By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Folks, the report published by Africa Watch that paints Akufo-Addo’s health status as not only alarming but also indicative of a bleak political future for him has received a lightning-speed response from all quarters, especially the NPP and its flagbearer. Guess what?
They are quick to point accusing (or is it gossipping?) fingers at the NDC as the source of that publication. What for? Because the NDC wants to do dirty politics with the matter.
John Kumah said the cancer story was planted by the NDC, specifically, Dr. Omane Boamah. Then, they claimed that President Mahama had paid over 2 million Dollars to Steve Mallory to publish that damning story in Africa watch. (Meantime, Steve Mallory is known as a former campaign coordinator for the United States branch of the “Friends of Nana Akufo-Addo” (FONAA) between 2006 and 2012. He is also known as a well-informed NPP operative).
These NPP people aren’t questioning the substance of the report but are pointing fingers at the camp of their main political opponents. The NDC has already rubbished that accusation, saying that it is not a hospital to diagnose any disease for anybody, especially Akufo-Addo. The party has also urged its followers not to do any politics with this report about Akufo-Addo’s health predicament.
How has Akufo-Addo himself reacted? Just as his followers did—quickly blaming the NDC and seeking to do politics with the matter (in a vain attempt for sympathy votes, I don’t know).
Let’s hear him in his reaction:
“They said I was a dwarf, it didn’t work, they said I was in a wheelchair, it didn’t work, they said i am a murderer, it didn’t work, they said I will die in June, it didn’t work, they said I was a dictator, it didn’t work, they said I was intolerant, it didn’t work, they said I was violent, it didn’t work, they said I had a secret agenda to destabilise the country, it didn’t work, now they are saying I have cancer, it will not work.”
If campaigning against him with those issues "didn't work" against him, why isn't he in power? He shouldn't deceive himself. Those issues really added a lot of stench to his baggage.
Folks, note the particular instances that Akufo-Addo cited and prepare for what I have for you regarding what he didn’t touch on, which makes his reaction porous as far as the real issues detracting from his worth as a Presidential material are concerned. He skipped the real substances!!
I like the zeal with which he has reacted to the damning report on his health and his optimism about his own health status. Doing so without reference to previous damning publications about him opens him up for further scrutiny, though. I will select only two outstanding issues to make my case.
Allegations of drug abuse
When his political opponents loudly castigated him as a wee(d) smoker (or one culpable for substance abuse), why didn’t he react the way he has done to this news report about his health status? Even when the Wikileaks reports revealed damning observations about his penchant for wee(d) and other substances, he folded up.
The citing of his own friend at the time (Kwasi Pratt) to substantiate the allegation, even suggesting in plain language that Akufo-Addo’s trail of wee(d) smoke early in the morning was noticeably evident, what did he do? Nothing concrete to confirm or deny the allegation.
Instead, he chose to hide behind a so-called team of personal lawyers led by a Nana Asante Bediatuo to threaten court action against anybody propagating the revelation. It didn’t stop anybody; instead, it motivated a lot of negative utterances to shape the voters’ opinions about him.
The bitter truth for Akufo-Addo is that among factors that worked against him at Elections 2008 and 2012 was this damaging perception of him as a drug abuser. It continues to hurt his public image, if he doesn’t know. As to why he hasn’t deemed it politically useful to come clean on this score, only he knows. How does he erode this negative public image, even as he struggles in his electioneering campaign stunts for Election 2016?
Allegations regarding his legal professional status
The scuttling of the suit filed by Justice Kpegah challenging Akufo-Addo’s professional status hasn’t killed the matter or given him any credit. The challenges are still dogging him as to how he ended up being enrolled in the Ghana Bar by the General Legal Council even though he couldn’t produce a law qualifying certificate to confirm that he had been duly trained (meaning that he had done all that was required for candidates admitted by the Inns Court of the Middle Temple).
The records don’t show that Akufo-Addo did the mandatory pupillage that would warrant his being certified, which goes to explain why he had no law qualifying certificate to produce at the time that he sought enrollment into the Ghana Bar.
His own affidavit in response to Justice Kpegah’s suit made it abundantly clear that he had told the Administrative Secretary of the General Legal Council that he had lost his law qualifying certificate. Under what circumstances? When? Nothing to confirm that he had truly been certified.
In lieu of that functionally required document, he produced extracts from a diary confirming that he had truly been admitted into the Inns of Court, Middle Temple. There is a lot more about this quandary that will be explored for as long as Akufo-Addo isn’t coming clean.
Now, to the real substance. If he could swiftly react to news reports about his health status and do politics with it, why not do so too in the very damning cases outlined above? He can’t tell me that he has chosen not to do so because he isn’t bothered about the calumny motivating the allegations.
He needs to know that there is nothing more damning to his reputation than the afore-mentioned two major issues. Wee-smoking may be dismissed with a shrug of the shoulder, especially if it is not established as a major hindrance in his quests to be whatever he has been all these years. Character changes over time. Granted and accepted.
But the mystery surrounding his law qualifying certificate will not vanish; nor can it be explained away and brushed under the rug just like that. After all, for the 40 years that he has practised law in Ghana, he has done so because he has been cushioned and protected by whatever pillars there are to realize his professional ambitions.
Not so for the Presidency that he is losing sleep over to ascend to. The damage done to his reputation by this “fake lawyer” downturn is huge. If he really wants to know more than he does now on why he lacks traction, he should go deep down himself to settle on this aspect as a major blow.
He may be riding on the waves of public discontent at living conditions in the country to think that he now stands the best chance to realize his ambition of becoming Ghana’s president “at all costs”; but he needs to wake up to the reality staring him in the face. Whatever has damaged his public image all these years still remains an impediment for him.
If he can swiftly react to all the instances of calumny that he listed above, why not do so to clear the air on the two most damaging ones too? His sheltering in the axiom of “Silence is golden” in respect of these two issues won’t save him.
After, his quick reaction to the publication on his health status only goes to reinforce Shakespeare’s wisecrack that “An insult is not more painful than when it is true”. So also does it get at Shakespeare’s axiom that “Nothing is ever more wretched than a guilty conscience”. After all, to him, appearances are deceptive, but in the end, “a cowl doesn’t make a monk”.
The Ghanaian voters will not look for anybody wearing a cowl just to look like a monk. He doesn’t know what is really working against him to react to. Let his promises flow, even as he runs away from the real issues that will doom him again.
Let me make it clear at this point that only the best is good for Ghana. Considering what I have observed so far about national development and why it isn't making strides as expected, I won't really bother my head who steps into the saddle to move the country forward. But I will definitely want to see that person as worth the voters' bother for all that he/she represents.
I don't see Akufo-Addo as that person. He is carrying a big baggage that doesn't recommend him to me. I will continue to dig in till the end of time.
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