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Opinions of Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Columnist: Jackson, Margaret

Taking On P.C. Appiah-Ofori

By Margaret Jackson

He has arrogated to himself the so-called title of anti-corruption crusader in Ghana. And the Ghanaian media have grudgingly but slowly added that tag to him name. But when you look cursory and critically analyze what this man has done or been doing in the annals of Ghanaian politics, you will come to the realization that it has got nothing to do with anti-corruption crusade but he is merely spewing garbage, telling blatant lies, saying things he has little knowledge of, at times goofing big time and insulting Ghanaians and world leaders at the least turn of events. I am of course talking about P. C. Appiah-Ofori, MP for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, who has no respect in his own New Patriotic Party nor is taken serious by his party members. In fact many people have come to the conclusion that Appiah-Ofori who should have become wiser by being a parliamentarian and growing older, is just losing his senses and that he may be suffering from dementia hence the junk he emits all the time.

It has become a common norm in Ghana today for the press to interview politicians and people who like talking nonsense. Why that trend, only God knows. That is why Appiah-Ofori has been a common voice on the air but giving little or no substance as a lawmaker to help the country to move forward. This is a parliamentarian elected by his constituents who should have left an indelible mark on the political scene for the up and coming people in his area to learn from, but this man who looks like chasing the wind with no vision or mission in sight just talks about everything and nothing about everything.

Readers will understand me better if they follow some of the activities of Appiah-Ofori below.

Every person who elects himself or herself as a moral crusader against any social injustice/s have to live above the ethical fray, with Appiah-Ofori not being an exception. Therefore, you cannot claim to be championing a certain cause when there are some skeletons hanging in your closet. I respect Reverend Allan Aubrey Boesak, a South African Dutch Reformed Church cleric, politician and anti-apartheid activist, who rose to prominence during the 1980s as an outspoken critic and opponent of the National Party's policies and played a major anti-apartheid activist role as a patron of the United Democratic Front. He was very well respected globally until something knocked him off his track: Boesak was caught having an extramarital affair with television presenter, Elma Botha and had to resign his position in the church. That incident pushed Rev. Boesak out of the limelight to the extent that when South Africa held its first multiracial, multiparty elections in 1994, with Nelson Mandela becoming the first black president of the Republic, Boesak became just a footnote.

This is the eye of the needle Appiah-Ofori who stops at nothing but keeps insulting everybody including himself can never, I repeat, never ever go through. It would be recalled that not too many years ago, Appiah-Ofori who was accused by his wife of 37 years, Mrs. Rebecca Appiah-Ofori and his own three children of having an extramarital relations for 21 years went on air and accused his wife of infecting him (Appiah-Ofori) with gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease, and also carrying a pregnancy that was not his. Mr. P. C. Appiah-Ofori, who insulted the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, with unpalatable words when Mr. Cameron threatened to cut aid to countries that do not promote the rights of homosexuals, even went further in stating that he got the nerve and assisted his wife to abort the pregnancy since he was not responsible. And such a terrible, disgraceful, dishonourable character, who calls himself a member of parliament and anti-what, (corruption crusader) and has no shame, is given prime time to poke his hands repeatedly into the eyes of other people in the country. In a publication in The Statesman (the NPP’s own mouth-piece) on Friday September 7, 2007, one of the unnamed children of Appiah-Ofori accused him of not only being a wife beater but shamelessly living under the same roof with his wife and mistress. The child went further by stating that, “It hurts me when people say Hon PC Appiah-Ofori is a man of integrity.” Yet this man who was urged at the time by his own party members to do the right thing by resigning from parliament, still walks at the corridors of parliament with the swagger and thinks he is the most credible human being Ghana has ever produced. In 2009, Dr Charles Yaw Brempong Yeboah, a former NPP MP for Atiwa and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ofori Asamoah, a sitting NPP MP for Kade and former Deputy Minister of the Eastern Regionfiled a writ against Appiah-Ofori, claiming GH¢1M for defamation. The claimants, in their statement of claim, stated that Appiah-Ofori caused to be published a front page story with a banner headline in the Monday, July 6, 2009 issue of ‘The Enquirer’ that: “Ghana Telecom Sale, NPP MPs took $5,000 Bribe”. Mr. Appiah-Ofori, who continues to litter the air with wild unproven allegations just to make a name, has to date not been able to provide any single evidence on that bribery allegation to nail his own party members. And the press still talks and give free air to such a doubtful character. Not long ago, Appiah-Ofori insulted the chiefs of Oguaa saying the Omanhen of the Oguaa Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, was “Ohen gyagyan”. This happened when the NPP Flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was officially invited by the chiefs to the Fetu festival, reported late and was therefore relegated to the background and not officially recognized.Out of nowhere, Appiah-Ofori, who seems not to have any elderly person in his family nor has any respect for anybody because he thinks he is a lawmaker and therefore towers head and shoulder above everybody else, went on air and insulted the chiefs much to the dismay of the NPP members. When even the Oguaa Traditional Council gave Appiah-Ofori 14 days to retract his statements considered as offensive which he made against the Omanhen, hear what he said, “if everybody is bound to err, then when you err, you must be told. Every chief is supposed to know the custom so if you are a chief and you don’t know the custom, then you are not worthy… if you are a chief and you don’t know that when you receive a visitor, you give him a seat then you are not worthy and you must be told in the face so you don’t repeat it.”

