By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
April 25, 2015
I don't know what he means when Mr. Kofi Ata claims that the articles that appear under my name on Ghanaweb.com, among other Ghanaian media websites, are private fare that have no bearing, whatsoever, on my professional affairs. If his is not the obtrusive exhibition of arrogance at its height, then I don't know what else it is. And just how does Mr. Ata come by such a preposterous conclusion? And does he know the protocol regarding publications, both refereed and unrefereed, at my workplace? And so what authorizes him to presume to lecture me and the rest of my audience on what constitutes my academic and non-academic writings? Well, I don't have the urge at this time to take issue with my would-be professional assassin and destroyer, except to emphatically and unabashedly inform him of the fact that my decision not to append the name of my institutional affiliation to my articles was taken with the understanding of my peers and professional representatives and superiors; and that it was a purely voluntary act on my part and not one involving any act of coercion or legality. Furthermore, for his own knowledge and awareness, I would like Mr. Ata to fully appreciate the fact that as a journalism professor, I have a right to write and publish on any issue in any part of the world.
Anyway, in the first part of this article, I promised to tackle three issues raised by the Cambridge, UK, Township-based Mr. Kofi Ata, namely, Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong's quite apt and righteous call for retaliatory attacks against any anti-Akan ethnic groups whose members presumed to make punching bags out of Akan-descended Ghanaians for no other reason than the mere fact of their being Akan. Such attacks, in the recent past, have resulted in the deaths of Akan-descended judges and other professionals in various parts of the country; secondly, Nana Akufo-Addo's "All-Die-Be-Die" remark which was, predictably, taken out of context and absurdly spun out of proportion to make it seem as if it was the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and not the notorious blood-bathing, and drinking, operatives of the Rawlings-minted National Democratic Congress (NDC), that had made an inimitable art of the brutal application of violence as a central focus of their electioneering campaign.
In the first part of this column, I partly addressed Nana Akufo-Addo's Koforidua declaration of unreserved self-defense by clearly pointing out the context and political climate under which the "All-Die-Be-Die" pronouncement was made. You see, pathological murderers have been known to be more deathly afraid of death than well-meaning and open-minded people. And here ought to be borne in mind the fact that "All-Die-Be-Die" came on the heels of Ms. Anita D'Souza's at once callous and barbaric mowing down of some NPP supporters and sympathizers in the heat of a constituency bye-election at Akyem-Kwabeng, in a bid to intimidating voters in the heavily NPP-favored constituency from exercising their inalienable franchise. Ultimately, and predictably, the NPP would retain its Akyem-Kwabeng seat.
We must also quickly add onto the preceding the fact that the crude tactic of spooking non-NDC voters from the polling booth has been very effective in the Volta Region where Ms. D'Souza, the Vice-Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and the NDC's National Women's Organizer, comes from since 1992, the beginning of Ghana's Fourth-Republican dispensation. And then about the same time as the Kwabeng mayhem, Ms. Ursula Owusu, the NPP-MP for Ablekuma-West, I believe, had been brutally assaulted in the Odododiodio Constituency, once held by the NPP, by goons widely alleged to have been hired by Mr. Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, who presently serves as a cabinet appointee of some sort in the Mahama government. Mr. Ade Coker, the substantive Greater-Accra Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, would also make a sexist comment to the effect that Ms. Owusu deserved her mauling because she was a quarrelsome and loudmouthed woman.
Not long before, the Rawlingses, in the company of the globally discredited Lt.-Gen. Arnold Quainoo (my favorite toy soldier), among other equally hawkish NDC apparatchiks, would mount a podium in Somanya, inside Akufo-Addo's home region, and threaten to rain hell and brimstone on the pates of Ghanaians in the event of the presidential election slipping through the fingers of then-Candidate John Evans Atta-Mills. Then also, we need to highlight the fact that in the wake of her brutal mauling by NDC-hired thugs, the Dutch-name sporting Mr. Vanderpuije had publicly sworn that nobody bearing an Akan name would be allowed to vote in any constituency in Accra. Well, Mr. Kofi Ata who has virulently accused yours truly of being a racist has yet to comment on the "cohesive" implications of Mr. Vanderpuije's patently and brazenly anti-Akan civic proscription. And so one begins to wonder whether Mr. Ata appreciates or even accepts the premise of law-abiding Akan citizens having the right to vote wherever they may live in Ghana, and wherever they may have duly and legitimately registered to vote.
