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Opinions of Thursday, 26 June 2008

Columnist: Amonu, Kofi

Quite Frankly, Akufo Addo Is Unfit To Be President

..And Kufour Seems To Know

There is a popular adage that a hen that can eat a thousand grains of corn can be recognized by the size of her waist. In clear words, it means you can predict the future based on the past. This cliché relates to what I am about to say in the sense that if you cannot foresee what Akufo Addo will do as president look at what he did as a minister. As a minister, he was a very incompetent, unaccomplished, and egocentric politician who calculatingly supported self-seeking Bills without considering how they stung the general public. It is therefore very distasteful to see Akufo Addo going about reading fine articles (some think they are speeches) about what he intends to do as president of Ghana and equally flabbergasting to see is outwardly intelligent people swallow everything he reads, hook, line, and sinker. Now that he is looking to become president and beginning to see things from the perspective of the ordinary man, Akufo Addo is trying to lure the weak-minded among us with palatable promises of protecting human rights, fighting crime, drugs and corruption, building bridges across the Volta Lake, building universities in the Volta Region, and caring about the future of Ghana but a critical look at his past reveals that his ministerial resume and what he is promising to do as president are as incongruous as day and night.

It is s mockery is that if you open a dictionary to the adjective 'good-for-nothing' you will see Akufo-Ado's picture next to the explanation but, in genuineness, let me spell out some of the blemishes that make the two-time minister a terrible choice for president.

Indifference About Protecting Human Rights Abuses

In March 2002, a chieftaincy scuffle resulted in the Yaa-Na Yakubu Andani being beheaded and over 40 of his subjects murdered in daylight. Akufo-Ado's was then the Minister of Justice. He treated the case so lackadaisically that some openly expressed the opinion that the government was covering up for the sponsors of the assassination. Despite a peaceful protest in Tamale by the Andani family and sympathizers on the anniversary of the UN Freedom Day as way of obligating the government and its bureaus to find the killers, not a single person has been arrested for that horrific act. The case has since been brushed under the carpet as if the victims' lives did not matter. In a serious civilization Akufo Addo will not even be considered for any governmental position but, as if to further disregard the victims lives and insult their families, Akufo has been nominated to receive an award for National Politics, Advocacy for Human rights and Rule of Law.

When the news of an eyewitness narration broke that 44 Ghanaians transiting through the Gambia en route to Spain were brutally murdered by Gambian authorities and their bodies dumped on beaches, Akufo Addo, the then minister of Foreign Affairs, did want anything to do with it until the Coordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in Africa, Nana Oye Lithur, pressurized him into action by persistently publicizing the case. Ms. Lithur ticked off Akufo-Addo, to 'end the silence on this serious issue and make his Ministry's standpoint known to the public, especially to the families who have been seeking justice.' When Akufo-Ado halfheartedly got involved, he made four trips to the Gambia to 'investigate' the case but to no gain. To this day the Gambian government has not apologized, no arrest has been made for the murders, and no compensation has been paid to the grieving families. This case also has been brushed under the carpet as if the victims' lives were of no value.

In the run-up to the 2004 elections that brought Akufo Addo's opposition NPP to power, the Northern Regional Chairman of the CPP Alhaji Issah Mobillah campaigned energetically for the ruling NDC. Once under NPP rule, Alhaji Mobilla reported himself to the police in Tamale because he was one of those who were being sought for questioning. He was detained in an army guardroom at Kamina barracks only to be found dead in the morning with broken bones and bruises indicating that he had been tortured. Even though he died in the custody of government officials, nobody has been convicted for Alhaji Mobilla's death. The same man in question, Akufo-Ado, was the Attorney General whose office held the docket on the case. That is yet another case that has since been put to bed as if the victim's life was inconsequential. Akufo-Ado has 'successfully' completed his terms as Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and now has the impudence to ask Ghanaians to give him the mandate to rule the country. Is Akufo Addo a man of the people or a coldhearted man who would walk over dead bodies to the presidency?

