Rarely do I find it either appropriate or even desirable to rejoin or carve a discursive subject out of an opinion piece featured on Ghanaweb.com or any of the Ghanaian-oriented media websites. And on those occasions that I have departed from protocol, it has solely been on grounds of addressing issues and/or concerns that I had firmly believed, left unaddressed, might erroneously assume the undeserved status of factual reality.
In the case of Mr. Akwasi A. Afrifa Akoto’s article captioned “Are ‘Joy’ And ‘Peace’ Against Nana Addo,” I decided to respond because the writer makes several specific references to my name in connection with what Mr. Afrifa Akoto considers to be a deliberate orchestration of censorship against both the literary offerings of the critic himself, as well as those of other writers that he terms as “pro-NPP opinion writers” and “NPP gurus” (Ghanaweb.com 5/26/12). I humbly beg to differ, because I neither perceive myself as belonging to either category of writers. Opinionated, yes; NPP, no. As I have time and again reminded those who care to listen, I am a fiercely independent writer who takes no marching orders from anybody or any quarter whatsoever!
Indeed, while I nurture deep sympathies for the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), nevertheless, my kind of sympathy is far more ideological than it is institutionally and/or politically partisan.
In other words, my ideological and/or literary canvas as an essayist, and an award-winning one, to be certain, transcends the individual players and politicians of postcolonial Ghanaian political culture, with the inescapable exception of such seminal and pioneering luminaries as Drs. Danquah and Busia and Mr. S. D. Dombo and Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, of course.
And so, in reality, it would personally not matter, one way or another, if the apparently NDC-informed editorial decision by the key operatives and proprietors of Joy-Fm and Peace-Fm websites not to regularly publish my articles became a permanent policy. In the past, by the way, Mr. Afrifa Akoto has, himself, bitterly accused me of nauseatingly and quixotically projecting my “Akyemisms” over all Ghanaians of Akan descent, almost as if Akans were a culturally homogeneous people. And so, really, I am pleasantly surprised that the critic would be bothered, one way or another that my articles would be put on the proverbial back burner by the aforementioned media websites.
To a great degree, I, personally, expected the present situation to rapidly arise and become almost immediately normalized, once it recently came to light that, indeed, the Mills-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had officially decided to use economic sanctions to force the proprietors and staffs of the two major media organizations to sing in their master’s voice, as it were. I knew offhand that my articles would be among the very first in line to be targeted because early 2009, for example, shortly after assuming the reins of governance, the NDC published an article in the party’s web-newsletter – or newspaper – brazenly presuming to be in possession of forensically sustainable documents purportedly linking me to some NPP-created payola bank accounts.
In other words, the NDC publicly and officially accused me of being an NPP hack or hireling. I promptly challenged the operatives of the Ghanaian Taliban juggernaut to promptly produce their aforesaid evidence and get me summonsed before a legitimately constituted court of law to prove their claim or desist forthwith. It well appears that fearing my intended threat of suing the Mills–Mahama government, the Ghana Taliban operatives of the latter got my message loud and clear and quickly came to appreciate their place in the scheme of my literary career. But are Joy-Fm and Peace-Fm the only media websites guilty of censoring my articles?
Indeed, had Mr. Afrifa Akoto bothered to scour the pages of the Statesman, which I reliably understand to be owned by a nephew of the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, the critic would have been more modest with his tirade against the proprietors of radio stations Joy-Fm and Peace-Fm. For he would have been palpably flabbergasted, at best, that my articles have been regularly and consistently accorded short-shrift treatment by the editors and publishers of the Statesman; and at the worst, totally ignored, except for those rare occasions when they imagined that they could gain some significant, albeit cheap, mileage from a publication of the same.
In sum, the evidently short-shrift treatment being given my articles by the websites of the aforementioned two major privately-owned Ghanaian radio stations, could be aptly said to have been copied from the playbook of the Statesman newspaper, a media outlet which, going by the rather facile logic of Mr. Afrifa Akoto, ought to be snapping up my articles and posting them with lightning speed.
Indeed, the critic may very well have either forgotten or become genuinely oblivious to/of the fact that scarcely a year ago, Akufo-Addo Campaign Manager, Mr. Boakye-Agyarko, had the intemperate occasion and temerity to impugn the soundness of my mental faculties; this, after I had been personally solicited by a well-known Akufo-Addo relative (these days, I prefer to envisage myself as a very-distant relative of the NPP flagbearer) and a key campaign operative to assist in warding off a serious attempt by a New Jersey-resident Akufo-Addo associate or hanger-on (I forget which) to mordantly tag the former Attorney-General and Justice Minister with a JFK arrest on drug charges.
A cousin of mine, who was recently invested as a traditional chieftain, deeply incensed by this rascally attempt to damage my image by some Akufo-Addo campaign operatives, actually phoned me to discuss the punitive possibility of getting me to switch ideological allegiance to the Ghana Taliban. Of course, I would promptly and flatly demur by explaining to my beloved and concerned relative that my ideological proclivity was not only one of conviction but that, even more significantly, it far transcended the parochial realm of the cultish and personal.
Anyway, while I prefer to let matters remain as they presently are, still, suffice it to mildly observe that I have absolutely no reason to believe that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was not fully aware of and may even well have sanctioned Mr. Boakye-Agyarko’s outright savage, brutal and barbaric attempt to impugn my sanity and hard-earned image and reputation as a passionate Danquah-Busia-Dombo partisan, because, as my cousin rightly pointed out to me, the e-mail memo that contained Mr. Boakye-Agyarko’s impugnation of my sanity, also contained the e-mail address of Nana Akufo-Addo!
And on the latter note must also be painfully recalled the fact that not long ago, when I briefly told the NDC overtures story, it was the very Mr. Akwasi A. Afrifa Akoto who mischievously implied that such stories sent the wrong signals to NPP loyalists and Akufo-Addo partisans. I suppose this is one of those “Akyemisms” of which, in the opinion of Mr. Afrifa Akoto, I stand pathologically and inescapably guilty.
In his article, captioned “Are ‘Joy’ and ‘Peace’ Against Nana Addo?” Mr. Afrifa Akoto also calls me “the notorious professor.” The stark fact of the matter is that I may be anything, including “controversial,” but definitely not notorious. I, however, sincerely sympathize with the critic on his frustrations with radio stations Joy-Fm and Peace-Fm. For my own part, though, I couldn’t care less. You see, I was writing and publishing award-winning journalistic pieces (at City College of New York and elsewhere) long before there were any media establishments by the names of Joy-Fm and Peace-Fm.
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 Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: email@example.com.
The opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of www.africanewsanalysis.com and www.africa-forum.net