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Opinions of Monday, 25 October 2010

Columnist: Kyei-Mensah-Osei, Kofi

The idiocy of Kobby Acheampong

The idiocy of Kobby Acheampong; the mediocre “Team “B” Greedy Bastard Deputy Minister must be told!

When former President Rawlings christened some ministers of President Mills as “Team B” and “Greedy Bastards”, many people misunderstood him. But the truth of the matter is that, former President Rawlings was damn right! I have struggled to reconcile the accolade “asomdwee hene” that people have bestowed on President Mills with his personal image and the sort of people he appointed as ministers shortly after assuming power. That that President comes across as humble cannot be contested. However, if readers cast their minds back to the year 2004 to 2008, they will remember that the likes of Okudjeto Ablakwa, Fiifi Kwettey, Koku Anyodohoh, Agyenim Boateng, Baba Jamal among others, gained notoriety and political prominence by heaping incessant insults, mudslinging and blatant lies against then President Kuffour and his administration. Ironically, these same individuals became some of the first ministers appointed by President Mills shortly after winning the elections in 2008. Having been awarded their respective ministerial positions as a ‘thank you’ gesture for scare-mongering and also helping to lie the NDC back to power, some of these half-baked ministers have since forgotten that they are in power and are still tripping over one each other from radio station to the other heaping invectives on their political opponents as they used to do in opposition. It still baffles my understanding as to why President Mills, the so-called God-fearing man, a man of principle and the latter day asomdwee hene appointed such persons to their respective ministerial positions let alone to keep them in office after repeated gaffes from almost everyone of them. The attitude and utterances of some of those individuals haven’t improved. In truth, it has changed from bad to worst. It is indeed shocking and irreconcilable with the demeanour and public image of the President. It makes you wonder whether the President has a different character from the one Ghanaians know. Could it also be that Professor Mills and the likes of Kobby Acheampong are birds of the same feathers flocking together? I refuse to believe those who accuse the President of hypocrisy but I’m equally confounded to see that after nearly 2 years in office, these people still hop from one radio station to the other insulting everybody in the country and still maintain their position. In the midst of all these, the silence from the President’s office still remains deafening.

It is a natural sequence of development that when a child goes wrong and the parents do not reprimand that child, same wrong will be repeated over and over again. The Anyidohos, Ablakwas, Fiifi Kwetteys and the Agyenim Boatengs made it their speciality to vent inexplicit platitudes against people in authority and won ministerial appointment so why should they stop now? In terms of personal and professional achievement, none of these people had anything to show until they became ministers. It is equally true that some of them had not even worked in their lives before being made ministers. Only in Ghana!! Koku Anyidoho insulted the legislature and is still at post at the presidency! Dr Hannah Bissiw engaged in explicit insults on TV3 and she is still at post! Characteristically, the uncouth and acid-tongued Dr Tony Aidoo recently called all tongues-speaking Christians “mad”. The President, according to sources at the presidency is a tongues-speaking Christian. So what inference is Dr Tony Aidoo making here by that silly statement? Yet, he is still at post drawing his fat salary from many tongues-speaking Christian tax payers. I dare say again, only in Ghana!! Just two weeks ago, Rojo Nunoo-Mettle called nurses of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital who went on strike “foolish people”. The last time I checked, our constitution acknowledged the rights of workers to strike. So Rojo, who are the “foolish people”? Is it the one exercising legitimate constitutional right or the one speaking against others’ constitutional right?

