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Opinions of Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Mills and Mahama Dare Not, Else…

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I just finished devouring “Excerpts from Craig Murray’s Book; NDC Tried to Shut Down Joy-Fm, Took Afari-Gyan’s Family Hostage” (See 9/16/20). I have had a printout of the foregoing in my possession for barely a year now, and was about to chuck it down my waste-paper shredder until gory pictures of the corpse of Libya’s longtime dictator Col. Muammar Gaddhafy appeared on the Internet and caused me to decide that there, after all, may well be choice meat here for Mr. Gaddhafy’s opposite numbers and sedulous disciples among the higher echelons of Ghana’s ruling so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The kind of “choice meat” that we are talking about here, of course, is a stern warning to the Atta-Mills posse that any primitive attempt to stalling the democratic electoral process of Election 2012 would be fiercely met with a kind of response that would make the Libyan edition of the proverbial 2011 “Arab Spring” seem like a baby-shower in American cultural parlance.
Mr. Craig Murray’s ought to by now have become a household name among members of all politically oriented families and ideological circles in Ghana. Of course, Mr. Murray is the retired former British Deputy High Commissioner to Ghana; and by all accounts, British High Commissioners and their Deputies continue to wield the kind of peremptory powers that the Governor-General in the erstwhile British colonies and colonial possessions used to wield until circa. 1960. Mr. Murray has also been widely and variously described as a discredited diplomat who unwisely and recklessly got himself entangled in issues considered by his superiors to be ultra vires.
Still, as to whether such claims have merit or otherwise, clearly lies outside the purview of our present discourse. For now, what most concerns us is the critical, albeit rather anomalous, role that Mr. Murray evidently played in guaranteeing that the democratic and civilized rule of law that have eluded Ghanaians since Mr. Kwame Nkrumah assumed official reins of governance in 1957, did not continue to remain a pipedream. But that, indeed, the Rawlings posse actually attempted to use the Ghanaian military to stall the country’s democratic process and, in effect, entrench the so-called National Democratic Congress in the seat of governance in perpetuity, is one that ought to give well-meaning Ghanaians a major cause for concern.
In his passably written book titled The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I have known, an unmistakably Soyinkaesque title, of course, Mr. Murray obliquely warns Ghanaians that the unspoken proverbial elephant is still smack-dab in the courtyard of the house that Boakye-Danquah built and Mr. Nkrumah suavely and opportunistically hijacked in the dubious name of pan-Africanism. And that elephant, of course, goes by the devious metaphorical name of “The Umbrella.”
But that the Rawlings posse was willing to kidnap the wife and children of Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Ghana’s indefatigable Electoral Commissioner, in the highly tense moment leading up to the official announcement of polling results of Election 2000, in the event of the results not going down in favor of the then-ruling National Democratic Congress, is all the more to be pitied for the abjectly barbaric tenor of such plot. But even more regressive, of course, was the dastardly attempt by Mr. Rawlings and his henchmen and women, notably the former strongman’s own wife, to use the Ghana Armed Forces to lay siege against armless and defenseless Ghanaian citizens in a brazen bid to forcing the now-President John Evans Atta-Mills down their throats.
Of course, while the NDC had varied its strategy in Election 2008, with quite an ironic helping from the New Patriotic Party itself, rather tragic and embarrassing to acknowledge, the violent and virulent tendencies of the key players of the NDC vis-à-vis the legitimate assumption of the reins of governance, perforce, makes the recent launching of its “All-Die-Be-Die” campaign by the main opposition New Patriotic Party all the more opportune.
In Election 2000, Mr. Murray obliquely informs his readers that vestigial inferiority-complex on the part of the Rawlings posse, frontally confronted by small-time British parliamentary power-brokers like Messrs. Roger Gale and Nigel Jones and, of course, Deputy High Commissioner Craig Murray himself, may well have given the pro-Gaddhafy NDC apparatchiks a little to worry about. Now with the largely self-imposed ignoble demise of the Monster of Tripoli, the Rawlings posse may have enough to worry about. Needless to say, Mr. Rawlings and his wife may have been opportunely and tactically defanged, but the Darwinian ideological temperament of the National Democratic Congress remains the same, especially with the desperate return of hardnosed NDC ideologues like Dr. Obed Yaw “Abongo Boy” Asamoah.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (, 2005). E-mail: