Ghana: The Morning After The Marathon Mourning

By IndepthAfrica
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Aug 15th, 2012
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At long last, the mortal remains of the late President Mills have been buried and the funeral duly performed.

According to Akan tradition, we will have to wait for one year before we gather again to observe yet another celebration to finally close the chapter and move forward. So much tear has washed the grounds and pillows of all Ghanaians.

The grief sent so many people going to bed without food and those who found solace in the drinking of alcohol spent so much on booze.

Men of God have prayed and prayed for the soul of the late President to have comfort in the bosom of Abraham. In the three northern regions, pito became scarce while apkatashie became an essential commodity along the coastal areas and the Volta Region in particular.

In the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, palm wine tappers had a field day while price of Hausa Koko soared up in all the zongos due to its scarcity.

The old men and women in the zongos painted their teeth with kola nuts as they grieved over the departed president while Rastafarians polluted the air with smoke from ganja in their own small way to honour the man.

When a great man like Mills dies, even the dumb struggle to cry and sing dirges in honour of him.

Mills deserved all the accolades and tears because he made his mark as a politician, statesman, academic and a well respected gentleman’s gentleman.

The Akans have an adage which literally says if even we cry when someone dies, we stop to sneeze whenever necessary. That is why I want to stop the crying and sneeze a bit.

So, excuse me and cover your nostrils while I pull my red handkerchief from my pocket to sneeze so that you do not catch catarrh.

Did I hear President John Dramani Mahama well the other day when he was addressing the PPP flagbearer in his office?

Hear him: “Often, it is not us the leaders who engage in the insults, it is our followers and our supporters and our foot soldiers; one, we must lead by our character, and show them that it is not necessary to descend to that level.

But at the same time, as leaders, we must restrain them in what they do in terms of addressing their opponents.” Oh, no, Mr. President, it is too late to give that advice.

President Mahama was in this country when the same hounds insulted everybody, including men of God and chiefs, not to talk of the flagbearer of the largest opposition party in Ghana, but as the Vice President of this country, he never opened his mouth to restrain his boys.

During those days of fire and brimstone, Mr. Mahama did not speak out because it sat well with him.

When these rubble rousers were referring to Nana Akufo-Addo as a cocaine addict and a womanizer, we did not hear the voice of Mr. Mahama but now that he has found himself on the hot seat, he is calling for a truce because he knows very well the guns could easily be turned on him. Has President Mahama all too soon forgotten what he told ex-president Kufuor?

When ex-president Kufuor opined that the government was using a sledgehammer to kill a fly when the issue of the ‘declaration of war’ by Kennedy Agyapong cropped up, Mr. Mahama told the ex-president that the government would rather use a bulldozer.

How cheeky! And has he forgotten the use of ‘baloney’ and ‘foolish’ to describe critics of his government who held contrary views about issues?

This president should better begin wearing a crash helmet in anticipation of the bashing which will come sooner than later.

Even before we could put down our funeral clothes, Mr. Mahama started cursing those who criticized The Mills/Mahama administration as if we don’t have the right to criticize. Between a curse and an insult, which one will Mr. Mahama choose for himself and indeed, his family?

When Ghanaians were solemnly mourning the departed president, the man who succeeded him launched his campaign thereby opening a Pandora’s Box. Listen to him again: “I was born in 1958.

I am the first president of this country to have been born in the nation Ghana after we attained independence; all previous presidents were born before 1957.”

And so what? Yes that is true anyway, but the “young boy” who is now the president of Ghana partnered the old man who is now demised but nothing good came out of the two.

The Mills/Mahama administration failed miserably to get rid of filth in our cities as promised in the manifesto of the NDC.

In the manifesto, the NDC wrote that they could clear the country of filth in a matter of one hundred days in office but four months to end their four – year term, almost all the cities in this country are engulfed in filth. These and many more failed promises are what we are going to ask but not age.

Oh yes, the man who was born after independence could not help the old man to make the promise of one-time premium of the NHIS realistic and neither could he help the old man to stop armed robbery, serial killings, contract killings, and arrest the runaway Cedi.

The “young man’ who was the chairman of the Economic Management Team brought the STX and Guma housing deals but they all exploded in his face.

Anyway, now that we are left with less than four months to election, what will candidate Mahama say if he faces Mahama Ayariga of the PNC and Dr. Abu Sakara of the CPP who are more youthful than him and who were also born many years after Ghana attained independence?

Nkrumah, Busia, Limann, Rawlings and Kufuor were all born before independence and yet they all chalked enviable achievements when they had the opportunity to rule this country.

If the man thinks he can use his age to woo the youth to his side, someone out there should tell him to close that page because it will never wash.

