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Opinions of Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

Open Letter To .....

Open Letter To Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe Jnr,Ph.D : Concerning Your "Cousin."

Dear Sir

It is not in my place nor within my capabilities to offer you advice - a plea - but right now Ghanaians are hungry.

Over the years, my dear Professor, I've learnt so much from reading your articles, almost daily and with spiritual intensity. Through your articles, dear Sir, I have learnt history that had not been written in books. Your articles, over the years, have served as footnotes, supplementaries and appendices to the histories I have read and have been orally transferred to me.
By reading your articles, I have become acquainted to so many English words that I believe my vocabulary has improved greatly as a result. Your daily writings have inspired me so much so that I swore about two month ago that I 'd emulate you by writing an article per week, for starters....and as long as I 'm in good health and I have kept my word. (Check Ghanaweb, peacefmonline etc archives for proof)

But dear Prof, my older brother, my teacher, my mentor, you are "killing" the chances of your "cousin" and our flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo. Additionally and regrettably, you are "killing" Akans.

Dr., if I didn't know any better, I’d have thought that you were jealous of your "cousin" our flag bearer becoming president. Around the time that Nana won the NPP presidential nomination, you wrote that your political activism, writings and career had been extended as a result. In other words, Dr. your reason for being in our polity has always rested on Nana's success, with the highest office in the land as the ultimate goal.
Yet, since then, almost half of your articles have had an adverse and negative impact on Nana's chances. For no "cousin" of a flag bearer would write some of the things you have written, at least within the time frame that the "cousin" is seeking the presidency.
Professor, you ceaselessly remind readers of your "I -ness" before any allegiance or ideology. Even when President Kufour was in power with your "cousin" our flag bearer as the potential successor, you invoked this principle of "I-ness" to castigate his administration; knowing very well the expected negative consequences. Many no doubt applauded your seeming independence, especially from the other side of the tracks. And there is nothing wrong with that. After all, we all admire principled men and those who are not blinded by ideology. But what about men, whom because of principle, insult your fathers? Haven't they crossed the boundary?

Doc, you yourself have said that your political existence hinges upon Nana's success, which in itself depends on group effort, which in itself comes with group restraint and totally shuns rogues and "mercenarism." I mean, dear Prof, it is alright if one maintains one's "I-ness" as long as, what is at stake is not one's priority. That is, as long as you owed no allegiance to Kufour and the NPP and had never swore to see Kufour on top, as you have done in Nana's case, it was understandable to trumpet your individualism, your "I-ness." But Doctor, do you think, it is prudent to follow the same old path now that Nana is the leader? Do you believe you can write and say whatever you fancy and still successfully help Nana get elected?
For example, was it necessary to tell the whole world that some P-ndc operatives had attempted to bribe you? In the first place, why would P-ndc operatives even consider the thought of bribing a "cousin" of a flag bearer? It's because of something they saw in your political character? What do you think the rest of us non family members feel when we read and hear such things? If you don't know how such things make us feel, then I'll tell you. It makes us feel that Nana's "cousins" can't be trusted. And unfortunately, there are many "cousins" working for Nana.
Dear Prof, why have you sworn to get Nana elected and yet you have not cut down on your "Akyemcentics?" After years of reading your articles, I'm now convinced that the Akyems are the most brilliant ethnic group in our country. But do you need to constantly rub it in..... which only leads to alienation.
Yes, I'm an Akan, an Asante, an "Antoaian" yet many of the things you write and attribute to Akans appear very foreign to me. No where in my village growing up, did I hear some of the hateful philosophies that over the years, you have claimed to be guiding Akans.
Dear Dr. you do the rest of us a grave disservice anytime you present your own unique views as generally Akan. Although Akans share almost everything in common, there still remains subtle differences. As such I can't challenge you on some of the things you write. Maybe, they are Akyemism. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as you take time to remind readers that what you are saying is Akyemism and not Akanism in general. But you seldom issue a "disclaimer.” Sometimes I have to swear to the three great oaths of Osei Tutu Panin in order to restrain myself. And I know you know what I mean. So you can imagine how our brethrens non Akans feel when they read such stuff.
Yet dear Prof, you don't have to give a damn if and when your writings hurt people. Unfortunately however, you are going to have to give a damn if you wish to see your "cousin" in the Jubilee House. Maybe you are not aware, but millions of lives depend on Nana's success as president. Maybe to you, the only thing you stand to gain from Nana's presidency is nothing material but tribal pride, Akyem pride. Maybe you and all your "cousins" are lawyers, doctors, professors and are therefore well off. But millions of Ghanaians go to bed hungry every night. There are many who can't afford the basic necessities of life. There are many more without jobs or bright futures. To all these people, Nana is their only hope.
At the same time, there are many thousands who are not "cousins" but are working tirelessly towards the realization of Nana's quest. All of us are looking for some form of leadership and direction. And you have these leadership qualities. Maybe all this while, you have chosen not to exercise this quality and that is understandable because we all know that "I- ness" can not lead or can't be led. But you have a different mission now: to see Nana as president. This means, dear Prof, you have to "come home." This means your "I-ness" must get shelved for now. The mercenary-like attitude, the "rogueness", the ultra libertarianism, the lone wolf-ness must all be suspended for now. Not all things that can be said must be said.
Dear Prof, you simply can't write about Nana's virtue today and then write something tomorrow that indirectly and negatively affect his chances. You can't separate Nana from history. If you are for Nana, you must also be for all those who are with him past present and the future. Otherwise you are no different from Sisyphus in the figurative sense: taking Nana to the near top and bringing him down, to the top and down, endlessly, fruitlessly.
Dear Dr. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, I hope you condescend to consider my letter. If anything else, think of the millions of Ghanaians who will go to bed hungry tonight. I will end here, Prof.
Me nim se, wo nim eni bo.

Thank you,
Your younger brother.

P.S Kindly take sometime and edit and correct all grammatical errors and misspellings if you come across any... I know there are many and I also know you enjoy correcting them.

Akwasi A. Afrifa Akoto.