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Too ugly to be arrested

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

When I learned that the motor-mouthed Central Regional Chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) had been picked up at London’s Heathrow Airport by British security officials, the first thought that ran through my mind was “highly unlikely.” The Akan have a saying that the only ugly person is a dead one. Of course, we say this to abate the acute discomfort that surges up the spine of ugly humans – and I mean it in both senses of the word – like Mr. Allotey Jacobs. Then I laughed myself hoarse and silly and asked my good friend Mr. Kwasi Ohene, from Akyem-Tumfa, “What godforsaken person would attempt to arrest gorgon-faced Allotey Jacobs, of all people?”

Then that commonly quoted American maxim ran through my mind, to wit, “It is only a mother who can love an ugly ‘Kaakaamotobi’ like Allotey Jacobs.” I swore to my friend Kwasi Ohene that whoever effected the arrest of Mr. Jacobs must have done so in some sort of facial and visual mask, one that afforded the wearer the necessary chance not to have his/her vision permanently violated by such a horrible visage as that of the at once pathologically cantankerous and fart-mouthed Central Regional NDC Chairman. The last thing that I associated with the man was either the toting of contraband of the Nayele Amtefe sort, even though Mr. Jacobs very likely exited the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) via the same VVIP Lounge that Ms. Ametefe had used before boarding that fateful British Airways flight that flew her straight into the arms of the British security personnel at the same Heathrow Airport some two, or so, years ago.

One aspect of my gut reaction was to riposte thus, “Serves that old godforsaken greedy bastard right!” And it is almost certain that I might have quickly added, “It was only a matter of time,” except that now I can’t remember this part of my phone conversation with Mr. Ohene. Unlike Mr. Ben Ephson , the handsomely paid NDC media hack, I did not envisage the alleged arrest of Mr. Jacobs in terms of any political party’s operatives’ scoring any cheap political points; for I have always been of the opinion that Ghanaians are too discerning and sophisticated enough to make the serious decision of the quadrennial choice of their leadership on the frivolous basis of one person’s egregious misbehavior or purported acts of criminality. It also rang decidedly trite and jaded and definitely oxymoronic to claim that any NDC bigwig had been arrested for what key operatives of the Rawlings-minted political juggernaut have always been known to do better than any of their opponents.

Whatever the real situation on the ground might have been, I concluded in concurrence with that tired old maxim which runs thusly: “There is no smoke without fire.” It was quite obvious that Mr. Jacobs had been involved in some sort of incident with the British security operatives at Heathrow Airport, the vehement protestations of Mr. Jon Benjamin, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, to the contrary notwithstanding.

Now, it appears that cooler heads have prevailed in the camp of the Mahama Posse. We have just been told that the NDC’s Member of Parliament for La-Dadekotopon, in the Greater-Accra Region, Nii Namoale Amasa, has confirmed that, indeed, Mr. Jacobs had been hurried off the plane shortly after British Airways’ Flight 078 landed at Heathrow Airport and had, in fact, been questioned briefly and allowed to continue his flight connection to his destination somewhere here in the United States (See “Allotey Jacobs Was Held And Interrogated – Namoale Confirms” Kasapafmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/8/16). We further learn that the decision to take in Mr. Jacobs for questioning was a random routine.

Well, this is where I am inclined to vehemently disagree with the La-Dadekotopon NDC stalwart. Very likely, as was the case with Ms. Ametefe, somebody must have tipped off the Heathrow authorities a while before the Central Region’s NDC chairman boarded BA Flight 078. In other words, Mr. Jacobs’ alleged interrogation must have been based on some form of personality profiling.

Whatever the real details of this incident may be, it was quite bizarre to learn of High Commissioner Benjamin’s tweets denying that any form of interrogation, let alone an arrest, involving Mr. Jacobs had occurred at Heathrow. Running this kind of interference for both the confirmed target of interrogation and the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress did not put Mr. Benjamin, a man I admire quite a lot, in a positive light as an evenhanded and a fair-minded diplomat. But I also do not think that it was savvy on his part for Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah to have so cavalierly presumed to impugn the intelligence and integrity of both Mr. Benjamin and Her Royal Majesty. And, of course, I am glad to learn that the former mayor of Kumasi, Ghana’s second-largest city, has since apologized for his unguarded use of the Queen’s language.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame