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Opinions of Monday, 29 May 2006

Columnist: Asante Fordjour

Schooling Citizenry To Be Foes

Must Politicians with Presidential Ambitions be Allowed to Have links Outside Their Ideological Camps?

IN MEMORY of Ferdinand Kwabena Ofori Ayim AND Joe Bradford Nyina

A few days ago, we read with a pang that Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo, one of the New Patriotic Party?s presidential aspirants, is a mole of the National Democratic Congress. This has come as no surprise to many critical minds who had earlier on read from Nana Coomson that he cannot sleep if the destiny of Ghana falls in the hands of the serving Foreign Minister.

A chunk of the argument which we analysed in our earlier edition: The Hypocrisy of Chronicle Boss, was that our learned Brother, Tsatsu Tsikata- the former GNPC Boss, has severally defeated the ex-Attorney-General- Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Then is the perception about the foreign minister- arrogance that Nana Coomson thinks Nana Akufo-Addo?s managers, ought to have done more to expunge. The most obvious visual informed advice we have had from Nana Coomson since that report, has been the claim that the foreign minister is an NDC mole which appears to suggest to most objective readers as nothing more than schooling Ghanaians to be foes as long as they differ in ideological beliefs. In the previous piece, our open minds might have sensed that no discussions were made on the assertion that Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is an infiltrator of the main opposition- the NDC

Our analysis was based principally on the earlier allegation of Nana?s incompetence and the issue that he cannot be president because he is arrogant? This we find unfair. And submitted that if Flt Lt J. J. Rawlings could be president, why not Nana Akufo-Addo? We stated that legal defeat must not be the barometer because in criminal trial, unlike in civil litigation, the equation is that the burden of proof hangs on the neck of the prosecution which it must proof beyond all reasonable doubts to dislodge. However, we still apologise for the input errors- the date should have read Saturday, 29 April 2006. We think our genuine readers grasped that.

But, having touched many raw nerves, some of us became nervous in assimilating this trite discourse and therefore, read the feature article as news reporting. As we preferred scorn to dialogue, we trampled with anxiety that over-peppered hard akpele with our bare feet. Of course, we take valid criticisms but unfortunately, we aspire not to standards set by unsung ghosts. Thus, we resubmit that Nana is one of the most honest servants of the UP Tradition.

By all implications, we are tempted to assume that Nana Coomson can?t sleep if Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo, were to be president of Ghana because there shall be no leadership tension that his media businesses might stand to exploit positively for his own use? In fact, one of the known demons in our homeland is political intolerance and hostile jealousy that had long existed between political leadership and the citizenry. Not so much of the security threats, critical though that is yes, but because of the real cultural and political quarrel that it shadows. At this point, our deepest concern for the impending election is how we answer this, Who is most forceful in shielding the safety of our destiny? The answer could be all of us.

So, to those of us threatened by our own insecurity, it is advised that to remain tranquil and fortitude in times of uncertainties are the cautious measures, otherwise we might be trapped by our own hasty security measures. We hope the wise is picking the grains from the trash by understanding the Biblical story of Joseph and the Brothers. This explains that in our desperate efforts to claim our tens, we must persevere not to deny others their nines? It should be a celebrated credit to the foreign minister, if he has truly broken that decades of political leadership-deadlock that has repeatedly evades Nananom, Bishops, Cardinals and Presidents?

It is evidenced that when leadership demonstrates to the citizenry how to live in harmony that is where the needed stability and progress could be truly achieved. If our observations were to be accepted, it could be said that President J. A. Kufuor, sounds rather more reconciliatory in recent times than when he first took office in 2001? When we think of how many things this Nana Akufo-Addo too has got wrong, how he has pondered over our international relations, we can see just how vast is his success. Yet when we discuss this subject with his detractors they look totally blank, and return to the usual squabbling about whether the foreign minister, like other aspirants, even qualifies as a citizen of Ghana to avail himself for a president.

If a party has been in opposition for a long time, no one has heard of anyone in it except its leader, its oddballs and perhaps, a few of its most famous former ministers. Nana?s name is recognised. Fairly a lot of Ghanaians like him, naturally, quite a lot too don?t. There has to be a stronger reason why media attention is on Nana and why his triumphs seem to drill holes on many skulls than any other aspirant? Could this be that Nana comes from a political family?

Otherwise, how could it be a taboo for him to have a friend in other political camp? In Nana Coomson?s earlier article, Chronicle boss takes on Akuffo Addo, he portrays the foreign minister to be incompetent. And by that he used the words, ?he performed abysmally? as an Attorney-General. Today, he seems to be preaching the world that the trial was in fact, fixed because Nana has a lot of friends within the opposition NDC hierarchy? But is the NDC a cult or a political party? This contention mystifies two separate elements, the declaration that Nana Kofi Coomson will help Ghanaians to make an informed choice and his drive to open a journalism school to restore what he terms as our deplorable state of journalistic products.

