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Opinions of Saturday, 16 May 2015

Columnist: Kennedy, Arthur Kobina

RE: Amoako Baah Demands Expulsion Of Arthur Kennedy

Irmo, SC
15TH May, 2015
Dear Sir/Madam,
RE: Amoako Baah Demands Expulsion Of Arthur Kennedy

My attention has been drawn to media reports on the above.
According to the reports, the respected head of the Political Science Department of KNUST told Peace FM’s “KOKROKOO” that he was displeased with me and wants me expelled from the NPP. He said “They should expel him from the party. It does not matter the so-called Alan camp, Kufuor camp, he is a cancer in the party that must be removed”. Elsewhere, he stated that, “All that he is doing shows that he is against Nana Akufo Addo and if he is against the flag bearer then he is against the party. He does not care what happens to the party.” He went on to blame the media for giving my writings prominence by discussing them---- even while he himself was discussing the same writing.
As a physician, the word cancer got my attention and the fact that Dr. Amoako Baah is a renowned expert in political science also got my attention. As a physician who is not used to big words and the complicated words and theories of political science and law, I had hoped one of the big lawyers in the NPP would step forward to answer Dr. Baah on my behalf. But nobody spoke—Not Sir John, not Ayikoi Otoo, not Akoto Ampaw, not Gloria Akuffo, not Phillip Addison, not Prof. Bondzie-Simpson, not Kweku Paintsil, not Gabby Otchere Darko, not Nana Asante Bediatuo ---you get the picture. Indeed, I had hoped, maybe naively that if the renowned human rights activist Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, in whose behalf/interest Dr. Baah was talking saw the report, he would deplore the effort. There was no such luck. Martin Luther King Jr. once said you can define a man by where he stands in moments of controversy.
First, while I am not against Nana Addo, I did not know that being against the flag-bearer in the NPP could be grounds for expulsion. While I am a lay-person, I have not seen that clause in the constitution. Was Nana against Kufuor in the days after the 1998 Congress when he was sulking before he joined the campaign? Is he an enemy of President Mahama because he critiques him?
Such an approach would mean that the party has strayed very far from the days when Busia said “the true test of a democracy is not just the right of a minority to disagree with the majority. It is the right of a single individual to disagree with his group and still feel safe.” I suppose the good Doctor would not agree with Professor Busia.
Second, I have reflected carefully on what Dr. Baah said and been baffled.
I have not marched to my party headquarters with guns and cutlasses to attack my elected party leaders nor organized others to do so.
I have never threatened to physically assault my party leaders.
I have never uttered an ethnically divisive remark that could cause my party an election.
I have never called the entire membership of my party “fools”.
I have never kept party supplies in my house to be sold for myself while party workers lacked material for the party’s work.
Personally, I have never used or sold illegal drugs. I do not even smoke.
I have contributed a considerable amount of my time, my treasure and my energy to the well-being of my party.
Why would anyone want to expel me when others who have committed all these infractions are members of the NPP in good standing?
Is this because I come from the wrong family or ethnic group? Is this because I went to the wrong schools?
Now that I have disposed of the case for “sacking me”, let me turn to the respected political scientist.
Generally, as a lay-person, I expect that when an expert intervenes in a debate or discussion, they bring light rather than heat to the issue. Dr. Baah, in the hallowed traditions of academia and consistent with our democratic aspirations, could have provided an uplifting message on freedom of speech and tolerance. Instead, he let democracy, his august institution and his students down. He preached intolerance.
Finally, despite Dr. Baah’s unfortunate message of intolerance, I do not agree with those who say he must be sanctioned because he has brought the name of the highly-reputed KNUST into disrepute. I will defend his right to spew his intolerant message with my life if necessary. That is why decades ago, as a young man and the NUGS president, I took on the Rawlings regime, at the head of the greatest generation of students Ghana has ever known.
May we, together, continue to strive for a more tolerant NPP and Ghana.
God bless you all.
Arthur Kobina Kennedy