. What then happens if this same person finds himself in trouble and needs police protection, would he then wizen up and send an SOS message to the same rival for protection? Silly, isn’t it? Power is sweet but not always. He should take a cue from ex-President Kufuor’s caution that ‘No condition is permanent’ and could lose your position if and whenever there is reshuffle . Mr. President, don’t be too obstinate to behave like an ostrich, set yourself questions, mark your own script and be your own score master to score yourself with 80% for an obvious non-performance. Your mentor’s junketing to military installations and elsewhere inspecting guards of honour and taking salute at the 3Bn parade grounds in Sunyani with troops from the battalion there mounting the guards of honour to add colour, pomp and pageantry to climax the occasion have wrought you down from the ladder top to the base thereby vindicating Dr. Obed Asamoah’s earlier prophecy that you cannot be your own man. Period! The former body-guard of Mr. Rawlings, one WO Kuntor’s harassment and chastising innocent landlords/ladies and their properties at Oyarifa and surrounding areas have rather worsened matters. The eviction scenario by certain group of people claiming to be the youth of A, B, C clan and/ or traditional council X, Y, Z in Ghana for which our President typically became tight-lipped or ‘dumb’ as if he were hypnotized not to be able to exert his authority let alone say a word has become a big minus. All these are demerits that go against you. Probably, he forgot so soon that he swore an Oath on January 7, 2009 to be the Father of the Nation ( not having in mind that such incidents could prop up to become part of the pregnant problems that would confront him) but not one particular place and a few people. ‘Na who cause am?’ These few disclosures and perhaps more that did not come to light in the public domain have reduced your prestige as Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces. One wonders why you don’t feel shy but go about crying wolf, wolf to beat war drums as if somebody seems to be usurping your powers at the presidency and goes about to portray like he was the second president. ‘Masser’, you are the one and only president we have and so you should be bold to call off his bluff. Why and how do you give him such latitude to give you sleepless nights? Mr. President, why do you have plenty of whys et cetera to be associated with your name and the presidency? Cheer up, be bold and courageous..


Your incessant calls for the worry of two presidents is him but nobody from the NPP’s backyard instead. His physical presence and existence cause your nightmares and if care is not taken, might dream about the presidential throne being hand-carried away from the Osu Castle by an unknown person just as the late President Hilla Limann was being ridiculed as saying during his tenure of office in his lifetime. Mr. President, you should know this could continue to aggravate your woes and the earlier you sat him down the better. Your failure to control him but give him the leeway would increase your blood pressure to physically grow lean everyday. Ghanaians don’t expect you to have the features of HE Paul Kigame, the president of Rwanda. The writer is neither a physician nor a psychologist but hope you’ll take this consultancy advice free. Please ask your PR gymnasts to look for a copy of the Daily Guide issue of Wednesday, April 15, ’09 that depicts the inspection of guard of honour mounted by the officers and men of the 3Bn of Infantry from Sunyani as if he were a sitting president. Did you get that correctly copied, Mr. President? Do you think Mr. Kufuor too as one time Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and decent as he is, and in the unlikely event, would cheapen himself to increase your pressure? Cheap politics has become bread and butter for some people but can’t be and never, ever be the cup of tea for Mr. Kufuor. Tofiakwa.. To many seasoned Ghanaians, all these events have reduced your image and prestige and your reputation abroad has diminished if you do not know. You should know that Mr. Rawlings can never ever, by our constitution, become president of this nation in our history for being a two-term president. If that were the case, why allow him such fiat and latitude to operate as if he were a supervising president to overshadow your diminutive feature? As a result of all these, your otherwise bloated score mark of 80% is therefore a sham because you knew, if you did not do that before the 100-day mark, the other media segment/network would give you the zero rating and the wisest thing to do was to jump the gun and that is exactly what you did. Do you know the proverb that says, salt does not commend itself about its sweetness? Let Ghanaians and the world rather judge you. Its better that way.


The mid-morning of Tuesday, March 17, ’09 has come and gone but cannot be said to be an ordinary day. It was when Prez. Mills swore-in the 23-member Council of State. And the occasion climaxed certain events that need not be swept under the carpet. The posture of our No.1 fine gentleman really lent credence to his speech that he gave to his august body. His temperament depicted the scenario reminiscent of the late General Kutu Acheampong’s era whenever, soon after he had read speeches at the Independence Square and realized that he had ‘given’ it to Ghanaians, would quickly go home to ask his wife, Faustina thus, “Sweetie, how did the speech go (meaning the insinuations, innuendoes, invectives, vituperations and other related incidents devoid of courtesies at the function)? Did I give it to them right? Nevertheless, the writer does not think the least that Prof. Mills’ two speeches at both the swearing-in of the Council members and the GJA forum or tete-a-tete were in fact photo finish of events and by inference, reminiscent of the General’s. The body language and gesticulations by the Nation’s Father, the incessant invectives and aspersions from Ada to Zebilla (A-Z) that were exhibited and witnessed by people who were physically present and those who were glued to their television screens to watch the event live, did not mince words but generally concluded that our president, the learned professor, one time tax law lecturer at the university, must have been at something else but not for nothing. Readers and the general public who watched it saw it and heard it all – the body language and the gymnastics concluded everything for the day as if he were at the Aviation Social Centre gymnasium in Accra..