If Dr. Bawumia should also use his age to compare with that of Dr. Amissah-Arthur what will be the reply? Our president goofed badly!

Mr. President, next time if you have nothing to say when we are mourning, just bridle your mouth because the youth of this country have already decided who to vote for. When Senior High School is going to be free, you expect them to vote for someone who failed to keep promises? Shiaa!!

By now, I know the NPP communicators too have oiled their double-barrel guns, ready to fire from all cylinders. Indeed, I know by now they have conducted a ‘research’ inside the cupboard of the president where more skeletons are suspected to be stored and are ready to go dirty if any Jupiter tries to verbally attack the flagbearer of the NPP.

After all, what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander. Probably that is the more reason why the man is calling on his boys not to attack personalities again.

How will President Mahama feel if communicators from the NPP start to spit fire on him like the way those in the NDC did and continue to do to Nana Akufo-Addo?

The other day, when Sammy Awuku of the NPP said the President should have chosen Allotey Jacobs as his Veep rather than Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, I knew the battle line was drawn and it was going to be hotter immediately after the mourning period.

Comparing Allotey Jacobs to Mr Amissah-Arthur is a serious insult if not ridiculous. But Sammy said it to send a signal to the NDC that the road to the Jubilee House will be hot.

The day Nana Akufo-Addo chose Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as his running mate, people like Fiifi Kwetey and others tried frantically to make the fine technocrat look like a queer man.

They simply refused to accept the fact that Dr. Bawumia, like the late Professor Mills, is a learned gentleman who can be compared to any astute economist the world over. Now that Mr. Amissah-Arthur is in the saddle, he will not need anyone to tell him to get ready for the bullets from the barrels of the NPP warriors.

Similarly, President Mahama should not think he will have it easy when the electioneering campaign starts.

As for me, I do not have anything against Mr Amissah-Arthur or Mr. Mahama but when the ‘researchers’ do come out with their ‘findings,’ some of us will have no choice but to comment on the issues that would be raised. For now, I can only fill my fountain pen with ink, awaiting the day of reckoning.

I must admit here that politics of insults is not good for our fledgling democracy but the multimillion question is: How do you mend a broken heart?

People like Kobby Acheampong, Koku Anyidoho, Okudzeto Ablakwa, Agyenim Boateng insulted and spewed out nothing but rot on fine gentlemen in this country and you expect others to leave you alone?

As the Vice President who could have reined in the NDC goons who were on an insulting spree, Mr. Mahama showed indifference until fate propelled him to become the president of the nation.

Today, the man is suddenly pleading for the insults to stop. If Mr. Mahama had spoken out against the menace long time ago, some of us would have moved in sympathy with him but not now.

Enter Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur

I am going to be a self-appointed consultant to the Vice President, Mr. Amissah-Arthur.

Ghanaians used to see Mr Mahama as a fine gentleman until he started spewing out ‘baloney’, ‘foolish’ and ‘bulldozer’.

In the beginning, he was being compared to the former veep, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, who never hurt a fly for the eight years that he partnered Mr. John Kufuor. Sadly, when power passed through the head of Mr. Mahama, he started behaving like a spoilt child.

Because the president then was constantly indisposed and he as the Vice President had the opportunity to act as the president of Ghana, he never hesitated to play the tough guy anytime his government was under attack.

If he had consulted Alhaji Aliu Mahama, he would have learnt a lot of essential presidential habits, that is, listen more, talk less, weigh your words before you speak etc.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur should consult extensively both his own people in government and his elders in Cape Coast so that he would not be soaked by the dew of dawn. Ghanaians hate people who become swollen-headed when they are given positions.

The praises that are being showered on late President Fiifi Atta Mills were not for nothing. The man never used any insulting word on anyone in this country.

From his days as the Vice President to the days of being sworn in as the president of Ghana, Mr. Mills was levelheaded. Even when the hawks in his party were going haywire, Mr. Mills remained himself till death laid its icy hands on him.

One can compare Mills to Mr. Kufuor as far as presidential niceties are concerned.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur should not follow in the footsteps of his kinsman as far as dealing with the “greedy bastards” is concerned.

He should not allow himself to be drawn into unnecessary defence of the wrongs in his government.

As a technocrat, he knows better than the hawks in his party who are out there belittling citizens. Just be yourself, my brother and refuse to be dangled like ‘koliko’.

Fortunately for him, having served under J.J Rawlings, he can easily identify the “greedy bastards” who may try to sway him.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur should deal with them ruthlessly even though he may be doing so at the peril of his life. When Mills treated them with kid’s gloves, they literally trapped him and killed him.

Wanna die too soon? If no, then, get on the good foot before the day of lamentations, Uncle Bekoe.

By Eric Bawah

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