By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Friends, on Tuesday night, I read a news report on PeaceFmOnline that the NPP MP for the Asuogyaman Constituency in the Eastern Region, Kofi Osei Ameyaw, was calling for a revolt; this time, a “personal revolution” on an “individual level” in Ghana.
He was said to have written on his Facebook wall that the country needs another revolution, “a revolution not born out of envy, personal interest and greediness”.
“Revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall,” he stated.
Here is the kind of revolution he is clamouring for: “One that seeks the interests of all including the unborn, one that impels the just man to hate the evil one and the evil man to respect the just one. A revolution that makes us generous towards good and build a generation of Ghanaians who love each other mutually, help each other naturally and attain happiness by way of virtue.”
The NPP MP later told Peacefmonline.com that “the most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first.”
(Source: King Edward Ambrose Washman Addo/ Peacefmonline.com/Ghana, available at http://elections.peacefmonline.com/pages/politics/201401/185045.php)
I doubt if this kind of “personal revolution” is possible; but I don’t doubt the heavy political currency inherent in this call.
Interestingly, comments from those responding to the news report published by PaceFmOnline suggest that he is calling for something akin to the cataclysmic events initiated by Jerry Rawlings in 1979 and 1981. They supported Osei Ameyaw’s call, as is evident in this one (reproduced unedited but not in all caps as in the original):
“I will be the first to jump on to the street to support a revolution. With the kind of corruption, ineptitude and insults to the ghanaian, i pray for a change, even if it is a violent one. Where in the world will this fortiz-merchant bank no.ns.ense happen and members of government will defend it. Listen to the f0.0lish and no.nsen.sical reasons given by doe-adjaho in dismissing the petition of the minority. Si..lly & st.u.pid!!! If the rawlings of 1979 (not the present rich bourgeois one) had come today, he would kill politicians, parliamentarians and ministers - they are too corrupt and insulting ghanaians whiles they steal from us. The anger is growing and one day...”
Oyiwa!! Osei Ameyaw’s call has already assumed a huge political dimension, making it a scary thing!!
I have questioned the real motive of Osei Ameyaw and wondered what exactly he might be driving at. Knowing very well how some politicians hide behind ambivalence to foment trouble, I decided to unpack Osei Ameyaw’s call.
Is he saying that a revolution is better than the democracy that Ghana has practised for nearly 22 years now? Or that a revolution at the personal level will be spontaneous (for that is what a revolution involves) and solve problems better than our democracy is doing? Or will it give him and his political camp the reprieve that the electorate have denied them? When is a “personal revolution” not a political revolution?
Because of the support for Osei Ameyaw’s call by opponents of the NDC government, I will be right to broaden issues for comment. The call in itself is shocking, unexpected, misplaced, and politically hazardous. It has nothing good to offer anybody and can easily be dismissed as the workings of a terrified mind, considering where it has come from and the character behind it. More clearly, the political camp to which Osei Ameyaw belongs also raises eyebrows, not because it is capable of initiating and prosecuting that revolution but because it may just be complicit in clinging to any straw in sight to pursue its morbid political agenda that scared away the electorate at Election 2012.
Osei Ameyaw hasn’t told us that he was influenced by his political camp to make that call, but knowing very well the lessons that history has taught some of us about that political camp, we won’t be surprised if later developments link that call to covert agitations in that camp.
What makes the call ridiculous goes beyond Osei Ameyaw as an individual. He is one of the numerous Ghanaians who rushed out of the country when Rawlings announced the June 4 Uprising: “Fellow countrymen, there is a revolution in this country; and this revolution has been engendered by the fact that the ordinary Ghanaian has been suffering for far too long!”
Thus began what would shake the country to its foundation in the 100 days that the AFRC ruled the country with “unprecedented revolutionary action”, which sent into self-imposed exile many of those now back in the country and making ugly noises on radio stations and social media.
They feared their own shadows at Rawlings’ second coming on Thursday, December 31, 1981, and took to their heels only to return when the atmosphere was created for the 4th Republic.
Interestingly, Osei Ameyaw couldn’t live in Ghana when the Rawlings revolution was raging. He took shelter in Australia and was later reported to have been involved in some fraudulent deals, which he vehemently denied but which evidence adduced by those making allegation highlighted in public discourse as a stain on his reputation.
Well he has put that behind him and found solace in contemporary Ghanaian politics, having once being in Parliament and held a Deputy Ministerial position under Kufuor. He lost his seat after the 2008 elections but has bounced back.
Indeed, the motivation for making such a call goes beyond whatever Osei Ameyaw might have. A lot exists for us to know that the going is really tough for our friends in the NPP, having lost two general elections in succession and being unable to turn the situation in their favour.
As the situation stands now, they can tell that they have an uphill task in any attempt to win political power through the ballot box. No day passes by without their complaining about one thing or the other in connection with the electoral system.
They tested the pulse of Ghanaians with their petition against Election 2012 and might have seen the huge barrier in front of them as we inch toward Election 2016.
Rabble-rousing, vain threats, and plain sabotage cannot win the day for them. They see clearly the thick brick wall to which they have dragged themselves and are scared stiff of the future.
So, where should they turn? Make calls of the sort that has come from Osei Ameyaw to intensify their strategy of creating panic situations in the hope that they can find something to capitalize on.
I am certain that those who may be tempted to think the way Osei Ameyaw is doing are even not sure of what a personal revolution entails. Or how they will position themselves if their expectations are met.
We may easily write off Osei Ameyaw as a mere irritant, but we won’t do so yet, especially when we place his political thinking within the larger context of the NPP’s grand agenda of undermining the Mahama-led administration (or anything NDC).
We heard them say that they would make the country ungovernable; their public utterances, actions, and declaration of intents have confirmed to a large extent the kind of politics they are doing—portraying themselves as if they own Ghana and must be deferred to as such by all others not in their political camp. They can’t bring themselves to accept the fact that they were rejected at the polls and should cut their coats according to their sizes.
The majority not in their camp detest that kind of disdain but our NPP friends won’t let up.
As the going continues to be tough for them at every turn— frustrated more by their own book politics than anything else—and desperation throws them into a spiral, they appear to be reaching their wit’s end in Ghanaian politics.
What to do next in desperation but turn to scare-mongering? Weird!!
What Osei Ameyaw has advocated is one such act of desperation; but its boomerang effect will worsen plight, not pave the way for any political gain.
He insists that “those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”—the very expression used by Rawlings at the initiation of June 4, which itself is a throwback to what is attributed to Abraham Lincoln or one of those prominent citizens of the United States.
Revolutions or revolts occur when the objective reality of the situation in a political system makes them inevitable. They are not imposed on the system by any desperate individual.
That is why I want to caution Osei Ameyaw to tread cautiously. The objective reality of the situation in Ghana has no room for any revolt or revolution of the kind that he is imagining and endangering himself to propound.
Ghanaians are more interested in living their lives as they are now than risking them in support of any wayward politician’s desperate bid for political power through the backdoor. If Osei Ameyaw thinks that what the Supreme Court didn’t help the NPP to achieve it can do so through ill-considered political manouevres like the revolution or revolt that he is calling for, he won’t survive.
I hope the security agencies will take up this call for strict monitoring and consequent action to deal with those who think that God has anointed them to rule Ghana and will do anything at all they imagine to impose their will on Ghanaians. It has some subtle elements bordering on subversion!
If the ballot box won’t save them in this democracy, is it a revolution that will? Aren’t they already known as people who fear “revolutions”? Such characters!!
I shall return…
• E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Join me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mjkbokor to continue the conversation.