By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Folks, it is clear that President Mahama’s reaction to the “useless insults” hurled at him by his political opponents has set off a verbal bomb. He has succeeded in jolting them into making all kinds of comments to lead us in several directions. And they are already expending energy on a campaign of equalization as if they cannot separate the wood from the forest.
Kweku Baako, Jr., the Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper and a known NPP ventriloquist, is reported to have said that the NPP’s Akufo-Addo is the most bastardized, the most vilified Ghanaian politician in the country’s recent political history.
“…They’ve bastardised the man, vilified him, assassinated his character, all without providing an iota of evidence,” Mr Baako said. According to him, even though Akufo-Addo has not been president before, he has taken more flak from his opponents than any other politician in Ghana. (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Baako-Akufo-Addo-is-most-bastardised-Ghanaian-politician-394737).
In going this way, Kweku Baako has added a different complexion to the matter; and we will examine that aspect to prove that no one but (William) Nana Addo Dankwa (Danquah) Akufo-Addo has bastardized himself and turned up his underbelly to be poked open for the effluent in him to flow out into the open for public scrutiny and consequent disapprobation for all that it is. I do so with a clean conscience wrought by my knowledge of who Akufo-Addo is and why he is what Baako says he is in the public sphere.
First, I want to interrogate the operational word “bastardized” as used by Baako in his assertions. I don’t know which of the many meanings of the word influenced Baako’s thinking to make him portray Akufo-Addo as such; but I know that the most widely accepted reflected (strongest) meaning of the word is “to reduce from a higher to a lower level” (to debase, generally). It takes its source from the root word “bastard” (which itself has many meanings, some of which are “spurious” or “false”; “of an inferior or non-typical kind, size, or form”; “an offensive or disagreeable person”; and the common one, “an illegitimate child”.
Okay for the definition to create the context. Which of these meanings informed Baako’s assertion regarding his characterization of Akufo-Addo is his own cup of tea; but I assume that he is interested in the broad meaning of the verb (“bastardize”) to suggest that Akufo-Addo has been “maligned”, “disparaged” or “vilified”. If that is the framework, then, I agree with him without question.
But framing my analysis around a major foundational question should help us prepare for what I will argue about to prove that no one but Akufo-Addo has succeeded in bastardizing himself. The question is: Why is Akufo-Addo bastardized? Is it because he has been chosen for a special vengeance by those vilifying him? What is that vengeance?
Folks, I now launch my project to unpack Baako’s assertions. Obviously, Akufo-Addo is on people’s lips for whatever he is and what he has portrayed about himself to warrant his being talked about for good or bad. As Baako saw things, the bad aspects far outweigh the good ones; at least, if his claims are anything to go by.
So, why vilify Akufo-Addo? The truth is that the man is the cause of his own bastardization, clearly because of what he has been all these 70 something years. Let’s be honest enough to take a tour through his life to expose the landmarks.
Much of what we know about Akufo-Addo is already in the public domain. His origin and privileged position as the son of a highly accomplished lawyer and titular President of Ghana (Edward Akufo-Addo) are known. His own exploits in the legal field are there for all to see, even if huge question marks still hang over how he became a lawyer without any certificate from the Middle Temple but was called alone to the Ghana Bar on a Saturday to be enrolled by the General Legal Council in 1973. A long story here.
We have records on Akufo-Addo’s ventures in national politics, beginning as the MP for the Abuakwa North(?) constituency, rising to hold Ministerial portfolios as the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Minister of Foreign Affairs under Kufuor. His ambition to become Ghana’s President and the challenges facing him in his own party in the period preceding his choice as the flagbearer for Elections 2008, 2012, and 2016 is known too.
In choosing to do national politics to the extent that he has reached so far, Akufo-Addo has left ugly traces behind. His public posturing and pronouncements have generally portrayed him in controversial ways that have wrought what Baako sees as his being bastardized.
Folks, it will be redundant to itemize all that Akufo-Addo is because much is already out there about him. To his admirers, he is “gold”; but those who see him as worse than brass know why. In truth, the outcome of Elections 2008 and 2012 should tell every conscionable observer that Akufo-Addo failed in his bid to become Ghana’s President because his personal liabilities of character far outweighed whatever his glib tongue and pretentions political antics could dredge up. He failed to appeal to the electorate and lost the bid.