The whole event was directed at a section of the population and that opportunity gave him the platform to execute it to the fullest. Power has been transferred to you since Wednesday, January 7, ’09 and what’s your problem? Mr. Kufuor is now an ex-president, what’s up again? Nana Akufo Addo has graciously accepted defeat and conceded in grand style so what’s your problematic headache? Does he think many Ghanaians would flock to the new Ridge Office for appointments like ministerial, M/MDCEs, to run parallel government concurrently to his regime? If not, then why furiously remark in such an unkempt manner that we have only one president and its you John Evans Atta Mills; you believe in civility, rule of law, bla, bla, and those who would want to take the law into their own hands should advise themselves and recoil into their shells. Strangely, this coincided a few days after some Minority MPs and the AFAG members had spoken their minds to take to the streets because they thought the president was showing bias and not behaving himself as the chief executive of the land. Was the president so frightened about the multitude of NPP sympathizers and well wishers that thronged the Kotoka Airport to meet Nana Akufo Addo on his arrival from abroad? May be the president has forgotten the sleepless nights the CJA demonstrations under the auspices of Kwesi Pratt, David Moena and company in desperate attempt, really attempted to disrupt the NPP Admini stration and caused much nuisance. It was rather unfortunate but not accidental, that when it was the turn of the learned professor, Kofi Awonoor to talk on behalf of the Council Members, supposedly as their spokesperson, he did not in the first place, have courtesy to apologize to the general public about the boss’s misdemeanour and conduct; he woefully sailed through and failed: deliberately or inadvertently, he did not beg for pardon for the improper manner and/or ‘unpolished’ speech and body language used by the boss on that occasion as if he were being forced under duress like Floyd Klutei Robert -son to fight against Sugar Ramos of Cuba on that day. Remember that fight in the 70’s?.


Ghanaians are lucky to have the best of woman in the person of Mrs. Naadu Mills as our First Lady, otherwise, if she were of Jezebel’s descent or from Nebuchadnezzar, Nana’s head would not be on till now. For the information of readers and the public, both gentle -men who the president thinks normally give him sleepless nights are neither ex-president Kufuor nor Nana Akufo Addo; rather strangely, the presence of Mr. Rawlings perpetually continues to frighten our man. However, the fact that the Father of the Nation has gone an extra mile to castigate at the NPP hierarchy, many rational thinking beings perceive that His Excellency was electronically remote-controlled by some special stimulus other -wise, the professor most of us have known over the years since his acclamation at Agona Swedru, his conjectures and posture last Tuesday, March 17, ’09, underscored the asser -tion that has been correctly confirmed by his former lecturer, colleague under-water creature and bedfellow, Dr. Obed Yao Asamoah, one time chairman of the NDC has categorically emphasized that professor cannot rule Ghana. His argument is basically that, the slightest touch of the button, his temperature either rises or drops and that does not augur well for a leader. The news doing the rounds these days in town is that many people have coined the accolade as “akoko a onnim ato no na okoto wo ne wura mpa so” – the fowl that cannot decently lay eggs very oftentimes lays eggs on the owner’s well laid bed”. The big man is desperately trying to find a scapegoat, he finds himself in a fix; he wants somebody to apportion blame to, but its too late to engage in the blame game. Madam, do you realize he looks jittery and nervous especially reading his speeches? Please calm down his nerves for us and spare us the great ordeal on May Day where it is expected he might give us another bombshell..


The recent fuel reduction of about 11% and its later adjustment within a matter of some 17 days did not go down well with the citizenry and do any good to the motorists in the country; the car owners and road transport business community, the commuters also never felt any better; as for the president’s kith and kin, the ‘afarefo’ or fisherfolk, for which he lambasted the then president Kufuor for not being sensitive to their plight because he came from the “bush” or forest area was not the best of political skirmishes either. Does the president have one of the two ears for the NDC and the other for the rest of Ghanaians including the NPP? If during the NPP time when fuel price then sky-rocketing at $147.00/barrel they did not do anything about fuel price hike, does this same logic hold water for the NDC whose time we’re lucky to have the world price hovering around $48.00/barrel to continue to suppress the general public including the fishermen to still cry foul? While at the sidelines, he thought it was easy; now that he’s been fielded, see him fumble and hear the PR acrobats denying that he ever at one time made such statements Now that the world economy crumbles, recession almost everywhere, and the old find in Ghana has about three years to take off, its not going to be easy.. Did I hear Dr. Kwabena Duffuor say that the Kufuor Administration messed up the economy? What was he able to do when he was the Governor of the Central Bank under the NDC.1 Administration? Did we not see the Cedi/Dollar rate fall and chase each other as many as five times each day like a marathon race for so long? If, indeed, he was quoted as saying so, then, he should come again to explain himself. I am yet to face him squarely in another contest. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, when does the NHIS yearly premium he boldly promised the 20 million people take off? How soon do we get money in our pockets? And when do the school children get their uniforms? September is too far away, our children can no longer wait. You must buck up. You have disappointed them all. Why the double standards? Did he or didn’t he ever notice the NDC making noise when they were in opposition? Did he ever hear or see anything wrong with that? Does he still see some -thing wrong, now that the tables have turned in his favour? Does he then see that the NPP are really making noise? The writer wishes to draw the attention of the president that no matter what he does, he cannot and ever extricate or absolve himself from the blame game unless of course, he wants the world to believe that he has by accident, through force de majeure, lost two of the five natural senses of man – i.e. the senses of hearing and for sight – and by this inference, whatever goes in Ghana, he doesn’t hear let alone sees it. How about the cronies surrounding you? Don’t they report to you directly and daily too? All these were evident when you had clocked some 80 out of your first 100 days at the helm of affairs.


The CJA and their bunch of hoodlums believed to have collected huge sums of money from their architects operated generally without reason. While the master tacticians hid behind the smokescreen these ‘bed bugs’ never allowed the former president, Mr. John. Kufuor, to have a breather. Many discerning minds know all those faceless persons who were behind such demonstrations. Supposing therefore the NPP had had a peaceful co-existence with the general populace as we see now, rather than what Prez. Mills trumpeted on that fateful Tuesday, at the Osu Castle rendezvous, Ghana would have become an economic haven where all manner of people from around the world would flock to suck nectar from her beautiful flowers in the form of our general hospitality, good neighbourliness, respect for human dignity and others. Meanwhile, about the same time or earlier in 2001, the Kufuor Administration had taken delivery of the first consignment of new cars from Nigeria for the Ghana Police Service to augment their fleet to fight crime upsurge and their move -ment – because it is reliably learnt that they had only 126 vehicles nationwide – presum -ably, the broken down vehicles out-numbered the roadworthy ones; the Kufuor buses from Holland also came to ease public transport and to reduce the parents’ burden; The innovation of free-riding for school children offered a welcome incentive to them and the aged people in society. Prof. Mills should know by now that before the expiry of the 100 days of ex-Prez. Kufuor, the buses from Holland and China – the single and double-decker type popularly known as the ‘Auntie Dede’ buses had started trickling in. What’s Uncle Fiifi doing and how soon? Don’t try to fight your own shadow. You need not cry wolf, wolf, when in fact there’s none in sight. As a Christian, you know the biblical story about those two incorrigible sons in the scriptures who always cried wolf, wolf and how their lives ended,; they were torn apart by the hungry bear. ADMONITION

Mr. President, you don’t have to fill your cup with pleasure to the brim by being dictated to; otherwise, if you do, you will be consumed with indignation and furthermore, cause the disaffection of, as well as incur the displeasure of the Brongs who, together with Ashanti, Eastern and the Western hold the chunk of Ghana’s economy. So you should be circumspect with the dealing of Col. Damuah case by accepting his unprepared exit from the Army. If you reluctantly accept and sign his release, mind you, you would have trodden on dangerous ground by causing the sudden exit of a true son of their soil. If you become so adamant, believe you me that until 1959, there was no Brong Ahafo; it was known as Ashanti and the old saying goes that when the eye suffers, it affects the nose and the Ashantis too in the military wont take it lightly. If you do not stamp your authority, rather the other tribesmen living elsewhere in selected Akan areas would obviously be the sufferers. They could one day beat the gong-gong and say, nobody should go to farm and bring foodstuffs, charcoal, etc in greater quantities for sale to be carted to the coast; Ashantis too could say no one should come to Obuasi for their gold for the well being of the entire country, Akwatia in the Eastern would say, please stay clear from our precious diamonds; then the Ahantas from Agona Junction would also say please stay off from our oil, we’ll deal with the Kosmos company ourselves; it’s the country that would become ungovernable for you. And this little thing you think is insignificant and irrelevant could develop into something else; then when that happens, where do we head towards, federation? Did we go or did we come as some people often say? And it is this country that suffers as it could one day escalate. It is even on record that one Col. Nibo, the Army PRO is reported to have arrogantly described the people from Jaman, the hometown of the colonel as ‘villagers’; which, to date, he has not apologized,, fine. If someone like Tony Aidoo, a former junior minister of Defence and no longer holding any ministerial portfolio, could roar and the whole Ghana Armed Forces/Military High Command should tremble; knock their heads together like rolling empty barrels, then what happens if Prez. Barack Obama, hypothetically, orders our Commander-in-Chief not to have any forces in Ghana not even for self-defence or anything with effect from July 1, 2009 or else he would order the same force of American soldiers and the heavy artillery the Bush Administration deployed to either Afghanistan or Iraq, what would be our fate? Would he then oblige such a command from a super power bearing in mind that he also heads a sovereign state like Ghana and face the consequences of an unlikely event some of which would be to force some serving personnel of the Forces to retire prematurely? Please rethink seriously.

Kofi Appiah -