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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Columnist: Tse, Frederick K. Kofi

Snapshot 2015: The year of goats, chaos and scandals. Part 1

The usual New Year sermons to which Ghanaians jump and clasp the air with shouts of spiritual punctuations like Amen, Hallelujah, came this year with anti-graft doses. Almost every cross-wearing preacher fired metaphysical salvoes at the monster, corruption as if the canker were the latest demon; as if it was a January-born Demon. In the audience of one of the largest churches in the city, Perez Chapel International, was the President, John Mahama (JM). The president was given an opportunity to mount Bishop AgyinAsare’s podium and lo and behold he prophesied as though possessed by AgyinAsare’s prophetic spirit: “this year we will banish Dumsor”. Really?
You see, every Ghanaian wants Dumsor out, but that doesn’t give a leeway to any politician to mount any alter and make such statements under the guise of prophecy. In any case, scripts of politicians should be reviewed by the communications outfit of churches in order to suppress “false prophecies” from ejecting from the mouths of visiting politicians. In the same vein I support Elizabeth Ohene’s call for JM to “shut up” on promises about when Dumsor is going to end and on any other thing. Or, has he really banished it?
Though there are tons of pressing issues to focus on, politicians preferred to debate which party deals more in cocaine than the other. Drug barons will always look for politicians, regardless of party, to facilitate their trade. But what actually struck me was Freddie Blay’s call for Nayele’s accomplices in the 12kg cocaine saga; what if such confederates as Blay was asking for turn out to be top financiers or leaders of his own party as history would remind us. Meanwhile, Nayele made up her mind to remain dumb—refusing to name her drug barons which made it possible for both NDC and NPP to trade the same commodity, propagandist accusations, on the same stall.
In January too, we had General mosquito in the news once again for the wrong reason. His fashion faux pas got him into the international news. He was reported to have worn his wife’s fur coat to Germany to remind us that though a powerful man now, he is still a “Coco ase okurase ni” and a son of a “village palm wine tapper’’—he is still not abreast of city life. And knowing that his faux pas would be an icebreaker for viewers on News file, he preferred attending a funeral to subjecting himself for discussion on News file, thereby starving viewers of the weekly program.
February came with distortion of history, thanks to the 50th anniversary celebration of Dankwa’s death. Had it not been for Kweku Baaku and Pratt, the NPP would have told us that the air we breathe was supplied by Dankwa. Led by Prof. Mike Oquaye they zoomed into the “realm of fallacy” as Kweku Baaku’s document proved. And as if that was not enough they dared compare Dankwa’s achievements to those of Nkrumah. You see, the behaviour of Prof. Oquaye only emphasized Friedrich Niche’s opinion of people as individuals and as part of a group. He said “an individual’s insanity is rare but in groups, nations, parties and epochs it is the rule”. So, politics makes many noble men, even professors insane; robbing them of all scholarly appeals, particularly, when one sets one’s feet on pedals of fanaticism. The NDC was not left out of it: the attempts made to compare Mills to Nkrumah was pure futility. Or does one have to be a leftist (whatever that means) to agree that since 1966, this country is still looking for a leader that has the semblance of Nkrumah? In fact, I can stick my neck out that many Ghanaians would prefer Nkrumah with all his baggage to the saintly governments of all presidents after him, including Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills, Mahama and may be…put together.
While all this brouhaha was going on, a certain Nyarho was drafting a Dear John letter to Akufo Addo and coincidentally got it published on Valentine’s Day. The letter which contained a lot of uncomplimentary commentary was quickly denied by the famous Dr. Nyaho Tamakloe, the so-called founding member of NPP.Whether the letter was from Dr Nyaho or not, it is my opinion that publishing damning things about a flagbearer or party executives cannot be a civilized approach of resolving grievances in a political party.
February would definitely not be Osarfo Marfo’s favourite month; the old chap was caught on tape making silly comments about minority ethnic groups. Maybe the NPP did not understand democracy at the time they fought for it that is why some of them still think people from minority tribes do not deserve to govern. The chap however, thinks his tape, like any other tape that got into the public, was doctored.
Police recruitment scandal made the headlines for bad news in March. Corruption in the police is a common folklore but the fact that COP Timbilla is not a constable on the road who is easily baited by the carelessness of drivers, made it an interesting news. Ghanaians also got to know why the country is virtually at a standstill; the president said in Rwanda that he was suffering from a ‘dead goat syndrome’, a phrase which earned him a new name— the dead goat.
News followers had a stint with NPP’s affirmative action, a reform on which they quickly beat a retreat because of some bashing from men in the party. The NDC also think that the inability of the NPP to enforce the reform was a sign of the latter’s lack of credibility. The criticism from the NDC beats my imagination that a government that sent the whole republic to the IMF for a credibility bailout still thinks it has the moral credentials to question the credibility of an opposition party.
On the issue of credibility, Dr. Gyampo, a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, thinks both parties have no credibility. He said that credibility Ghanaians are going to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea, the rock and the hard place in the 2016 election. March was a month of credibility issues that even Dr. Afari Gyan earned some questions when he caused financial loss to the state.
By April Kojo Oppong Nkrumah reached for his party membership card and declared his ambition of contesting the parliamentary primary in the NPP. George Andah also confirmed the NDC’s worries that Occupy Ghana, the loudest pressure group against corruption is an NPP tool.
And on corruption, Prof Yanka at the institute of economic affairs, among other things, opined that the presidency has become a safe haven for corrupt government appointees. The chap said a lot of damning things about governments from Nkrumah, through Kufuor to John Mahama. For instance, it was revealed that corruption perception in Ghana was lowest in 2002 but highest in 2003 and 2006.But because the NDC was afraid of its own shadow, its communicators pounded heavily on Prof. Yankah as if he has been the thorn in the government’s flesh in its seven years of inefficiency. Maybe, that is the reason why Dr. Akwesi Osei, the CEO of the Mental Health Authority thinks our leaders must go through mental checkup.
I agree a hundred percent, but such invitations should extend to all political leaders, heads of institutions including himself, pastors and imams to visit the loony bin before assuming leadership positions because a lot has gone amiss, and particularly because, Archbishop Palmer Buckle failed in his search for honest men in the republic—himself included.
One other big issue that ended the first quarter was that Ivory Coast, Ghana’s envious neighbor, which out-competed us on cocoa production after probably getting the seeds from Ghana; which snatched the AFCON 2015 trophy from Ghana, has secured an injunction on Ghana’s drilling of new oil wells. Their beef? They believe our oil too is for them.
To be continued…
Frederick K. Kofi Tse