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Opinions of Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.

Will the NPP boycott independence anniversary celebration too?

Will the NPP boycott Ghana’s independence anniversary celebration too?

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Monday, March 4, 2013

Folks, the NPP leaders and their followers have once again come face-to-face with their own ghosts on the political terrain—and are scared stiff by what they see. Will they join President Mahama on Wednesday to celebrate the 56th anniversary of Ghana’s independence—a national event of too much significance to toy with?

Right-away, we can tell that they are stuck in the mud: Will they or will they not? With what implications for them?

True to their nature, they’ve chosen to use the classical Greek rhetorical strategy of sophistry to attempt throwing dust into the eyes of Ghanaians. Here is why: The pro-NPP Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) has called on Ghanaians to boycott the 56th independence anniversary celebrations scheduled for Wednesday because “the current economic hardship which has been compounded by the power and water crisis, should be enough to discourage the populace from participating in the celebration.”

Abu Ramadan, AFAG’s Director of Operations (who called for the boycott action) says that “this crisis is not a situation we can overlook; these are genuine crisis affecting the people of this country. Considering the amount of money we are going to spend in celebrating the Independence Day anniversary, I think as a country we can do ourselves a lot of good... This is not the time for us to merry make.”

He added that “this is not the time for us to celebrate our independence but rather a time for us to look at how best we can use the scarce resources we have as a country to solve the problems we are facing so that we can move out of the problem.” (Source: What exactly will be achieved with this boycott of the national celebration? Will boycotting the celebration lead to the problems being solved overnight? At best, it will only send wrong signals to the outside world that we are lost and can’t be taken seriously. Or it may help the NPP’s politics of reaction, confrontation, and divisiveness.

Certainly, we can tell that it is the NPP leaders who are behind this call. They can’t openly declare that they will boycott the celebration, knowing very well its damaging impact on their political front. So, they must hide behind this AFAG to outwit Ghanaians. But they can’t succeed.

We know that the AFAG is NPP in its coloration and modus operandi just as the NPP is the political macrocosm nurturing AFAG. Two sides of one coin!! This call by AFAG is just a ruse; it is the new strategy being used by the NPP as part of its anti-Mahama agenda. It is clear that the NPP will boycott the national celebration in Accra just because the President will be at the parade. If they want to boycott it, they should go ahead to do so. After all, having already set the boycott train in motion, there is every indication that the NPP cannot stop midstream to participate in an event that the President will definitely be in charge of.

I can read deeper meanings into this call to suggest that the NPP is merely using the AFAG to save face. Having taken it upon themselves to boycott anything involving the Presidency, I wonder how they will participate in this celebration. They are now stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. Definitely, they can’t do otherwise but boycott the event. If anyone thinks that what the AFAG has come out with is its own idea, that person should think again. The NPP is behind it all, seeing that the questions will soon begin being asked on its stance!

Do you see how these NPP people are hiding behind the smokescreen provided by AFAG to confirm their notoriety? They now want to spread their disease of boycott to Ghanaians; but they won’t go anywhere with it. Ghanaians know the importance and relevance of the independence anniversary.

Calling on them to boycott the celebration as if the country hasn’t had any crisis of the sort that this AFAG noisemaker is complaining about is the height of mischief. Ghanaians celebrate this anniversary not because they’ve had better governments to solve their problems or because Ghana’s independence has turned the country into a heaven-on-earth.

They do so as a reminder of what the country went through in asserting its sovereignty and freeing itself from colonial domination. They do so because that moment in the country’s political history is worth recalling to remind themselves of the need to live together as one people with a common destiny. Celebrating independence anniversary is a reminder to Ghanaians that they have their own destinies in their hands and must work hard to sustain themselves and their country.

By celebrating this occasion, Ghanaians do introspection to determine where they came from to be where they are today—and will be tomorrow. That’s the essence of the nationwide events on the occasion.

Ghanaians remind themselves of the struggle against British colonialism. They use the occasion to celebrate the peaceful manner in which Dr. Nkrumah and all others before him managed affairs without the shedding of blood as happened in other countries.

In fact, juxtaposed with the bloody fight for liberation in Africa and other parts of the world, the Ghanaian experience stands really tall to be celebrated. We needn’t recall what happened in Southern Africa (especially Zimbabwe and South Africa) to thank God that our struggle for independence didn’t have so much a heavy toll on life. Can we so soon forget the Mau-Mau bloody encounters with the British forces in Kenya or the Libyan and Ethiopian battles with Italy? Or the experiences of Algeria in the fight against France? In fact, I am certain that this AFAG and those in the NPP promoting its activities don’t really know the value of our independence. If they did, they would be circumspect in asking Ghanaians to boycott its celebration just because they can’t get utility services or that the celebration is taking place under a government not formed by them. Indeed, Ghanaians have known all along that the country’s problems didn’t begin being created only when President Mahama took over the reins of government. They know that over the years, their governments have failed to solve their problems. So, why should anybody incite them at this time to boycott the celebration of this all-important occasion?

I am not surprised that this pro-NPP group has begun instigating Ghanaians this way. After all, BOYCOTT has become the only political tool left for them to use. We’ve seen them use it and failed to make any mark.

They can go ahead to boycott the celebration; no one will miss them. In 2001, former President Kufuor chose to stay away from the celebration when he stayed back in Melbourne Australia at the end of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference, a precedent that earned him scathing criticisms.

His was not a boycott but an impolitic decision that stirred up rumours about what he used the day for (Ask Gifty Anti of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation to tell you how she felt as the focus of that rumour)!! The NPP and its lackeys in institutions such as AFAG can do all they like, including dissociating themselves from important national events. After all, once they’ve chosen to be “mentally and intellectually lazy” (thanks to Kwame Pianim and now, Kennedy Agyapong), they will settle on pettiness and misguided pronouncements to continue fighting against the wind. That’s exactly what this call for boycott of the independence anniversary confirms. Ghana will move on without them. But can they jump this hurdle that they have placed on their own way as they struggle to survive in the rough waters of Ghanaian politics?

I am, however, not surprised that such a call has come from a pro-NPP group because even when Dr. Nkrumah and his “Verandah Boys” were fighting hard for independence, the forebears of today’s NPP leaders and followers were vehemently doing and saying everything to detract from their efforts. They even sent a delegation to the British Monarchy not to grant Ghana independence.

So, why should anybody be surprised that 56 years after independence had been won, they would be asking that Ghanaians boycott its celebration? These anti-Ghana politicians have no shame!!

I shall return…

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