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Opinions Thu, 21 Apr 2011

Alhaji Mumuni’s Breath Reeks of Pitoo

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

In the heat of the Ivorian post-election runoff crisis, his government acquired the unenviable reputation of a two-timing neighbor. Ghana’s President John Evans Atta-Mills had attended an ECOWAS summit and pledged his unreserved military support for the accelerated ouster of the now-former President Laurent Gbagbo, only to return home and cynically advise concerned Ghanaian journalists to mind their own business.

Of course, under an official arrangement with the United Nations, Ghana had maintained a skeletal platoon of security personnel around the widely recognized winner of last November’s presidential election runoff in the Ivory Coast and now-President Alassane Ouattara. President Mills would later release a clearly afterthought and belated media riposte lamely and sheepishly claiming that his post-ECOWAS summit ideational turnaround had been primarily predicated on logistical discourse with senior service personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces.

Now, as to why he would pledged his unreserved military commitment for the ouster of then-President Gbagbo before he had responsibly ascertained the reality of his country’s military strength and/or preparedness for the same, has yet to be addressed. Which is why it reeked of nothing short of the outright embarrassing, to speak much less about shameless annoyance, to hear Ghana’s foreign minister and former presidential candidate Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni gush, rather nauseatingly, that his country was, somehow, poised to assisting the citizens and people of the Ivory Coast to fully get back on their feet (See “Mumuni: Gbagbo’s Capture [is] a Welcome Relief at a High Cost” JoyOnline.com 4/12/11).

What was even more rankling was to hear a forked-tongued Mr. Mumuni claiming paradoxically that while the capture of former President Gbagbo was a welcome relief, nonetheless, “the needless loss of human lives and the unfortunate refugee situation, created as a result of the conflict, would have been avoided if diplomacy had been explored to the letter.”

It is not clear precisely what the National Democratic Congress’ chief of foreign affairs is talking about in the foregoing quote, since the massive loss of human lives provoked by civil strife in the Ivory Coast began way back in 2002, rather than in the wake of the hotly disputed November electoral runoff. What is patently clear here, thus, is the starkly bizarre fact that in naming Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni as his chief national representative in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Mills has demonstrated his obviously total lack of connectedness with and remarkable appreciation for the pulse of sociopolitical events just next door to the West of his country.

And so when the evidently inebriated Mr. Mumuni vacuously adds that “the capture of [President Gbagbo] came at a higher [sic] cost to [sic] human life which could have been avoided,” it is not certain what the “lower cost of human lives” would have been, or even looked like, if President Mills’ parochial and insular creed of “Dzi Wo Fie Asem” (Mind Your Own Domestic Affairs), stolidly parading under the guise of cutting-edge diplomacy, had been pursued to its logical conclusion in perpetuity, one aptly presumes.

Anyway, what the capture of former President Gbagbo and the latter’s handover to rebel forces loyal to the now-President Alassane Ouattara means, in terms of the evolution of postcolonial African politics, is that Africans and, particularly those who pretend to be, their leaders have yet to practically and effectively synch the rhetorical declaration of sovereignty with the enviable practice of the same.

In sum, Africans are grimly caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place – virtually frozen between an abject state of slavery (psychosomatically) and nihilistic marginality. In other words, a half-century of geopolitical mast-flying has effectively brought us to the brink of a suicide wish.

*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 a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author, most recently, of “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net.

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Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame