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Opinions Sun, 28 Sep 2008

NDC Shamelessly Panders to Ghanaian Muslims

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

During the twenty years that the tandem governments of the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) held political sway over Ghanaians, the Rawlings Corporation (or R. C. Unlimited) showed no remarkable appreciation for the integration of Ghanaian Muslims into the topmost ranks of the party. Thus the P/NDC, an Ewe-dominated political juggernaut, would only field the likes of Messrs. P. V. Obeng, Nkensen Arkaah and John Evans Atta-Mills as second-bananas to Mr. Rawlings.

Needless to say, all the foregoing three lieutenants were of Akan descent. And so early this year, when the Rawlings Corporation decided to consider a Northerner for the number two spot on its presidential ticket, the party predictably opted for a Conja Christian by the name of John Dramani Mahama.

This is absolutely no accident at all; for other than unconscionably using them to cause mayhem as well as create political instability in their palpably privated half of the country, the Dzelukope and Anlo Mafia have had no use, whatsoever, for Northerners. And, indeed, when the name of Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu was suggested as a potential running-mate for perennial flagbearer Prof. Atta-Mills, it almost immediately became clear that the NDC was willing to tolerate Mrs. Iddrisu primarily because the latter was an ethnic Akan, rather than a Dagomba, Gonja, Mamprusi, or any of the other northern Ghanaian ethnic groups. Earlier on, Mrs. Iddrisu’s husband, a bona fide northern Ghanaian, had vigorously contested the presidential candidacy of the NDC and lost miserably; and so the rather disingenuous attempt by the Rawlings Corporation to name the abortive candidate’s wife to the number two spot appears to have been a belated face-saving measure.

Interestingly, the shamelessly opportunistic and conniving Mrs. Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, parading under the specious guise of feminism, or women’s empowerment, resorted to impugning the leadership credibility of Prof. Atta-Mills and nearly succeeded in having her way. “My husband has not approved of the selection of John Mahama as NDC vice-presidential candidate,” the woman who is widely believed to have played a significant role in the abduction and summary execution of the Supreme Court judges would fume.

Still, there was yet another treacherous problem with the selection of Mrs. Iddrisu as running-mate for the NDC flagbearer. Like Prof. Atta-Mills, Mrs. Iddrisu is also Akan of Fante sub-ethnicity; and, needless to say, the chief operatives of the Rawlings Corporation would have had a tough time selling two Fante candidates to the Ghanaian electorate, their divergent religious affiliations notwithstanding.

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The preceding, doubtless, has a lot to do with the NDC’s desperate attempts to bribe Ghanaian Muslims into both politicizing and polarizing Election 2008. Thus recently Mr. John Mahama had occasion to “donate” 100 bags of sugar and 20 bags of rice on behalf of his party to the head of the Ahmadiya Muslim Mission, Maulvi Wahab Adam, while also loudly touting his intention to prevail on the Electoral Commission to permit Ghanaian Muslims who will be doing the Hajj during Election 2008 to vote by proxy.

Exactly why and how he came by this patently absurd and flaky arrangement has yet to be explained. And here must also be significantly recalled the fact that during the two electoral terms that the NDC held political sway, from 1992 to 2000, neither Mr. Mahama nor any of his party associates ever suggested that Ghanaian Muslims doing the Hajj during any electoral season ought to be allowed to vote by proxy. This is plain, unconscionable pandering, and it is fervently hoped that the Electoral Commission would promptly accord such vacuous pandering the round rebuff that it certainly deserves.

It is also rather fatuously cynical for Mr. Mahama to use Ghanaian Muslims to further complicate an already problematic electoral logjam, particularly while also acknowledging himself that the “EC is overburdened by [myriad] electoral issues.” And so in his obviously criminal bid to prejudicing Election 2008 and, in effect, creating precisely the Kenya-type of political apocalypse that Prof. Atta-Mills has been fervidly praying for, what is likely to be the next ideological gambit of my John Mahama? That Osama Bin Laden, for ready example, ought to be placed on the ballot of Election 2008? Or that the Al Qaeda commander-in-chief be allowed into the country in order to fairly campaign for Prof. Atta-Mills, in the constitutional name of democracy and human rights?

Risibly enough, Mr. Mahama is reported to have told Maulvi Wahab Adam that “the NDC is fully aware that we will win this year’s election, that is why we are praying to Allah to remove any confusion as the country heads for the general election” (Ghanaweb.com 9/19/08). Needless to say, Maulvi Wahab Adam ought to have asked his guest when was the last time that Mr. John Dramani Mahama worshipped in a mosque; and also how many times the notorious “shit-bomber” had taken the Hajj to Mecca. And then the most irksome of it all, to hear the Bole-Bamboi NDC-MP wryly lamenting the “tragic” fate of some 600 Ahmadiya pilgrims who could not go to Mecca last year due to a snafu.

Well, if he cares so much for the plight of his “Muslim brothers and sisters,” as he claims, then how come Mr. Mahama woefully failed to bring up the equally significant and critical question of the imperative need to prevent avoidable and unnecessary deaths caused annually by ritual stampeding in Mecca, bearing in mind that last year alone at least 12 Ghanaian Muslim pilgrims lost their precious lives in the Saudi kingdom?

*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 the author of 18 books, including “The New Scapegoats: Colored-on-Black Racism” and “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@aol.com.

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
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