Even then, he won’t change his dark spots to make the difference. What is known about him that continues to detract from his worth includes the general perception that he is arrogant, not to mention the aspects that touch on immorality and drug abuse. Much of what harms his personal image comes from him. Thus, whatever he does or says is quickly placed within the context that he himself has created for the people. Changing that context has been his most difficult task.
Added to the negative streak of character as stated above, happenings in the NPP of late have added more to his baggage. Thus, additional negative/pejorative instances verging on his being vindictive, divisive, intolerant, and overly desperate for political power have combined to darken his image. No one seeing him in this negative light will be cajoled by any façade or smokescreen he sets up to advance his political quests.
The deceptive or manipulative campaign stunts (e.g., joining commuters on tro-tro buses from Kwame Nkrumah Circle to Labadi/Osu in Accra; visiting deprived communities in parts of the country and eating food with the people; or mixing up with members of just any kind of religious sect for worship) don’t do him good. They cast him in a bad light as a pretender who is descending from his high horse to rub shoulders with the common people only in pursuit of their mandate to accomplish his childhood ambition of becoming Ghana’s President at all costs.
Added to these hiccups are the inflammatory pronouncements made by Akufo-Addo, especially those regarding “Yen Akanfuo” and “All-die-be-die”. In a single swing of his tongue, Akufo-Addo destroyed his own public image by making such explosive comments. It is his own making.
Additionally, his refusal to condemn equally dangerous pronouncements from stalwarts of the NPP such as Kennedy Agyapong and Yaw Osafo-Marfo has reinforced the negative opinions about him that he supports the stance of those pitting Akans against other ethnic groups. In fact, this particular aspect of happenings does Akufo-Addo no good at all. I wonder if he doesn’t know it and why he can’t undo the harm.
Let’s turn to Akufo-Addo’s pronouncements that portray him as a violent person. His refusal to accept the outcome of Elections 2008 and 2012 had nasty repercussions, the most disturbing ones being the street demonstrations and vandalism that his followers resorted to. What happened after the results had been announced confirmed people’s perception of him as a violent man who would sacrifice everything and everybody in pursuit of his political ambitions. We are even not talking about the 8 months of his petition hearing by the Supreme Court that underscored his agenda to make Ghana ungovernable for President Mahama.
Folks, turning the searchlight on internal happenings of the NPP as Akufo-Addo leads the party to Election 2016 will confirm why he should be seen as the most bastardized politician. We will not bore you by recounting all the happenings; but the general impression is that he is manipulating the situation to snuff out those opposed to him. What happened to Alan Kyerematen to turn him into a “mumu” and to emasculate other vocal critics (Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe, Kwame Pianim, Dr. Wereko-Brobby, Dr. Konadu Apraku) is incontestable. What we see happening to Afoko and will happen to Sammy Crabbe (and Kwabena Agyepong if the real power brokers of the NPP will allow it) is glaringly the brainchild of Akufo-Addo. No matter how he distances himself from those happenings, it will be difficult to free him as having no hand in the rumpus.
So, folks, do you see how Akufo-Addo comes across? He has laid the foundation for whatever is being built to make the Kweku Baakos present him as the most bastardized politician in recent times. The ultimate question is: Out of the thousands of Ghanaian politicians walking the political stage for public goodwill, why is Akufo-Addo pinpointed/targeted for vilification? And who are those vilifying him? Of course, his political opponents will. But now, he has succeeded in raising a constituency of vilifiers within his own party to worsen his woes. So, na who cause am?
He may claim to be neither corrupt nor corruptible; but there is more to character than that claim. And it is the positive streaks of character that woo the electorate not any flight into fantasy or self-adulation. Neither will recourse to ventriloquists of Kweku Baako’s type solve any problem for Akufo-Addo. Choosing violence in the pursuit of the demand for a renewal of the voters register will accompany him to Election 2016. Who will lionize someone advocating violence to achieve his political ambitions?
Folks, there is still a lot more to say in response to Kweku Baako’s claim; but I will pause here to say that in all that has been happening, I don’t think that anybody is imagining anything negative to splash on Akufo-Addo. Whatever has become of him in the public sphere has come from him. If he turns a new leaf to change his dark spots, something positive may happen to his public image. Until then, it is the same old story. No one but Akufo-Addo has bastardized himself!
I shall return…
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