Unsurprisingly and perhaps not to be outdone, Kobby Acheampong, the Deputy Tourism Minister jumped into the fray describing Sir John, the NPP general secretary as “….a typical Cocoa-ase kuraseni (villager)” on Citifm on Tuesday, 19.10.10. Kobby Acheampong was speaking in response to Sir John’s assertion that the “Africa Watch Magazine” should have rated President Mills “A” for “doing nothing”. As the General Secretary of main the opposition party, Sir John and for that matter every Ghanaian has every right to criticise the President. In any case, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie did not any way insult the president to warrant such response from Kobby Acheampong. Perhaps Ghanaians will understand him if he could tell us how “a typical cocoa-ase kuraseni (villager)” looks like. Since cocoa is only cultivated in our villages, is Kobby by implication saying that our villagers, especially cocoa farmers are “ignorant” like Sir John or vice versa? If this sort of uncultured language had come from an ordinary citizen, I wouldn’t have been overly concerned. But when our Deputy Tourism Minister, who is housed and paid for from finances generated from the export of cocoa, could become this uncharitable, tactless and undiplomatic in his choice of words, how then would he promote Ghana abroad? Also, by inference, the typical Kumasifoo who have the “Kumasi thing” in them like Sir John should discard that “thing” before they get to Accra else they “ will get lost.” I don’t know what the “Kumasi thing” is about. Ghana needs tourism ministers who could convince the international stake holders in our tourism industry to invest in the industry in Ghana and not this inept and arrogant buffoon parading the corridors of power. Kobby’s I-brood-no-nonsense kind of behaviour and uncouth language is unbecoming of a minister who lives in ‘Fa Brodee Be to Me Chalk Village’ let alone the one who lives in Accra like him; if his definition of Cocoa-ase kuraseni” is anything to go by. Kobby Acheampong denigrated our village folks and our cocoa farmers by that stupid comparison. Power sweet huh Kobby? When he had the opportunity to apologise for his offensive comments on Thursday, 21.10.10, he refused and arrogantly quipped: “why should I apologise”? His intransigence then was so shocking!!

After making his offensive comment, the host of the programme urged Kobby to explain the above assertion to which he added that Sir John “….stayed in Kumasi for too long, he is in Accra now, he should broaden his horizon. Clearly, the way he talks is of someone who is ignorant…..” If Accra was indeed the citadel of wisdom and analytical thinking minds as Kobby Acheampong had sought to imply, then he by the same breath razed it down to ground zero in that same interview! Kobby further opined that “….whenever he (Sir John) comes from Kumasi, he should take a different touch or else he would be lost….The Kumasi thing is too much in him…..” If indeed one needs to live in Accra in order “to broaden his horizon” and at the same time show the level of imbecility demonstrated by Kobby in his interview, then I will never want to live in Accra! But thank God that those who live in Accra are more cultured and level headed than the seemingly empty-headed Deputy Minister for Tourism. For a minister to say such things on national radio goes to show the calibre of some of the people in the helm of affairs of our dear country. And what is this “Kumasi thing” which is “too much in” Sir John? The people of Kumasi have more tact; they are hard working, self-made, more cultured and more civilised than the deputy minister for tourism. Dysfunctional Kobby Acheampong should also bear in mind that our “Cocoa-ase nkurasefoo” and “Kumasifoo…” pay their taxes from which he draws his salary.

To date, Kobby Acheampong still refuses to acknowledge that he erred and has defiantly refused to apologise. He should have his head properly screwed on. Can he describe how “Cocoa-ase kuraseni” looks like? Whilst he is at it, can he also let us know if there is anything as ‘Cocoa-ase Accra ni’? I want Kobby Acheampong to know that people in Kumasi are more matured and discerning than he is. I must admit that, I am particularly not surprised that someone like Kobby Acheampong will say such a thing anyway. This is the same person who accused former President Kuffour of using state funds to build a swimming pool in his house. When then information Minister Oboshie Sai invited journalists to tour Kuffour’s house to ascertain the validity or otherwise of Kobby Acheampong’s assertion for themselves and finding nothing to confirm such story, Kobby then turned around to say that the swimming pool in Kuffour’s house was actually “underground” and that was why it could not be seen by the journalists. That is the man Kobby Acheampong for you: shameless, tactless, classless, clueless, a notorious liar and a haughty imbecile. He has brought “Cocoa-asefoo, villagers and Kumasifoo” to public ridicule and opprobrium and has in the same way amplified his own idiocy and imbecility and he must be told!! Since he has refused to apologise for his comments, I am comfortable in telling him to his face that owe him no apology either!!

I must confess my admiration for the few NDC members and sympathisers who came out to strongly condemn Kobby Acheampong for his comments but those many others who seconded him must think again. Come 2012, Kobby Acheampong will remember that, the “Cocoa-ase kuraseni”, those who “have stayed too long in Kumasi with the Kumasi thing” in them and those Akrakyefo in Accra have all got one thumb and they will let him know whether they are “ignorant” or not.

Kofi Kyei-Mensah-Osei