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Opinions of Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Prof. Atta-Mills Must Be Removed!

The National Democratic Congress’ presidential candidate for the 2008 general election’s alleged remark that Ghana stands to witness infernal, surreal and apocalyptic scenes akin to what is currently raging across Kenya if the P/NDC loses the December elections, must be roundly condemned (Statesman 2/1/08).

Indeed, his remark points to the stark reality of the NDC presidential candidate’s virtual acceptance of the putative fact that the only chance of Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills clinching the presidency may have to come about by means other than electoral or democratic. In brief, the entrenched and perennial P/NDC presidential candidate does not even have the proverbial China-man’s chance.

Even more significant is the fact that his long, intimate association with Chairman Jeremiah John Rawlings must have fully convinced the prematurely retired Legon Law School professor that the crass politics of intimidation is far more effective than the decorously persuasive and placid language of the ballot box.

Still, our call for his prompt and summary removal from the presidential candidacy of the so-called National Democratic Congress is both out of the collective, enlightened interest and security of the country at large, as well as the very disturbing fact of Prof. Atta-Mills being grossly out of touch with most of the leading NDC parliamentarians, the very pool from among whose ranks Prof. Atta-Mills would inevitably draw the membership of his cabinet, and government, should Ghanaians be unfortunate enough to have the Rawlings lickspittle as their next president.

Indeed, the preceding incontrovertibly points to the overweening arrogance of the former vice-president of Ghana; for it eerily highlights the fact that Prof. Atta-Mills is willing to, literally, set the entire country alight in order to actualize his personal and perennial ambition of being elected president of Ghana. And, on the latter score must be critically pointed out the fact of flagrant political “arsonism” being in diametric opposition to electoral, or democratic, political culture.

It is, therefore, quite heartening to hear the likes of Mr. John Mahama, the NDC-MP for Bole-Bamboi, riposte: “I don’t believe [that] Ghana can degenerate into the Kenyan situation” (Statesman 2/1/08). Mr. Mahama’s rather constructive rationale is predicated on the fact of Ghana’s democratic culture being, supposedly, more advanced than that of most African countries.

Even the rabble-rousing Mr. Alban S. K. Bagbin, the NDC Minority Leader in Parliament, was quick to dismiss the oxymoronic “Asomdwoehene’s” dastardly attempt to plunge the country into chaos and mayhem.

Needless to say while, indeed, it is in the best interest of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to have Prof. Atta-Mills role-play as presidential candidate for the NDC, nonetheless, the continuous maintenance of such an unconscionably nihilistic and, downright, desperate personality sends the wrong signal to staunch believers in Ghanaian democracy. And that wrong signal is that it is perfectly legitimate for political anarchists and arsonists like the frustrated and cognitively (as well as somatically) indisposed Prof. Atta-Mills to gun for the presidency.

In the wake of the national brouhaha over the rising culture of abject disrespect for high moral values, megalomaniacal leaders like Prof. Atta-Mills give the salutary culture of role-modeling a bad name.

And while, to be certain, Mr. Mahama’s concern regarding the overturning of election results in five constituencies, in the wake of Election 2004, ought to be attended with the requisite gravity, notwithstanding the latter’s striking throwback to the 1992 electoral fraud, otherwise known as “The Stolen Mandate,” still, any criminal attempt to prejudice Election 2008, thereby paving the way for the equally criminal politics of intimidation, must be fiercely resisted.

On the sanguine side must be observed Mr. John Mahama’s flat refusal to play second-banana to Prof. Atta-Mills, himself the second-banana of Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings. Needless to say, a bold and courageous removal of Prof. Atta-Mills from the flagbearership of the NDC is the only way for Ghana’s main opposition party to have a fighting chance come Election 2008. For as must have become crystal clear to NDC aficionados by now, a thrice-beaten Prof. Atta-Mills is a forever dead presidential wannabe. And, needless to say, such political bronchitis is highly unlikely to leave the NDC standing for any remarkable length of time. Not that true Ghanaian democrats would rue the same.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “When Dancers Play Historians and Thinkers,” a forthcoming essay collection on postcolonial Ghanaian politics. E-mail:

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