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Opinions of Friday, 20 June 2008

Columnist: Anor, Ofori G,

Why I Support Dr. Amoako For Parliament

Some things in this world are worth supporting and defending just for the heck of it. Dr Sam Amoako’s bid for a seat in Ghana’s parliament is one of such things. I could not be bothered by what party he belongs to. I am not interested in how he butters his bread or whether he prefers his steak medium or well done. In fact, I could care less about how he prays – whether he stands on one foot with one eye closed or he squats on broken bottles with a goblet of wine balanced on his head.

This is about the serious business of playing the game of politics with an eye on the prize. It is called playing to win. It is about those of us who have chosen to reside abroad but still maintain deep spiritual, cultural, economic, political etc contacts with our country. It is about what is in the future of this country for the army of youngsters – our children - with claims to Ghanaian and other nationalities.

This about the Euro-American style representative democracy system Ghana has chosen to dabble in. In this system, there is the general interest and special or constituent interest. It is the special interest that I want us to consider, knowing full well that I risk the ire of those whose sensibilities have been assaulted by self-serving politicians who have made the expression synonymous with self-aggrandizement and thievery in high places. I am referring to special interest as it relates to the welfare of a constituency or sub-group within a super group. This system works or will work only if we make it work – i.e. if we populate it with people who we believe will speak, fight, work and represent what we want them to speak, fight, work or represent.

The Ghanaian community in the United States is a solid constituency. We are many and diverse. We bring formidable intellectual and spiritual resources (tapped and untapped) to the table. The scope of our wealth and economic wherewithal is simply awesome. We know this. Politicians know this. Folks back home know this. And boy, have we been generous and forthcoming or what??

What is often forgotten in this equation is that we also are a constituency with unique problems and interests.

A few of these are: - dual citizenship: this has been the whipping horse for many a politician from Rawlings to Kufuor. What we have now is miserable touch and go rendition of what we need and hoped for

- Ghana Airways: the national carrier that we proudly and supported and patronized has been allowed to go belly up, leaving us at the mercy of foreign exploitative carriers

- Import duties: killer rates on things we send home either for personal use, to support charitable causes or even for business. Where in the world do you pay taxes over and above the sale price of the item?

- Voting rights: still remain a “can we, we will??” issue.

- Etc

Things will remain as they are if WE, (I mean Ghanaians in the United States) DO NOT BEGIN TO SAY WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID BY US AND FOR US. One of the best available means to do this is to place ONE OF US at the source of political power in Ghana – GHANA’S PARLIAMENT It is time for us to put someone there not only to seek the general good of all GHANAIANS, but to do so in tandem with the special interest of GHANAIANS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!! We need someone there who would draft and sponsor WORKABLE and REASONABLE legislations that are in our interest. We need ONE OF US IN ACCRA!!!!

This is where DR SAMUEL AMOAKO comes in.


When he wins, we, for the first time ever can confidently say that we have ONE OF US in Accra.

And DR AMOAKOH is ONE OF US in every sense of the word.

- He’s lived for many years with and among us in the bogey-down neighborhoods of the Bronx

- He made himself schooling in THE CITY! He graduated from Columbia University in Harlem!!!

- He rode the trains and buses to his job as a professor at LaGuardia Community College in Queens.

- He was once the Secretary General of the National Council of Ghanaian Associations in New York.

- He chairs the management committee of the first Ghanaian Methodist Church in New York City. In fact he is still a member of the church choir.

- He is a prominent member and one time president of the Akyem Association Inc of USA.

- He’s been a volunteer tutor in a free SAT Prep program organized by the National Council of Ghanaian Associations for high school kids in New York

- He’s maintained a never-failing presence at countless naming ceremonies. outdoorings, marriages, funerals, birthdays, graduations etc.

So, you see, this man is ONE OF US through and through!! We know him on first name basis. He knows us likewise.

Think about walking into an MP’s office in Accra and saying “Doc what’s up?’ and then proceeding to tell him about clearing some books you brought home to donate to your village school. That’s what I’m talking about, folks!!!! And he knows the community on first hand basis. He knows what we go through because he’s gone through them himself.

This campaign by Amoako transcends political affiliations. Of course he will contest on a party’s ticket. That is required by the process. Somebody will win on a party’s ticket. WHY NOT OUR MAN?

This is why I support Dr Amoako’s campaign. Am I being a simpleton and naïve? Maybe I am. But I also am a social pragmatist. I believe that a home grown scavenging bird is better than an alien one. The former knows well enough what to gobble and what to leave alone. Dr. Amoako is homegrown.

Dr Amoako has taken the first step. He’s won his party’s nomination for one of its sure shot seats in all Ghana. When (not if) Dr Amoako wins, all GHANAIANS IN THE UNITED STATES win.

G. Ofori Anor New York City

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