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Opinions of Sunday, 21 July 2013

Columnist: Damptey, Daniel Danquah

Welcome back to Home Sweet Home, Kuranchie.

Welcome back to Home Sweet Home, Brother Ken Kuranchie.

The past cannot be changed. The Future is unknown. But we must work through the present in order to shape the future.

Kennedy Agyei Kuranchie is a personal friend of mine. Throughout my years of interaction with him, I have found him to be an upright gentleman and a reliable colleague who will look you straight in the eye and tell you what he strongly feels about you. Hypocrisy is not in his vocabulary. I can therefore vouch for his character and integrity.

I was therefore saddened when a ten day prison sentence was clamped on him for contempt. But I know Ken’s spirits are not broken. It is a price he has to pay for the survival of our nascent democracy.

But one thing amazes me about my good friend, Ken. It is an open secret that Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie started his political sojourn in the stables of the Nefarious Destructive Cancer, He, together with Alhaji Bature and a few others started the crusade to “criminalize” the then President John Agyekum Kufuor on his so-called sexual escapades with an American lady Gizele Yazji. The Tom and Jerry children were a figment of their own imagination for the children really never existed.

But like Saul of Tarsus, Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie had his spiritual encounter with the Agent of Truth and the scales fell off his eyes. He was no longer the blind Bartimaeus that we knew. He had seen the light and the Nefarious Destructive Cancer was no longer a safe abode for him.

It was during that period of spiritual rejuvenation that I met Ken for the first time. I had gone there in company of a colleague who wanted the ever reliable Kenneth Kuranchie to throw his searchlight on the activities of a notorious organization claiming to be awarding scholarships to unsuspecting Ghanaians to study abroad. He received us warmly into his office and we had quite a healthy deliberation. We encountered the Odwontofohene, Nana Pa Steele Kwame Ampadu in his office. The good old musician who has received several evergreen awards for composing inspiring songs gave us several words of inspiration. Our friendship started from that point. Since then, I have never looked back.

This is the Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie that I know. This is the Ken Kuranchie I will describe as a man of high moral principle. This is the Ken I will say is a detribalized Ghanaian. This is the man I will go on to describe as a person who detest oppression and negativity.

But Ken is a human being and fallible. He is expected to make mistakes and indeed he has made some. But one can understand him. This is because he wants to make things better.

Ken, do take heart. You are not the first to go through such torture. Today, we are looking on sheepishly as prison officers manipulate the system to show Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie where power lies. Tomorrow we shall again look on sheepishly as we watch these same prison officers whose fangs have tasted the blood of Ken Kuranchie yearn for more blood. Let the blood flow, they shout. But I must set the record straight that the NPP has a very high regard for the judiciary. When the former MP for Bawku Central was jailed, no member of the party made any disparaging remarks about the Judge who jailed him. But when Tastsu Tsikata and Dan Abodakpi were jailed, what did we see? The NDC Caucus in Parliament led by the Minority leader, Alban Babgin heaped insults and curses on the then sitting President Kufuor and his government. They organized women who dragged their naked buttocks on the ground. With their breast fully exposed, those MPs and top hierarchy of the party had a field day feasting their lustful eyes on the women’s uncovered breasts and buttocks. Oh, what a sight it was! But today, the equation has changed and we are on the other side. But we have accepted our fate in good faith. Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie braced himself for the deliberate orchestration of man’s inhumanity to his fellow human being he suffered at the hands of those callous prison officials.

“The Ghana Prisons Service explained that the constant transfer of Mr. Kuranchie to other prisons was to ensure his personal safety. The Public Affairs Director of the Service, Courage Atsem, told the media that the convict was moved out of Ho in accordance with rules and guidelines with regard to safety of the prisoner and security of the facility”. Did Ken ask for protection? Why was the same treatment not meted out to his fellow convict? Were Tsatsu Tsikata and Dan Abodakpi given similar treatment? Why did the move him out of the Nsawam Prisons at dawn of the day after his incarceration? How were they sure that he was going to receive so many visitors the next day?

“In an interview on an Accra based radio station, Joy FM, the prisons officer said his close family relations had been informed of the whereabouts of Mr. Kuranchie”. This was a complete lie.

“It is not in his human rights interest to be mentioning where he is being kept. Standing Order 195 of Prisons’ Service states that ‘A well behaved prisoner is allowed one visit in one month’” and claimed his relatives had been informed where he had been taken to.

This latter portion debunks the claim that Ken’s family was informed of where he had been taken to. Does the Director want to tell us that if a prisoner is not well behaved, he would not be allowed to receive visitors? Did the order for Kenneth Kuranchie to go to prison state that he must be held incommunicado? What have the Prisons Authorities done about the moribund law which states a prisoner should be allowed one visit a month? Do the authorities understand the nature of their job? If such a law has been allowed to remain in our statute books, than I am ashamed of belonging to the entity called Ghana. It ought to have been expunged from our statute books many decades ago.

Would Courage Atsem be kind enough to tell Ghanaians if a similar treatment was meted out to Ken’s fellow convict Atibiga was also moved round like he ordered Ken to be sent on a ‘Merry Go Round’ spree? Ken was moved out of Nsawam Prison in the early hours of the day after he went to prison... His fellow prisoner spent three days in the same prison? Why? Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie was ‘reshuffled’ amongst the four or so prisons within ten days, but his fellow convict spent all his three days in the same prison without intimidation. Why? Why was the other convict not subjected to a similar ordeal? To the best of my understanding, the Supreme Court never gave such an order.

It was not as if Ken was airlifted from one prison to the other. No, he wasn’t! And knowing very well the nature of our roads, Ken might have undergone a trauma which will remain indelible in his life. Again what type of vehicle was used to reshuffle him just as we reshuffle playing cards? Was it a Black Maria? What offence did Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie commit to be subjected to such a horrendous experience in prison? Did he kill a human being? Did the warrant order that he be given such treatment? But the way the prison officers went about discharging their job gives one the impression that the convict had snatched the wife or girl-friend of Courage Atsem. There can be nothing more than that; The PRO of the Service owes the public an explanation on that. Again how did the picture of Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie in prison uniform get leaked to the press? Was it done deliberately to humiliate him or what? I don’t seem to understand the whole thing.

But one thing I am sure of. And it is the fact that Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, my former Economics tutor at Abuakwa State College, Kibi, before he joined the Special Action Unit is also a man of principles. The Ghana Prisons Service falls under the Ministry of Interior where Mr. Ahwoi holds sway as the substantive Minister. There are speculations that the order to break down Ken Kuranchi’s resilient spirits emanated from his office. Honourable Minister, please comment on this issue.

To Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie, please let your vivacious spirits carry you through. Always remember the words of the song

“Courage brother, do not stumble; though thy path be as dark as night. There’s a star to guide the humble. Trust in God and do the right” Yes, remember that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for all who believe in the Creator. You did not go to prison as a criminal. Remember others like Indira Gandhi, Kenneth Kaunda, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, John Jerry Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor, Nelson Mandela, and Matthew Okikiade Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo had all been to prison before the mantle of leadership fell on them. You’ve just had your baptism of fire. Kweku Baako and Haruna Atta have breezed the trail. You‘ve just followed their footsteps.

And to Courage Atsem, please take these words of advice which I offer you free of charge. Do not forget the ordeal of DSP Kwesi Ofori, former Head of Public Relations Directorate of Police Affairs. After the NDC government had used him for its nefarious activities, he was hounded out of office in a most ignominious way. What happened to him is an eye opener to the fact that power is transient.

It happened to DSP Kwesi Ofori yesterday. Whose turn will it be today or even tomorrow? It could be you. We live in a wonderful world where strange things do happen.

Daniel Danquah Damptey (0243715297)