Is Kufuor Covertly Rooting for an Atta-Mills Presidency?

Thu, 5 Jun 2008 Source: Pryce, Daniel K.

The seemingly inauspicious but ineffaceable footprints left on Ghana’s political terrain by the recent nominations of some renowned citizens for national awards by President John Kufuor have caused quite a stir in Ghana, a nation that has produced a smorgasbord of political pundits, juggernauts and naysayers in the last few decades ? a situation enabled by our current and enviable political dispensation ? many with doctrinaire ideologies that promote incendiary party politics over the national interest.

Undeniably, this form of “sibling” rivalry only confirms our human despicability or amorality, a corollary of the loss of all prelapsarian blessing, in which the hardness of the human heart portends nothing but misery for all occupants of God’s Earth. Is it any wonder then that our “analyses” of the intents and deeds of others are an evocation of delirium and self-righteousness? With the preceding in mind, I wish to discuss President Kufuor’s courageous move to give due recognition to John Atta-Mills, among others, whose actions and deeds are the epitome of self-sacrifice, magnanimity, nation-building and progress.

It is now a well-known fact that many at the highest echelons of political power in the NPP are unhappy with the nomination of John Atta-Mills for a national award, but are these folks’ trepidations real or unfounded? I concur that the timing of the announcement for the awards was unambiguously questionable, but what other time would have been more opportune, or expedient? And to associate a purported awkwardness in John Kufuor’s relationship with Nana Akufo-Addo as a contributory factor to Atta-Mills’ selection smacks of duplicity, a derision of the president’s character, and a lack of respect for the presidency itself! Well, President Kufuor cannot please everyone!

Back to the expediency of the nomination announcement. If the president left it until post-Election 2008 to make the pronouncement, some NPP loyalists will call him a coward, that is, should Atta-Mills win the election. And should Ghanaians choose Akufo-Addo for the nation’s highest office, an Atta-Mills selection for a national award would have been considered an anathema, irrefutably, in lieu of the victory of the NPP: Either way, John Kufuor would have found himself between a rock and a hard place, proverbially speaking, so his decision to make his intentions known now educes strength, honesty, and fearlessness. After all, politics is not for the fainthearted. Can anyone discount the president’s intention to leave the nation more unified than he found it?

A castigation of John Kufuor for serving in one of Jerry Rawlings’ brutal regimes, at a time when three judges from Ghana’s highest court and a retired army officer were assassinated, serves no purpose in terms of its relevance to the Atta-Mills nomination, for John Kufuor rightly resigned his position as Local Government Secretary when he realized that his ideological beliefs were incompatible with those of the leading members of the brutal junta that had, without respect for the law, brutalized and maimed a legion of innocent Ghanaians: John Kufuor, being an altruistic and law-abiding Ghanaian, gladly chose to serve his country, but promptly withdrew his services when he could no longer reconcile his own ideologies with the self-serving interests of a despotic regime, headed by Jerry Rawlings. And Atta-Mills, even while he had served the nation at a point in time as Jerry Rawlings’ deputy, should not be besmeared with Rawlings’ pre-1992 atrocities, as this is evidently not a proverbial “guilty by association” circumstance.

For some NPP stalwarts to make brazen public declarations that John Kufuor detests a possible Akufo-Addo presidency is an insult to the party as a whole. And this rabid condemnation not only makes mockery of the democracy-accentuating philosophy of the NPP, but maligns the party’s “consanguineous” rhetoric of equal rights and equal protection under the law, freedoms that were taken away during the AFRC and PNDC days, but were gracefully restored during Jerry Rawlings’ tentative experiment with multi-party democracy ? and the rule of law ? from 1992 to 2000, an experiment that has now propelled Jerry Rawlings into the enviable company of the nation’s statesmen.

If I still have not convinced everyone by now that John Kufuor hopes for the NPP to continue the former’s legacies of free speech, rule of law and poverty-eradicating democratic rule, even amidst a litany of economic problems, then an analysis of John Kufuor’s handling of the Alan Kyerematen imbroglio should suffice. As an analogy to the Democratic primaries in the United States, where a still-battling Hillary Clinton has refused to concede defeat to Barack Obama, despite the latter’s insurmountable lead in the number of delegates amassed for the party’s candidacy for president of the United States, a state of affairs that has the potential of escalating the schism that is now evident in the Democratic Party, which is capable of derailing the party’s chances against the Republican Party come November 2008, the now infamous departure of the NPP’s “prodigal” son, Alan Kyerematen, would have created a similarly malignant wound in the flesh of his party, had the president not persuaded Kyerematen to return “home.”

That it took all of the political clout of the president to convince a “marauding” Kyerematen to come back to his senses cannot be overemphasized. So, why did John Kufuor step in to avert disaster? Is it for personal fame or party unity? Did he have anything to gain personally from Kyerematen’s return to the NPP? Certainly, party unity was the primary reason for his involvement in the imbroglio, as it will be unconscionable for any sane person, more so a sitting president, to foolishly thwart his party’s chances of being retained by the electorate, by displaying inane ambivalence while his party was reeling from a potential implosion. Today, Kyerematen is back to the NPP, and his return does only one thing for the party: it boosts the party’s chances of being retained, come December 2008. And a boost for the NPP is, unarguably, an enhancement of Akufo-Addo’s chances in Election 2008!

If John Kufuor’s nomination of Atta-Mills for the nation’s highest award is a covert declaration of support for Atta-Mills, simply because the latter belongs to the opposition, then may God help us all! Our propensity to demonize others, especially those in political parties that tout ideologies different from our own ? the “us” versus “them” conundrum I wrote about in an earlier piece ? has been the bane of the nation’s development since the British granted us political autonomy in 1957.

Let us appreciate John Kufuor for wanting to be a unifier, because I believe John Atta- Mills also shares a similar spirit of oneness that can only foster growth and prosperity in our nation. If Atta-Mills wants to be president, a job he is totally qualified for, he needs to continue to make his own case to the Ghanaian electorate. Conversely, if John Kufuor deems it fit to confer such a great honor on Atta-Mills, then let us not imprudently and copiously question the president’s judgment. Whether Akufo-Addo or Atta-Mills is elected president will be meaningless, unless the event is tranquil and helps grow our young democracy. I hope all Ghanaians will rally behind the candidate the electorate chooses, as the people’s will must ultimately be respected. The presidency is not the preserve ? or birthright ? of anyone and we must be conscious of such a fact at all times. One thing is certain: John Kufuor is NOT rooting for an Atta-Mills presidency!

The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University, U.S.A. He is a member of the national honor society for public affairs and administration in the U.S.A. He can be reached at dpryce@cox.net

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

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.