Ghana: Bribery Will Not Cut It, Paa Kwesi!
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
He is dead on target, when Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom admonishes residents of the Central Region not to vote for Transitional-President John “Paradigm-Shift” Dramani Mahama, merely because the latter is the accidental successor of the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, a personality who hailed from the region (See “Don’t Vote for Mahama Out of Sympathy – Nduom” Ghanaweb.com 9/2/12). The former cabinet appointee of the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) aptly added that leadership selection in Election 2012 ought to be based on “competence and not out of sympathy.”
Needless to say, his reportedly enormous personal wealth and remarkable performance in the areas of employment and energy are quite well known. Nonetheless, one major uphill battle confronts the former Member of Parliament for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) Constituency. And that problem, of course, is the fact that Election 2012 is not merely a narrow contest between the individual presidential candidates competing for the topmost elective job; rather, it is more about the entire panoply – or suit – of competent key players from the major political parties as a whole.
In other words, like Ghana’s national soccer team, the Black Stars, it takes far more than the talent, or genius, of any one individual player to score goals and win tournaments. And it is precisely on the latter score that Dr. Nduom has scandalously proven himself to be a leader who is woefully incapable of working as a team member with other equally confident and talented team members, particularly where leadership involves the ability of a team captain to harmoniously rally around the other key players of the team for the successful formulation, implementation and execution of significant national projects.
During the past five, or so, years for example, the renowned U.S.-trained business man has hopped from one political party to another – i.e. New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention People’s Party (CPP) and, presently, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) – evidently because like his icon and Ghana’s first premier, President Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Nduom appears to pathologically crave being the sole dominant player of any political team of which he has either been a member or a collaborator.
In essence, voting for Dr. Nduom will be tantamount – and akin – to fielding the legendary Brazilian soccer star, Pele, or his modern Ghanaian equivalent, as the sole player of a team. Besides, heading into Election 2012, Dr. Nduom’s CPP-breakaway so-called Progressive People’s Party (PPP) is the only legitimately registered political organization that operates like the personal property of one man; and that man, of course, is none other than Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom himself. And in the kind of salutary and transparent political culture that Ghanaians are trying to firmly establish in our Fourth Republic, and over the long haul, the last thing that any enlightened democratic nation craves is the proprietary ownership of any political party.
It is also rather disturbing, though widely known for quite some time now, that like the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, who twice lost the vote of the Central Region until he luridly resorted to the politics of tribalism in 2008, Dr. Nduom unabashedly believes in the politics of tribal loyalty in the essentialist sense of the same. For instance, addressing the chiefs and people of the Oguaa Traditional Area, in the Fante capital of Cape Coast, recently, the Progressive People’s Party’s Presidential Candidate was widely reported to have cynically observed that “it was only fair that as a native of the Central Region, he ought to be afforded the massive support of the Fante people, just as the late President Mills overwhelmingly carried the Central Region in 2008.” Needless to say, such cheap and tawdry pandering to tribal sentiments is absolutely no different from President Mills’ mantra of “Adzepa dze owo ofie a oye,” to wit, “A good thing had better be kept among family members.”
Evidently, in a bid to upstaging Transitional-President John “Paradigm-Shift” Dramani Mahama’s Chinese Trojan-Horse Projects of the Cape Coast Sports Stadium and the Kotokouraba Market, Dr. Nduom, reportedly, requested the donation of a publicly-owned piece of landed property to be used for the construction of a state-of-the-art community center for the people of Cape Coast, “as a tangible demonstration of his social responsibility” to the Fante nation.
*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 “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. ###