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Opinions of Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Volta Region is the cradle of 'patapaa' politics in Ghana

Some hired hacks of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) have been writing a lot of bunk in recent weeks and months, grotesquely suggesting that the key operatives of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have cut their teeth on what these cynical critics term as the “politics of patapaa.” Well, for those of our readers who may not know what it is, “patapaa” refers to the proverbial schoolyard bullies who would use any means to achieve their aims and/or objectives but justice and fair play. I don’t doubt for a split-second that there are, indeed, quite a remarkable number of patapaa people among the top-echelon membership of the New Patriotic Party. Historically speaking, though, it is unquestionably the entire leadership of the National Democratic Congress, imperiously chaperoned by founding-father Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, who have been breastfed and weaned on the brazen politics of patapaa.

The most recent example of patapaa behavior and mindset was luridly exhibited in the Klottey-Korley Constituency, in the Greater-Accra Region, when the eldest daughter of Chairman Rawlings, Dr. Zanetor Rawlings, contested in that constituency’s parliamentary primary and won handily by garnering more than twice the votes won by the parliamentary incumbent and former Greater-Accra Regional Minister, Mr. Nii Armah Ashitey. Dr. Rawlings had achieved her widely expected feat by literally and cheaply riding the crest of the popularity of her father, Ghana’s longest-reigning military dictator cum democratically elected leader. Well, what came to light next was all the more intriguing. Even as I write, a lawsuit filed by Mr. Ashitey to nullify the parliamentary primary victory of Dr. Rawlings, a Western-trained physician, is pending in court.

By all indications, short of the familiarly crude and downright barbaric application of some form of judicial arm-twisting by the members of the Rawlings Clan and their surrogates, there is absolutely no way that any legitimately constituted court of the land would find in favor of Dr. Rawlings. Simply put, the eldest of the Rawlingses’ daughters had used fraud to clinch victory at Klottey-Korley. Here is how: well, like the constitutions of all serious democratic parties the world over, one cannot be a viable or credible electoral candidate, in this particular instance a parliamentary candidate, unless one is also a duly registered dues-paying member of the party that the prospective candidate intends to represent. Well, as it turned out in the wake of the Klottey-Korley parliamentary primary, Dr. Rawlings was neither a registered and/or dues-paying members of the ruling National Democratic Congress, the very party she wants to represent in our august National Assembly.

But the real shocker here is less about the preceding incontrovertible factual observations than what the globally notorious cross-dressing General-Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, has to say about Mr.Ashitey’s patient and calm exposure of the insufferable rot that is the prime mode of operation at the party’s Accra headquarters. Having been caught, literally, with his pants down, hung and all, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia has come public to arrogantly confess that Dr. Rawlings’ fraudulent decision to contest the Klottey-Korley parliamentary primary, knowing full well that she was not even a member of the National Democratic Congress was, indeed, the General-Secretary’s own design. Put in plain language, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia had knavishly figured out that once Dr. Rawlings clinched her patently illegitimate victory, she could then suavely and expediently take advantage of the Electoral Commission’s scheduled limited voters’ registration period to rectify such criminal irregularity.

In a healthier, robust and functional democracy, no doubt, Dr. Rawlings could be facing considerable time behind bars. This is what vintage patapaa politics really looks like. Indeed, during the most recent session of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, the latter establishment’s president, Togbe Afede, IV, passionately called for all major traditional rulers in the region to open up their areas of jurisdiction to leaders of all the country’s legitimately registered political parties, irrespective of ideological suasion, during the current electioneering campaign season. Togbe Afede, a Yale-educated entrepreneur, may very well have been alluding to the perennially pathological practice whereby only politicians belonging to the Rawlings-minted National Democratic Congress have been permitted to campaign in the region (See “Grant All Politicians Access to the People – Afede” Ghana News Agency [GNA]/ 4/10/16).

The foregoing is a classic example of the politics of patapaa. And this benighted political practice was what earned the Volta Region the well-deserved sobriquet of “Ghana’s Patapaa Region.” We, of course, take this prime opportunity to congratulate Togbe Afede, of the Ho-Asogli Traditional Area, for showing his people the surest route to salutary political enlightenment the way it is done and ought to be done in the twenty-first century.

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