About the only error that Akufo-Addo made vis-a-vis the "All-Die-Be-Die" pronouncement was parochializing it into an ethnic-specific mantra, instead a party-specific one; for as the striking case of Dr. Sammy Ohene, the younger brother of Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, indicates, people with Akan names in the Volta Region who attempted to police the ballot on behalf of the New Patriotic Party stood the risk of brutal physical assault and even death. Dr. Ohene, a distinguished psychiatrist and Head of the Psychiatry Department at the University of Ghana, nearly lost the use of one eye. And so instead of us "Akan," the expatiatory comment ought have been "We law-abiding members of the NPP, and the Danquah-Busia-Dombo Tradition, intend to frontally fight back whenever and wherever we come under attack from the NDC goon squad."
We need to also add the fact that Mr. Agyapong, the Assin-Central NPP-MP, made his retaliatory calls against Gas and Ewes and against the backdrop of seasonal acts of politically motivated acts of violence wantonly and routinely visited on the persons of Ghanaians of Akan ethnicity, largely by people belonging to the Ga and Ewe ethnic groups. In living memory, this begins with the brutal and dastardly assassination of the three Akan-descended Accra High Court judges and the retired Ghana Army major. Indeed, Mr. Kofi Ata even once wrote to officiously note that Justices Agyepong, Koranteng-Addow and Sarkodie were "High Court Judges" and not the "Supreme Court Justices" that I had so casually assumed them to have been, almost as if their being high court judges in of itself made their assassination any less significant or any less criminal. And I am supposed to be the racist one. Indeed, if Mr. Ata had bothered to check the records, he would have discovered to his great annoyance, and perhaps even horror, that as early as the Nkrumah era, Justice Sarkodie had sat on the Ghana Supreme Court; and that it was "Mr." I. K. Acheampong's so-called Supreme Military Council (SMC-I) that abolished the Supreme Court of Ghana and effectively caused the demotion of these front-bench judicial wits.
In the case of Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, we need to also quickly point out that at least one of his four, or so, known wives, depending on who is doing the counting or whom you talk to, is of Ewe descent. Of course, the mere fact of him being married to an Ewe-descended woman does not in any way excuse Mr. Agyapong's inflammatory call and remarks. What is, however, interesting to note is the harsh and swift arrest of the Assin-Central MP by agents of the Rawlings- and Tsikata-cobbled Bureau of National Investigations (BNI). And while all this invidiously anti-NPP strong-armed legal tactics were going on, the NDC-sponsored thugs who brutally mauled Ms. Owusu continued to leisurely and proudly prowl the dusty streets of Central-Accra. The victim would later be accused of stalling investigations aimed at apprehending her assailants. Americans have a terse description for this: "Blaming the victim."
And then amidst all this criminal abuse of power by the ruling National Democratic Congress, when Nana Akufo-Addo calls for measured retaliatory response and an immediate end to violent attacks against his political associates, supporters, followers and sympathizers, somehow, he is the one who stands guilty of fanning the flames of violence! But you know, what is even more interesting, if also because of its inescapable absurdity, is a recent column authored by a purported founding member of the New Patriotic Party and a long-known detractor of Nana Akufo-Addo, in which the author hypocritically presumes to celebrate the NPP flagbearer's purported "overcoming" of his "All-Die-Be-Die" pronouncement, on which the writer in question has in the recent past written volumes of articles in which he brazenly equated the "All-Die-Be-Die" clarion call with the supposedly "irredeemable" penchant of the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for violence.
In the third and final part of this column, I intend to tackle the question of whether, indeed, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo's allegedly anti-ethnic-minority comments also made, you guessed right, during a closed party meeting in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional Capital, were really miles away from the proverbially unpleasant truth.