Kwabena Agyepong ? 2 Fries Short of a Happy Meal

Fri, 17 Mar 2006 Source: Quaye, Rikard

The job description of presidential spokesperson is to be an echo bunny. Simply put, they are supposed to be the voice of presidential policy and explain away the negatives whilst accentuating the positives.

In the history of leadership politics however, there have been people who have occupied this unenviable position and have either by design or inadvertently done the leaders they have sought to serve, more harm than good by letting the public into the darker subconscious elements of the neurological composition of those leaders. More often than not, they have unwittingly revealed the true intentions of the governments they serve and managed to turn their leaders into monsters in the eyes of the very public they seem to try to make a positive indent upon.

One need not be an avid historian to remember perhaps the most famous one of them all. Joseph Goebbels; The man who almost single handedly personified, projected and espoused the evil that was Nazism. The speeches of Goebbels that precipitated events such as "Crystalnacht" played no mean part in starting a war, the likes of which the world had never seen and culminated in sending an estimated 70 million people to their untimely deaths. One can also point to the likes of Trotsky, Levanti Beria and Sir Bernhard Ingram the press secretary of Margaret Thatcher who had an uncanny knack for insulting cabinet ministers just before they were fired by the iron lady.

And of course who can forget Saddam Hussein?s ?Baghdad Bob? who could see the tanks of the American infantry on his shoulder and still proclaimed that Saddam was winning the war.

In the history of Ghana, apart from this president, none has hitherto divorced the activities of the presidency from that of the government in general, precipitating the need for a presidential spokesperson which has quite frankly duplicated and usurped the functions of the information minister.

Since the advent of this government, Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong has played the part of presidential spokesperson and has almost single handedly managed to whittle away the inordinately infinite amounts of goodwill upon the back of which this president rode to power. Mr. Agyepong?s arrogance, lack of decorum, vituperative cadence and downright unsuitability for the job has over the years metamorphosed from dribbles of unguarded speech into an avalanche of bombastic, inflammatory edicts that will make Slobodan Milosevic cringe in his grave. His latest faux pas is his inexcusable defense of the events of 24th February 1966.

Kwabena Agyepong was reported to have said and I paraphrase "Anybody who refers to 24 February 1966 as a day of shame is advertising his ignorance of Ghana's political history, in that the dynamics of the internal political situation at the time called for that military intervention." According to Mr. Agyepong, prior to the overthrow of Dr Nkrumah, Ghana's first President, there was a political situation where the president had declared a one party state and himself as the life President of Ghana, as a result of which he adopted a policy of vendetta and vindictiveness against his political opponents.

Mr. Agyapong further said:

"In order to clamp down on his political opponents and cow them into submission, Dr Nkrumah manipulated Parliament to enact the oppressive Preventive Detention Act, which was used to incarcerate anybody perceived to be against his authority and dictatorial regime.

"This, I expected the Socialist Forum and their newly found allies to acknowledge instead of trying successfully to find fault with the Danquah/Busia tradition at the time."

For many people in this country and indeed the world over, 24th February 1966 was a day that we would like to forget sooner than later.

A day set in infamy within the annals of any historical perspective one throws on this country.

A day that many people who may not even have political persuasions see as the day that began the descent of Ghana into the political, social and economic downward spiral that has turned the first Black African country to gain independence from a beacon of hope for the rest of Africa into a pathetic, highly indebted, poverty stricken country that is today only second to Sudan in guinea worm infestation, second to Haiti in the rate of brain drain and has now taken over from Nigeria as the narcotics transit point between South America and the Western world.

A day that began the ceding of our hard earned freedom from colonialism to the ravages of the cold war and the manipulation of this great nation by the C.I.A, its assigns and local collaborators.

For Kwabena Agyepong in particular however, it is most surprising that he would even attempt to justify the violent overthrow of any government by militarists and I will expatiate on why this writer avers such.

It is important to note that although a leading activist of the NPP during its opposition days, Kwabena could never pass parliamentary scrutiny for a ministerial post because of his prior record of not paying taxes on $26000 he was ?gifted? by a player agent as a result of some questionable player transfers he facilitated on behalf of Kumasi Asante Kotoko F.C. when he was the club?s Accra representative.

