There is something farcically fascinating about the sort of love-hate relationship that exists between 80-year-old former President John Agyekum-Kufuor and the 71-year-old former President Jerry John Rawlings. For that is clearly what exists between these two postcolonial and Fourth Republican Ghanaian leaders, a love-hate relationship.
On the part of Mr. Agyekum-Kufuor, there lingers what unmistakably appears to be an avid urge to be liked and even loved by Mr. Agyekum-Kufuor’s former boss. But it well appears that Chairman Rawlings would simply have none of such servilely insistent overtures of friendship and, perhaps, even kinship.
For all anyone cares, Mr. Agyekum-Kufuor’s perennially observed overtures could very well be borne out of the fear of an incident or event that transpired between these two “giants,” relative to the Ghanaian context, of course, somewhere and sometime in the past.
Whatever this apparently bizarre phenomenon may be, a striking manifestation of the same came up in the wake of then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s narrow loss to then-Interim President John Dramani Mahama in the 2012 Presidential Election. But it had absolutely nothing to do with the 2012 election as such; neither did it really have anything to do with the two protagonists of that election which even Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia was of the firm and publicly stated belief had been criminally stolen from then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. It was about the torching of Mr. Rawlings’ private residence in the Ridge area of Accra, under what Mr. Agyekum-Kufuor, without any expert knowledge in firefighting, claimed to have been deliberately engineered rather than being purely the problem of either a mechanical fault or glitch.
Mr. Agyekum-Kufuor was fully convinced that the residence of the Rawlingses, comprised of two state-owned bungalows cannibalized into a single residence, had been deliberately torched by some arsonist because, according to the former Chief Executive Officer of the Kumasi Municipal Council, it was obvious because not just about every bona fide Ghanaian citizen could be elected President of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana.
Now, this curious observation was stunningly impressive because it presupposed that somebody with an eager eye towards the Presidency who was miffed by his woeful failure to clinch or achieve the same may have either, out of sheer envy or anger and resentment, set the fire that reportedly caused extensive damage to the Rawlingses’ residence.
One did not have to think very deeply and very long to guess at who Mr. Agyekum-Kufuor obviously suspected might be responsible for the dastardly torching of the Rawlingses’ residence located in the Ridge section of the Ghanaian capital. We hear that this sacrificial retired revolutionary may be the owner of at least ten other homes around the country.
My good, old Uncle “Willie” Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, of course, was so meanly being accused of the criminal act of arson! He had just recently been flippantly castigated by Chairman Rawlings in the Manhyia Palace of the Asantehene, His Majesty, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, for being a “Dwarf” who could never accede to the Presidency of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana. Not even in a million years!
Until then, I had not known that part of the much-touted moral values and principles of the so-called Rawlings Revolution or June 4th, if the Dear Reader will, entailed the summary and effective proscription of “Akyem Dwarfs,” whatever such heavily loaded descriptive meant, from campaigning for the Presidency of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana. I would be sleepless for most of that night and refuse to touch my dinner.
Even so, the very scandalous and childish idea that, somehow, elements in the political and ideological camp of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo may very well have torched the private residence of the Rawlingses, simply because the Founding-Father of the then-ruling National Democratic Congress had rather rudely and crassly called my uncle an “unprepossessing dwarf” who did not deserve to accede or succeed to the Presidency or be afforded democratic mandate of the same.
Well, I promptly spoke my mind then, in an article in which I questioned the firefighting expertise of our proverbial “Gentle Giant” and thus do not find it necessary to reprise the same here. What I tersely want to observe here, if only in passing, is the fact that absolutely none of our Fourth-Republican leaders, including the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, my beloved Uncle Tarkwa-Atta, and the late Vice-President Ekwow Nkensen Arkaah, could be aptly deemed to be have lived so well above and beyond reproach as to lightly presume to self-righteously wield the linguistic cudgel of “hypocrisy” as their private property with which to disdainfully bash the “sakora” skull of their political opponent in a pontifical bid to silencing the same.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York