Opinions Tue, 28 Apr 2015
By Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK April 26, 2015I refer to an article by Prof Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr. of Garden City, New York and Lecturer at Nassau Community College of State University of New York entitled, “What Kind of Analysis Is this, Kofi Ata?”, which appeared on Ghanaweb, Saturday April 25, 2015 and wish to refute categorically the accusation by the said author that I have reported him to his employer is completely false and without any foundation whatsoever. For the avoidance of any doubt I quote the relevant accusation in paragraph two of the said article.
“If, indeed, the man who once wrote to the authorities of the college where I have been teaching for the past 18 years to enquire whether I had the right to append my institutional affiliation to my journalistic fare on Ghanaian websites were really interested in knowing the percentage of ballot-rigging that Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the country's retiring Electoral Commissioner, contributed to the outcome of Election 2012, Mr. Ata would have thoroughly acquainted himself with both the individual and collective writs of the Supreme Court justices who heard and deliberated on the 2012 Presidential Election Petition, particularly the authoritative pronouncements of Justices Julius Ansah and Constance Owusu”.
I have never contacted, written to or reported to the authorities of Nassau Community College where Prof Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe Jr. lectures. As a new comer to Ghanaweb and having worked in Race Equality watchdog in England, I found his castigation of Ewes in his articles very offensive and unacceptable. I was also shocked that as an intellectual he could use such a public forum to incite hatred against Ewes. Last but not the least, I was also of the view that, it was unethical and unprofessional for him to post private articles with such racist contents and associate them with the name of the college where he lectured, particularly when the articles had nothing to do with the college or his work at the college. As a result, in a comment on one of his racist articles, I questioned whether he had authority from the college to use the name of the college to post private and racist articles. I also indicated that if he did not stop posting racist articles in the name of the college, I would be compelled to bring the college’s attention to his articles.
However, in discussions with two close friends in the US both told me that the right to free speech in the US was such that the contents of his articles could be considered as free speech. I also subsequently became aware on Ghanaweb that Prof Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe Jr was married to an Ewe woman. I therefore decided that there was no point in making the authorities of Nassau Community College aware of the racist contents of his articles and the fact that he used the name of the college in his articles.
I have never contacted Nassau Community College though in 2014, I received notification from LinkedIn about a job opportunity (Head of Diversity or Diversity Officer) at Sate University of New York (SUNY) and visited their website to look at the role. I then registered my interest and put in an online application but was later informed that the role had been withdrawn and would be re-advertised, so if I was still interested, I could reapply.
Indeed, had I reported Prof Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe Jr to the authorities of Nassau Community College, I would not have done so behind his back. Instead, I would have made him aware by sending him a copy of my complaint by e-mail. I am not a coward and not afraid of him to go behind his back. I am not that sort of a person.
What is disturbing to me was the fact that Prof Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe Jr decided to make his accusation against me on Ghanaweb. I wonder why he did not confront me with his accusation since he has my e-mail address. In fact, I have had the opportunity of exchanging e-mails with him when someone used my name to post abusive comment on one of his articles on Ghanaweb to which he equally responded with abuse on me. When I contacted him by e-mail to make him aware that I did not post that comment, he apologised to me by return. Therefore, I find it difficult to understand why he failed to confront me with this accusation.
I want to assure him and Ghanaweb readers that I would not behave in a way that would jeopardise his job. I will therefore urge Prof Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe Jr as a matter of urgency to find out from the authorities of Nassau Community College the identity of the person who reported him. He has the right to know who reported him, so he should demand a copy of the letter if he has not done so already and he will know that I am the person.
I believe that the only objective why Prof Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe accused me of reporting his to his employer is to tarnish my reputation and discredit me as a bad person. Should he find out who reported him, I wish he would be bold and humble enough to let readers know the truth. I do not even want an apology from him as long as he makes that public through the same medium (Ghanaweb and Modernghana).
I wrote this rejoinder because Prof Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe Jr has refused to respond to my denial of his accusation against me through a comment I posted on the article. I also e-mailed him to deny the accusation after reading the accusation in the article and as at the time of writing, he had not responded to my e-mail. This is to clear my name from such wicked accusation.
Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK
Columnist: Ata, Kofi