Opinions Fri, 30 Nov 2007

Elect Another Akan and Guarantee the Survival of Ghanaian Democracy

Supporters and “Special Advisors” of Vice-President Aliu Mahama continue to make a mockery of Ghanaian democracy by insisting, contrary to the established principles of majority rule, that the Akan electoral majority gratuitously sell their conscience in the dubious name of unconstitutional validation of purportedly accomplished political apprenticeship. But we make bold by observing herein that such pathetic arm-twisting attempt would neither materialize in the lead-up to Election 2008 nor thereafter.

Predictably, the latest culprit of such political heresy is Dr. Amoako-Tuffour, a special advisor to Alhaji Aliu Mahama. And we note the glaring fact of the predictability of his flagrant call because as the Vice-President’s “Special Advisor,” that is exactly what Dr. Amoako-Tuffour is expected to do – please his boss at all costs, even against common sense.

For starters, as we noted several months ago, Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution does not guarantee the sitting Vice-President the presidency, short of the abrupt incapacitation or outright demise of the substantive president. Consequently, in attempting to preempt our fledgling democratic culture, by prejudicing the electoral majority against itself, Dr. Amoako-Tuffour appears to be steering his boss and himself on a patently treacherous course that is apt to prove far more dangerous, in principle, than having the so-called National Democratic Congress’ goon-squad retake our dear country’s reins of governance by the sheer force of arms, as the Dzelukope Mafia did for the longest 20-year political tenure in postcolonial Ghanaian history.

What is also significant to point out is that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has an unbested and enviable record of balancing its presidential ticket, although the latter admirable and conciliatory gesture has not been reciprocated, in good faith, by the voters of the regions to which the majority party magnanimously reached out. And on the latter score must unreservedly be emphasized that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is the party of the majority of Ghanaian voters, rather than being oriented towards the exclusive needs, desires and interests of any individual ethnic group. And in a country that is 60-percent Akan – for we vehemently dispute the officially recognized Akan demographic representation among the general, national population as highly suspect – it defies practical realities and common sense for anybody to suppose that a ruling party would be exclusively backed by the relatively diffuse strength of a disparate – or inorganic – minority.

Still, the strongest argument that gives the lie to the demagogic likes of Dr. Amoako-Tuffour and his NDC ideological bedfellows – at least on the face of it – is the curious fact of Ghana’s Akan majority having stoically endured extortionate and brutal minority rule – engineered largely by the Dzelukope Mafia – for the most wasted two decades of Ghana’s postcolonial history. And here must also be squarely borne in mind that even if one concurs with the fact of the Provisional National Democratic Congress (P/NDC) having “stolen” the mandate of the Ghanaian electorate twice – in 1992 and 1996 – the fact still resonates that in order to carry his highly improbable landslide of 60-percent of the votes cast in both afore-referenced elections, Flt.-Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings ought to have commanded the indispensable support of at least 50-percent of Akan voters, and very likely a little bit more. And every well-meaning and level-headed Ghanaian voter is fully aware of the fact that Dzelukope is neither the capital of the Asante Region nor Eastern, Central, Brong-Ahafo and Western regions. And so where is the logic to all this nonsensical din about Akans being so pathologically introverted as to be morbidly afflicted with a political tunnel vision, vis-à-vis that sub-nationality of Ghanaians whom the chauvinistic operators of the so-called National Democratic Congress reckon to be their electoral World Bank?

It goes without saying, however embarrassing it also might seem, that for an “eternal” 20 years, the Provisional National Democratic Congress was presided over by an Anlo-Ewe president who fielded three token Akan second-bananas, one of whom never recovered from a near-fatal mauling sustained during a cabinet meeting by the pistol-packing President Rawlings.

In sum, either Dr. Amoako-Tuffour is in dire need of psychiatric examination, or the man is simply a lily-livered coward whose claim to the Danquah-Busia-Dumbo Tradition must unreservedly be held suspect, at best, and outright despicable, at the worst. For under a democratic dispensation, such as prevails in the Fourth Republic, patriotic Ghanaians must be willing to stand up for what most of us believe in, which is merit-based selection of our leadership. Besides, there is absolutely no guarantee that if Vice-President Aliu Mahama wins the presidential nomination of the ruling New Patriotic Party via such thinly-veiled threats and intimidation a la the likes of Dr. Tuffour, Akans are going to blindly line up, en-masse, behind Mr. Mahama.

Recently, the chief of Jirapa, in the Upper-West Region, and his minions, as well as some northern Ghanaian chiefs, were widely reported in the media to be urging all the northern delegates to the 2007 NPP Congress to vote for Vice-President Mahama. Well, we also have news for the concerned chiefs – if they love Mr. Mahama so fanatically, we also love our Akufo-Addos, Aprakus and Kyerematens, among the host of other presidential aspirants. As for the lame argument of Mr. Mahama being the only northern candidate among the aspirants, our riposte is simple: nobody has prevented other northern members of the NPP from contesting the presidency.

It is also significant to observe that the Provisional National Democratic Congress continues to enjoy massive northern electoral support, even though for 20 years Mr. Rawlings treated this sub-nationality of Ghanaians as virtual second-class citizens, even as the Dzelukope Mafia capo continued to scurrilous fan the flames of inter-ethnic strife and monarchical conflicts, notably in Dagbon.

Indeed, Vice-President Aliu Mahama has increasingly become tentative in his relationship with the NPP of late. On a recent campaign stump, for instance, Mr. Mahama was reported to have exhorted his fellow northern potential voters to stand staunchly behind him because he, the Vice-President, was their only real hope for development. Would the likes of Dr. Amoako-Tuffour agree that Mr. Mahama was luridly pandering to ethnic sentimentalism?

Ultimately, what is direly demanded of NPP supporters and sympathizers is to elect somebody with formidable leadership acumen and an unimpeachable track-record of staunch belief in democratic governance; in sum, a progressive team-player. Needless to say, it is only an unimaginative majority that would sit duck to let the piddling NDC minority railroad Ghanaian democracy for the second time; actually the third time, if one factors in the years 1981-1992. Dr. Amoako-Tuffour’s gross misreading of the 1979 PFP-UNC split is just that, a sophomoric reading of political realities on the ground.

The self-alienating thrust of his argument, however, is loud and clear. And it is that the 1979 presidential election ought to have been contested by only two northerners against each other, namely, Dr. Hilla Limann, for the Nkrumaist (PNP) bloc, and Alhaji Yakubu Tali, the Tolon Na, representing the Danquah-Busia Tradition. That Mr. Victor Owusu, the PFP presidential candidate possessed a highly controversial political track-record, is invariably lost on those sworn to selective political amnesia.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “The New Scapegoats: Colored-on-Black Racism” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@aol.com.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.


Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame