By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
The National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Tain Constituency’s assertion that the speech delivered by former President John Agyekum-Kufuor at the Danquah Institute-sponsored 2nd Liberty Lecture had been censored by the organizers of the event, could not be more insufferably intemperate (See “Danquah Institute Censored Kufuor’s Speech – Tain MP” MyJoyOnline.com 8/17/12). And it is for the foregoing reason that I solemnly appeal to the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Mrs. Joyce Adeline Bamford-Addo, to promptly call on Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim to publicly apologize for insulting the intelligence of the former President.
At any rate, it is quite understandable that Mr. Ibrahim would feel acutely affronted by Mr. Kufuor’s eloquent testimony to the largely unknown and un-trumpeted, albeit seminally sterling, achievements of the presidential candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Since passing on the democratic reins of governance in 2008, Mr. Kufuor has gained global political recognition, acclaim and stature the likes of which are only bested on the African continent by Messrs. Nelson R. Mandela and Kofi Annan, both of whom are also Nobel Peace Prize laureates. One may also, perhaps, want to add Archbishop Desmond Tutu, retired, of Cape Town, to this list of intellectual, moral and cultural standouts.
In sum, when he speaks to issues bordering on Ghanaian and continental African politics and culture, Mr. Kufuor almost stands in a class by himself. And it is on the latter score that when he impugns the statesmanship credentials of the former premier, Mr. Ibrahim verges dangerously on the heretical. It is also rather pathologically cynical and outright uncouth for the Tain NDC-MP to presume to so casually wade into the internal affairs of the NPP, a party of which he carries no membership card, and rather imperiously presume to decide for Mr. Kufuor whom his favorite presidential candidate ought to be.
It is also amusing for the Tain NDC-MP to characterize the electioneering campaign style of Nana Akufo-Addo as “warlike” when, in fact, it is rather the Rawlings-founded and chaperoned National Democratic Congress that has a forensically provable record of wanton engagement in brutal assassinations (mind you, dear reader, Ghanaians have yet to be told about the kind of “providential paradigm-shift” that caused the death of President John Evans Atta-Mills) and identification haircuts.
The fact of the matter is that violent political operatives like Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim are in morbid fear of Nana Akufo-Addo’s no-nonsense approach to the NDC’s trademark politics of violence and raw intimidation. To be certain, inasmuch as, together with a largely amnesiac moiety of Ghanaian citizens, I should very much like to concur with Mr. Ibrahim that, indeed, the late President Mills was a “peaceful” and “modest” man, the latter’s track-record on the campaign trail – in particular, his inexcusable threat to create a Kenya-type of apocalyptic carnage in the aftermath of the NDC and Candidate Mills losing Election 2008 – does not pass muster.
The lurid kind of sub-ethnic chauvinism and tribalism – that were staunchly backed by the likes of Messrs. Jerry John Rawlings, John Dramani Mahama and Kwesi Nduom – doggedly pursued by the former Legon tax-law professor, hardly gibes with a personality of placid and modest character.
And so, really, when Mr. Ibrahim calls Nana Akufo-Addo “a warlike presidential candidate,” the avid student of European colonial history cannot but be risibly reminded of the same characterization being ironically projected on the Asantes by the invading British imperialists at the turn of the twentieth century, and also throughout the nineteenth century.
*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: firstname.lastname@example.org.