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Opinions of Friday, 22 June 2007

Columnist: Adin, Kwame

The NPP Must Prepare for War! -Rejoinder

My Response to Dr Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe's Call for War in Ghana (Ghanaweb, June 17, 2007)

Mr. Okoampa-Ahoofe has just fired the first shot of Ghana's civil war through his assault on reason. He has ordered Ghanaians to join him. He has declared war and he wants Ghanaians to choose sides. Okoampa-Ahoofe wants the ruling party to take up the gauntlet, and he rattles the main opposition, hoping that the drums of war would sound and the dogs of war would spring into action.

Ghana's democracy may not be perfect, but the society is at peace. Ghanaians want to live in peace. It is preposterous for Okoampa-Ahoofe to urge the leadership of Ghana to wage war to restore peace. How do you achieve peace through war? Is war the cost of peace? Must Ghanaians suffer through the brutality of war in order to achieve peace? What kind of peace would that be? Okoampa-Ahoofe's comment is contradictory and reckless. He has not grappled with the fact that war never produces peace. Mr. Okoampa-Ahoofe seethes with anger, as his hatred of the former president has become an albatross he wears around his neck. Hence, his contributions are predictable, personal and vitriolic.

Why does Okoampa-Ahoofe want to transform Ghana into Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, (recent history)? What is his rationale for calling for war? What is the litmus test behind his call for war? From reading his posting of June 17, 2007, Okoampa-Ahoofe's angst stems from the following:

One, Mr. E.T. Mensah's "brazenly self-righteous vitriol against the Kufour family ...."; Two, "the NDC General-Secretary's insolvent vow to seek a judicial injunction against the NPP's salutary establishment of the Community Protection Assistance program ...."; Three, "the ever-bumbling Professor John Evans Mills who eloquently gave the lie to the utter bankruptcy of the NDC's campaign platform ...." Ahoofe is offended "the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice [failed] to call Dr Aidoo to order ..."

Okoampa-Ahoofe does not explain the contexts for the statements allegedly made by the individuals. Where is the transcript of the speech? Apparently, evidence does not matter. Okoampa-Ahoofe has given his interpretation of the supposed speeches these people made. Does it mean it is "fait accompli"? He imagines that Ghanaians are gullible and they would accept his interpretation of statements made by these individuals. Was Okoampa-Ahoofe present when these statements were made? Does he have notes or recordings of the statements? Is his recording or transcript consistent with those of others who were present? Is Okoampa-Ahoofe's interpretation the absolute truth? He wants to stir up the clouds of war. It behooves us to question the tools he is using to fan hatred in Ghana. What we have here is hearsay, innuendo and half-truth.

Assuming these personalities made the statement; the place to respond to them is not the foxhole. The place to respond to such statements is the political platform. By faulting the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Okoampa-Ahoofe might be imputing that he has more expertise than these experienced lawyers do. Seasoned lawyers and politicians understand the rules of the politics. Perhaps Ahoofe has evidence, which would help the judiciary in executing their constitutional duties.

Okoampa-Ahoofe has definitely crossed the line between what is moral/legal and immoral/illegal. His action is tantamount to crying "fire" in a crowded theater. It is probable that Okoampa-Ahoofe has American citizenship. Given the deep division in the USA over the Iraq war, would he have the gumption to make a similar call pertaining to American society. Could Ahoofe be equally as reckless to call for civil war in America today? At the very least, he would have been subject to interrogation by the FBI; he would probably be placed on "No Fly List"; and his college might institute action against him.

For Ahoofe, the call for war is a facile act. In the event of a civil war, he would escape the violence that would engulf Ghanaian society. He would not experience the devastation from the civil strife. Thus, the honorable thing for Okoampa-Ahoofe is to resign from his academic position, renounce his American citizenship, and throw away his supple leather shoes. He must wear army boots, and march from the airport to where ever he wants to command his civil war army. It is disingenuous for Okoampa-Ahoofe to call for civil war in Ghana from a college office in New York where he sits on a soft leather chair.

Today, Ghanaian forces are aware of the havoc military rule has wrought on the country. Ghana troops and police officers have attained high level of professionalism through service in war-mangled countries. The lessons in Congo Republic, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Middle East have made them conscious of the devastation from civil strife. The entire Ghanaian population holds on to the dream of positive social and economic transformation. This is the dream of Ghanaians. This is the dream Okoampa-Ahoofe threatens. In the event of a civil war, Ghanaians stand to lose everything. What is at stake for Okoampa-Ahoofe?

In a most recent posting on Ghanaweb, Ahoofe questions the love President Nkrumah and Madam Fathia shared. He made outlandish accusations about the family of the first president. I thought Okoampa-Ahoofe had outdone himself until I saw this current posting. He revels in puffery and his pugilist language rings hollow. Okoampa-Ahoofe's contentions are spurious; however it is necessary to challenge them. It is important to move beyond his self-aggrandizement to question the premise of his argument. Okoampa-Ahoofe has no more to offer for Ghana's development than the contribution of the average person at Accra, Kumasi, Ho or Navrongo. We must not essentialize the role of self-absorbed intellectuals. These people have made a cottage industry of self-promotion. It is Ghana that needs our attention. Let us focus on Ghana; let us strive toward a better society.

In concluding my response to Okoampa-Ahoofe, I am determined not to cede grounds to him. Instead, as a coda, I wish to pay tribute to a young American woman, Amy Biehl, whose life mirrors our abiding faith in humanity. Amy, a Stanford University graduate student, traveled to South Africa as a Fulbright scholar in 1993 at the University of Western Cape. She helped the ANC in the drive for voter education. Amy was attacked and killed on August 25, 1993, in a black township located in the Cape Town area. Eventually, the young killers were found and sentenced to Prison. Remarkably, Amy's parents pleaded for amnesty for their daughter's killers. The Biehl family set up a foundation, the Amy Biehl Foundation, to improve the plight of the disadvantaged in South Africa. They have refused to be defined solely by tragedy. The Biehl family has even reached out to the killers of their daughter, one of whom works for the foundation. The experience of the Biehl family is a testimony of the power of love. It shows that even after deeply felt tragedies, we can move on and still share our love for all human beings.



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