The Mystery Surrounding the Pink Sheet Fall of the Elephant

Wed, 4 Sep 2013 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

Let's all be happy that the legal saga is finally over without incident.

Akufo-Addo has finally written his own political obituary with a bogus case, a case he knew had no judicatory merit. As far as I can remember, he’s the second person in human history to have self-authored his political obituary—self-aware. The first was Moses. And as Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the NDC, recently intimated, Akufo-Addo deserves no commendation for resorting to legal redress. That is not far from the truth. I agree 100%. After all, that was within his legal rights.

In fact, what Akufo-Addo deserves is a reflective repose and possible retirement from active partisan politics. Then again, that is s personal choice. Of course, he rigorously pursued his interest in the camera obscura of the Supreme Court because constitutional stipulations guaranteed it and because that right has inalienable protections under the same legal umbrella, the constitution. Those who say “the hand” deserves commendation because it dressed “the sore” are missing the point. Whose natural duty is it to treat the sore? The hand or the sore? Does an untreated sore have self-palliative powers? Simply put, Akufo-Addo took full advantage of his constitutional rights. But is that constitutionally protected pursuit commendable? Maybe.

Having said that, we still believe there are many good contributions Akufo-Addo can make to the growth of Ghana and Africa. He can follow in Kuffour’s footsetps and contribute to the politics of conflict resolution/management, constitutional and electoral reforms across the continent. Rawlings has also left a long trail of humanitarian footsteps for him to follow. Others, like Patrick Awuah, Jr. and Fred Swaniker, have also institutionalized emulative humanitarian exemplars for Akufo-Addo’s appropriation. These are priceless blueprints. If Forbes magazine’s assessment of Akufo-Addo’s financial holdings is anything to go by, then, I am afraid, Akufo-Addo has the wherewithal to outdo the social philanthropies of both Fred Swaniker and Patrick Awuah, Jr. Better still, neither of these noble men achieved his philanthropic dream through the postern of presidency. Therefore, if Akufo-Addo wants to have a feel of presidency, then, perhaps, philanthropy is where to start. He can start by setting up scholarships for poor Ghanaian school children. That is only when he can bring his purely academic “free education” to fruition. Finally, he can also apply to teach electoral law, conflict resolution/management, or even political science at any of the country’s tertiary institutions. Offering legal pro bono services to poor Ghanaians is another area he can explore, if, in fact, he is not already doing that. Psychosocial “grandfathering” of his family is equally worth looking into. So, you see, the gamut of possibilities is unlimited for Akufo-Addo to explore.

But we must also be clear about certain facts. I think public calls for Akufo-Addo to be graduated to the rank of statesmanship are politically inexpedient, frustratingly immature, and helplessly irresponsible. Granted, these calls also connote public acknowledgement of certain prerequisites to the rung of statesmanship: (1) Akufo-Addo must publicly own up to his banzai attack “All die be die” mantra, and then (2) he must publicly renounce them. That is only when we can begin to associate him with statesmanship. And he must pass the test of societal clearance in order to begin the talks. Like I said before, he deserves retirement from active partisan politics, not any awards. Verbal accolades—maybe! Ironically, the constitution has already done that. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation may later consider him for a humanitarian award, but, until then, calls for the Nobel Peace Prize to be conferred on him are misplaced, unnecessary, and unwarranted. In any case, as far as questions related to the political economy of peace and national development (and other national priorities) are concerned, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation is a better evaluator of the “African condition,” to borrow Ali Marzrui’s sociopolitical phraseology, than the Nobel Committee.

Asiedu Nketia also has told us that Akufo-Addo took recourse to judicial arbitration only after his clandestine calls to his morally unhinged followers to employ unlawful means to help him bully his way into the presidency had failed. His next brainchild "Let My Vote Count Movement" joined the Hitlerite fray, employing subversive techniques to threaten the constitution of the Supreme Court, national peace, and anyone who challenged the legal and moral basis of Akufu-Addo's petition. After all, didn’t the “Let My Vote Count Movement” issue threatening public calls for the annulment of nearly 4 million votes properly cast? Such men don't deserve nods from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the Nobel Committee.

