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Opinions of Thursday, 16 July 2009

Columnist: Afreh, Manu Bernard

P.C Appiah Ofori: A salute to courage

By: Afreh Manu Bernard

On Sunday the 12th of July 2009, Mr. Daniel Danquah Damptey, a friend of mine, wrote an article on GHP titled ‘Honourable P.C Appiah Ofori- A modern day Absalom’. In the said article, the author sought to moralise issues that are greater than him as a person. Using Biblical accounts and topsy-turvy analogies, he chose to portray his subject of hate, Paul Collins Appiah Ofori, as ‘an arrogant person’ and one waiting for nemesis to consign him to the ‘political dungeon’.

There is something nauseating about calling a spade a long spoon. Who, I mean, which social commentator would truthfully say that P.C Appiah Ofori has ‘no regard for anybody else’. I daresay it is nothing but the figment of Mr. Damptey’s imagination. And to underscore the fact that Mr. Damptey misdirected his slingshots, hear this: ‘P.C Appiah Ofori should… come to the realization that his bravado, tantrums, self-edification…will one day come to an end’. Indeed, I could not believe I was reading this! So in the mental lexicon of Mr. Damptey, anyone who stands up for the truth and would not kowtow to corrupt practices is on the ignoble path of ‘self-edification’. What irony! His assumption that ‘you cannot weigh a battle against the established order’ is, in my estimation, childish. For there is no system, no matter how stifling, which does not have people who are ready to clear the route in the virgin forest. Take for instance Mandela. Had he buried his head in the sand, or chanted songs in praise of oppressive chains: who would be talking about democracy in the Rainbow Nation? I can cite several instances to show that staying aloof is the surest way of deepening the rot that gnaws at the soul of our beloved nation. I may not know P.C Appiah Ofori in person, but ever since I took a keen eye on the political interplays in our country, I have loved his persona of standing up for the truth no matter whose ox is gored. It bears no repeating that P.C Appiah is human; and so, therefore, he is fallible. But then, we need to allow him the medium to freely express his opinion. We all know that, had Nkrumah, the emancipation jihadist, chosen silence in the face of the violence meted out to his fellow Ghanaians by the colonialists; could we have achieved independence? Coming from a society where dissenters are seen as criminals, P.C Appiah Ofori knows that many nationalists were at one time or another in jail for opposing civilian rape of democracy. In spite of being harangued by party colleagues, he simply would not slaughter his conscience on a political platform; I sometimes wonder what must be propelling him to such higher ideals. Reports had it that during Akuffo Addo’s recent interactive session with journalists, some party fanatics, apparently peeved at the Honourable Member of Parliament’s adherence to the truth, not only prevented him from entering the premises but he was frogmarched to his car. That is the irony of our nation’s politics! Instead of applauding the anti-corruption crusader for willingly accepting to be the scapegoat in order that the community might survive, he is hurriedly tagged as a traitor. In fact, we owe ourselves and posterity the duty to never connive to the whims and caprices of tyranny, and stand up for the truth no matter our political ideologies.

Now the question is: Did the NPP MPs receive $5000 as inducement for the sale of Ghana Telecom? Left to me, there is no smoke without fire. But this was what my friend had to say in his far-from-holy sermon: ‘and if he is a decent man worth his sauce, he ought and not to have written a letter to retract his allegations’. I do not know if my friend, Mr. Damptey, is intentionally being economical with the truth. Yes, P.C Appiah retracted his allegations. But the truth is that, he was advised by Kwadwo Mpianim to do so because it could dent the hopes of the NPP in the last elections. It boggles my mind that if the NPP MPs have nothing to hide, why would they not allow an independent body, not the Parliamentary Privileges Committee, to conduct an investigation into the matter. I know, and I believe deep down in my heart, that when the autopsy report on the Vodafone deal is finally brought into the public domain, naysayers would not only pat P.C Appiah on the back but would lift their toast to celebrate his efforts.

Again, why would anyone want to come up with intellectually dishonest excuses in the name of politics? There is a difference between one’s personal and public life. Mind you, though both are intertwined, one could be a façade of the other. Think of Obama, the first African-American president of the United States of America. In his youthful days, he smoked ‘weed’ like a chimney, and engaged in practices which is, to put mildly, unwholesome. And so, I believe, it was immaterial for my friend to conclude that Appiah Ofori is unfit to be in the class of ‘honourables’ because he had ‘infected his wife with gonorrhea’. The news that P.C Appiah Ofori is to face the Disciplinary Committee of the NPP, for whatever reason, is quite disturbing. The world is waiting, and the outcome will be seen as the litmus test of the party’s so-called belief in the rule of law.

Finally, I advise Mr. Damptey to fling his political blinkers to the Dumpster, flip back the pages of the book of history, and he would realize that the battle(s) to greatness were not won with light conversations around a bowl of punch. They were won by sacrifices of patriots who knew the virgin forest was strewed with thorns, but, out of nationalism, cleared the path with their blood. I rest my case!