Unperturbed About Future Of Ghana

Throughout his campaigns Akufo Addo has maintained that the election is about the future of Ghana but is he not the same man who asked the Electoral Commissioner to release millions of dollar for overseas elections at a time when some Ghanaian children attend school under trees and the average Ghanaian lives on less than $2 per day? Akufo Addo was the chief aficionado of ROPAL, the foolhardy law that was to allow Ghanaians living abroad to vote in elections at home. I expected Akufo Addo, as a lawyer, to see that Ghanaians who could not vote because they live outside their country are in the same predicament as orange sellers from Kumasi who could not vote because they traveled to Oboasi on election day to purchase oranges. As the minister of Foreign Affairs, Akufo Addo did not see that Ghanaians, like Indians and Nigerians, are so scattered over the world that a fair ROPAL would be very cost-prohibitive. Instead, Akufo grabbed ROPAL with all four limbs because all that concerned him was the potential for his Ministry of Foreign Affairs to handle a hefty budget that could run in tens of millions of dollars. Akufo is documented as the ONE AND ONLY parliamentarian to ask the Electoral Commissioner to release money for ROPAL when it was clear (and even Kufour had admitted) that ROPAL is not doable in 2008. With such a spendthrift and selfish attitude Akufo Addo now has the temerity to ask Ghanaians to give him the mandate to rule the country.

When defending the purchase of the presidential jets, the Minister of Defense, Albert Kan Dapaah admitted that it takes the president and his entourage about $390,000 to fly from Ghana to Europe. Many jaws dropped at the colossal amount that has been spent on his travels considering that President Kufour has unfailingly traveled over 200 times outside Ghana. Little do people know that Akufo Addo, accompanied by his own selected entourage, was on most of these money-wasting trips and quietly accruing his own perdiem, not counting his own unnecessary travels without the president. That is not all. Akufo-Addo also strongly supported the $20m Ghana Independence extravagance, the $60m Presidential Palace, the plans by the government to purchase presidential jets at $37m, and the Talk Time Tax Bill. Today he is expressing worries that opposition parties will use the unpopular government decisions against him. Needless to say, all these decisions were arrived at while Akufo Addo, whose voice counted a lot, was a member of the ruling party. In effect what Akufo-Ado is claiming is that such superfluous and unwarranted spending must be suspended at this time that he is running for president and resurrected after he becomes president.

Uncaring About Corruption And Crime

Akufo Addo says he will fight corruption vigorously when given the mandate to lead Ghana after the December 7 elections. Such a promise makes me feel that he takes the citizenry for fools. After Kufour's promise of zero tolerance and failure to deliver which has resulted in the anti-NPP slogan 'Wofa adaadaa me' (Uncle Kufour has swindled me), one would think that Akufo will not make a similar vain promise but he follows that same routine because the easiest way to touch the hearts of distressed voters is to throw about anti-corruption slogans.

During Akufo Addo's tenure as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the media further exposed the blatant scandal at the passport office that had beset the nation for many years and reached its apex but the minister did NOTHING about it. To this day non-Ghanaian prostitutes and drug-traffickers overseas, some of whom cannot even pronounce the names in the books, are holding genuine Ghanaian passports. To prove this widespread fraud the Crusading Guide procured a passport in the full name of President Kufour with the picture of Mr. B. A. Mensah, a very popular Ghanaian businessman, without any birth certificates other identifications. In a similar fraudulent fashion passports were also obtained for Vice President Aliu Mahama, and the Inspector General of Police. All employees involved in this scandal are still on the payroll of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In fact, Akufo Addo's personal office was reportedly broken into and nothing except signed diplomatic passports were stolen. Does it look like Akufo is the man to depend on when it comes to fighting corruption on a national scale? I don't think a man who could not cleanup the mess in one department within one ministry can be entrusted to oversee several ministries.

Akufo claims that 'I am not in this business to fill my pockets at the expense of the Ghanaian tax payer' but after he was forced out of office he was audaciously making his private campaign rounds in government motorcades until the same poor people he wants to lead cried foul. Is this not a typical conduct of a callous person who does not intend to play fair or care about his kind?

Fighting Drugs

Illegal drug business has inundated Ghana for many years but it reached it climax when Akufo Addo was the minister of justice. During his tenure, three prominent members of the Dzorwulu NPP womens' wing (Abena Foriwaa, Chairperson, Ama Nyarkoa, Treasurer, and Comfort Akua Amankwaa, Organiser) were arrested with narcotics. The three women have since been released, all documentary traces of that case have disappeared and Akufo-Addo has refused to answers questions pertaining to the whereabouts of the case docket, why the women were not prosecuted, who authorized the granting of their bail and who facilitated their escape from Ghana.

