In a brief article titled “I am Married to an Ivorian Citizen – Ekwow Spio-Garbrah” (See Peacefmonline.com 1/31/11), and which reads more like the transcript of a radio interview, the controversial hip-shooting NDC vice-chairman and former cabinet member of the Rawlings regime, rather sophomorically and irritably attempts to make a special pleading for both his own perspective and endorsement of the clearly afterthought stance of President John Evans Atta-Mills on the Ivorian political deadlock.
For the London-based Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) executive, being married to a half-Ivorian woman (the other half of his wife’s parentage is from Cape Verde, we understand) makes him an expert of the Ivorian crisis in a way that makes key players of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), notably Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, appear to be total aliens who just parachuted down to Earth from Jupiter, or even perhaps a yet-to-be-discovered and named planet.
The problem with this kind of shallow “conjugal logic” is that it criminally short-circuits the venerably long and unique Danquah-Busia Tradition of regarding the Ivorian cultures of Agni and Baule as bona fide parts of the greater Akan-Ghanaian meta-polity. And, indeed, if he had studiously read his pre-independence nationalist struggle history notes, he would have discovered, perhaps to his utter consternation, that even as then-Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah coercively sought to annex a recalcitrant southern Volta Anlo-Ewe enclave as part of an independent Ghana, Dr. J. B. Danquah was even more fervently negotiating to have the Akan ethnic groups in the Ivory Coast organically joined with their Ghanaian kin, in logical exchange for Britain’s cession of Trans-Volta Togoland to France, in the run-up to Ghana’s declaration of sovereignty in March 1957.
And so for Mr. Spio-Garbrah to cynically pretend that, somehow, he reserves a more legitimate and authoritative appreciation of the Ivorian crisis in a way that Nana Akufo-Addo could never fathom, merely because Mr. Spio-Garbrah’s wife and children have Ivorian citizenship, is nothing short of crass arrogance.
It is also rather infantile for Mr. Spio-Garbrah to facilely presume that he is the only Ghanaian with friends and relatives in the Ivory Coast and therefore about the only Ghanaian with a remarkable sensitivity towards the plight of Ivorians.
Anyway, we have argued this point before and hereby reprise the same – and it is simply the fact that at absolutely no time did President Atta-Mills hew to a different ideological and/or tactical stance from that which was adopted by all the ECOWAS leaders in Abuja last December, regarding the contingent use of force against President Laurent Gbagbo, until the eerie possibility of the Ghana Armed Forces witnessing action, firsthand, became imminent.
On the other hand, as indisputably Ghana’s finest foreign minister in at least a generation, Nana Akufo-Addo actively participated in brokering for peace in the Ivory Coast. And so, in essence, where Mr. Spio-Garbrah can only base his credibility vis-à-vis the Ivorian political deadlock on conjugal affinity – or his gonads, to be more exact and direct – Nana Akufo-Addo has practical and professional experience to serve as his guide.
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 the author of “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011).