You can’t really blame the Paramount Chief – actually, he is a Paramount King – of Nkoranza for predicting, rather comically, that President John Dramani Mahama stands the hands-down chance of garnering 95-percent of the November polls (See “Paramount Chief Predicts 95% Victory for President Mahama” Ghana News Agency / Modernghana.com 4/30/16). In the Akan language, it is perfectly hunky-dory to indulge in hyperbole. It adds flavor and humor to an otherwise humdrum activity that is, by and large, predicated on the skill of who can tell the most outsized lies to people who already expect the same from our politicians; and the torrent raining of promises is intended primarily to tickle the wistful imagination of eligible and prospective voters.
The good news here is that neither politician nor elector really believes in the practical substance of such promises. It is pretty much akin to a pathological womanizer telling the most unprepossessing woman in his neighborhood that Yaa Moto is the prettiest woman to behold. African-Americans have a word for this sort of flirtatious appropriation of language, the rhetorical outcome of which is invariably catharsis. It is called the “Dozens.” This exaggerated use of language is proximally therapeutic, for it is meant to serve as a verbal slugfest in lieu of war. In the end, both victor and vanquished depart fully satisfied that a creative bargain has been struck which stands to further cement the longstanding kinship between virulent rivals.
We are told that the giant ram that Okatakyie Agyeman-Kudom, IV, presented President John Dramani Mahama during a courtesy call that “His Excellency” – all puns and ironies are, of course, intended – paid the Chief of Nkoranza as part of his so-called Accounting-to-the-People tour, was the second of such royal gesture. The first of these apparently reciprocal expressions of gratitude, we are told, occurred in the lead-up to the 2012 Presidential Election whose infamous stalemate was predictably resolved by the Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel in favor of the incumbent, then-Interim President John Dramani Mahama. And so, I guess, we could aptly quip that the magical effect that Okatakyie Kudom expected his maiden ram would work on the chances of Mr. Mahama’s not being afforded an epic butt-kicking did not quite pan out the way that the Paramount King of Nkoranza had hoped. But it was a worthwhile victory, nonetheless. Clearly a stolen one it was but, nonetheless, one that was authoritatively affirmed by the Judicial Arm of Government.
And Okatakyie Kudom has good reasons to back up his remarkable gesture of goodwill to the President. According the state-owned and operated Ghana News Agency report, used as a point of reference for this column, the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has completed at least 30 educational projects in the Nkoranza Traditional Area; and that even as yours truly writes, work was ongoing on the purported GH? 35 million infrastructural project at the Nkoranza Senior High cum Technical School. Now, I wonder how many Paramount Chiefs in the country could boast of such massive infrastructural projects under the very government which President Jerry John Rawlings had occasion to describe as “Definitely the most corrupt and incompetent of all postcolonial Ghanaian governments.” Chairman Rawlings ought to know what he is talking about, for he is widely regarded as the undisputed founding-patriarch of the National Democratic Congress.
Even more significant is the fact that President Mahama was mentored by Chairman Rawlings, in whose government the former served as Town-Crier or Communications Minister. The problem here, though, is that impugning the administrative competence of Mr. Mahama is a double-edged sword. It cuts both ways. Which is simply another way of saying that if, indeed, one of his vintage political apprentices is that hopelessly incompetent, then it stands to reason to equally observe that such administrative incompetence, as has been publicly and repeatedly alleged by Chairman Rawlings, may well have been inherited from the P/NDC “Master Politician” and “Teacher.”
At any rate, what piqued my interest and desire to comment on the Nkoranzahene’s ram gesture to President Mahama is the fact that historically, as the grandson of Daasebre, the Nifamanhene of Akyem-Abuakwa, or the Asiakwahene, Okatakyie Agyeman-Kudom is also my grandfather. Actually, the Nkoranza Paramount King is my great-grandfather. We have never met before, but the photograph I saw of him, published alongside the news article referenced here, makes it quite clear to me that Okatakyie Kudom is about 95 years old, or dangerously close to being a centenarian. In which case he may really have been referring to his own birth certificate, assuming that he has one, when he predicted that President Mahama would clinch at least 95-percent of the vote in the November general election.
And for those of our readers who may not know this, the Omanhene of Nkoranza is also the dauphin, or eldest son, of the Asantehene. Which is why I am hereby calling on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, to tell the Ghanaian public what he really thinks about such patently unhealthy interference in our national politics by this evidently intransigently naughty son of his. I adamantly refuse to apologize to my own grandfather for so rudely and irreverently dragging the venerable name of chieftaincy into abject disrepute.
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