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Opinions of Sunday, 28 November 2010

Columnist: Ali, Salifu

What About Smoking The Weed, Nana Akufo-Addo?

Ask Salifu Ali

It was reported on all the major Ghanaian websites including Joyonline and

Ghanaweb that NPP’s 2012 flagbearer, Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo has dared his

critics to prove with empirical evidence that he had either tasted or sniffed

cocaine or shut up. The news which came like a bolt from the blue was not only

shocking but unexpected. Reason being that Akufo-Addo has been dogged with the

question of being a drug addict all his political life but he has never gathered

the moral and political courage to address this issue.

Therefore, when Akufo-Addo finally and partially addressed the drug issue by

daring his critics to prove their accusations, the media jumped on the story.

Who would not have done that after Akufo-Addo had kept mute over this issue for

so long much to the displeasure of his own party faithful. If you read through

the story and you are an Akufo-Addo supporter your heart will be gladdened that

this man has finally come out of his cocoon to bare his heart out. But if you on

the other side of the isle you will say, “wait a minute, it’s too little, too

late”, and a cosmetic way by Akufo-Addo to get this albatross off his neck.

But if you are also someone who looks beyond party lines and has Ghana at heart,

you will ask yourself why Akufo-Addo was ‘very crafty’ in mentioning only

cocaine but not the weed. To the best of my memory many Ghanaians including the

“Big Mouth” Kofi Wayo have variously accused Akufo-Addo of being a wee smoker in

addition to sniffing cocaine. Therefore, in an attempt to deny the allegations,

one wonders why Akufo-Addo will only deny ever sniffing cocaine and not also

deny smoking the weed.

This issue I bet is not going to go away. It has rather set the stage for people

to probe for more answers from Akufo-Addo. By not denying smoking the weed, does

it mean Akufo-Addo indeed smokes or had smoked the weed before? Or does

Akufo-Addo think the weed is the same as cocaine, therefore, denying one amounts

to denying both?

And the most bizarre question that has already started making rounds is why

Akufo-Addo chose to address the drug issue this week when many people in his own

party would have loved that he addressed the issue many years back. And some

school of thought want to know why Akufo-Addo did not hold a press conference to

address the issue so that the media can ask follow-up questions to finally put

the issue to rest.

Another thing that catches your attention after reading the Akufo-Addo story on

cocaine sniffing denial is why he is daring critics to prove with empirical

evidence. The word empirical means practical, experimental, observed or

pragmatic, therefore, to prove that Akufo-Addo indeed had either sniffed or

smoked the weed; an accuser has to come forward with real evidence such as a

photograph capturing Akufo-Addo in the act. And since Akufo-Addo knows that

there is no way anybody can come out with a picture of him sniffing cocaine that

may have been his reason of calling for empirical evidence. This is classy

lawyerly talk.

It was also reported that Akufo-Addo was fuming when he dared his critics to

prove their allegations. Na who cause am? Akufo-Addo has himself to blame. It

was not only yesterday that Akufo-Addo heard about these accusations. Even some

prominent members of NPP have quietly accused him of that act. So if Akufo-Addo

is indeed genuine about putting this issue to bed, he should have done it many,

many years ago and not wait until this week to address the issue. What

Akufo-Addo probably is not aware of is that the way he had grossly dodged the

issue have confirmed the fears of many Ghanaians especially the swing voters

that there may be an element of truth in the accusations that is why Akufo-Addo

has ran away from the issue all this while.

And to make matters worse Akufo-Addo addressed only one part of the accusations.

Was it deliberate or a calculated political move on his part? Was Akufo-Addo

thinking that no one will catch that he never mentioned the weed? In politics

when your back is against the wall, it is better to come out and admit a

mistake, apologize, ask for forgiveness and move on. But if you stonewall as

Akufo-Addo has done all these years, you hurt your political base and also the

swing voters who may hold sway over your political fortunes.

Those handling Akufo-Addo should do a masterful job by asking him to face the

media to address all issues relating to drugs once and for all. It is not

uncommon for some politicians to turn around from their youthful miscreant.

Former President George Bush who was known as an alcoholic was able to turn

around from his drinking habit to become the most prominent leader of the world.

Therefore, it is not too late for Akufo-Addo to do same. Sometimes, you become

strong after admitting a mistake and moving on. Stonewalling had never helped

anyone. If I were Akufo-Addo I will take a cue from what King David did by

admitting to plotting the killing of Uriah the Hittite after he had slept with

Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. King David became strong after he admitted his guilt to

the Prophet Nathan and asking God for forgiveness. A word to a wise………….