By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Friday, Sept. 2, 2016
Folks, those who have been carefully monitoring our public comments on ex-President Kufuor will agree that we have more often than not been harsh toward him when it comes to either his viewpoints on how to govern Ghana (especially to rid it of corruption) or what the NPP can do to undo the NDC that has remained its albatross at the polls all these years.
Of course, the United Party tradition that undergirds Kufuor’s political bravado had since being overshadowed in the pre-independence era—through the 1966 coup against the Great Osagyefo—found a quick and easy, if not cheap, means to decimate the Nkrumahist front, thus, reducing it to a mere spectator in the political battle going on in our time between its offspring (the NPP) and the Rawlings phenomenon.
The problem of the UP/NPP (“Mate Me Ho”) front is that they cannot read deeper meanings into their narrow-minded bigotry and politically misguided overtures driven by petty ethnic sentiments to know that politics in contemporary times demands more than an appeal to elitism and hereditary. We know how the main architects of that front raise their shoulders, counting on the traces left behind by their fathers, uncles, or whatever, to demand their pound of flesh from the voters to be put in power so they can perpetuate their politics of inheritance or heirloom. A short “Tweeaaa” to them for now.
Additionally, their modus operandi as far as political mobilization is concerned is so tattered as to make them come across as rampaging scaremongers instead of portraying themselves as people to be counted on to move Ghana where it should go in our time. This particular scare-mongering posture has been given much substance at this time that the NPP is being led by a team that knows nothing other than arm-twisting and issuing of high-sounding threats to turn Ghana upside down if their plea to be “tried” is not accepted at Election 2016. No need to provide specific pieces of evidence of such posturing. It’s public record to be scoffed at.
While they are at it, they fail to reflect on the lessons that the history of elections in our Fourth Republic teaches. I will help them here. At Election 1992, the NPP presented a jaded Professor Albert Adu Boahen to lock horns with the military strongman Jerry Rawlings whose renown at the time was too glaring to be discounted. How did Prof. Adu Boahen become the choice?
Just because of his academic standing as an accomplished academic well known for his handle on history (especially the history of our part of the world that interested many, particularly the European marauders who attacked us and subjugated us to all kinds of inhuman treatment at the time that they didn’t even know who/what we were).
And he craftily created the paradigm for the discourse that would project him as the precursor of everything relevant to our existence, even if he cunningly circumscribed it all within his concept of an Akan hegemony to the disadvantage of all the thousands of ethnicities there were at the time. If you doubt it, Go and read, re-read, and continue to read his handy book, Topics in West African History (a virtual summary of all his pursuits in his profession).
That account favours the discourse of the European marauders. All that they focused on was to exploit our human and material resources to build their own systems. And prof. Adu Boahen’s work really revealed the true values of our Africanness, which amazed them. And he made a great named out of it all. Good for him academically but not politically). But the NPP at the time thought that it could count on his international renown as a scholar to beat their nemesis, whom they had characterized as an academic failure (having already presented him as someone who failed his “O” level exams and chose the military as a way out).
Yet another asset that Prof. Adu Boahen held for the NPP. His address at the Danquah Memorial Lecture in 1987 at the British Council Hall in Accra (which I covered fully as a journalist at the time) and his presentation of the “Ghanaian Sphinx”, which would raise his objection to the “culture of silence” that he accused the Rawlings phenomenon of imposing on the Ghanaian political landscape, clearly stood him out in good stead to lead the very forces that were bitterly opposed to Rawlings.
I recall that moment when he condemned that “culture of silence” and called for action to confront Rawlings only to be told by the then General Officer Commanding the Ghana Armed Forces (and later a PNDC member), General Albert Quainoo (whom they later announced as dead!!) that the “fire” that he had quoted from Dante might turn out to be an “inferno” in Ghana if he went overboard in the pursuit of his political ambitions or those of the political force that he thought could overthrow the Rawlings one. Folks, very interesting moments, then. It’s history that I am reporting here. Only those with a clear head and a clean mind will follow logically.
