By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Dec. 31, 2015
I really do not see any controversy over the decision by President John Dramani Mahama and his Flagstaff House hangers-on to have pictures of himself and his wife and First Lady Lordina Mahama wrapped around chocolates produced by the State-owned chocolate-producing factory located in the nation’s industrial township of Tema (See “Lordina-Branded Chocolate Sparks Controversy” Atinkaonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 12/30/15). Both decision and action present the Akufo-Addo-led main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) prime opportunity to publicly underscore for Ghanaian voters the clearly very low opinion that President Mahama, his wife and the rest of his associates and minions have of them.
For starters, why has Mr. Mahama whose National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has only now, in the lead-up to Election 2016, decided to imprint chocolate wrappers with pictures of his wife and himself? He could have done so every New Year’s Eve since he acceded to the presidency. And also why if, indeed, the chocolates bearing the image of the President and the First Lady were meant for Ghanaian public schoolchildren, or pupils, the pictures of these schoolchildren themselves, or the recipients, had not been imprinted on the wrappers of these chocolate bars and/or tablets meant by the First Couple as their New Year’s gift?
Even more importantly, why had the money spent in placing this humongous chocolate order not been earmarked for the expansion of the virtually comatose school-feeding program? Mr. and Mrs. Mahama could then have also asked their staunch supporters and sympathizers to generously contribute to a supplementary school-feeding fund. This would have been a great mark of creative leadership. It would also have put the entire idea and its execution well beyond public controversy or dispute.
You see, it is all right to once awhile give our young and poor schoolchildren a vintage taste of the delicious products of our most politically determined cash crop. In other words, we all know that the primal cultivation of cocoa was a decision introduced to Ghanaian farmers by what the late Prof. Ali A. Mazrui once termed as the “Sweet-Toothed” English colonialists. And the end products, of course, were meant for the exclusive consumption of the citizens and residents of the proverbial “Mother Country.” Actually, our British colonial overlords behaved more like the legendary wicked “Step-Mother,” slavishly tyrannical of her household hands and nauseatingly doting on her own children and grandchildren.
Indeed, having the cheerful pictures of our schoolchildren and grandchildren on these chocolate bars and tablets would have gone a long way towards inspiring these proverbial leaders of tomorrow to think of becoming even more successful and progressively influential leaders than their present-day benefactors and seemingly unconscionable “Dumsor-cratic” cross-partisan leadership. As a matter of policy, I don’t do Facebook on a regular basis, although I have had a Facebook account for quite a considerable while now. Still, I find the very idea of taking such a purely local issue to the World-Wide Web rather myopic and even downright infantile. And this is where Nana Akomea and his dispiritingly lethargic members of the New Patriotic Party’s Communications Directorate, so called, come in.
As a frontal and winsome strategy, the NPP-PR operatives could actually order more of the Lordina-Dramani chocolates and launch an electioneering campaign blitz around them, by demonstrating to both potential and prospective Ghanaian voters how disrespectfully cynical the Power-Couple and their representatives and assigns are towards the children and grandchildren of the very adult voters who conscientiously offered them their mandate. In other words, as New Yorkers are wont to say, for every lemon that is deviously thrown at the key NPP operatives by their nose-thumbing NDC counterparts, make a gallon of lemonade to good effect or for strategically sumptuous public consumption.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com