It appears, rather pathetically, that Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, the IMANI-Africa think-tank boss, is fast losing his relevance in the area of his own specialty. It is very sad to hear him quibble frivolously with the just-concluded referenda on the creation of the six additional regions in the country, namely, the North-East, Savannah, Bono-East, Ahafo, Western North and the Oti regions (See “New Regions Referendum a Waste of Public Funds – Franklin Cudjoe” MyNewsGh.com 12/27/18).
For a quite remarkable intellectual who has spent at least the last decade, or so, working hard to distinguish and differentiate himself from the proverbial pack to be questioning the credibility and authenticity of the Akufo-Addo Administration’s studious application of the tenets of Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution to legally and legitimately conduct the just-ended region-creation referendum reeks of nothing short of the patently and inexcusably absurd.
Indeed, were he the sort of impartial and ideologically and intellectually dispassionate patriotic Ghanaian citizen that he would have the rest of us believe, the IMANI-Africa’s founding-president would have focused his attention on the long-term benefits, or the perceived lack thereof, and the implications of this electoral exercise. Instead, we find Mr. Cudjoe rather unwisely damning the legitimacy of the very “sacred” instrument that so smoothly facilitated the conduct of the referenda. Put in simple terms, it is rather scandalous for Mr. Cudjoe to have waited this long before presuming to impugn the credibility and authenticity of Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution, and this only because he apparently does not agree with the modalities under which the referenda were conducted. Needless to say, if he were a serious student of modern Ghanaian politics, Mr. Cudjoe would have taken the time to study how the 1956 United Nations-sponsored Plebiscite that led to the incorporation of the former Trans-Volta Togoland (TVT) and the ultimate conferral of Ghanaian citizenship to the likes of the IMANI-Africa boss himself was conducted.
And since he clearly does not seem to be familiar with this landmark document, perhaps it bears reminding Mr. Cudjoe that in the 1956 Plebiscite, only the citizens and residents of the former TVT were allowed to cast the ballot. Absolutely no Ghanaian citizen or resident living in the country but not resident within the boundaries of the TVT was allowed to participate in the referendum. Thus, it is rather scandalous for Mr. Cudjoe to disdainfully imply that restricting the franchise to the residents of the areas affected by the Plebiscite or region creation effectively invalidated the country’s 1992 Constitution. What this clearly and insolently means is that Mr. Cudjoe perceives his opinion on the 2018 region-creation referenda and those of people who think like him to supersede the constitutional mandate that both authorized and facilitated the process. Is Mr. Cudjoe insisting that those leaders and citizens of the Oti Enclave, so-called, who legitimately and constitutionally demanded, with valid reasons, to have their part of our country afforded the status of a region, and thus be legitimately brought closer to the central government were, somehow, second-class citizens who did not deserve any of the inalienable democratic rights and privileges allowable by the Constitution.
Or is the IMANI-Africa boss hereby claiming “tenant,” rather than full-citizenship status, for the residents of the soon-to-be Oti Region and the five other regions officially mandated by the December 27 referenda? It is quite obvious and certain that the IMANI-Africa boss and his staff of think-tankers have a lot of work to do, if they intend to regain any modicum of credibility and respect in the offing. And on the latter score, I am not the least bit interested in whether the Cudjoe Gang decided to promptly issue a face-saving apology or not; for the self-inflicted damage clearly appears to have already been done to the image and reputation of their hitherto quite authoritative establishment. It also well appears that the IMANI-Africa establishment has prematurely peaked and may need to rebrand or shortly find itself rendered kaput. Of course, there may very well be a pride of place reserved among the vanguard ranks of the Trokosi Nationalist Movement for Mr. Cudjoe and his associate would-be hijackers of Fourth Republican Ghanaian democracy.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York