By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Thursday, December 8, 2011
News reports that the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo desecrated a mosque in Damongo by urinating on its walls during his recent visit to the area came as no surprise to some of us. The persistent recourse to insults and plain calumny as political tools suggests that such news reports won’t be anything extra-ordinary. Nor will we expect that the spate of pejorative utterances against Akufo-Addo will abate. It won’t for as long as the grounds exist for it. Even though the tempo concerning his alleged drug abuse may have lessened, the clouds generated by such allegations haven’t yet dispersed. They are still hanging over his head and he must brace himself up for more.
One may be tempted to assume that as he continues to reach out to the electorate, new allegations will be raised to continue giving him sleepless nights. The reported Damongo pissing incident is just the latest one. But it is a useless piece of propaganda that won’t fetch anything useful for his political foes who may want to use it against him.
In responding to the calumny, Agyarko (Akufo-Addo’s campaign manager) confirmed that Akufo-Addo did, indeed, urinate in the open during his Damongo visit, although he stated, however, that there was nothing wrong with Akufo-Addo’s responding to the call of Nature. Yes, there is nothing wrong with doing so. After all, we are all natural and have to respond to such calls.
Indeed, the act itself was not wrong; but what was wrong with it (because unexpected or unusual for such a high-ranking personality) was its “openness.” Knowing who he is and what he wants to become, Akufo-Addo should have done better than expose himself to this kind of ridicule. He had every opportunity to ask for the proper place of convenience at which to offload the stuff but didn’t do so. By urinating in public, he showed gross indiscipline or lack of decorum—a confirmation of a major Ghanaian moral problem. Elsewhere, such an act is punishable. But not in Ghana, where “everything goes”! What Akufo-Addo did is just a reflection of the wider Ghanaian lack of discipline. Why, then, turn round to make a mountain out of this molehill of indiscretion?
The story surrounding this indiscretion on the part of Akufo-Addo must end here as a mere unguarded response to an irresistible natural urge. Anything else read into it won’t wash with me. That is why anybody in the NDC who seeks to capitalize on this mere human-interest story to do destructive politics will be nothing but a scoundrel. It won’t win any vote for the party and will only draw a needless public sympathy for Akufo-Addo and keep him in the public sphere for his good—and the NDC’s bad.
It must be obvious to the NDC functionaries by now that if Ghanaians want Akufo-Addo to replace President Mills, no amount of damaging propaganda against him will prevent him from getting their mandate at the polls. Whether he urinated in the open or not has nothing to do with governance!
The NDC needs better messages with which to undercut him. I have already insisted that the only way to outdo Akufo-Addo (to neutralize the vim in his politicking) is for the government to perform better and for the NDC itself to solve its internal factional problems to prove to Ghanaians that it is trustworthy enough to be retained in office. No amount of badmouthing Akufo-Addo will do the magic at Election 2012. The snag is that not until the government works hard to claw back public goodwill, it may do all manner of negative propaganda against Akufo-Addo but it won’t profit from it. Unfortunately, the government has its back to the wall. The major systemic problems bothering Ghanaians which they voted the NDC into office to solve are still daunting:
• Lack of job avenues for the large number of graduates churned out by our educational institutions is at the center of the tension that characterizes the public sector, giving rise to armed robbery and other anti-social acts.
• The cost of living is still high, apparently because the economy is still weak while the prices of utility services and basic amenities (including school fees) continue to rise; bribery and corruption are still on the ascendancy; and there is an atmosphere of hopelessness for the future.
• The perennial flooding of low-lying areas and the destruction of life and property, which the government proves incapable of solving because it doesn’t have any plan for that purpose, is worrisome. While failing to turn the heavy rainfall into advantage (by harvesting the water for storage), the persistent water shortage or the high cost of water angers the people. Against this backdrop, the erratic supply of electricity (Isn’t it pathetic to have the entire country thrown into darkness on Wednesday?) as well as power rationing or the high cost of generating electricity at the Aboadze thermal plant continue to bother the people. What about alternative sources of energy (solar, wind, biodiversity, atomic/nuclear)?
• Food production is on the decline while the government spends huge sums of money importing staple food items that can be produced locally if it had given enough attention to agriculture and supported local food producers to the full. The problems are still daunting, and no amount of empty political posturing will impress the people as they prepare to make their electoral decisions.
There are many more frightening problems—all in the face of an ever-increasing national population! That’s what will influence the voters in making their electoral decisions, not where Akufo-Addo urinated or the color of that urine. Or even how thick that urine was!
For as long as the government continues to superintend over mediocrity, it will expose its underbelly and remain vulnerable till the outcome of the polls shows it where naked power lies. We can tell from the negative propaganda stunts being launched at Akufo-Addo that desperation has set in already. That may explain why some of the Ministers and their Deputies or high-ranking government functionaries are rushing into contesting Parliamentary seats. The results from the recent NDC primaries have shocked those of them who lost. Others lining up to contest in other areas are wary. The point is that they aren’t doing what the people expect and shouldn’t hope to be given the nod.
The same threat looms large for President Mills. What will save the day for him is hard work and more hard work to reassure Ghanaians that he is more competent than anybody else at the touchline and must be retained in office to make good his party’s electoral promises. Otherwise, a rude awakening awaits him and the NDC, no matter how black they paint their opponents. Ghanaians want problem solvers, not mere hot air blowers.
For now, whether Akufo-Addo pisses in the open or in his pants will not be the message with which to woo voters. It won’t be the NDC’s panacea to solving its problem of dwindling political fortunes ether. Only shortsighted people will dwell on this “all-piss-be-piss” nonsense. And they will do so at their own risk. Election 2012 is not about pissing! It is about where to move the country for its people to live decent lives in peace and tranquility.