Again, comparing Akufo-Addo to some of our noble men and women of the stamp of Wole Soyinka, Desmond Tutu, Leymah Gbowee, Sirleaf Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., to name a few, is another exercise in emotional futility. This suit of names deserves national and international recognition for their outstanding achievements. However, unlike Akufo-Addo and Co., these men and women had legitimate grievances to push them in the lawful direction of their political and social activism, and, against this background, they used legitimate, not vigilante, means to actualize their goals. Wole Soyinka, for instance, did more than writing books to incur a nod from the Nobel Committee. Those who wish to go further can read his books Climate of Fear: The Quest for Dignity in a Dehumanized World, Of Africa, The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgivenness, and Myth, Literature and the African World View, The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis and You Must Set Forth At Dawn. The latter two provide readers sweeping vista into what the social, literary, and political dynamite—Wole Soyinka—has stood for all these years. Perhaps his unabashed defense of the African world is only matched, if not surpassed, by the activism of Ama Mazama and Molefi Kete Asante. Moreover, Soyinka contributed more than his fair share of literature. He advanced the theory of conflict resolution in the African context. He also pushed for extensive democratic possibilities in African societies. The framework of social and political hygiene, fighting public corruption, and defending the African world via the technology of letters became part of his global mien. And he has his rich inventory of psycho-physical scars vis-à-vis his political immurement to prove his polemic stature and confrontational nature. Finally, his large activist repertoire makes Akufo-Addo look like a mere social and political Napoleon complex, an antized elephant. In fact, Soyinka should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature together. But that institution—the Nobel Committee—like every other human institution, is imbued with its own fair share of frailties and biases.

Wole Soyinka worked tirelessly to bring peace to the African world and was even involved in the Irish peace process as well. Most people don't know this. At some point, he was involved in Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, etc. His actvist involvment in Nigerian politics is equally unparalleled. And he did and continues to do what he does best with absolute selflessness. But not so with Akufo-Addo and Co! I look at the galaxy of Wole Soyinka’s career and I say to myself: “People must stop associating Akufo-Addo with the Nobel Peace Prize."

How many innocent people from the opposing camp died as a result of the belated application of Akufo-Addo’s “All die be die” battle cry? Is Akufo-Addo willing to render public apology to or commiserate with the deceased families? Are Akufo-Addo, Gabby Otchere-Darko, and the Danquah Institute willing to rein in Kwame Akoampa-Ahoofe’s and Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie’s acidic tongues? Is Akufo-Addo willing to renounce ethnic nationalism and pave the way for inter-ethnic inclusiveness in the NPP? Is the NPP willing to discard the leprotic ethnocentric labels “Ma te me ho” and “Yen Akanfuo” for a more politically correct labels? Are Akufo-Addo and the leadership of the NPP willing to reprimand Kennedy Agyapong for inciting Akans against Ewes and Gas? Is Akufo-Addo willing to tell Ghanaians and the world at large why he so blatantly lied to them and to the Supreme Court? Are Akufo-Addo and the leadership of the NPP willing to impose immediate moratorium on the stream of revisionist attacks being leveled against Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s Founding Father? Failing public commitments from Akufo-Addo et al, I simply do not see why he must be given international and national accolades.

It is quite unfortunate and sad that most of the people lobbying on Akufo-Addo’s behalf are not familiar with the complex criteria and politico-emotive intricacies involved in the intellectual process (the Nobel Committee) of selecting or nominating qualified person(s) or institutions, let alone awarding prize(s) to that person(s) or institution(s). Akufo-Addo has done nothing spectacularly emulative with his petition to incur the attention of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation or the Nobel Committee. This point must not be taken with a grain of salt. In the meantime, let us leave Akufo-Addo and go to Soyinka. This is what Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates, Jr. says of the man:

If the spirit of African democracy has a voice and a face, they belong to Wole Soyinka.

Unfortunately, those persons lobbying for Akufo-Addo are the same persons saying Nkrumah did not found Ghana. One of these, Kofi Jumah, an ex-parliamentarian and a former taxi driver in America, even says Phillip Anderson, the lead lawyer for the NPP, is more popular than Michael Jackson. Whether Anderson is more popular than Jackson in Kejetia Market, he did not tell us. Neither do I think his careless statement is a statement of fact, a truism in America. Therefore, must the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the Nobel Committee take him at his word? Your answer is as good as mine.

I propose that 8 months be added to President Mahatma first term. Notwithstanding my proposition, the socioeconomic battle against President John Dramani Mahatma has just begun. It’s an ongoing battle. And what do I mean by that? I mean exactly what I have said. And this is why: Since he has the people's mandate—with additional legal jolt from the Supreme Court and the international community, President Mahatma must quickly begin to address the country's myriad problems, eradicating or minimizing public corruption, creating jobs, building classrooms (200) for our children who still sit under trees, reversing falling standard of education, passing the Freedom of information Bill, securing better legislative and commercial deals for Ghana’s oil and gas resources (and other natural resources), etc. President Mahama must revisit Nkrumah’s “Five-Year Development Plan” and take from there what can be useful to the country. For if he fails to respond positively to the populist mandate, Dr. Michael Bokor and the nation will descend heavily on his hyoidal neck. Also, we must be bold to come to terms with the fact that our electoral system requires some reforms. The electoral Commission is a sufficiently self-ordering public institution, but it still requires the creative collaborations of all the political parties, civil society organizations, former heads of state, the Council of State, Ghanaian-based think tanks, university professors, leaders of Traditional Religion, churches, and the lay public. NYU’s Africa House and the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies can offer their research expertise.

