By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
I don’t know exactly how it came about that Dr. Tony Aidoo got appointed as Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation by President John Evans Atta-Mills. What I know through a close monitoring of his public pronouncements, however, is that the former University of Cape Coast social scientist is a veritable cognitive basket-case and an avoidable embarrassment for the government of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC). I also know that there is a professor at the University of Ghana, a real scientist (apologies to all diligent and respectable social scientists), who has a dog named Tony Aidoo.
Now, don’t you ask me just how a dog came by the name of Tony Aidoo. But I guess it most likely has something to do with blind partisanship and the risibly inordinate urge by some critters to defend the clearly indefensible at all costs. Of course, in the case of the human male named Tony Aidoo, it is simply a matter of knowing exactly where one’s proverbial bread is buttered.
Anyway, when the notorious hip-shooting NDC pit-bull – a toothless one, to be honest with my dear reader – decries the legitimate right of the most significant opposition leader to “warn” the President against managerial profligacy vis-à-vis the collateralization of projected oil revenue, it becomes embarrassingly clear that the former deputy Defense minister under Mr. Jerry John Rawlings has absolutely no appreciation, whatsoever, for the fundamental and cultural dynamics of democratic governance (See “Tony Aidoo: Who The Hell Is Akufo-Addo To Warn Pres. Mills?” Ghanaweb.com 12/20/10).
Perhaps the pseudo-policy wonk ought to have observed the admirably formidable foil that the now-Prime Minister David Cameron played to both Messrs. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. In other words, when one is leader of the largest opposition party, having also won nearly 50-percent of the votes at the polls, one’s only peer, in real terms, is the man who beat one to the premiership. Nana Akufo-Addo, in essence, therefore, is the equivalent of what might aptly be called “the shadow president of Ghana.”
And while, indeed, the holder of the foregoing title may choose to role-play presidential advisor, it goes without saying that such role is purely voluntary. In real terms, the opposition leader and his/her close associates are the veritable alternative to the ruling government. But even more significantly, it is the opposition leader, acting in concert with the parliamentary opposition, of course, who ensures that mandated and temporal/elective executive powers are not grossly abused.
You see, the problem with Dr. Tony Aidoo is that like a disgruntled kindergartner, he actually thinks that being elected president is tantamount to being afforded a blank check by the electorate to run the country at whim.
Needless to say, when Nana Akufo-Addo “warns” President Atta-Mills against the unimaginative and speculative mortgaging of Ghana’s economic future, the opposition leader does so on behalf of those who are equally invested in the fortunes of our country, but who do not yet have the mandate to directly determine the course and shape of our macro-economic policy.
Still, what is even more flabbergasting for someone who boldly and imperiously wears his academic credentials on his sleeves, literally speaking, is that Dr. Tony Aidoo has absolutely no understanding, whatsoever, of the ideological concept of “Fascism.” This is how the NDC policy wonk defines the term: “The word ‘warning’ is very, very annoying. You are not even advising, you are warning! And the fact that you are warning indicates that they [sic] have the belief and the attitude that the wealth of this country belongs to them. The history of the NPP Danquah-Busia…political tradition…is a history of fascism in Africa. A fascist political tradition believes that the organs of the state belong to the privileged few and they should have unfettered right to determine how political power and the resources of the nation should be used. And…Akufo-Addo’s warning is [a] clear indication of that kind of attitude.”
To me, the preceding eerily and strikingly captures President Nkrumah and his so-called Convention People’s Party (CPP), which by the close of his reign-of-terror had come to be designated as THE PARTY, the one and only legitimately recognized political grouping in First-Republican Ghana. Ironically, it is this kind of political elitism – as distinguished from scholarship and/or intellectualism, the crime of which the Danquah-Busia Traditionalists are confusedly accused – that both President Atta-Mills and Dr. Tony Aidoo claim to have constituted the best ideological machinery on the postcolonial Ghanaian political landscape. But as you, my dear reader, already know, the nature of fascism and the vintage fascist is to unconscionably project one’s political cannibalism on the victim rather than the villainous oppressor.
And had Tarkwa-Atta’s policy wonk read the scholarly likes of Prof. L. H. Ofosu-Appiah, he would have learned to his utter shame, assuming that, indeed, he is capable of such, that under the CPP regime, one had to be a registered, card-carrying member of the Red-Cockerel Party as a farmer, for example, in order to gain access to government-sponsored loan facilities. Now this is what classical fascism is about, and not simply the noble, admirable and disciplined temperament of expecting the best performance and productivity from one and all.
Now, don’t ask me why Prof. Wilson decided to name his poodle Tony Aidoo. Just open your eyes widely and wisely. And then think deeply about the preceding observations.
*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 Insttitute (DI) and the author of a forthcoming volume of poetry titled “The Obama Serenades.” E-mail: email@example.com.