By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
It well appears that the year 2014 is shaping up to be the Season of Comedic Free Fall for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). And this is all well and good, in view of the steely and adamant determination of these Rawlings-minted red-striped pro-Russia and pro-China NDC apparatchiks to recklessly dominate our national political culture in perpetuity by hook or crook.
Scarcely a month ago, the recently “reshuffled” Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Joseph Yammin, told the nation and the world at large, imperiously, as well as impudently, that the Mahama government was in receipt of a remarkable number of free tickets for citizens intent on flying to Brazil in order to cheer up the players of our senior national soccer team, the Black Stars; but that not just about anybody claiming to be a bona fide Ghanaian citizen would be given a free ticket to Brasilia to support the Black Stars in their participation in the 2014 World Cup Tournament.
Rather, sporting a decidedly smirky and vindictive mien, Mr. Yammin haughtily indicated that to qualify as a legitimate member of the Black Stars’ Cheering Squad, a group that was being meticulously assembled by the Mahama government, the prospective ticket holder had to be a certified card-carrying member of the National Democratic Congress. Merely claiming to be either a supporter or sympathizer of the NDC would not cut it, as New Yorkers are wont to say.
Mr. Yammin, presently reassigned to Kumasi as Deputy Asante Regional Minister, also shamelessly claimed that the invidious exclusion of New Patriotic Party (NPP) members, supporters and sympathizers was in direct retaliation of former President John A. Kufuor’s decision in 2006, or thereabouts, to allow only a handful of NDC supporters to fly to Germany in support of the Black Stars, then participating in a tournament whose designation, or title, was not clearly spelt out by Mr. Yammin.
Now, God being so good, it turns out that the NDC-sponsored cheering squad may actually have been party undesirables, or spent foot-soldiers – largely unemployed political agitators – that Mr. Yammin, deputizing for the Mahama government, deliberately intended to off-load onto the Brazilian government. It makes a quite perfect sense to assume the preceding observation to be airtightly credible, because Messrs. Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah and Yammin had assured the nation before hand that only trusted NDC members would be allowed free tickets to fly to Brazil in support of the Black Stars.
In sum, what I am suggesting here is that Mr. Felix Ofosu-Kwakye, the Deputy Information Minister, cannot be taken seriously when the hip-shooting Mahama go-fer vehemently and publicly denies the fact of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress having anything, whatsoever, to do with the reason reportedly given the Brazilian government by some 200 members of the NDC-sponsored Black Stars Cheering Squad for seeking asylum in that vast South American federal republic.
But what needs to be quickly pointed out is the fact that Brazil, historically speaking, is not the most hospitable country for the ordinary Black-African person. It has, for instance, been authoritatively noted by some among the vanguard ranks of Lusophone scholars that Brazil has between 8 and 16 racial categories for its citizens. This invidious politics of anti-Black/African racism may have remarkably changed over the decades, but it is still practically and culturally the norm.
Well, the reason reportedly given by the Ghanaian asylum seekers is that there is a bitter religious conflict raging back in their homeland, in which the Christian majority of Ghana are literally tearing at the throats of the country’s Muslim minority. I suppose some smart-aleck among the ranks of these prospective asylees has figured out that, somehow, no employee of the Brazilian immigration service knows the difference between John (Muslim-surname-sporting) Mahama’s Ghana and the Boko Haram-infested Federal Republic of Dr. Jonathan’s Nigeria. Or even farther east, the post-Bokassa Central African Repblic, where, indeed, the latter country’s Christian majority are actually at the throats of that country’s Muslim minority populace.
In the end, though, however one looks at this latest national contretemps, the fact still stands that it is the Mahama government that ought to squarely bear the brunt of such shameful and boorish mendacity. And, by the way, have the likes of Mr. Ofosu-Kwakye and Murtala Mohammed bothered to seek audience with the Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, in order to find out exactly what s/he has communicated back home in the wake of perhaps the most morally staggering national embarrassment in recent memory?