Election 2004: Who betrayed Mills?

Thu, 6 Jan 2005 Source: Asare-Donkoh, Frankie

Dr. Ekow Appiah Graham?s article ?The Fante Betrayal? (Ghanaweb of December 16, 2004) makes very interesting reading. It also, in all humility, questions his thinking and analytical capabilities as someone who has a Ph.D. From my basic elementary school knowledge, anybody claiming to hold a Ph.D. (a doctorate degree) must of necessity know how wrong to make generalised conclusions without any research or empirical evidence. Surprisingly, Dr. Appiah Graham?s article exhibits his total lack of respect for and belief in research, as one of the best tools for analysing situations, especially election results and voting patterns.

But before touching on his very ridiculous analysis of the 2004 presidential election results, let me quickly say how disappointed I am about the lack of decorum and respect he showed to the sitting President of the Republic of Ghana, who has been re-elected by over 50 per cent of the good, intelligent and knowledgeable people (electorate) of Ghana.

He begins his article by referring to Prof. John Atta Mills as ?His Excellency? and does it the second time in the article, but never once showed the same courtesy to President John Agyekum Kufour, and even goes further into the gutters to describe the President and his government in very derogatory terms. Dr. Graham writes that his uncle, Abam, taught him that ?no matter how bitter the back of your teeth may taste, it is the same place you lick? (but forgets that no matter how he dislikes Kufuor as a person, he is the only President of the Republic of Ghana where he (Graham) claims to belong). Again, strangely, uncle Abam failed to teach him how to give respect where respect is due. Pity! Another disturbing aspect of Graham?s article is the pomposity and arrogance with which he ignorantly classifies all the people of the Central Region as Fantes, while at the same time trying to establish the supremacy of the Fante people. With the help of my primary school teachers (who did not have PhDs anyway), I learnt that the Central Region is made up of other ethnic groups apart from the Fantes who are mainly on the coast. There are the Efutus, Awutus, Ekumfis, Assins, the Agonas, the Gomoas (arguably with largest land mass), the Bremans and the Denkyiras, to mention but a few. It is therefore erroneous for Dr. Appiah Graham to lump all those groups and term them Fantes for the convenience of his jaundiced analysis of the presidential election results.

But for the purpose of his article, let us assume that all the people in the Central Region are Fantes. And if so, on what basis does Graham conclude that the Fantes betrayed Prof. Mills? In my opinion (I may be wrong), anyone who thinks that the Fantes (or the Central Region) failed or betrayed Mills must be basing their arguments or analysis on wrong assumptions and jaundiced beliefs. ?Fantes are dreaming of deeds that were meant to be completed to lift our nation-state by this noble and distinguished man. Dreams and thoughts with far reaching implication have been blunted and replaced by ephemeral frolicking?, writes Dr. Graham. But how wrong he is. If Fantes were to enjoy prosperity under Mills, why didn?t they have a bit of it while he was the Vice President for four good years? What did he do for the region for him to be trusted more than anyone else? Maybe, Graham can help us by listing the special benefits the Central Region enjoyed from Mills during his tenure as vice president.

I don?t know for how long Dr. Graham has lived outside Ghana. However, his analysis of the defeat of Mills by Kufuor and also a few points raised about the Kufuor government suggests that he probably was living on mars during the two decades of the Rawlings regimes (11 years of PNDC and eight years of NDC). Does he know how Prof, Mills was handpicked by President Rawlings (ever heard of the Swedru Declaration?) and imposed on the NDC. That led to the breakaway of most of the dedicated cadres of the PNDC who also formed the large chunk of the NDC?s foot soldiers, bringing about the formation of the National Reform Party (NRP)?

Let us also consider the following:

? Rawlings selects Arkaah, from the Central Region, as his vice president and beats him up and nobody in the NDC had the courage to publicly condemn that despicable act. Could Dr. Graham tell us how Fantes (the Central Region) sees that?

? Almost all the ?Fante? ministers both in the PNDC and the NDC were maltreated and ridiculed in one way or the other by Rawlings and that seemed fine with the NDC as a party.

? Under constitutional rule, Rawlings maltreats Selassie Jantu (the former boyfriend of Rawlings?s daughter) at the Castle, the seat of government and ?peace-loving? Mills could not condemn it, as if he would have been happy if the same were done to his own son. How did the Fantes see Mills, a man of his own conscience and self or a stooge?

? Rawlings rules for two decades with such brutality, killing free expression and press freedom, and yet when by God?s grace he is left the scene, Mills promises to consult him 24 hours if he became president. What kind of president were the Fantes expecting, a puppet to be remote-controlled by Rawlings?

Dr. Graham should understand that the ?Fantes? are not without brains and analysing power, and that if the people of all the regions in Ghana, including Volta and Ashanti could learn from their non-ethnic-based voting, Ghana?s democratic train would be moving rather faster.

And what does Dr. Graham say about President Kufuor lacking basic communication skills? Is it not strange that he has a very shallow definition of ?communication?? I don?t think communication only means speaking or rattling like a parrot even is one does not mind the use of correct grammar. Dr. Graham therefore misses the point miserably by concluding that Kufuor ?was and continues to be an inarticulate candidate?his ahenfie politics, his dull personality and his insolvency in ideas of governance all contribute to make him the wrong choice?.

As a Fante (he claims to be one) doesn?t Graham appreciate the effect of drum language as used by the various Asafo companies in Fanteland? Does he also recognise that a person can communicate effectively wit the body without even uttering a word? I don?t think President Kufuor could have won the primaries of the NPP on two occasions and eventually win two elections as President if he does not communicate. At least the electorate and good people of Ghana saw and heard both Mills and Kufuor in 2000 and again in 2004 and at each time chose Kufuor over Mills. How can Dr. Graham assume that majority of the electorate who have twice voted for Kufuor are fools?

Ghana as a country needs to grow politically as well as in all the other areas of national development. One of the best ways of assessing our political growth and maturity is where people like Dr. Graham do not impose their will on the majority of the people by ridiculing them after they (the people) have voted the way they wanted. By all standards, the people of the Central Region (Fantes) did not betray Prof. John Evans Atta Mills. If there was indeed any betrayal, then Mills betrayed himself by not showing that he was a man of his own independent self and also not taking charge of his own election campaign instead of allowing President Rawlings to campaign as if he was the NDC candidate.

The people of Ghana have spoken so let the Dr Grahams allow us some peace of mind.

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

Columnist: Asare-Donkoh, Frankie