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Opinions of Thursday, 20 December 2007

Columnist: Appiah, Kofi

Beware Of The Disloyal Sons, NPP Delegates

Once upon a time, there lived an old man in a village called Nkawie in the Ashanti Region. This old man was called Opanin Kofi Mensah who was married to a very supernatural woman called Madam Amma Duku – in the Akan parlance, the eleventh born child of her parents. It was no wonder she and her husband had, between them, as many as l9 sons. One of them by a stroke of accident, died stillborn, thereby leaving l8 sons without the slightest luck of a single daughter. Naturally, most African mothers really treasure having daughters become their last children so that they could be pampered but this eluded her. What else could she do? However, as she could not fight nature, she had to be content with her lot. The special qualities and other attributes that made this woman a more supernatural person was the fact that this lucky woman’s children comprised some three sets of twin boys; two sets of triplets; and the remaining seven sons born at intervals of two years. In effect, this old lady had l2 childbirths which presented her with this huge number of children all of which grew up to become very responsible people in society and in life. The couple managed to look after their children so well that all of them finished with the university education. The family oftentimes boasted of having been blessed with medical doctors, civil engineers, architects, bankers, army officers, lawyers, professors, ministers, teachers and what have you.


This lucky but sensational couple’s source of livelihood was peasant farming as mechanized farming was alien to them. They ensured that they practiced mixed farming as thus – cocoa, coffee, oil palms, coconut, pineapple, piggery, cattle, poultry, oranges et cetera. This special farmer made sure the size of the various categories of farms was such that it covered some 25 kilometer land and was once reported to have won a National Best Farmer award to boost his morale. Having won once the National Best Farmer, the father’s name sooner or later became a household name in Ghana. Not only did Opanin Mensah become a notary public but also a very wealthy and prosperous person because he had all it takes to make a rich man.


Despite the fact that the wealth of the family propelled these youngmen to attain very responsible positions in life, apart from a couple of which became swollen headed, the rest remained best behaved as if they all had the ‘proverbial Presbyterian-trained intuition’. The most humourous aspect about these special well-bred youngsters was that if and when they visited their roots either for funerals, family gathering, Easter holidays or for Christmas, they collectively delighted in following their parents to their farms; a unique character that cannot be found in many well-to-do homes in modern day Ghana. They never ever shirked their youthful days experience of following their parents to the farms, because their adolescent training had become part and parcel of their lifestyles. The ever growing curiosity of these lucky youngmen would urge them follow their parents to go and see the progress of work there.


Just before one Easter holiday these well to do sons arranged to converge at their hometown for the occasion. As usual, as if by telepathic communication, all of them had individually obtained some five days off to be away from Accra to enjoy village or upcountry life where they were sure to enjoy the natural breeze, devoid of emissions from smoking vehicles; not to be at war with the battalions of mosquitoes that were often associated with Accra and its environs; to have a taste of village meals, i.e. traditional foods minus the foreign additives, and to diversify by sleeping on bare mats spread on floors to have the feel of rural life. After the Easter Monday, the next day following was Tuesday and as if hypnotized by Providence, each of them requested for farming implements before going to bed on that Monday night. Cutlasses, machetes, baskets to carry food on their return, ropes to tie bunches of firewood, the traditional gourd for fetching water from the stream that very often served as their rendezvous on their way back etc. were all sought for so that they never wasted time the next morning. They however set off before daybreak. On entering the farms having made a journey of some l0 kilometers, each of them was assigned to do some work. There were those who worked on the pineapple plantations, others too delighted working around the oil palms area, a couple also decided to take the cattle for grazing; there were a few whose white-collar traits compelled them to visit the poultry farm site to collect the laid eggs. Three of them however visited the piggery to clean their sties while some also teamed up with the old man to weed around the cocoa and coffee plantations. All this while, their lucky mother was also busy looking for the ingredients to make sure that farm lunch was ready by noon time. After lunch however, the old man asked them to group them- selves into four – with the first looking for firewood; the second also looking for well matured plantain to harvest. The third group was assigned to pluck pepper, garden eggs, harvest cassava and cocoyam; while the fourth group was responsible to help mama arrange the return head-loads. By three o’clock in the afternoon, everything was ready for the return journey home because they were supposed to walk another distance of l0 kilometers with only one rest-stop en route which was some three kilometers from the outskirts of the town.

