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Opinions of Thursday, 8 October 2015

Columnist: Ohemeng, Yaw

Victimhood: The last refuge for Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy?

Opinion Opinion

Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy has found himself an outcast within the NPP. This is something he is finding very difficult to deal with. He tried to ‘muscle’ in by contesting a parliamentary primary but that also failed. Of late he has realised that the more he writes articles and grants radio interviews, the more rejected he becomes. He, thus, now revels in playing the victim.

The rejection of Dr Arthur Kennedy by the broad masses of NPP supporters did not start today. Some would say he brought it upon himself. After all it was Dr Arthur Kennedy himself who consciously decided to write a ‘bare it all’ book after serving as the communications director for the Akufo Addo 2008 campaign.

There should not necessarily be a problem wanting to write a book about a campaign but such exercise requires three things to be balanced - the relationship of the author to the political party; the contents of the book; and the timing of the publication.

The relationship to take into account is whether the author is a party member who enjoyed a privileged position that enabled him witness events at closer quarters or an ‘outsider’. If the former is the case, as Dr Kennedy’s was, there is a certain unwritten rule not to betray confidences obtained when ‘guards were down’.

The nature of the content also matters if the author is a party member; it would be prudent to write about the structure and prosecution of the campaign in more impersonal and constructive terms than to cite individual commissions and omissions.

Of course Dr Kennedy ignored this. The question of timing would also require that more time is allowed to pass before detailed personal issues are aired. This is the stuff reserved for political memoirs and not when a party had just narrowly lost an election. Dr Kennedy in his considerations got the permutation of relationship, content and timing wrong and he continues to suffer for it.

Is this what has set him off on the path of destroying the party’s flagbearer whose campaign was the subject of his book? He appears to have adopted a very simple method where he is not appealing to minds but to emotions, whilst cheered on by NDC sympathisers. I am sure he has a database of quotations by American Presidents, Dr Danquah and Dr Busia and of late the Bible. He only has to wait for the next NPP issue and then presto he has an article! Of course such articles will not be complete without a contortuous path to rope in Nana Akufo Addo, irrespective of the subject.

This has gone on unabated since the flagbearer contest of October 2014.
This is what led me to write two articles in September seeking to engage him intellectually to be able to examine the substance behind his claims. After all the Bible, from which Dr Kennedy quotes liberally of late, in Proverbs 18:17 says ‘the one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him’.

Dr Kennedy has deliberately ignored the issues I raised in my two articles to focus on the fact that I called for him to be treated, intellectually, as an ‘enemy combatant’. I ended the said article thus: “The gloves should be off now - he should be taken on to expose the hollowness of his assertions. Some boils are worth lancing, else they infest underneath.

It is about time that the fight he has initiated be joined, not with insults, but with an intellectual engagement. It is certainly about time he is treated intellectually as an ‘enemy combatant’!”

Now if you subject this to the ‘reasonable person’ test, this cannot in a million years be interpreted as an invitation for anyone to harm Dr Kennedy with ‘cutlasses, guns or acid’, as he wrote on my Facebook wall. Any reasonable person ought to conclude that I am rather calling for Dr Kennedy to be challenged intellectually.

But in a manner similar to how propagandists operate, he has ignored the import of the words to pounce on ‘enemy combatant’. He is hugging it like one does to a warm blanket in winter. He has written three articles so far on it; he has called me undemocratic; and he has labelled me a new star in the ‘Vilify Arthur Kennedy Movement’.

It is quite telling that a self-proclaimed democrat will not answer any of the issues I raised, will not acknowledge my right to raise those issues, but will conveniently and readily reach for ways in which to put me down and to mischaracterise my articles.

If a couple of articles amount to vilification, I shudder to think what Nana Akufo Addo ought to be making of the writings of Dr Arthur Kennedy. In all this, though, I am heartened that people have seen through his antics and have been calling on him to join this intellectual debate. I will take this opportunity to, once again, extend the invitation.

My claims are that Dr Kennedy possesses no superior political skills and that he has so far not advanced any verifiable facts to back his often bashing of the NPP flagbearer. For as long as he refuses to advance these facts, his claims will continue to ring hollow.

Incidentally, his actions after my articles have backed my assertions. Dr Kennedy often justifies his ‘Lone Ranger’ actions by the claim that the NPP constitution is not being allowed to work resulting in the undermining of the General Secretary and the National Chairperson.

One would have thought that in making this claim Dr Kennedy has an appreciable knowledge of the party’s constitution. He rather betrayed his limited knowledge when in a Facebook interaction he claimed that the National Treasurer is an appointed position by NEC. He further betrayed his lack of superior political skills by appearing to use long term NPP membership as a proxy for trustworthiness.

I think Dr Kennedy owes me a great debt of gratitude. His influence within the NPP has waned almost to nothing and he needed a new tact. All tricks he has employed to date have not yielded the desired results. What better way than to appropriate the title of my article to court sympathy? This is what propagandists do when they duck out of challenges. Surely when all affection is squandered, victimhood offers a convenient last refuge!

Dr Yaw Ohemeng