However, I also do believe other constitutional reforms are in order: The separation between state and church must make a linear transition from constitutional silence or Ellisonian invisibility to constitutional ubiety. We all saw how the political economy of prophetic commercialization and irresponsible utterances by the apostles of Christological psychoanalysis nearly plunged the country into the Conradian abyss of war. If churches want to play politics, then they must equally be prepared to pay taxes. And if President John Dramani Mahama, Rev. Dr. Mensah Otabil, and Rev. Owusu Bempah are all Christians, as they claim, why must the God they all worship give them mutually implosive prophecies as to who won the elections? Imposing constitutional injunctions on hateful public rhetoric, in particular, as regards the question of inter-ethnic opposition must be given serious constitutional attention. Here, I have Kwame Akoampa-Ahoofe in mind, a US-based Ghanaian scholar Abdul Sidibe refers to as “the Dr. Goebbels of Ghana Politics” in his article “Re: Nana-Addo is Proudly ‘Un-Ghanaian.”’ This brings to mind another concern of mine: Why must elements sympathetic to the cause of Akufo-Addo petition the EU to extend politico-judicial oversight to the landmark case being heard by our Supreme Court? After more than 50 years of independence, is it any wonder that these NPP folks still cannot get over the fact that Africa is judicially self-sufficient? What did the EU do when Nicolas Sarkozy deported Romas en masse? What did the EU do when Nicolas Sarkozy deported Africans en masse given that Francophone African national economies literally underwrite the French economy? What did the EU do when a Dutch company dumped toxic waste in Ivory Coast? What did the EU do to Rev. Pat Robertson who collaborated with Charles Taylor and Mobuto Sese Seko? Did British citizens in particular and the citizens of the EU in general come to Ghana to petition the Supreme Court to look into the £3000 visa fee the UK imposed on Ghanaians visiting Britain? Is neocolonial independence what the ideological archenemies of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the Prof. Ocquayes, the Ayikoi Otoos, and the Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofes, actually want for Africa? It’s our responsibility to disabuse the minds of Africans who still carry what Fela Kuti called “colomentality.” Seriously, the verdict has dealt a serious blow to their feigned outsized ego. The leadership of the NPP thinks bloated intellectualism makes up for populist acceptability and collective wisdom. That is another serious tactical mistake they must tackle if they want to get ahead of the Nkrumahist parties—which includes NDC. Even in that regard, the NDC is already generations ahead the curve. The splintered Nkrumahists must come under one political umbrella if they must sustain ideological unity.

The “contempt of court” instrument also requires a jolt of verbal delineation and interpretive clarity. Is it not the case that what unites us neutralizes what divides us? Have we seen Molefi Kete Asante’s The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony and Cheikh Anta Diop’s The Cultural Identity of Black Africa? Does the subtitle of Asante’s book make any sense? The petitioners’ lies, distortions, and falsehoods—the mystery surrounding the pink sheet fall of the elephant—must be equally be exposed and made integral to the historiographic fabric of public consciousness.

Already the opposition has begun to issue public denunciation of the judiciary. Yes, we need reforms there as well. But where do we start? Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo must be made to prove the authenticity of his law credentials in a competent court of law—once and for all. Obviously, he does not falter in speech as the Biblical Moses did. We all witnessed his public speechification when he presented his political jeremiad to the world after the Electoral Commission had declared the winner of the elections. Therefore, Ghana's General Legal Council must desist from sheltering him. It's not surprising that the newly-appointed judge who is to oversee the case---Judge Ofori-Atta---is incidentally Akufo-Addo's cousin. What happened to the question of conflict of interest? In spite of the herculean hurdles put in his path, we must egg Justice Kpegah on. Akufo-Addo’s Trojan Horse manipulations must not be permitted anywhere.

Finally, I keep hearing that Akufo-Addo trained members of his legal team who represented him at the Supreme Court. In fact, most of the members on Akufo-Addo's legal team were trained and educated by our own Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata. It's sad that they put their teacher, Prof. Tsatsu Tsikata, to shame. Namely, they did a poor job uncharacteristic of Tsatsu's legal pedagogy or jurisprudential prodigy! Really? No. They didn’t do a poor job. In fact, they simply didn’t have a case in the first place. Plus, they chose to pursue the legal tricks inculcated in them by their master, Akufo-Addo.

Let us tell our corrupt leaders this: “No matter how tall one grows, one can never grow taller than the hair on one’s head!”

We have Adu Boahene’s The Stolen Verdict. When is Ken Ofori-Atta’s sequel The Election Petition: Restoring Justice and Democracy for Peace coming out? Shouldn’t it be rather titled The Pink Sheet and the Fall of the Elephant? I wait for your answers. Reference

Sidibe, Abdul. “Re: Nana-Addo Is Proudly ‘Un-Ghanaian.’”


Francis Kwarteng

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis