I will come back to it very shortly, but suffice it to say that Nana Akufo-Addo’s “All-Die-Be-Die” pep-talk and clarion call to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) faithful, as terse as it sounds, has far more substance than what President John Evans Atta-Mills presented to Parliament and Ghanaians at large on February 17, 2011, in the name of his third “State-of-the-Nation Address.”
That the address was subtitled “Raising Ghana to the Next Level,” is all the more to be pitied. If anything at all, the President merely succeeded in further polarizing the nation, rather than laudably actualizing his loudly and publicly stated intention of unifying it.
I am still trying to figure out precisely why the man who slavishly followed strongman Jerry John Rawlings and his regime of gross human rights violations for two decades, thinks that he can, somehow, bring the MV Benjamin cocaine episode to closure, when his pontifical promise to round up, vigorously prosecute and severely punish the alleged killers of the Ya-Na has yet to pan out anything either socio-culturally credible or even psychologically meaningful.
Indeed, his obvious failure to mention the Ya-Na question, as it were, curiously implies that, perhaps, the President believes, rather bizarrely, that Ghanaians have either so soon forgotten the fact that the NDC made this patently horrific episode in Dagbon chieftaincy annals a major electioneering plank on its Election 2008 campaign platform, or that Tarkwa-Atta has, finally, matured well enough into both accepting and, perhaps, even resigning himself to the fact that legal and judicial outcomes cannot be flagrantly falsified or even conveniently reconstructed to suit partisan whims.
Or maybe the former Legon Law School professor thinks that winsome politics is all a game of pretence. Even more troubling, albeit quite understandable, was what the commander-in-chief of the Ghana Armed Forces had to say about the serial killings of women that gripped our nation’s capital between 1998 and 2000, when the now-President Mills served as Vice-President and second-bananas to the extortionate and sanguinary Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings.
For those who did not either hear his third State-of-the-Nation Address or read PDFs of the same, this is a gist of what an apparently conscience-stricken President Mills had to say: “That sad chapter in our history will not be closed until we get to the bottom of these serial killings.” Obviously, the President seemed to be genuinely pained by the oblique implication of his associative complicity in the gross, dastardly and downright barbaric murder of these innocent and unsuspecting Ghanaian women.
Still, somebody had better point out to Tarkwa-Atta that, really, he does not have forever to lead Ghanaians into what clearly appears to be a wild goose chase. In sum, either President Mills knows something about the serial killings which his treacherous political alliance with Mr. Rawlings prevents him at this time from revealing, or he simply wants to give Ghanaians the conscience-soothing impression that Tarkwa-Atta is a good man at heart.
If so, then this, of course, leaves the proverbial cloud of suspicion hanging on the pate of the Dzelukope-Sogakope Mafia capo. This unsavory habit of reopening closed-and-shut cases in order to make himself feel, somewhat, morally superior to either his political opponents or rivals, is one that may well constitute a criminal offence of “causing unnecessary financial loss to the State.”
Yes, he may be commander-in-chief today all right, but does such sociopolitical status also imply that unlike his relatively lowly positioned associates, President Mills stands head-and-shoulders above the laws of our land?
I mean, the man currently has in his pay as Deputy Minister of Health, a former “consultant” to a Venezuelan drug-cartel fugitive who was granted asylum by Messrs. Rawlings and Mills, and yet Tarkwa-Atta wants Ghanaians to take him up at his word that, indeed, he is serious and capable of getting to the rock-bottom of the MV Benjamin episode?
Well, the Akan have a saying that the President may do both himself and Ghanaians, at large, a lot of good to heed; and it is the cautionary observation that: “If Mr. Naked promises you a bolt of cloth, you just have to listen to his name.”
Ironically and contrary to what some of his own lieutenants and partisans would have Ghanaians and the world at large to believe, a remarkable portion of the President’s address appeared to be more pertinently directed at his strongman-mentor and his politically ambitious, erratic and ever-scheming wife. Dear Reader, “take a reading,” as New Yorkers are wont to say: “Madam Speaker, as Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, and having sworn to protect the integrity of mother Ghana, I have put the security agencies on red alert and they are under strict instructions to deal decisively within the ambit of the law with anybody or group of persons who will attempt [sic] to disturb the peace and stability of this dear nation of ours.”
Of course, the preceding might just as well have been alluding to the so-called Azorka Boys, otherwise known as the NDC foot-soldiers. It is, therefore, quite a wonder that in boldly and courageously calling for measured self-defense against the atrocities of government-hired party goons and thugs, Nana Akufo-Addo should stand rather vacuously accused of seeking to destabilize the peace and quiet of our beloved country.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011).