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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Which is Which: NDC Foot-Soldiers or NDC Thugs?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

On February 5, 2011, published a quite curiously fascinating story captioned “NDC Foot-soldiers Seize Auction Cars.” And as the title clearly indicates, the story was about a group of youths belonging to the ruling National Democratic Congress who had barged unto the premises of the Tamale Regional Hospital and illegally made away with eight out of some eleven vehicles slated for auctioning to the public, I presume.

We are not told why the reported eleven vehicles were being auctioned; neither were readers provided with any detailed description of the vehicles involved in the alleged theft, except the reason allegedly given by the culprits for stealing these vehicles. The youthful thieves, whose ages were not provided, allegedly “accused the NDC regional executives of denying them jobs.”
Quite fascinating, because readers were also not given any details regarding the professional qualifications of the thieves, and precisely what kinds of jobs they wanted or had presumably put in job applications for, but which had been deliberately and callously denied them by the Northern Regional NDC executives.
And so in the absence of the preceding details, one is left wondering whether the primary intent of the thieves in making away with the said vehicles was to convert them into some sort of commercial vehicular transport and thereby provide themselves with the jobs which the NDC regional executives had reportedly denied them
Two problems immediately crop up here, neither of which can be made light of, even if neither of them legitimizes the patent criminality of vehicular theft or, really, theft of any kind. And they are the fact that one could not reasonably dispute with these NDC “foot-soldiers” over their right to holding a job in order to be able to eke out a decent livelihood.
Needless to say, it was precisely in exchange for the promise of jobs by the NDC politicians that these youthful thieves had opted for enlistment as members of the Atta-Mills government.
Secondly, the fact that the NDC had precedent, or a verifiable record, of seizing properties that never belonged to the party’s operatives, a precedent that was personally set by its unruly patriarch, Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings, from the latter’s AFRC/PNDC days, makes it almost criminal for any levelheaded Ghanaian citizen to accuse and charge these youthful vehicular thieves as such.
And it is for the foregoing reason that it comes as rather laughable to hear Chief-Inspector Ebenezer Tetteh, of the Northern Regional Police Service, promising, or rather threatening, to arrest “anybody behind this criminal act” Laughable because not quite awhile back, Mr. Rashid Pelpuo, the National Democratic Congress’ Majority Leader in Parliament, faulted the purported “property-grabbing” mentality of members, supporters and sympathizers of the now-opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) for being primarily responsible for the kleptocratic fit of many an NDC foot-soldier.
As of this writing (2/6/11), the Tamale metropolitan police had yet to arrest any of the alleged vehicular thieves; neither had a single stolen vehicle been retrieved. We think we know who may be hiding these stolen vehicles in his well-fortified lair in the Ridge section of Accra, but dare not mention the same, for fear of being brought up on charges of libel. We also have absolutely no doubt that Chief-Inspector Tetteh and his men are likely to shortly apprehend almost all the prime suspects involved in this flagrant act of theft, except, of course, the one conveniently holed up in his sprawling Ridge estate.
But whether Tarkwa-Atta’s government would permit the clinical prosecution of the very people upon whose naked broad backs its key operatives clambered into the august seat of power, remains to be seen. For me, though, all bets are off!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of “The Obama Serenades” (, 2011). E-mail: