You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2010 12 19Article 199747

Opinions of Sunday, 19 December 2010

Columnist: Kyei-Mensah-Osei, Kofi

“Ntampi” T-Shirts

Ablakwa, if you think “Ntampi” T-Shirts would have more market value, wait until you see the “Abodam” ones!!

The significance of popular adages such as “Do unto others what you want them to do unto you”, “If you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones” and “If you can’t stand the heat, do not go to the kitchen” etc. cannot be overemphasised. The underlying theme of all the above is this; if you cannot bear the potential reaction to an action you are about to undertake, do not engage in it. Many a persons often times disregard the potential consequences of their nefarious activities until it hits them in the face. In real life situations, wimps and hypocrites are almost always the first people to cast the first stone at people forgetting that they live in glass houses themselves. Ironically, these same stone throwing cowards and hypocrites run to the authorities hysterically screaming, “murder! murder!! murder!!!” at the sight of someone lifting a pebble. Isn’t strange that and ironic!?!

Throughout the 8 years tenure of former President Kuffuor, he was subjected to silly name calling as well as infantile comparatives, yet the man never complained. Kuffuor was referred to as “Ataa Ayi”, “Waa waa”, “Thief”, “a murderer” among others by no personality than former President Rawlings. Similarly, Rawlings called Nana Akuffo Addo a “short man”. In other instances, Nana Akuffo Addo has been explicably referred to as a “Cocaine addict” by elements in the NDC. To date; some sick minds with no personal achievements in their lives are still doing their utmost, to the point of sweating blood to make these lies stick on Former President Kuffuor and Nana Akuffo Addo. As I write this piece today, both Nana Akuffo Addo and Kuffuor, are both derisorily called various names by prominent individuals in the NDC. The peak of these monstrous lies was the campaign period in 2008 when some nitwits in the NDC, shamelessly conjured fictitious account details with concocted sums and sought to pin these on Kuffuor and ministers in the former’s erstwhile administration. To the credit of Kuffuor and the other persons who were subjected to such blatant lies and opprobrium, they soldiered on with their responsibilities without a whimper. Another thing worth pointing out is that, none of these allegations was challenged or condemned by the leadership of the NDC. Not even the then candidate Mills who was and is still touted by the NDC as a God-fearing man condemned it. If indeed the President is really as God-fearing as we are made to believe, why did he not challenge these horrendous lies? Then candidate Mills didn’t seek to stop these slanderous lies then and wouldn’t do so now because they were to his advantage. When the NDC were bandying their atrocious nonsense about Kuffuor and Akuffo Addo, little did they know that they will come to power one day. Now that the scales have turned, they appear to be feeling the pinch. Upon winning the elections in 2008 though, one would have thought they would shirk their cloak of lies and deception and deal with the myriad of problems engulfing the country; rather they chose to continue on the path of spewing 18th century propaganda in the 21st century Ghana. You listen to the likes of Richard Quashigah, Koku Anyidoho, Kobby Acheampong, Ama Benyiwa Doe, Okudjeto Ablakwa and a host others speak and your stomach turn with nauseating disgust at how low they stoop to lie. Some slimy elements in the NDC have shamelessly persisted with their evil lies about Nana Akuffo Addo causing Ms Ursula Owusu and others in the NPP to use every radio and TV opportunity to advice them to exercise a modicum of decorum when talking about Nana Addo or face similar vile and mudslinging from the NPP. Predictably, none in the NDC gave a toss about Ursula and others’ wise and timely counselling.

In the past couple of weeks, the NPP Youth wing headed by its national organiser Anthony Karbo, launched their campaign T-shirts with inscriptions such as: “Who Born Dog?”, “Greedy Bastards”, “Konongo Kaya”, “Team B”and “Ecomini”. When Ursula threatened that the NPP would match the NDC “boot for boot” if the vile campaigning continued, I waited with high anticipation for what they had up their sleeves to counter the stench the NDC have spewed into our political atmosphere over the years. I must admit my personal disappointment though when the T-shirts came out; not because they are inappropriate but because the inscriptions brought out nothing new. Strangely, the NDC requested for the withdrawal of the T-shirts. With Anthony Karbo, the NPP’s Youth Wing leader explaining that the T-shirts, produced for satirical reasons would not be withdrawn, the NDCs Youth Wing also threatened to print their own version in response to the NPP. Speaking at the inauguration of the NDC’s Youth Wing for Dome-Kwabenya Constituency on Tuesday, 14th December, the Deputy Minister for Information Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa warned “…..the NPP to get this straight that if they do not withdraw the ‘Ecomini’ T-Shirts they have put out there”, all the NDC will “have to do is to print T-Shirts of a short man with a big head with a long ‘ntampi’ (marijuana) on his lips; then we will see which of the two would get a better market value.” My initial reaction to Okudjeto’s warning was that; among the various inscriptions on the T-Shirts, why would the NDC only single out the ones with “Ecomini” which is neither an insult nor allegation but an actual occurrence as against the more insulting and humiliating ones like “Who Born Dog?”, “Greedy Bastards”and “Konongo Kaya”?. Your guess is good as mine. Like a toothless bulldog, Okudjeto could only bark at a mere shadow (the “Ecomini” T-Shirts) and not the more insulting and humiliating ones (“Konongo Kaya” and “Who Born Dog?”) which were actual descriptive Rawlings used for President Atta Mills! The Deputy Information Minister sounding ruffled, riled and wagging his fore finger like the tail of a rabies infested dog, described the printing of the T-Shirts by the NPP as “senseless” as it ridicules the sitting President’s slip of tongue. Okudjeto’s pharisaic assertion caused me to ask myself these questions: Was Kuffuor not a sitting President when he was called “Ataa Ayi”, “a murderer” and “a thief”? Why was it not “senseless” then for anybody including Rawlings, to refer to President Kuffuor as such? Though everything said against Kuffuor then and now still remains mere allegations as confirmed by some of NDCs own ministers who referred to those comments as mere “campaign talk” during their parliamentary vetting; still the heinous propaganda continued. Again I asked myself another question: What in the name of democracy insulates President Mills from similar treatment he supervised the NDC to dish out to Kuffuor and Nana Akuffo Addo? As I begun this piece, the good old book says: “Do unto others………” If the likes of Okudjeto Ablakwa do not want Ghanaians to sing along “enko yie!, enko yie!!, enko yie!!!” with Sydney Barimah, they should at least spare us our liberty to laugh our heads off if we are this lucky to have our President giving us mispronunciations like “President Omama”, “Ecomini”, “Ofuntuo” and “Munsaka” to ease the pain of the economic hardships. Everyone in Ghana heard the President mispronounce ‘economy’ as “ecomini” and therefore no crime is committed if any person or group of persons repeat same either verbally or written. Kuffuor neither murdered anybody to be called “a murderer” nor stole to be called “a thief” by Rawlings and his NDC. Once again let me remind the NDC that it is written in The Good Old Book that; “Do unto others what you would want them to do unto you”