The NPP leadership saw the harm that this loose cannon, Appiah Ofori, has caused the party so they sent a delegation to apologize on his behalf. But Appiah-Ofori would still not budge and came out strongly to denounce his own party, saying he has not sent anybody to make amends on his behalf. Appiah-Ofori further asserted that he only told the chiefs in the face the truth regarding their actions which he felt was in a very bad taste.

Just last year, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron threatened to withdraw UK’s aid to governments that did not reform legislation banning homosexuality. Appiah-Ofori descended heavily on David Cameron calling him a fool. Hear him: “Can’t you see the guy is a fool? Can’t you just see he is a fool? When God created this world, what directives did he give to mankind? He told us to go and multiply and he meant we should be producing off-springs. Can a man who has sex with the same gender or a female who does likewise, produce babies? So if you are a Prime Minister and you want this disgusting thing to go on, go tell it to your own people but not to Africans.”

Months after David Cameron came under the barrage of attacks from Appiah-Ofori, US President Obama, who seemed to tow the same line as the UK Prime Minister, was also attacked by Appiah-Ofori. Commenting on the issue in an interview on Okay FM’s Ade Akye Abia Morning show, Appiah-Ofori described Barack Obama’s gay threat as nonsense. “It is nonsense for Obama to tell us to recognize gay and lesbianism before they will offer any help to us, they can as well keep their aide. I don’t blame him, it is the failure of our leaders that has put us in this state of always seeking for help…we wouldn’t need any help. Ghana is the second largest producer of Gold after South Africa…we have a lot of resources, we just need to learn how to manage it and turn it into wealth,” he said. The Fulani nomads with their cattle have been causing a lot of discomfort in certain parts of the country leading to clashes and at times death. This is a bigger issue that calls for national dialogue on how to find a lasting solution to this problem which can threaten the peace in the affected areas. But all what Appiah-Ofori who seems to be without any focus in life, and just say anything that his stomach directs him to, said he has no sympathies for any nomad who gets lynched for suspected crimes committed against their local hosts. He said Ghanaians have the legal right to defend themselves when they come under any form of attack from the herdsmen. “If in the course of defending ourselves they have to die then it is justified…So killing them I personally support it…It has become chronic that such people come to this country to perpetuate crimes…The time is right for the country to put its feet down. If this people have come to do bad things we must try to defend ourselves…If they have come to kill my brothers should I allow them to get away?…if you have come to kill my brother and I am in the position to kill you back yes I will,” Appiah-Ofori stated. Don’t you feel sorry for such a character who calls himself a lawmaker in our great country Ghana?

Just last week, Appiah-Ofori got his NPP people angry when he stated that Nana Akufo-Addo is suffering from indecision hence his delay in announcing a running mate for the December general elections. The statement did not go down well with the leadership of the party forcing the First Vice Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Fred Oware, to rubbish his claim.

Yet when Ghanaians realized that the politics of insults was doing the country no good and that it was rather further tearing the country apart, Appiah-Ofori, the serial Insulter-In-Chief, came out swinging. He suddenly became the crusader against political insults saying the time has come to discipline politicians who insult their political opponents. Appiah-Ofori who seems not to listens to himself one bit, added that insulting political opponents does not build a healthy nation and therefore condemned the politics of insults that is gradually eating into the moral fabric of the country. Did you miss what Appiah-Ofori just said? Who in Ghana does not know that Appiah-Ofori insults President Mills every single week. Has the man lost it? Does he not keep track of what he says? Truly, it is somebody suffering from dementia who will behave the way Appiah-Ofori does.

One person does not know it all. That is why sometimes it pays to admit our mistakes and ignorance about certain issues and move on. It is good to admit it when you do not know something or details of it. But some people including Appiah-Ofori normally turn their diatribe on others when found wanting. Over the weekend, Appiah-Ofori, goofed big time as a lawmaker. One wonders if this guy who is always on air and commenting about everything but nothing in particular has the time even to go to parliament to contribute and study proceedings.

Mr. Appiah-Ofori, who claims to know everything under the sun exposed himself to ridicule when he stated that he did not know when the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) became the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO). This disgraceful admission should have humbled this guy, but he will not relent. Rather, in an interview on Radio Gold, Appiah-Ofori stated that his inability of not knowing when the SFO became EOCO should not be a justification of labeling him disgraceful but the chain has to hand around the neck of President Mills. What did President Mills do this time round? And this is a lawmaker that we are using public funds to pay.

Mr. Appiah-Ofori went on to state that “I never knew that the Serious Fraud Office had a change in name and I wasn’t aware…it could even be that when it was brought to parliament, I wasn’t around and this doesn’t make me a black sheep. Ghanaians are the best judge and if you want someone who has disgraced himself, then you have to hang that chain around the neck of Atta Mills.” Can you seriously believe what you are reading about this guy? Heaven save you if this man happens to be your teacher. He seems for confused that the word confusion itself.

If Appiah-Ofori does not know that the SFO is now EOCO and is blaming President Mills for that then its good relief that his own party seems to have written him off. The press cannot continue to give room for a person like Appiah-Ofori to operate. He claims he is a champion against corruption, but ask him, what corruption has he been able to unravel since he became a lawmaker? The press should just ask Appiah-Ofori to just name one corrupt action he has unraveled and brought to prosecution and he would be found wanting. This man is just taking the press for granted or at best for a ride by making wild goose allegations and not substantiating them. And it seems nobody has yet caught the fact that Appiah-Ofori is just hollow but enjoys reading news about what he says in the press every week.

When the chips are down next year and Appiah-Ofori finds himself at home, he would have realized what a big opportunity he missed as a former parliamentarian who failed to do anything good for the country but clothed himself in so-called anti-corruption ‘Batakari’ and jumped from one radio station to another just insulting people and to a large extent the intelligence of Ghanaians.

In life when you find yourself in a position of responsibility, I believe the best thing to do is to leave a lasting imprint for others to follow. Lasting imprint does not lie in insults. It does not lie in insulting presidents and even chiefs. It lies in quality work. It lies in good contribution towards national growth. It lies in supporting issues that lifts people up from the doldrums. Appiah-Ofori, who did not do anything good even whilst his party was in power is using the same gimmicks in opposition today. Somebody should help this man to get treatment before it is too late. He may be a ticking time bomb.