At a recent lecture commemorating the centenary birthday anniversary of Mr. William (Paa Willie) Ofori-Atta, one of the legendary six leaders of Ghana’s independence movement, Prof. Stephen Adei poignantly observed that what ought to be fore-grounded in the ongoing national debate about Nana Akufo-Addo’s “All-Die-Be-Die” declaration, is the reaction of both President John Evans Atta-Mills and the key operatives of the ruling National Democratic Congress (See “Gov’t Reaction to ‘All Die Be Die’ Was Wrong – Prof. Adei” Ghanaweb.com 2/23/11).
To the former director of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), the rather infantile tantrum with which the President met Nana Akufo-Addo’s dead-on opportune call for measured self-defense by members of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) against perennial brutalities routinely unleashed by members and supporters of the NDC, bespoke sadly of the apparent lack of good faith on the part of the executive branch of the government.
Prof. Adei could equally justifiably have added that it seems the NDC government has comfortably settled on the unilateral, unprovoked and routine application of intimidation and physical violence against members, supporters and sympathizers of the NPP, which is why the President felt flabbergasted about the apparent capacity of the NPP constabulary for full-frontal retaliatory force. What this means is that rather than pointlessly engage in a running rhetorical battle of who is violent or has an unenviable track-record of political violence, a constructive national forum ought to be established in the lead-up to Election 2012 to hash out the genuine concerns of the Ghanaian electorate and the citizenry at large.
What is also interesting is that while the leaders and rank-and-file membership of the NDC are desperately on the lookout to unloading their history of violence on anybody or group of individuals who seem to fit the mold of an acceptable scapegoat, nonetheless – and curiously so – these desperadoes do not appear to be contrite enough to renounce their political primitivism.
His rather impulsive issuance of “Red Alert” to our national security agencies, instead of acknowledging the palpable and patently disturbing existence of unprovoked NDC culture of political violence against its opponents, and then proposing an effective strategy to stanching the same, President Mills shockingly appears to be totally out of touch with the sea-change events sweeping across the North-African sub-region.
Maybe some forward-looking thinker like Prof. Adei ought to “Red Alert” the President to the fact that the days when the coercive apparatus of the State could be routinely unleashed at an unarmed civilian population are fast receding into the rusty ruts of history.
It is also rather pathetic for a President who shamelessly played the Fante sub-ethnic card going into Election 2008, with his rather luridly parochial mantra of “Adzepa Dze Owo Ofie A Oye” (A good thing had better be kept at home and among ourselves”) should now be pontifically presuming to lecture a stereotype-busting Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on political inclusiveness and patriotism.
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).