Feature Article of Sunday, 15 July 2012

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Papa Kwesi Nduom Is a Summer Politician

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

I would like to believe that the founding-presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) means every bit of it, when Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom vehemently calls on Ghanaian voters to resist the dictatorial tendencies of President John Evans Atta-Mills, but I simply cannot (See “Nduom Calls on Ghanaians to Resist President Mills” Ghanaweb.com 7/11/12).
I simply cannot trust the man, because the former Kufuor cabinet appointee has yet to amply demonstrate to Ghanaian voters, outside of his home-constituency of Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA), that, indeed, he is a man of principles. For starters, this is the same personality who studiously admonished Mr. Sekou Nkrumah, son of Ghana’s first postcolonial premier, not to flirt with the clinically unconscionable and downright dangerous operatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and then went right ahead to whimsically claim a stance of ideological neutrality during the 2008 presidential-election runoff, when it became obvious that an ethnically chauvinistic Candidate John Evans Atta-Mills, the “homeboy” of the former KEEA MP on the ticket of the rump-Convention People’s Party (CPP), had his closes shot yet at the presidency, after three consecutive attempts.
And here, of course, must be promptly recalled the fact that the three-time NDC presidential candidate had vigorously campaigned on the strength of his Fante sub-ethnic affiliation in the widely regarded and predominantly Fante swing province of the Central Region. What made matters even more invidious was the fact that Dr. Nduom had brooked absolutely no qualms, as a frontline CPP ideologue and an Nkrumah fanatic, whatsoever, in deciding to serve in the cabinet of the Kufuor-led and Danquah-Busia-Dombo-leaning New Patriotic Party (NPP) for some six years and been very proud of what Dr. Nduom claimed to be his unique and sterling achievements. And fairly evenly throughout the past three-and-half years, the former Energy and Employment minister in the Kufuor administration has not been niggardly with his commendation and defense of his homeboy.
Recently, for instance, when the widely rumored and acknowledged failing health of President Mills became a national, political-campaign grist, Dr. Nduom was quick to caution his fellow citizens and rivals against the unhealthy temptation to politicizing the president’s state of health. Of course, he speaks out of the vantage point of both experience and common sense – for Dr. Nduom is quite an intelligent personality – when he angrily faults President Mills for apparently flouting the recommendation of the unilaterally constituted Constitution Review Commission that Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives ought to be elected, rather than being appointed by the president, if the quality of the country’s fledgling democratic culture is to be remarkably enhanced, and the nation’s level and rate of development phenomenally boosted.
My personal take on this issue of concern is that Dr. Nduom is, himself, inescapably integral to the problem. For one, the founder and presidential candidate of the so-called Progressive People’s Party never questioned the unilateral and dictatorial manner in which the Constitution Review Commission was established, without any regard for the constitutionally stipulated mandate of Ghana’s Parliament for such a momentous and monumental undertaking. No substantive and temporally exhaustive deliberations had been permitted. And since the President has aptly come to envisage the CRC as his personal and private initiative and exclusive preserve, why does Dr. Nduom find it rather flabbergasting that President Mills would so casually and almost flippantly treat the findings of the CRC?
At any rate, his entire all-too-expedient relationship with both the Convention People’s Party, as an ideological apparatus or political machine, and with the key operatives of the CPP, sharply convinces me that in terms of temperament and dictatorial tendencies, the difference between President Mills and Candidate Nduom is not nearly akin to day and night, metaphorically speaking, as Edina Kwesi would have his followers, supporters and sympathizers believe. And by the way, those politically studious Ghanaians who firmly believe that the President’s adamant refusal to let executive democracy prevail outside our nation’s capital of Accra has the pudgy fingers of Mr. Ato Ahwoi smack-dab in the details, may not be very far from accurate.
Indeed, one only has to conduct a systematic study and analysis of the public pronouncements of the Atta-Mills right-hand man on this subject in order to promptly arrive at this rather dispiriting conclusion. And it is on the preceding score that I wholly concur with Papa Kwesi Nduom, on the imperative need for Ghanaian voters to show their woefully under-performing leader the exit out of the Osu Castle and the Flagstaff House, come December 7, 2012.

*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 Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net.