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Opinions of Thursday, 30 March 2017

Columnist: James Kofi Annan

Nana Addo, I voted for you to win, not for me to lose

Kintampo waterfalls Kintampo waterfalls

By: James Kofi Annan

This month has been some way paaa oo. We have had series of suicides; I have resisted the temptation to write about it. A daughter of Eve is trying to convince me to, at least, write something about it, but I have resisted that temptation. In my view, raising the profile of the recent incidence of suicides might encourage more people to consider that as an option.

Then we had series of accidents. I did a script on that, and, I was nearly lynched for that article. One day I will tell the story. One irresponsible police officer just nearly gave me out as a meat to some street boys, and it was only the grace of wisdom that saved me.

The issue of child deaths started a few weeks before the month began. A school in Brakwa collapsed on some nursery children, and killed several of them. Yes, that is what happened, we watched young children schooled under dilapidated structures, and we only reacted when they died, then we trooped to celebrate ourselves on TV, with fake tears. There are a lot more schools collapsing, if your tears are genuine, fix those schools, don’t wait for another disaster to come.

Then last week, Kintampo, the most catastrophic preventable child deaths in our history, happened; over 20 of our children died when they were having fun. The fact that no one got to know that the Kintampo falls was becoming a safety risk; that alone speaks a lot of how we have been put on auto pilot, as a country. These trees have been there for several hundreds of years, and the falls are so steep that the stones should have been thought to be wearing away with time.

So did we not, at all, get a hint, that a day is coming, and that day would have come sooner, that the levels of erosion would inch at the trees, and the force of gravity would compel the trees to lose their ground? Did we not have public servants to have pre-cautioned us?

But when the trees did fall and it killed our children and their teachers, we began to assign reasons that the gods are angry at the invisible forces? Simpa Panyin, you see why I get angry at you? We are so quick to find ways of shielding public service inefficiencies, we are so quick to finding routes out of our poverty, just blame it on the gods, just blame it on politics, and every noise will seize. That pathetic way of endorsing mediocrity, was so weakly espoused, that you could see between the teeth that those in charge, and those who came before them, all contributed to the killing of these innocent children; just forget about that chief, for he spoke like a politician.

It just keeps looking as if we are happy celebrating bad news. Last week, a group calling itself the NPP’s Delta Force, went berserk, they went to stop the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator from performing his duties. They claimed they could not work with him, because he is not a native of the Ashanti Region. I saw the video, and I saw how Mr Adjei was manhandled and dragged from his office, tagged on by the police.

Some of the leaders of the group had the impudence to grant media interviews after the attack, at the full glare of the Ghana Police Service. He was surrounded by several of the group members, and all the media people were there, radio, television, online, and cameras, all at the pleasure of the assailants.

I kept opening my mouth, bemused, like, taflatse, an idiot! It felt like an armed robbery gang holding a press conference after their robbery operation in the presence of the IGP; at least, that is how daring I felt they were.

Before I proceed I will like to ask one question; Mr Adjei, how did you enter the security service? Did you come through protocol? What did you do when the NDC Azorka boys and their vigilante groups were brutalizing the NPP people in 2009, and in the run up to the 2016 elections? Are you falling on your own dagger? You see how painful it can be? I sympathize with you, but your guilt is in your own head.

Anyway, so those police officers who were present when the incident was taking place, what were they doing? Maybe the answer can be found in a previous article I wrote, which had laid the reasons for our weak police service on the doorsteps of our politicians. The never-ending protocol list that gets unqualified people into the service, that is what is causing your fellow policemen to look on as you go through brutalities, in the same way as you looked on as others went through brutalities. Don’t worry; they too will face the same taste shortly.

Unfortunately it appears to me that, President Nana Akufo-Addo, you are allowing these Delta and Invisible boys to have a payback time, and you are allowing the police to look on, because they claim they protected your party when you were in power? Mr. President, when are you going to stop these boys? I am worried. What happens to those of us, the ordinary citizens, who only voted for you, and expected you to change our lives? How do we receive protection from you?

Yes, I voted for you. I voted for you to change my life. I voted for you to provide me with jobs, to provide jobs for my siblings, my friends, and my classmates, regardless of where they are found, regardless of their political affiliation, and regardless of their religious faith, that you will be fair to all of us.

I needed a change. A change that would come with dignity, my brother, a change that will see you doing things differently, that is what I voted for. That is why I have not criticized the size of your government. I have not criticized the new ministries you have created, because that is what I voted for, a change, for you to do things differently.

So for instance one of the reasons I voted for you was that, I know that Naaba, Collins Dauda’s brother, has boasted of killing other human beings, I know that there were some glaring shootings at Chereponi, and some killings at Agbogbloshie. I know that there were a number of government property seizures across the country.

But I was not happy with them. If I were happy with those things, I would not have voted for you. It was because I was not happy with those things, that was why I voted for you. Therefore what I bargained for did not include the brutalities being meted out to Mr Adjei. I did not vote for you because of the invisible forces. I did not vote for you to allow your vigilante groups to attack my brothers. I did not vote for you to allow your men to seize government properties. Those properties are for all of us. You took taxes from me, from everyone, to build them, so I voted for you so that you could protect them.

The police derive their powers from the Police Council. The IGP was appointed by you, and the Police Council is chaired by your vice. Sir, you are ultimately responsible for the physical security of my soul. There is nothing that you will say that the police will not listen. So if I see a police officer refusing to act, to protect innocent boys and girls, and if I see you refusing to take a brutal action to compel police action to protect my sister from being raped, then I will have to conclude that you have given your support to such brutalities, and my brother, that is not good.

How do you expect me to feel, if I see on television such gross manhandling of a security officer at the full glare of policemen in uniform and I see absolutely no effort to arrest those committing the crime, how do you expect me to feel? How do you expect such a police person to protect Dukua, your daughter, when your power has ended? Did I vote for you for nothing? Did I vote for you to deprive me of my right to live?

Do you remember Kume Preko, the one that you participated in? I was then a very young boy, dreaming to be like you, a fighter. So if you are not going to act, if you are not going to cause these policemen and women to protect me, if you are not going to stop the invisible forces from attacking my brothers in the NDC, then give them guns, give the invisible forces machine guns, let them kill all of us, and when they are done, let them live…