By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
The Herald newspaper, a presumably National Democratic Congress-leaning rag, recently published an article captioned “Vice-President Is a Womanizer with 24 Kids” (Peacefmonline.com 7/30/11) in which the paper alleged the Young Patriots to be fervidly preparing to launch a smear campaign against Mr. John Dramani Mahama. Of course, the Young Patriots is the youth wing of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Herald’s editors themselves appeared to have their own axe to grind with the former Communications Minister under Mr. Rawlings, as they systematically proceeded to catalogue a long list of allegedly offensive cross-party activities indulged in by Mr. Mahama, such as the latter’s “honoring of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) launched by Andrew Awuni, an NPP activist who once served as Press Secretary for ex-President Kufuor, and the wedding ceremony of Kweku Baako of the New Crusading Guide and an unofficial NPP spokesman.”
Rather quaintly, the Herald’s editors also claim that the decision of the Young Patriots to go after Mr. Mahama has squarely to do with the fact that these young NPP activists are finding it extremely difficult to come up with any negative issues against the integrity of President John Evans Atta-Mills. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Needless to say, as a lock-step associate of the bloody Mr. Rawlings, the now-President Mills has far more negative highlights on his resume than almost any major Ghanaian politician, including the JULIET COTTON SCANDAL and the call by the NDC youth wing for Tarkwa-Atta not to contest Election 2012, as his leadership leaves much to be desired. We also have Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Ghana’s longest-serving first lady and President Mills’ most bitter rival for the leadership of the NDC caustically claiming that the current administration is unquestionably the most incompetent in the annals of the nation’s Fourth Republic. Mrs. Rawlings has also described the cost of living under President Mills as the most expensive in Ghana’s recent history.
What we are concerned with here regards not whether, indeed, the Young Patriots met secretly at the East Legon residence of Nana Akufo-Addo, the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party to hash up any smear campaign against Vice-President Mahama, but whether such personal and moral irresponsibility such as that which is attributed to the former Gonja-West Member of Parliament has validity in the critical assessment of what constitutes good and responsible leadership in our Fourth Republic. And on the latter score, it bears emphasizing that Nana Akufo-Addo has far more pressing concerns, such as the precipitously falling standards of the country’s education, healthcare and the rising crime rate and most recently, the raging floods across the country to waste his time hosting the hatchers of any smear campaign against any of his ardent political opponents.
Needless to say, while, indeed, Mr. John Mahama has an inviolable right to the expression of his own sexuality, nevertheless, for a highly educated person such as he is to keep recklessly flooding Ghanaian society with dozens of out-of-wedlock children does not offer any good example to the country’s youth. But that the man continues to proudly brag about his supposedly perfect and happy marriage to his wife, Lordina, even while obstreperously engaged in a legion extra-marital affairs is all the more hypocritical. And on the latter score, also, it is rather pathetic for Ghanaians, including some who are as guilty as Mr. Mahama, to presume to both disdain and proscribe the sexual integrity of law-abiding gay and lesbian Ghanaians.
I guess what I am suggesting here is that maybe it is about time that Ghanaians set principled and disciplinary rules of personal conduct for our most highly placed leaders, in particular, and all of our leaders, in general. Predictably, when I read the caption of the Herald article to my wife, her gut reaction was as follows: “Wow, if this man has this many children, then Ghana’s economy is in trouble.” Tell me about the groundings of corruption!
*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 author of 22 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: email@example.com.