Kwabena?s father Justice Agyepong of blessed memory was senselessly murdered along with 2 of his fellow judges and a retired army officer by revolutionary zealots in 1983 for completely unfathomable reasons. As I write today, there are so many unanswered questions about those callous murders that are still outstanding even though the alleged perpetrators have been executed. Perhaps there is some truth in the old Akan saying that ?the drunken chicken soon forgets that the hawk still circles?.

What the hell was Mr. Agyepong smoking when he made that statement? Is Kwabena Agyepong aware that within the world of coup making, exists copious amounts of relativity?

Is Kwabena Agyepong aware that one man?s act of treason is another man?s act of liberation?

Is Kwabena Agyepong aware that the events of 24th February 1966 set forth the culture of subterfuge and counter subterfuge, coups and counter coups that indirectly led to the callous murder of his father?

How much of the prosperity he enjoys today can he substitute for the life of his own father?

Is Kwabena Agyepong trying to tell us that it is alright to disenfranchise the people of this nation anytime there is a perception that a government is not doing the people?s bidding?

Let us bring forth a case in point. The government that he speaks so ?eloquently? for have recently passed a bill into law, which drew the ire of an overwhelming majority of Ghanaians. I am referring to the ROPA law. The law which many Ghanaians believe was passed by the government so that they could rig impending elections. An overwhelming majority of Ghanaians believe that sensing that they are on the road to perdition, the NPP have passed a law that they know is the only way they can rig the elections in 2008?

Is Kwabena Agyepong giving disaffected Ghanaians the presidential spokesman?s accent to seek a militaristic interventionist solution to this perceived attempt to disenfranchise us come 2008?

I know that the argument that some will make and which Kwabena has already alluded to will be that Nkrumah turned the country into a one party state. Much as I and every Ghanaian who commands a whiff of this country?s history is fully cognizant of the paranoia and fear that had engulfed this country in the last days of Nkrumah, is the NPP and their apologists saying they do not know that this country was turned into a one party state using constitutional means? Is Kwabena Agyepong not aware that there was a REFERENDUM in which the people of this country were afforded the opportunity to decide in which direction they wanted the nation to go? Something the NPP refused to offer the people of Ghana during the ROPAB debate? Is it okay for anyone to rally up sentiment against the Kuffuor administration for attempting to create a one party state after their insensitive show of majority democracy when they enforced their 3 line whip to pass ROPAB and then further insulted Ghanaians with a display of triumphant white clothing and chants of ?aba mu awie? on the floor of the house? I will concede that the referendum was rigged and Nkrumah really had it coming. But is it not now public knowledge courtesy of declassified C.I.A. historical records that the C.I.A with the help of prominent Danquah - Busia loyalists as well as some of his own ministers had helped create that state of flux by organizing bombings, attempts at assassination etc that will send any government into all sorts of panic?

Indeed this government has a proven track record at things like stacking the Supreme Court with judges of their choice to sway decisions in their favor. They have a record of using police powers to stifle dissent as recently demonstrated when they rolled out the Greater Accra regional commander of the police to be their point man in their attempt to put the brakes on demonstrators against the ROPA law. Their record of cover ups in relation to the callous murders of the Ya Na and Alhaji Issifu Mobila is stuff of which legends evolve. To add to all this, the allegations of corruption which have the president himself and his family at the core, the handling of the Amoateng drug smuggling scandal and the mysterious disappearance of party aficionados who were busted at the airport laden with narcotics.

So I have to ask Mr. Agyepong the big question. And here goes;

? Given all of the above, is it okay to incite a coup d?etat against your government?

? Is it okay to overthrow your government because of the purely perceptional issues I have raised?

? Should we be making a fervent appeal to any listening officer of the armed forces to go and get his gun and liberate us?

Of course the answer is a big fat NO! The last thing we need today is military intervention. It is true today, and it was true in 1966. The last thing we want is for soldiers to turn the guns that we pay for with tax payers money to be turned on us instead of being used to protect us.

Mr. Agyepong, you should be ashamed of yourself. I would go so far as asking you to apologize to all Ghanaians for the embarrassment your utterances have caused the government. Most of all, you should wear sack cloth and smear your face with ashes for insulting your father?s memory with such asinine public utterances. Your father is indeed squirming in his grave.

Even if you were thinking it, like so many of your colleagues in government do, you shouldn?t have said it. Some things are better left unsaid. Shame on you sir, you really are 2 fries short of a happy meal!

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

Columnist: Quaye, Rikard