No wonder, the purpose of his ?revelations? have to be pinned on such a public mockery. The lurking question which then applies with particular intensity to this double-jeopardy media warming-up for this leadership hunt 2008 is, Are politicians with presidential ambitions allowed to have links within the top hierarchy of other opposing ideological camps? We have no guidance from the constitution and we hope not to find it either from any of the political parties? constitutions. So, we assume NO, on this question. We are not on any payroll and we assume that others too, are not. No individual or ethnicity, is also mandated to have the sole key to Ghana?s political future. But we do know that visionary leaders who have their nations and citizens at heart strive for peace if they see it as the only route to their collective security?

In 1979, the late William Ofori-Atta ((one the Big Six)) and his United National Convention saw it politically sensible to join hands with the then ruling Peoples National Party, under the leadership of the late Dr Hilla Limann. Arguing from their ideological discourses, we would had thought they would not have approached each other at all because PNP was a clear off-shoot of Dr Nkrumah?s Convention Peoples Party? Another political objectivity and maturity was exhibited by Jones Ofori Atta, in the same era. When Paa Willie, R. R. Amponsahs, Sawyerrs and Asamoahs said goodbye to Popular Front Party, Jones remained faithful to Victor. Despite the fact that we may find it bitter to accept that we cannot write the history of the NPP without Kyebi, we had the Amofas and still Ofori Attas as honest NDC followers?

This is the beauty of free society where people would not be caged in their political beliefs. If this is not so, Nana Kofi Coomson, being a western-based, would have been more concerned with the success of the CPP than the NPP as no one points to his father?s house with his left finger? But could this not be simplistic thinking because we now live in a world with a lot of choices? Dr Andrew Moran, a senior lecturer at the London Metropolitan University, lectures that the world has changed and it is still changing for the better, otherwise, most lecture halls would have been ?all-white students?. And if per adventure, there were to be for example, an Africa or an Asia, s/he would have been truly Marxist sympathiser? This suggest that coaching citizenry to be foes rather than each-one?s -keeper, is a lost venture in our new sense.

For example, the American Bill of Rights, enacted as amendments to the 1787 Constitution, provides that: All persons born or naturalised in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the US and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of law (Bill of Rights; Art XIV, s1 ratified 9 July 1898). This ?equal protection? clause has been the focus of the development of equal civil and political rights in the United States. But when in 1896, the Supreme Court was called upon to decide whether the policy of segregation of black and white citizens was lawful under the Constitution, the Court had different view of the law.

It ruled that ?separate but equal treatment? laws did not amount to denial of the equal protection of the law, Plessey v Ferguson (1896). When, however, in 1954, the question of the same ?equal protection? came before the Supreme Court concerning segregation in the schools of the states of Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia and Delaware, the court was to rule that such ?treatment? violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the constitution, Brown v Board of Education of Topeka (1954). Although this did not solve the issue, it became a giant step for civil rights activists in the US (see, King, 1964 and the Civil Rights Acts 1964 and 1968).

Today, the United States of America has Condolezza Rice- a black woman, as the Secretary of States? This goes to confirm former National Security Boss, Captain Kojo Tsikata?s (rtd) conviction that although in matters of national security, we ought to credit even a mad person with some wisdom. But at the same time, reasons that it is only the fool who does not change her mind on ideas she once held dear? So what is news that Nana Akufo-Addo is an NDC mole? Ex-President Bill Clinton once told a delegate of Western journalists and policymakers that the future of their nations do not depended solely on their abilities to label themselves in their ?small cylinder? without looking beyond their horizon. Visionary leaders often look ahead, explore new ties and strengthen old ones. Historically, Akyems and Asantes were said to be sworn rivals. However, this did not obstruct the formation of the UP, now the NPP?

When young Alex Fredua Agyeman- stool name Osagyefuo Nana Kuntunkunuku II, decided to further his education, he neither went to Abuakwa State College nor Ofori Panin Secondary School. He rather opted for Prempeh College, in Oseikrom. When Otumfuo Nana Opoku Ware II went to his akuraa, Nana Kuntunkunuku, who was later to join our ancestors, was one of the chief mourners. International relations students agree that war and diplomacy are the secrets of statehood but true statesmen also learn from scourge of untold sorrows of wars. The question then to we those who dwell at the coastal town of Saltpond but prefer selling coconut at Abandze to buy fish, rather than fishing ourselves is, must our politicians with the said presidential dream, be allowed to have links outside their ideological camps?

The moot point is, our Tsatsu is still trapped in legal web that borders his hard won image that we must be suspicious of unqualified ?chequebook journalism? as well as the need for us to be reminded that we should suffer no discrimination on the grounds of our political association or beliefs? This our ancestors strove for and we shall also honestly do without linguistic or ethnic bias or hide behind acronyms or our conscience being held in slavery or servitude?

Asante Fordjour
Department of Law, Governance and International Relations
London Metropolitan University, London, UK

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