The useless 'Amoateng Bill' that aims at bringing home Ghanaian convicts abroad to serve their time in Ghanaian prisons was championed by no other person than Akufo-Ado. Brothers and sisters, if you cannot foresee the ruse in ROPAL and 'Amoateng Bill', just take a look at the case of the 'stranded' Ghanaians in Barbados and the grossly over-inflated cost of repatriating them to Ghana.

As for the drug addiction allegation against Akufo Ado himself, I have already written my view about what makes it look believable so all I will say is if any commonsensical person thinks that the whole NPP party will remain silent and risk losing their positions and the privileges that come with them merely on the account of a false allegation against their leader, that person needs to be examined before he gets worse. Just ask yourself why Dr. Kennedy speedily comes out to defend ALL matters that may affect Akufo's chance of becoming president but conveniently ignores the career-ending drug allegation?

Stubbornness And Uncommunicativeness

Attah Mills of the NDC is a humble and open person who is unafraid to be questioned so he approaches voters from house to house. Nduom of the CPP finds time to write articles by his own hand to explains issues and occasionally even writes comments and answers questions on this forum where hostile people are ready to rain insults on those they disagree with. On the other hand, Akufo Ado does not carry the personality of a leader because he is not easily approachable. Throughout his campaign, especially in America and Canada where he is apprehensive to answer questions, he only goes to areas where NPP praise-singers congregate and even there he is surrounded layers of cohorts who thwart the efforts of people who would throw questions at him directly. Akufo Addo does not come across as a man to trust considering the enormous power that the constitution grants to the president. Even as a candidate looking for votes Akufo Addo has made it difficult for the most brazen reporters to approach and question him directly about pertinent matters.

Incompetence And Zero Accomplishment

Had Akufo accomplished something in his political career and not depended merely on his father's name, this would have been the perfect time for him, as a two-time minister, to trumpet his achievements (or 'wash his mouth') while using the NPP as a backdrop. Rather, all that he talks about is the Party and never about his personal deeds. If you have heard any of the articles that he has been reading you would notice that he never says a word about having accomplished ANYTHING of his own because he was just a politician in wait to become president only on account of his tribe and who his father is.

It is clear from the few examples that I have given that Akufo-Addo has NOTHING to offer Ghana. I defy Ahoofe, NPP-USA, Dr. Arthur Kennedy, Kofi Ropal, members of the Akufo Addo's presidential campaign team and all Akufo Ado's backers to list their hero's achievements as a minister for seven years and I will fit them all on one side of a postage stamp with space to spare.

.And Kufour Seems To Know

I could understand Kufour not openly choosing sides during the NPP presidential nomination but after Akufo Addo 'supposedly' won with less than half of the votes Kufour has visibly ignored him to fight his own fight.

Attah Mills may just be deserving of a national award but the timing is clearly premeditated to hurt Akufo Addo. Kufour did not get up one morning and decided to offer awards and casually listed the recipients, rather , everything has been carefully strategized. An award such as what Mill has been nominated for is given to a politician right after he leaves office, after he dies, or on a special occasion like Ghana50. Mills left office 7 years ago so that special occasion, in Kufour's eyes, is after Attah Mills and Akufo Addo have been chosen by their parties as presidential candidates and six months before the elections. I will advise anyone who does not see anything wrong with the timing to get eyeglasses.

Every politician has his bad side but many a Ghanaian will a agree with me that if an award is so cheap that it is offered to Attah Mills and Akufo Addo, the worst that Kufour could have done was to initially include Rawlings. I believe that before the outcry by NPP supporters Rawlings was not mentioned because it would make the award nomination appear to be sincere and distract attention from Mills. I can say that Rawlings was initially left out of the national award nominee list just to help Mills overshadow Akufo Addo, if that is not already the case.

Kufour cannot publicly utter a word about it but he seems to be dropping insinuations that indicate that he is aware that Akufo Addo may be good for the NPP because he is a magnet for Akyem votes but, tha aside, he is unfit to be president of Ghana. The president has not endorsed Akufo and the two of them have hardly been seen together since Akufo's nomination. When Akufo said 'NPP will hand over power to NPP', it did not take long for Kufour to say 'NPP will hand over power to the winner of the elections'. Folks, if you like Kufour, you must heed his subliminal messages, and if you don't like him, he is telling you that Akufo Ado's will be even worse.

When the dust settles Akufo will points a finger at Kufour as the cause of him losing the race but Kufour will entirely be in the right to say ' Hey, Nana, I sacked ministers who were performing better than you'.

I may be wrong, but I doubt it.

Kofi Amonu

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.