Okudjeto Ablakwa and the NDC should know that politics and satire are bedfellows. President Clinton’s sex-capade with Monica Lewinsky was satirised. Even Ghanaian hip-life artistes joined in the fray. President Bush’s ducking of an Iraqi journalist’s shoe at a press conference in Baghdad was satirised. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s “sexing up” of the “intelligence dossier” to invade Iraq was satirised. In all the above instances, the acts which were satirised were real life occurrences just like “ecomini”. In Kuffuor case, can Rawlings or any NDC member for that matter, substantiate their slanderous assertions against the former? Yet, NDC members still call him “a thief” and “a murderer” with glee. Isn’t the bunny-toothed Okudjeto Ablakwa aware of the ignominy Nana Akuffo Addo continues to suffer anytime NDC apparatchiks call him a “drug addict” with sheepish grin on their faces? I remember clearly that some radio DJ’s played “ecomini” over and over again during their programmes and many Ghanaians had it as a ring tone yet no NDC member raised a finger. So why Now? Methinks the hullabaloo about the NPP’s T-Shirt is needless.

Typical of the NDC, when you beat them to their game, they behave like spoilt children; they scream hysterically, they rant and rave for attention and empathy. Okudjeto Ablakwa threatened the NPP Youth Wing to withdraw them or else the NDC will launch theirs which will depict “a short man with a big head and a long ‘ntampi’ (marijuana) on his lips.” The Deputy Information Minister went further to say that, Ghanaians will “see which of the two” T-Shirts “would get a better market value”. I can tell the Deputy Information Minister and his ilk that, a short man with a big head with “ntampi” is nothing new. Ghanaians have heard this recycled news over and over again. Printing T-Shirts of it will only confirm that the NDC are at their wits end. I can assure the Deputy Information Minister and his peers in the NDC that, theirs wouldn’t be the one with a better market value. I would like to caution Okudjeto Ablakwa and his think-alike that if the T-Shirt campaigning were to go on, the NDC and the President will suffer irreparable damage. Unlike the NDC, the NPP would neither fabricate stories nor fight dirty but would use occurrences in the NDC to counter any vile campaign T-Shirts the latter would come out with. Not too long ago, Herbert Mensah was on the radio informing the whole country that the President experienced hallucinations at some point. The aforementioned radio verbal salvos between Herbert Mensah and one of the Ahwoi brothers about the President has a potential of giving the NPP another T-Shirt inscription: “ABODAM” with cartoon to match. Let Okudjeto Ablakwa be warned. Whilst pondering over the above, can’t the NDC and the neophyte Deputy Information Minister predict the likelihood of such dirty campaign bloodying the nose of the President?

I have so far been very impressed with the measured reaction of Ludwig Hlodze. The NDC’s National Youth Organiser has impressed me with his matured reaction; declaring a cease fire on such negative campaigning and further explaining that the NDC will not respond in similar measure. That is the way to go. The likes of Okudjeto who think the NDC can win the T-Shirt war must wake up from their stupor. I have offered them my free special advice. The NPP for once have met the NDC in their trenches and the latter appear very uncomfortable. We either cease fire or we go down that route. If the NDC ignore Ludwig, I can assure them that it is going to be very bloody and damaging to the President so please let’s end it here. If they choose to go ahead with “a short man with a long ‘ntampi’”, they should only have themselves to blame when the NPP hit the market “Abodam” T-Shirts followed by “A Chimp” with very dark palms. Folks, let’s end this T-Shirt war before it gets really dirty and bloody. It’s been said centuries ago that, “If you can’t stand the heat, do not go into the kitchen.” A word to the wise……………I rest my case.

Kofi Kyei-Mensah-Osei