At the 25th anniversary festivities of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), at Ashaiman, in the Greater-Accra Region, party founder Chairman Jerry John Rawlings was reported to have joked that Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the NDC’s General-Secretary, was extremely unprepossessing or too ugly, otherwise Chairman Rawlings, himself, would have decided to throw his weight behind the Seikwa, Brong-Ahafo, native for the 2020 flagbearership of the party (See “God Gave Me My Ugly Features – Asiedu-Nketia Replies Rawlings” Adomonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/12/17).
Indeed, anybody who has studiously followed the political career of the longtime NDC General-Secretary is well aware of the fact that Mr. Asiedu-Nketia is not only physically unattractive, the man is so irredeemably nasty and rhetorically uncouth that one begins to wonder what kind of parents raised this incorrigibly bush man. Of course, I use the descriptive of “bush man” in the social behavioral sense of the term.
You see, beauty or handsomeness is not only purely subjective, it is also decidedly behavioral; and the latter quality often does more than compensate for one’s physical unattractiveness, if it is sported with finesse and dignity. But I can also understand why the fast-aging former Ghana Airforce’s strongman would aim for the jugular of General Mosquito, as it were. It was The Mosquito who boldly and fiercely and, perhaps, also ungratefully led the Bastille-style charge to wrestle control of the National Democratic Congress’ political machinery from the proprietary grips of Chairman Rawlings and his equally unprepossessing and widely alleged greedy and megalomaniacal wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings.
And although the party’s founder may have been genuinely jovial with his jab, in reality, there was an unmistakable and deftly calculated semiotic subtext to the joke. In other words, Mr. Rawlings meant exactly the radical or primary meaning of the word “ugly.” Then, again, the question of “beauty” or “handsomeness” is cultural in orientation. For instance, it cannot be gainsaid that physically speaking Chairman Rawlings is quite handsome, at least by Ghanaian-Scottish standards. But facially speaking, or face-wise, as well as in terms of mannerisms, Togbui Avaklasu may be too strikingly Anlo-Ewe for my taste or liking. Mr. Asiedu-Nektia, on the other hand, has a peculiar beauty or handsomeness to him that is readily identifiable and relatable to any Ghanaian of the majority Akan descent or extraction. I believe the reverse goes for many an Anlo-Ewe.
By the same token, former President John Dramani Mahama may be deemed handsome by Gonja native standards, but when yours truly is looking for a leader with whom to comfortably share his confidence or bona fides, the rightful kind of leader is more likely to be President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. More so, because throughout his electioneering campaign and style of governance, Mr. Mahama more than amply demonstrated the fact that Ghana may be too Akan and expansively multicultural for both his liking and managerial comfort.
Ultimately, though, what Mr. Rawlings’ jab points to is the unmistakable political and ideological superficiality of the leadership of the National Democratic Congress, their grandstanding and self-righteous pontifications to the contrary notwithstanding. In other words, for the leaders of the National Democratic Congress, realpolitik is fundamentally all about packaging, not quality and/or content. Is there any reason, therefore, for any levelheaded Ghanaian citizen to be flabbergasted about the fact that the party’s 2016 Presidential Candidate was so mercilessly trounced by both Ghanaian voters and then-Candidate Akufo-Addo?
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