REJOINDER: Will the NPP’s Akufo-Addo Ever Learn Any Lesson? – By Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor
I have read the rejoinder to my article (“Will the NPP’s Akufo-Addo Ever Learn Any Lesson?”) by a Sizwe Bansi and want to respond to his concerns with the view to either clarifying some knotty areas or to reinforce my stance. That rejoinder was published by MyJoyOnline on July 18, 2011.

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The issues that I raised in my article have been in the public domain over the years and need no contextualizing. They are issues that can easily rattle Sizwe Bansi and others in the NPP who don’t want to be told anything negative about their darling politician, Akufo-Addo. Thus, by taking him to the proverbial slaughter house over his own flip-flopping, I have been deemed to have committed a cardinal sin against the NPP. Sizwe Bansi raised many issues; but I will respond to only those that piqued my interest. The rest have no substance, being a mere verbiage to waste my time.

Sizwe Bansi eulogizes Akufo-Addo as a human rights activist, politician, lawyer, and many others. I don’t doubt any of these credentials. What I doubt is Akufo-Addo’s CHARACTER as has been the subject-matter of public discourse over the years, especially within the period that he is seeking the highest office of the land. I mentioned those areas of interest in my articles on him and am still waiting for him to take the bull by the horns to clear the air on. No amount of damage control by these small fries in the workings of the NPP will satisfy those of us who are concerned about their candidate’s public posturing and other issues at which we cringe.

Then, Sizwe Bansi also said, in part: “Michael’s masters in the NDC actually swore that “over their dead bodies would the criminal libel law be expunged from the books,” which strikes me as weird. I wonder what or who he considers as “Michael’s masters.” At my level, I have no MASTER to defer to except my Maker, the supreme deity. Even though I am an educator and should have bosses, I don’t see them as MASTERS. It will be a huge mistake for anyone to say that I write because I have MASTERS to please. There is no such MASTER except those who read what I write.

Mine is a yeoman’s job. I consider my role as “thankless” and will use every opportunity to hammer hard on problems that must be addressed and not pushed under the rug. I don’t receive any money from any quarters and don’t expect any material reward for using my talent to inform the society about pertinent issues and to engage people in public discourse on national and international issues. I have been doing so ever since I earned my Diploma in Journalism/Public Relations from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 1984 and will continue to do so until I pass on.

He also accused me of writing “such libelous material about Akufo-Addo,” which I fend off easily as inconsequential. Everything in my article is already in the public domain—even though a libelous material remains libelous no matter how long it has circulated or been uttered in different forms and media. In my article, I raised issues that are already known to the NPP activists as some of the issues that people raised in their assessment of Akufo-Addo at the 2008 elections.

Those issues are still lingering around and will definitely be raised again to influence the electoral decision of voters. Should we not draw attention to this problem for the NPP to work on; or was it sacrilegious for me to revisit those issues even when indications are clear that nothing is being done about them?

Sizwe asked that the electioneering campaign be devoid of personal attacks, which I appreciate. It takes two to tango, and I hope his call is not meant for the NDC alone to heed. If he can prevail on those in his NPP to come clean on that score, we should have less to worry about. If Akufo-Addo can retract his scathing disdain for President Mills as “Professor-Do-Little” or other high-ranking NPP functionaries desist from insulting him at will, the situation will be better and Sizwe Bansi’s call well-intentioned.

I want to assure Sizwe Bansi that his response won’t deter me from picking on Akufo-Addo or any other Ghanaian who seeks the mandate of the people to be in power. Akufo-Addo is looking for the opportunity to become Ghana’s President, which will give him enormous powers to make or mar the nation; and it behooves those of us who have the courage and disposition to focus the searchlight on him to do so. It is only when he is put on the spot and scrutinized that we can know what he is made of.

Then, we can point out his shortfalls and urge him to redeem himself to become suitable for the high office that he is chasing. If he succeeds in rebuilding himself and persuades us that he is capable of managing the responsibilities of that high office, he will be judged accordingly at the polls. Not until he does so, the doubts, fears, and suspicions lingering about his character will dominate public discourse on him.

If that is what Sizwe and the other NPP elements fear, so be it. They will not be helping their candidate, their party, and themselves if they play the ostrich and sing praises all over the place. I don’t think that they know the benefits of what I am suggesting; but if they do, then, the onus is on them now to take up the challenges that we throw to them in what we write. They need to do more serious scrutiny of issues and not allow their blinkered perspectives to misdirect them toward the wrong end for the wrong purposes.
Sizwe Bansi’s take on the aspect of concerns about Akufo-Addo’s drug use doesn’t turn my crank. No one can persuade me that the allegation hasn’t been a major issue in any discussion concerning Akufo-Addo.
Thus, for Sizwe Bansi to say “As for the rather silly tag of drugs, it will serve the interest of Michael and his masters to stop it because it simply does not wash,” and leave matters to Akufo-Addo to pursue in court only shackles the very person who is the butt of public ridicule (Akufo-Addo himself).

What did he do when Kofi Wayo openly accused him of drug addiction? The matter is still circulating and no one has the responsibility to clarify matters than Akufo-Addo himself. Nothing prevents him from picking up all those who have associated him with drugs and suing them if he has any powers between his thighs. Not until he comes clean, the allegation will continue to dog him and influence voter impressions.

Those who don’t know the extent to which such an allegation has adversely affected Akufo-Addo’s image will come out to defend him or to threaten people anyhow. Why can’t Akufo-Addo be courageous enough to clear the air and go to court for us to know everything once-and-no-more? At least, there are some known names to start with. If he is clean, he will have nothing to fear. Otherwise, those who think they are helping him by defending him are rather worsening the situation for him.

As a full-blooded Ghanaian, I consider governance of the country as crucial and will make my voice heard on anything or anybody who wants to rule the country. It is only when I am convinced about that person’s character (hidden traits and known attributes) that I can exercise my franchise for or against that candidate, knowing full well that by making that choice, I am satisfied that that person will positively influence my circumstances and those of posterity.

Putting our destiny in the hands of such a person calls for vigorous assessment of that person in every sense. Akufo-Addo wants to be the President of Ghana and cannot escape public scrutiny. I expect Szwe Bansi and the other NPP apologists to allow us to expose his weaknesses for them to work on. They can smooth his rough edges only when they are revealed.

The challenge for them now is to monitor what anybody says about their candidate with the view to helping him clear the air and allay doubts, fears and suspicions instead of issuing vain threats. It shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to hurl insults at those who blow the whistle about such inadequacies. Or to invite the critics to head-butting sessions that will do no good to their candidate at the polls. They do so at their own risk because the very issues that they don’t want us to raise now will turn out to be the candidate’s undoing in the near future. What is difficult to understand about this issue, painful though it may be to those wearing the shoe and know where it pinches?

I am more than pleased for the opportunity to respond to Sizwe Bansi’s rejoinder and look forward to more.