At the NPP’s congress in 1992 to choose the candidate to challenge Rawlings, Prof. Adu Boahen defeated Kufuor and went with high hopes to seek the mandate of the voters. What happened when he challenged Rawlings at the 1992 polls in November? A total massacre beyond the NPP’s belief!! He lost passaaaa; but refused to accept his fate, choosing to mobilize material and human resources (including this Akufo-Addo) to write a trite and useless book (The Stolen Verdict) that no voter valued. The truth about the NPP’s unattractiveness had already been told at the polls. Why waste time reading lamentations about it from sore losers?
Folks, I want to cut everything short here to say that Prof. Adu Boahen faced whatever his Destiny had in store for him and faded away into nothingness, paving the way for others. From the NPP’s own stables, we heard how Kufuor refused to have anything to do with Prof. Adu Boahen on his stroke-ridden death-bed, even as his wife and children fought over his legacy. Eventually, he faded away, remembered in his last days as a plantain farmer in some weird part of the Western region. I don’t know about that; but I did visit his wife’s residence in Cape Coast in 1992 and saw how wealth could be celebrated. The source of that wealth? I don’t know!!
The NPP’s own history, pitting Kufuor against Akufo-Addo thereafter, is intriguing. I won’t go into it, having already exposed it in previous opinion pieces. What business does a goat have in a fight that involves sheep? Kufuor emerged after brushing aside Akufo-Addo, for Election 1996. He knew how formidable the tasks were and conditioned himself as such. True to his very nature, he is telling us today what he faced and why he had to bid his time for the crown at a later time wished for him by his God. (See http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2016/September-2nd/superman-rawlings-was-unbeatable-in-1996-election-kufuor.php).
I admire Kufuor for being so forthright and for offering ideas to guide Akufo-Addo which, I hope, he will latch onto and know better how to reach out to the electorate. Of particular interest is this part of Kufuor’s opinion: “… God helps those who help themselves to demonstrate the relevance of personal efforts… Grace should be there but it is the same God that endowed us with knowledge [therefore] if God has given you the wherewithal you will also do what is right to get where you want.”
Other aspects of his ideas are relevant: “Mr. Rawlings made it appear near impossible to unseat him, yet he gave it his best shot…. it became clear that he would have to wait until 2000 when the two terms of Mr Rawlings would come to an end…They [New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters] said since he provided the Constitution, let us see if he will not sit down after the end of his tenure.”
And Rawlings left the scene thereafter for Kufuor and Mills to step in. Kufuor has made very strong suggestions here that any reasonable observer of the Ghanaian political scene should appreciate. Winning general or Presidential elections in Ghana is not about how much muscle one can flex, how much security arrangements one can put in place against one’s opponents, or how much intimidation one should encourage. It is all about one’s ability to connect well with the voters and how one sells one’s self to them. I appreciate Kufuor for this insight.
Kufuor is being very philosophical here, giving us glimpses into why Akufo-Addo hasn’t succeeded in achieving his childhgoow ambition of becoming Ghana’s president “at all costs”. Any careful analyst of the utterances that Kufuor made at the time he was leaving the scene can put two-and-two together to know the drift of his wisecrack here. Snatching political power from the NDC demands more than what Akufo-Addo has invested himself in.
I believe strongly that Kufuor is pointing him in a different and more purposeful direction, which he won’t appreciate because he is not positioned to see what Kufuor saw in his confrontation with Rawlings (the “Superman”). After all, Kufuor served under Rawlings in 1982. He knows what he is stepping on today to make such observations.
In Akufo-Addo’s case, John Dramani Mahama is a “superman” that he won’t acknowledge as such and go about fighting with weapons that can’t pierce his tough political skin. Indeed, Kufuor has distinguished himself here, and I respect him for the deep philosophical insight.
Having fought the battle to return the Danquah-Busia tradition to the political limelight after 30 years of being in the underworld, he surely has a lot that Akufo-Addo and Co. should tap into. He is not to be dismissed as the leader of a faction that hates Akufo-Addo.
Now using a walking stick to prop himself up, he knows what the battle is but may not be available to participate in the vigorous electioneering campaign stunts. Only his words of advice matter at this point. Heeding them can turn the tide for those who know his worth. I respect him as such.
I shall return…
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Join me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mjkbokor to continue the conversation.