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Opinions Sat, 13 Jul 2013

The Kumasi Political Killings

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

The reported shooting and butchering of two men in the Manhyia-South Constituency, where Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh (aka Napo) represents the New Patriotic Party (NPP), sorrowfully recalls another bloody political moment in the transitional and immediate postcolonial era of Ghanaian history, especially in view of the fact that another politician from an opposing political party has also been linked to this heinous act of insufferable criminality.

The second politician named in connection with the killings is the National Democratic Congress' Member of Parliament for Asawase, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak (See "Two Parliamentarians Stand Accused In Kumasi Killings" MyJoyOnline.com 5/9/13). We are also told that a similar incident occurred in the same neighborhood sometime last year, in the heat of the electioneering campaign season in which "one man was butchered and later died of his wounds in the hospital."

Of course, in this instance, I am thinking of the Twumasi-Ankrah and the Baffoe episode between key local operatives of the Nkrumah-led Convention People's Party (CPP) and the Danquah-Busia-Dombo-led United Party (UP). At the time, the then-Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah had been disturbingly fingered; legend has it that the victim, Mr. Baffoe, was an ideological renegade who had crossed party lines to join the UP, led mostly by the Oxbridge-educated Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia.

Nkrumah had been circumstantially fingered mostly because the suspect, a CPP firebrand, had reportedly been seen in the company of the embattled and increasingly agitated Prime Minister less than 48 hours before the bloodily fatal incident. Baffoe had been deemed an enemy of the state by Cii-Pii-Pii-its because as a former member of the latter party, he had been privy to a lot of inside or inner-circle horse-trading shenanigans and other forms of classified information and/or party secrets and thus needed to be dispatched with haste, if the CPP was not to be seriously undermined in the offing.

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Whatever the true story behind the Kumasi killings may be, one thing is patently clear: All is not well in Oseikrom. Needless to say, all needs to get well in Oseikrom as quickly as possible; for as Oseikrom goes, so goes Ghana. In short, Oseikrom is indisputably the cultural hub of the country and may some day even become the administrative capital of the entire country, if only for the fact that it is far more conveniently located than the largely British-minted capital of Accra.

At the time of this writing (7/4/13), I had come across a news article or two indicating that the suspected killers in either one of the bloody incidents or both had been identified and arrested by the Kumasi police, pending judicial arraignment and prosecution. We hope that, unlike the Ya-Na tragedy, the rightful suspects have been taken into custody. We also hope that if found guilty, the alleged killers would be subjected to the fullest extent of legal sanctions, if only to serve as a deterrent to other criminally minded copycats who may be planning similar incidents of carnage in the near future.

We are also told that the Asante New Town (or Ashtown) neighborhood in which the killings occurred needs some form of structural demolition, or sanitization, in order to radically reduce the level of quality-of-life blight and/or crime, such as drug-peddling and prostitution, in the neighborhood. If what we have been told so far and/or gleaned from the national press has credibility, then it well appears that, perhaps, the Asantehene and the Asanteman Council and, of course, the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) ought to promptly haunch down and work assiduously towards the immediate elimination of this characteristically urban problem. It may never be totally eliminated, but such incidents can, nevertheless, be acceptably reduced.

I do not know either of the two most prominent politicians in the locality or localities in question, namely, Messrs. Opoku-Prempeh and Muntaka Mubarak; and so all that I can observe here is that if either or both of them can forensically be linked to the aforementioned bloody incidents then, needless to say, they have to be made to face the proverbial music. It is about time that Ghanaian politicians and their ideologically, morally and materially invested supporters sobered up to the fact of it being a new day, a new era and a far more enlightened moment in the postcolonial history of the country, and a far cry from the CPP-UP dark days of the 1950s and 60s, if Ghana is to rank among the most socioeconomically, culturally and technologically advanced nations in the world.

Needless to say, we do not necessarily need to become the envy of any other nation outside our own. We essentially need to love ourselves and our homeland; for the highest level of human enlightenment is collective self-love and self-knowledge: that is the hallmark of POSITIVE NATIONALISM.

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

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

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July 4, 2013

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

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Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame