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Politics is about numbers especially in our electoral system of single member plurality in Ghana. A good political party is the one that successfully attracts and retains new members into their fold. It is therefore not an aberration to see in Ghana, political parties rolling out the red carpet to newcomers. So when I read the effusions of Dr. Arthur Kennedy’s over his New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) apparent pandering to newcomers; Dr. Mohamadu Bawumia and Mr. Fred Bley I was confused. In my bewilderment the question that dropped out of my mouth was my favorite Latin phrase; Et tu Brute, and look who is making this charge. The legal profession operates on a fundamental philosophical maxim that he who comes into equity must come with clean hands. How did Dr. Arthur Kennedy assume a leadership role as a leading member, a founder and an elder of the New Patriotic Party? When I first met Dr. Arthur Kennedy, he did not come across as a dye in the wool NPP member. So how do I rationalize this to my uncle in Wenchi who still prefers to call the New Patriotic Party as UP. If there was anything I took from my maiden encounter with him, it was his disdain for the Ghanaian political establishment especially the ruling political elites at the time in Ghana, the NPP.
The decade of 2000 started with much anticipation, fanfare and great promise in Ghanaian political economy. The nineteen years of quasi military cum civilian P/NDC government was finally drawing to a close. A new government has promised good governance, respect for rule of law and free market economy to Ghanaians. We were at the crest of infinite possibilities for our beloved country. The ingenuity of the Ghanaian was going to be harnessed to bring unprecedented wealth and development to Ghana to much euphoria. It was an exciting time to be a Ghanaian in Diaspora looking at what the future held for Ghana. How could we help and be part of this coming great expectation for our beloved country. Ghanaian professionals working at World Bank responded to the call by taking leaves of absence from work, travelled to Ghana to offer their services to the government on the way forward for the battered economy. I believe it was their frank and stern recommendation on the true state of the economy that eventually convinced President Kuffour’s government to finally accept that Ghana indeed had an Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) economy and proceeded to apply a HIPC relief. And how were other Ghanaian professionals in diaspora going to respond to this patriotic call? Those were the very early days of social media but some savvy IT professionals put together a new social media platform in what will become known as The Cyber Group. This is how I met Dr. Kwabena Arthur Kennedy though his contribution on Ghana Cyber Group social media platform. The Cyber Group inaugural convention was held at the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC in the fall of 2001. The place was electrifying with professionals from all over USA and Canada trouping to share their expertise on how to rebuild Ghana. You could not help but felt proud to be a Ghanaian listening to speakers from a renowned economist Mr. Kwame Pianim, Mr. Kofi Afful, Prof Sammy Bonsu to Prof George Ayittey and host of other professionals this country has been blessed with delving into not only the developmental challenges but also the opportunities for the Ghanaian economy. When we held our second convention at Toronto Canada a year after, Dr. Kobina Arthur Kennedy was our keynote speaker. And in spite of the infamy and scorn he seem to have drawn on himself with his tirade against the NPP, I still think he is very smart and intelligent man albeit applying it indiscreetly. In our small mini discussions forum that we broke into, he didn’t come across to me as an NPP sympathizer. His political philosophy showed someone who did not trust the Ghanaian political establishment and was more inclined to advocate for a change of the political elites in Ghana. Just as his cynicism against anything NPP and the ruling NDC in government today, he advocated for the Malaysian experiment where Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his small group of UMNO party loyalist turned Malaysia into one of the developing world’s most successful economies. If the Ghanaian economy was to see and improvement, the diasporan population must be willing to move back home and become the change agents that the country desperately needs he suggested. But was anyone willing to take the challenge and relocate to Ghana to set up and run a viable political party? Along the way, reality seemed to have hit him right in the face the same phenomenon that has consigned some of us in the periphery of Ghanaian politics over the years. That it is almost impossible to effect political change in Ghana while operating from a non descript overseas location when no one seemed to be willing to relocate to Ghana at the time.
His meteoric transition to become a party leader, an elder and a leading member of NPP politics still baffles me to this day. When the seventeen aspirants were outdoored to contest the NPP flagbearership, to my surprise was the name Dr. Kobina Arthur Kennedy. And even after his ignanymous routing at the NPP leadership contest in 2011, he was still co-opted by the eventual winner to become Nana Akkuffo Addo Communication Director instantly making him a party insider. He gained access to top secret and confidential party information as Nana Akuffo Addo confidant. He was well in line to become a Cabinet minister in a Nana Akkufo Addo administration. Oh how I wish NPP had a premonition of the gathering storm from this New Diasporan in their midst and had the courage to vet him along the same principles he is now piously advocating for newcomers. Today top secret and sensitive party information are being serialized and publicized in electronic and print media to make the party look unattractive to Ghanaians. And you think he is doing this because he hates Nana Akkuffo Addo? No he doesn’t, Nana Akuffo Addo only happens to stand in his way.
Those of you who think he is part of an agenda 2020 to bring Allen Kyeremanteng to power would as well be disappointed for what he thinks about Mr. Kwadwo Allen Kyeremanteng. Who was the preferred and pampered candidate who received “official support” from castle that robbed him of his fortune and his failed ambition to become the President of Ghana in the first place? And he detest Dr. Muhamadu Bawumiah, as the vice presidential partner of Nana Akuffo Addo because he is a “newcomer”. At least Dr. Muhamadu Bawumia saw his limitation in politics outside academia and sort political mentorship from someone who could help him navigate the rough terrain of Ghanaian politics, Nana Akuffo Addo. For that, he has been rewarded for his decision and loyalty. The story of my two Diasporan Amigos; Dr. Kwabena Arthur Kennedy and Dr. Muhamadu Bawumiah is something I would like the youth of Ghana and especially my Diasporan compatriots to draw lessons from in life.
Between now and December 2016, his writing will become even more strident, allegations and conspiracy theories will fry out of his pen to prove that NPP is not worth voting for in government. As he plans his next plot to keep the NPP in opposition, I want to advice Dr. Kwabena Arthur Kennedy that thousands of people were attracted to him because they believed in his presentation and ideas but this is not what they bargained for. They believed that he had something fresh and altruistic to offer the party the nation. While I believe that some of those admirers were independents voters, I know that majority of them were proud NPP members. True NPP members respect, approve and support their party’s Presidential candidate despite your vicious campaign against him. Seek redemption and salvation by fighting the demons that have beclouded your reasoning and judgment. Ghanaians are more discerning than you take them for, they know exactly why you are doing this.
Thomas Kofi Kyeremeh
Germantown, Md USA
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