Open letter to the president

Tue, 1 Dec 2020 Source: Dr Phil Michael Yao Wodui Serwornoo

“They concentrated on their own affairs rather than on those of (their) country: The Doctor was interested in finding where Cheap Drugs could be obtained. The Lawyer was trying to find out the best connection he could make as far as his private practices were concerned.

“The Cocoa Magnate wanted to know what group of exploiters he could organise…the Fresher wanted to see the glory of London and so they had little or no time whatever at their disposal to go about the business of the Sedition Bill”- Arthur withheld.

Mr. President, I would like to re-write the quotation above to accommodate the exigencies of today and appeal to your superior Biblical knowledge: “….and who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this”.

“They concentrated on their own affairs rather than on those of (their) neighbours: The Doctor was interested in finding where the right Drugs could be obtained to treat Covid-19. The Lawyer was trying to find out the best connection he could make as far as his private practices were concerned with an eye on election litigation.

“The presidential and parliamentary candidate is trekking the nation seeking audiences to promises. The Cocoa Magnate wanted to know what group of exploiters he could organise in order to get some tons of Cocoa purchased at a very low cost…. the Fresher wanted to see the glory of London, Paris, Abidjan and Accra and so they had little or no time whatever at their disposal to go about the business of protecting and standing for up democracy”- Serwornoo adapted from Danquah.

Mr. President, I could have written this letter sitting in my Office in Cape Coast, now that I am babyishly convinced that I won’t be summoned before any postexilic Sanhedrin around Cape Vars, but I chose to come to Kibi and sit at the Danquah Memorial Centre so that my pen could receive inspiration and the blessing of Dr. JB Danquah, a fearless advocate of justice and knowledge.

Your Excellency, I have followed and continue to follow the Ivorian crises because of my inalienable link to that country. I could not be writing today if my school fees and feeding monies had not come from my sisters who were fishmongers in that country.

But when the crisis heightened in Cote d’Ivoire in 2010, I was convinced that framing Dr. Alassane Ouattara as democratic and a victim of discrimination was partly untrue.

He was an apprentice of the founding father of Cote d’Ivoire, Felix Houphoët-Boigny, who believed that multi-party democracy was a vision for Cote d’Ivoire and not a reality during his days and that is why the very Constitution that established the one-party system in Cote d’Ivoire also pre-empted multiparty democracy for the unknown future, explained by Houphouët-Boigny in an RFI interview.

In that interview, he referred to Ghana’s attempt at multi-party democracy as a failure and refused to be compared with Senegal because, to him, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire were not comparable for several reasons.

Gauging the opposition mode in Cote d’Ivoire in the late 80s, Houphoët-Boigny hurriedly introduced a kind of multi-party democracy in 1990 and died in 1993. The very political training received by Dr Ouattara prevents him from being a democrat.

Secondly, the International Crisis Group, in 2003, accused Dr Ouattara of having financed the creation and training of the Forces Nouvelles rebels with support from Burkina Faso. Not many Democrats come to power in that fashion. As such, I knew he will definitely be exposed one day.

After serving two terms and persecuting his political opponent in a very severe manner, Dr Outtara now advances a very disturbing argument for why he must contrive the Constitution of Cote d’Ivoire.

Dr Ouattara’s hubris led him to believe that the demise of his party’s candidate for the 2020 Election opens a third-term-door, especially because his party holds a majority in the Senate and Assembly. Actually, he tells journalists that party members have asked him to have a go at a third term and he is doing Cote d’Ivoire a service.

Mr. President, with all due respect to you but also to the pleasant memory of Prof. P.A.V Ansah, I would like to describe the position of his Excellency Dr Ouattara by Going to Town. This position is one of a political freak, jerk, or punk or miscreant or reprobate or just ordinary walking rascal, ruffian, rogue, ragamuffin…..

Why am I bordering you with all these? Permit me to tabulate my points so that I do not miss any point and that you do not need to strain your eye to read them, Mr. President:

Mr. President, Ghana is the shining beauty of contemporary African democracy not by chance. The commitment of our forefathers towards self-rule and pan-Africanism is documented and these have influenced our resolve to remain on the road of self-rule in freedom.

Mr. President, while growing up, I have read but only that you are a freedom fighter and human right lawyer. That’s what I chiefly remember about you.

Has this changed?

Apart from the over three million Ghanaian citizens living in Cote d’Ivoire, for whom you have sworn to protect, about 40% of the Ivoirian citizens are Akans. Actually, any chaos in Cote d’Ivoire is too costly for us.

Do not forget Mr. President that apart from you speaking fluent French, you are the descendant of Dr. JB Danquah who helped to initiate and actively participated in Africa’s emancipation during his student days in Britain.

He also established The West Africa Times and edited the West African Student Union Magazine; newspapers that became the voice and mouth-piece of Africa’s liberation struggle. These put an enormous burden on you. Don’t forget that we know these.

You hold the Chair of the ECOWAS now. Make it count. Remember, how you felt about the infamous “Dzi wo fie asem”.

Mr. President, there is a YouTube video circulating on the web that calls you not only to action, but infer polemics and allegations. Is it true that you sent your Foreign Minister and an Army General from Benin on mediation assignment in Cote d’Ivoire?

If you have not briefed us, please do now. Modern communication in open society cures one simple metaphor: A neighbour who lives entirely behind closed doors becomes the subject of speculation, rumour and at worst, fear, founded on lack of understanding.

Dr. Ouattara seems to suggest in an interview that you, as ECOWAS Chair, understand why he is doing what he is doing in Cote d’Ivoire. Hahahaha….I think you are not getting any attacks about the Ivorian crises because your main opponent, former president Mahama, received a national honour from Dr. Oauttara he is quiet too.

Mr. President, remember it did not take Dr. Danquah a lot of time to disagree with the new Ghana’s political future in the hands of the Chiefs which included his own Nana Sir William Ofori Atta I.

If you’re convinced that multiparty democracy is good for Africa, then tell it to the head of state of our neighbouring countries. You may borrow this title for the letter: Get On, Or Get Out, Friends!

His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I am asking you to explain to Dr. Ouattara that Cote d’Ivoire needs a new path to multiparty democracy and he must allow that to happen.

ECOWAS mediation continues to leave room for too many questions about the sub-regional body’s usefulness. Let your Chairmanship reflect our sterling democratic credentials. Please tell us what you are doing about the situation.

His Excellency, the Ivorian elections just like P.A.V. Ansah’s description of Ghana’s Ibin Chambers led parliament was like a poor man’s situation comedy or soap opera with an artistic director called Dr. Ouattara, and the Constitution Council plus the ECOWAS Chair starring as some of the principal actors in the farce, circus, sham, travesty and mockery which is erroneously referred to as presidential election. Actually, the opposition had this imoji, “Mada kura aaaa”.

I bring you greetings from Kibi, Pano.

Sincerely yours, Dr. Phil. Michael Serwornoo.

Dr Phil Michael Yao Wodui Serwornoo is a broadcaster, community media expert, and a lecturer. He studies the power dynamics in journalism institutions.

Columnist: Dr Phil Michael Yao Wodui Serwornoo
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