INSUBORDINATION AND DISSENT Opanin Mensah’s directive was strictly adhered to except that something unusual happened on their way back home. The family set off for home with some carrying trunks of firewood, basket loads of plantain, cassava, cocoyam, day-old eggs, et cetera while their father followed with his shot-gun hung by his shoulder. Madam, as usual, carried some lightweight load of vegetables and other goodies for supper that evening. After making some five kilometers instead of the usual seven where they normally stopped by for some cool water from the stream as well as resting for some l5 minutes before continuing the journey, the eldest son hatched a diabolical plan for dissent against their father which was simultaneously and surreptitiously condoned and connived by all except three who looked very obedient. While these ‘disgruntled, disobedient and disloyal’ sons talked undertones and by their education could talk some jargons which could not be understood by their father, started calling him names supposedly under the pretext of expressing their disgust as to the extra mile or so they were to make with the flimsy excuse that their loads were heavy on that day. These notorious sons became very boisterous and just stopped at the very point where they were bent on resting as against their father’s wishes. The father and the rest of the family however continued the journey to the traditional resting spot but as if fate would not allow it, sooner than later, before one could say Jack, some armed robbers or highway men way laid them and inflicted some cutlass and machete wounds on them – thanks to the shotgun Opanin Mensah wielded, the robbers would have killed them to the disbelief of the other recalcitrant brothers who had earlier dissented to continue with the journey later. On that day, the family was denied their supper because of the unexpected incident and the hospitalization of almost all those who did the direct journey.

POLITICAL ANALOGY Now back to the N.P.P. family roots, this man, Opanin Kofi Mensah, can be hypothe- tically likened to H.E. Prez. Kufuor with this large number of aspirants vying for the flagbearership of the party. The break-down of the children is as follows –

a) The three sets of twin boys can again be likened to – Hon. Kwame Addo Kufuor and Hon. Nana Akufo Addo. The other set can be likened to Hons. Yaw Osafo Maafo and Owusu Agyapong with the last set being Hons. Prof. Mike Ocquaye and Hackman Owusu Agyeman.

b) The two sets of triplets also have the following gentlemen in their respective order – Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Dr. Adjei Barwuah, and Hon. Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey; while the last set comprises Mr. Boakye Agyarko Kyeremateng, Capt. Rtd. Nkrabea Effah Darteh and Mr. Kwame Koduah who, unfortunately became a stillborn.

The seven remaining sons who were born separately at two-year intervals can be likened to H.E. the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Hon. Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, Hon. Dan Kwaku Botwe, Dr. Kobina Arthur Kennedy, Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, Hon. Allan Kyeremateng and Hon. Papa Owusu Ankomah.

Were these strongly built ‘disloyal sons’ to have rescinded their decision and accom- panied their father to the usual resting spot, perhaps, the nasty incident of highway thuggery akin to the rather infamous attack of November l4 episode involving the Presidential motorcade by one unscrupulous Thomas Osei could have been avoided. I say this with certainty that since his kith and kin held the position of the Minister of Defence, it became hardly impossible for an unknown person like this Osei man to have done that.


The eldest son is also likened to H.E. the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, whose record of having been the Veep for seven years cannot be equaled to date. As most of you may be aware, one of the sons coincidentally named after the father is the kith and kin of His Excellency the President and is no other person than the former Defence Minister, Hon. Kwame Addo Kufuor, who could have been a best candidate in 20l2 but for fear of age and natural depreciation. A couple of other aspirants too should know by now that before the whistle blows for the game to commence, they must consider themselves as non-starters either due to age, bad morals, arrogance and other vices.


One wonders whether any of the aspirants has thought of doing any favour(s) for versatile national party executives such as Messrs. R. R. Amponsah and T.D. Brodie Mends, just to mention a few. Can any one aspirant debunk this fact of this grievous oversight for not taking care of these political giants whose toils may have made them what they are today? I stand for correction anyway. They should not become presidents before conjuring their magic wands to make Ghana a paradise. They could have advised the government to implement so many projects to get us out of the woods. A vivid example is Prof. Frimpong-Boateng’s Cardiothoracic Centre at Korle Bu, which has placed Ghana on the world medical map, is there for all eyes to see. This is a typical and physical example – and this place alone has fetched Ghana and Ghanaians some U.S.$30 million excluding the internally generated revenue made by the rest of the Teaching Hospital. The cleansing of the ‘ghost employees’ at the hospital alone runs into billions. The general supplies of ‘kontomire’ for feeding in-patients alone that amounted to some ¢50 million per day has been smashed and put the wicked syndicate to shame and rest. Again, the supplies of syringes and theatre threads for surgery that siphoned Korle Bu (Ghana’s empty coffers) of some ¢l6 billion annually was smashed to bring this colossal figure to some ¢450 million – a saving of some l5 billion cedis. Which individual Ghanaian could have brought this criminal act to book? Except a few patriotic ones though. Can any one aspirant boast of his personal contribution to national coffers equaling this feat without donor funding? Mind you, his baby, the N.C.T.C. continues to yield enormous revenue by way of foreign exchange for Ghana’s development almost everyday.


Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was billed as the eighth aspirant to speak at the historic Kasoa NPP Rally. King David of Israel was certainly the eighth born son of Father Jesse whose first seven sons displeased God and in the same vein this humble medical professor will please God’s people i.e. the sizeable number of the delegates. He is compassionate. He is the poor people’s president. He has come to serve and not to be served. He is certainly the future president of the fatherless, motherless, orphans and the physically handicapped. Honestly he looks like a President, thinks like a President, and acts like a President, obviously he is your next President after Prez. J. A. Kufuor. He is certainly our hope and future. He is the ray of hope for the future if Ghana is to move a step forward by applying science and technology to achieve the status of an ‘Asian Tiger’ in the sub-region. He can help alleviate our suffering by reducing our crude oil imports by introducing the bio-diesel in all the l64 districts of Ghana to save huge foreign exchange.


With only two weeks to go, and the signs clearly written on the walls, the so-called heavy weights and the political giants should have been pre-empted to know of the general consensus of the delegates for the impending congress for now. My word of advice and free consultancy is for them to re-strategize to throw in their towels; offer themselves to back this silent and unsung hero – Prof. Frimpong-Boateng – for a massive victory and consideration of yet other ministerial portfolios. Victory however, will not be victory for himself, but total victory for the NPP and a consoli-dation of the democratic dispensation which Ghana has been nurturing for the past l5 years. Prof. Frimpong-Boateng will as usual extend an olive branch to the vanquished because he does not bear anybody any malice, vendetta or acrimony. By so doing he will enjoy unalloyed support from all and sundry.


Just as Russia (the former Soviets) led the world or were the first in the world to drill the deepest hole in the earth’s crust – more than l2 kilometers, so also will this medical professor lead Ghanaians to our economic independence – a feat which cannot be equaled in the annals of Ghana.


l. Can Hon. ‘A’ answer or tell Ghanaians as to the fate of the 44 innocent Ghanaians who were murdered/massacred in cold blood in The Gambia under the eagle eyes of their Presaident Yahaya Jammeh? Would there have been any feet-dragging if there was a relation? Did any kick-back take place? Meanwhile, how many 2l-inch colour television sets have gone out to the constituencies now? Could it be true that some Nigerian business tycoons will sooner than later enter into a rivalry competition with the Ghacem for cement production?

2. Can Hon. ‘O’ also tell Ghanaians the number of corn-milling machines that have been dished out to the various stations nationwide? Any Indian(s)-backed connection?

3. Can Hon. ‘K’ tell the whole wide world the number of metric tones of made-in-Ghana starch that has to-date been exported by the Ayensu Starch Company since the inception of the laudable Presidential Special Initiative? 4. Can Hon. ‘Y’ this time favour Ghanaians with answers to why the cement requirement for the reconstruction of the new Essiepong (Sekondi) stadium was carted to the place from Tema Ghacem instead of Takoradi branch of Ghacem? Meanwhile, the above questions and many, many more are on the lips of the unsuspecting Ghanaians who will troop to the Legon campus and decide the fate of their idol candidates so we should not think most of them are ‘silly’ illiterates.


His Excellency Prez. Kufuor, by virtue of winning the 2004 General Elections, has been mandated to run another four-year term. There was however no point that he would have terminated anyone’s appointment apart from the usual cabinet jingles; so for these cream of talented and brilliant ministers to have conceived the idea of presidential ambitions and leave him mid-stream in the same boat to swim to safety by himself was somewhat tantamount to disloyalty, greed, ?mutiny, self-seeking glory, disobedience, ingratitude and such others. In my opinion, the distinguished delegates slated for the December Congress should equally capitalize on their misdemeanour, misconduct and/or perceived insubordination to punish these ‘disloyal, disobedient and insatiable sons’ whose abrupt collision course with H.E. the President must have brought some depression on him. It will be wise to collectively vote all of them out to serve as a deterrent to future aspirants. Although this government has got its weak points and setbacks, with President Kufuor in the captain’s seat, would have scored more political marks if all these ‘presidential materials’ had bade their time and docked safely with him to the middle of 2008 or thereabout. Beware of the Greeks and their bountiful gifts and do not vote because Mr. X has given you money, gifts, cars, so you become bound to vote for him.

Kofi Appiah P. O. Box KA.9558, Airport, Accra.