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Opinions of Saturday, 7 January 2017

Columnist: Kyei-Mensah-Osei, Kofi

To the victor, the spoils and to the vanquished, commiserations!

By Kofi Kyei-Mensah-Osei

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo. For the past 8 years, he became the most vilified, ridiculed, abused, insulted, humiliated, caricatured and cursed on the Ghanaian political terrain. His crime? That his father was a former President of the republic and also, that he chose to voluntarily dedicate 40 of the 72 years The Good Lord has so far blessed him with, to fight the corner of the needy, students, the oppressed and gave voice to the voiceless in the country.

Yet he was made the pariah! At the peak of military juntas when most men slept earlier than they would’ve ordinarily wished to, this man rose up and challenged the authorities to restore democracy to the people. That withstanding, sheer envy, dirty politicking, cynicism has been the lot his opponents incessantly heaped on him. Some even wished him dead before his time.

On our side of the world, old age is given high regard as one is not guaranteed tomorrow and so it was sad that a man blessed with 72 years and still counting became the butt of the NDCs jokes. An adage in the Akan language says; “Opanin na obi ny33bi da; akwadaa de3 obiara ay3 bi”, which literally translates thus: “the elderly has tasted a child’s age before but not vice versa.”

The NDC mocked Nana Addo’s height and even 4 days before the general elections, President Mahama took his turn to ridicule Akuffo-Addo for “speaking slangs on Peace FM” in Accra.

They schemed, plotted, chanted, and consulted necromancers to cast spell on him, to kill him or thwart his chances at the presidency. Kids, aptly described by former President Rawlings as “…babies with sharp teeth” with no working experience who were given appointments by the late Professor Mills and later retained by outgoing President Manama continually heaped invectives on him at any given opportunity.

Most of his opponents’ comments were fiendish and maliciously fabricated with the sole intent of opprobrium. This is what the man Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo has endured over the years and yet, the little man with a big heart, so possessed with the desire to better the lot of the average Ghanaian usually smiled at these caustic comments about his person.

His dream had always been to serve his motherland; Ghana. Granted that the swashbuckling, red-blooded, machete-down-the-socks political terrain in Ghana has never been for the faint-hearted but what Nana Addo has had to endure in the name of politics was no ordinary argy-bargy.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo’s dream to ascend to the highest office of the land in order to serve his people has a biblical correlation. The biblical Joseph had a dream which translated that, he was going to be a great person, even a ruler and a leader in those times. Joseph’s own brothers infested with envy and jealousy about his dream, plotted to kill him in order for the former to see what might “…become of his dreams…” much the same way as Nana Addo has had to endure.

Going into the December 7th general elections, the NDC haven spent huge amount of financial resources expected to walk it after all, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo and the NPP were “…divided…”; they said. They wrongly assumed also that years of invectives and vituperations on Akuffo-Addo had eventually taken its toll on the chances of the poor man.

So assured were the NDC and President Mahama of victory that rather than churn out messages of hope to the Ghanaian, these adults embarrassingly tripped over each other to dance to Shatta Wale’s “Baby Chop Kiss” and “Mahama Paper” on political platforms. The NDC reduced serious politicking to moonwalk and disco dancing.

Their disrespect and absolute contempt of the Ghanaian voter was so apparent! If the NDC had been clever, they would’ve taken notice of the NPP’s own Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie’s (Sir John) popular electoral loss lexicon; “…fear delegates…” Sir John famously gave the “fear delegates” post mortem when a section of his campaign team assured him he was “…in a comfortable lead…” whilst others said “…he was cruising to victory…” in his contest with Kwabena Agyei Agyapong for the position of the NPPs General Secretary.

In the end, Sir John lost and that was when he realised campaign crowds usually did not translate to votes and so he advised politicians not be deceived by them.

In much the same way, the defeat of the NDC in the 7th December poignantly brought to the fore what Kierkegaard, a 19th Century philosopher once said. Kierkegaard wrote; “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true. The other is to refuse to believe what is true.” President Mahama and the NDC though, chose to do both.

They “believe what wasn’t true” because they rather believed Ben Ephson’s arm-chair polls which wasn’t backed by any forensic evidence. Secondly, they also “refused to believe what was true” and obvious; that they were losing the elections as every pollster both local and international predicted. Like the recalcitrant child, the NDC rather engaged in an exercise of massaging their proverbial cojones as the elders in our society sought to advise them.

Greater majority of Ghanaians heaved a sigh of relief on 7th December when the NDC eventually met their Comeuppance in the NPP and Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, the man they had so demonised. The margin of defeat and humiliation of the NDC was as if the good Lord above and Ghanaians wanted to rid our land of impunity, arrogant kleptomaniacs and puffed-up egomaniacs.

For the first time in our 4th Republican dispensation in which no sitting President has ever lost an election, President Mahama was given the bloodiest of nose just to show them that Ghanaians were fed up with them. No candidate has ever won an election with a difference of 400,000 and yet, Ghanaians gave Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Dankwa over one million more votes than President Mahama. These are knock-out punches “the old man” unleashed on President Mahama (a 56 year old man who unashamedly calls himself a youth).

So on Wednesday 4th January, 2016 when Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo (The President elect) named a few of his kitchen cabinet, tears of joy run down my cheeks as I listened to him call out the names of Mrs Frema Osei-Opare, Samuel Abu Jinapor, Francis Asenso-Boakye, Nana Asante Bediatuo, Brigadier General Emmanuel Okyere, Ambassador Hassan Ahmed, Eugene Arhin, Victor Newmann, Lord Oblitey Commey, Saratu Atta and Clara Napaga Sulemana Tia for various positions.

Never in the history of this country Ghana, has an honest, selfless and patriotic man been this vilified, crucified and verbally abused. Perhaps Nana Addo’s “The battle is the Lord’s” slogan bent the hand of the Most High God to wage the former’s battle for him against the NDC. Perhaps there’s meaning in the saying that “pride comes before a fall” after all.

This man who has been buried before his natural physical death is now the appointing authority in the land and those who thought they had power ad-infinitum and so abused everyone including the clergy must now bow to him; willy-nilly.

As I heard listened to Nana Addo with tears of joy on my cheeks, I remembered what New York senator William Learned Marcy said at Congressional debate in 1831. William L. Marcy, used the phrase "…to the victor belong the spoils…" This saying accurately describes the spoils system of appointing government workers. In most democracies in the world, each time a new administration came into power, thousands of public servants were discharged and members of the victorious political party took over their jobs.

As thorough and accommodating as Nana Addo is, I believe he will use the appointing authority Ghanaians have entrusted him with in the best of Ghana’s interest. The life of Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo; most vilified, most hated and slandered has taught everyone not to jettison their dreams but pursue them in honesty, sincerity and in the fear of God. The resilience of Nana Addo over the years is both admirable and commendable and above all, his candor and forthrightness worth emulating.

Suffice to say Nana Addo has fought the battle over the years and so if there are any “spoils”, I agree with William L Marcy that he takes them and to the vanquished (the NDC and outgoing President Mahama), I extend my commiserations! As Nana Addo is being transitioned from President-elect to the substantive president of the republic today, it’s my ardent prayer that we all wish him well, after all, his success is Ghana’s success and failure, same.

For the sake of the country, let both the victors and the vanquished come together for the betterment of mother Ghana. His political journey of trial and tribulations has made him the most prepared and experienced hands ever been at the wheels of Ghana’s presidency. I for one believe that Nana Addo will deliver without a doubt and so let us all wish him well.

God bless Ghana