The Road to Kigali – Part 11

Mon, 24 Dec 2012 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Barely twenty-four hours after the controversial declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as winner of the 2012 general election, Benin’s President Yayi Boni arrived in Accra to heartily congratulate his good friend and presidential colleague (See “Ghana is a Model of Democracy in Africa – President Yayi Boni” Ghanaweb.com 12/11/12). It was rather strange but quite understandable. In the waning days of his short-lived reign as premier, the late President John Evans Atta-Mills was widely rumored to have finessed South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma to endorse Mr. Yayi Boni as chairman of the African Union (AU).

Interestingly, though, today a former spouse of Mr. Zuma serves as President of the AU Commission. In essence, the NDC government might have run as hard as a duiker in predatory danger, but it has not been able to put any remarkable distance between the continental aspirations of the South African leader and itself. Talk of man and his shadow!

That the Benin leader arrived in Accra ostensibly to congratulate Mr. Mahama on his declaration by Ghana’s Electoral Commission as winner of Election 2012 reeks of a modicum of unsavory suspicion. He ought to clearly have been cognizant of the fact that his Ghanaian counterpart’s electoral victory was mired in forensically provable controversy. And so it could only have been that Mr. Yayi Boni was on a patently ungodly mission of unduly attempting to circumvent the salient element of “justice” in Ghanaian democracy. In other words, the Benin chief-of-state was simply returning a favor done him earlier on by the Mills-Mahama government. He would also visit the presidential candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Now, we don’t know what transpired between President Yayi Boni and Nana Akufo-Addo. But it is quite obvious that his was a visit that was not expressly meant to humor the NPP leader. We know this for a fact because his first course of action, we are told, was to heartily congratulate Mr. Mahama and invite the latter to the African Union summit, or conference of heads of state, scheduled for the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in January 2013. It would thus be quite interesting should the Supreme Court of Ghana rule against the electoral victory of Mr. Yayi Boni’s Ghanaian friend and presidential opposite number. Would Mr. Boni then be forced to sheepishly disinvite Mr. Mahama while at the same time shamefacedly and apologetically inviting Nana Akufo-Addo?

Obviously, knowing what we all know about the capricious dynamics of African politics, particularly that aspect which is adamantly dead-set against the administration of justice, Mr. Yayi Boni must have come to the surefire conclusion that the proverbial die has been decidedly cast against the fortunes of Nana Akufo-Addo. This may well explain why the AU Chairman is widely reported to have prevailed on former President John Agyekum-Kufuor to pressure Nana Akufo-Addo to concede defeat.

It also clearly appears that President Yayi Boni was far less concerned about the rule of fair play and justice than acquiescent peace and political stability. Consequently, his rather pontifical, albeit insufferably insolent, description of Ghana “as a model of African democracy which would continue to encourage her neighbors to live in peace and unity to achieve lasting growth and development,” could not be more offensive. Such characterization condescendingly presumes Ghana to be a politically experimental guinea pig whose primary existence as a nation is to serve the benefit of her neighbors but herself.

For those of us who have lived, experienced and actively participated in an advanced democratic culture such as that of the United States, Ghana ought to first become a model of justice unto her own people before it can be presumed to epitomize the modern African breed of democracy, whatever the latter may be envisaged to be or represent. Far gone are the days, and must be the days, when sheer political showcasing was an epic target of the proverbial African personality, when independent Ghana was widely envisaged continent-wide as a beacon or the trajectory of progress which other emergent sovereign states on the continent needed to studiously emulate.

In the era of globalization, there exists no single center of socioeconomic and political emulation. It is palpably a battle royal, and every polity is a potential model of political leadership. At any rate, what ought to be resolutely resented and fiercely resisted about Mr. Yayi Boni’s rather crude attempt to forge a cronyistic relationship with his Ghanaian counterpart is the harsh and tragic lesson that the erstwhile Organization of African Unity, that odious and primitive institution of dictatorial alliances, has taught us. The new era of African political culture and leadership ought to privilege justice over flagrantly staged acts of political chicanery.

Indeed, Mr. Yayi Boni clearly appears to have remarkably appreciated something about the kind of collusive shenanigans that transpired between the Afari-Gyan headed Electoral Commission and key operatives of the National Democratic Congress. On this score, this is how the Ghana News Agency (GNA) reported the same: “He [Mr. Yayi Boni] commended Ghana’s Electoral Commission for going beyond the past mark in the implementation of the biometric voting system for the first time in the country, and expressed the hope that the country could do better in subsequent elections.”

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Department of English Nassau Community College of SUNY Garden City, New York Dec. 16, 2012 ###

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame