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November 2008

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From: ‘The Economist’

LAST year oil was found off the coast of Ghana. There was rejoicing, of course. But the mood was tempered by the knowledge of how oil has polluted the nearby Niger Delta and corrupted Nigeria. More than anything, Ghanaians were seized by a determination to avoid the “resource curse” of Nigeria.

Now, with a general election on December 7th, it is the curse of the ballot box that Ghanaians want to avoid. After electoral disasters in Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe in the past 18 months, everyone is hoping, and many are praying, that Ghana will avoid the bloodshed, chicanery and political warring of its African peers.

Even more so as Ghana, with annual growth rates of about 6% during the past few years, is one of Africa’s few undisputed successes of the past decade. It plunged the depths of despotism and kleptocracy in the 1970s and 1980s, but has fostered an enviable reputation for individual freedom and political stability since democracy was restored in 1991. This has attracted a lot of financial and diplomatic investment. For the sake of African democracy as much as of Ghana itself, nobody wants to jeopardise all of that with the sort of chaos that hurt Kenya earlier this year.

In this respect, Ghana has several advantages over Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. It has a highly competent electoral commission, whose independence is respected by all Ghana’s politicians. Above all, ordinary Ghanaians are acutely aware of the eyes of Africa and the world upon them. Foreign-aid and human-rights bodies, diplomats and church people all hold daily meetings and workshops with titles such as “Elections: Lessons from Zimbabwe and Kenya for Ghana”. A sense of pan-African responsibility prevails.

Ever since Ghana became the first sub-Saharan country to win independence (from Britain) in 1957, Ghanaians have been conscious of being in the vanguard of African history. Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development says it is still the case. “There is a popular desire to maintain a record of not behaving like others on the continent in these elections. It is a point of pride.”

So an electoral disaster might be avoided. But Mr Gyimah-Boadi says that the dangers are still real. For a start, as in Kenya, the two main parties, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), are very evenly matched. This gives them every incentive to cheat, knowing that just a few votes either way could tip the balance. The parties both claim they will win the presidential ballot on the first round. Yet it is thought they are both a few percentage points shy of the 51% they need to win outright and avoid a second round.

There is also a lot of ill-feeling between the two parties. It has already provoked violence in the north. In one incident the NDC says two of its organisers were shot dead. The opposition resents the way the NPP has used its time in government to jail several NDC former ministers on charges from the time the NDC was in office in the 1990s, while taking no action against present government ministers who have been accused of corruption. NDC members talk of a political vendetta against them; many want vengeance.

On top of this, the oil discovery has raised the stakes. The winner, after all, will be looking at a bonanza of about $3 billion a year in oil revenues from as early as 2010. Never will there have been a better time to be in government in Ghana.

So it is an irony, given the charged atmosphere, that the policies of the NPP on the centre-right and the NDC on the centre-left are not that far apart. Both pledge largely to continue the more-or-less orthodox free-market policies that have served Ghana well for the past few years.

The NPP’s presidential candidate, the energetic Nana Akufo-Addo, is happy to campaign on the present government’s record. He trades on the popularity of the outgoing president, John Kufuor, in office since 2001. Mr Akufo-Addo, who was foreign minister and attorney-general in Mr Kufuor’s two governments, hopes his experience and a pedigree as the son of a former president will help him to victory.

The NDC is led by the quieter John Atta Mills. A lawyer, academic and former vice-president, he has lost the last two elections to Mr Kufuor, so this is probably his last tilt at the presidency. His NDC talks more about social justice than the NPP does. It also has its former leader, the extrovert and populist Jerry Rawlings, on the campaign trail to stir up support. Mr Rawlings can still wow a crowd but he repels as many people as he attracts. Many recall his thuggish ways as president in the 1980s; he is as much a liability as an asset to the NDC.

In the end, the two parties’ differences have come to be encapsulated in the saga of the new presidential palace. Now almost finished, this huge building is shaped like an Ashanti stool to symbolise that ancient source of authority. It is bold and showy but also hugely expensive. Nobody knows for sure, but the bill could be as high as $50m. The NDC argues that this, as well as new presidential jets, is a wasteful extravagance in a country where many people are still miserably poor. The NDC also says the haziness of the accounts points to corruption and a lack of accountability.

The NPP ripostes that such a building was long overdue. Until now, the presidential offices have been in a former Danish slaving castle by the port of Accra. “If ever there was an inappropriate symbol of the new Ghana, that was it,” snaps Mr Akufo-Addo. The new building represents the nation’s growing self-confidence and dignity. And anyway, the would-be president adds, it was built with Indian money—a sign of global interest in the new Ghana.

Just so we are clear, I didn’t this. It’s from the latest edition of the ‘The Economist’ . Thought it might be of interest to some people.  – Ato KD

Nana Addo,

I have just one question for you. Do you want to die?
I’ve just heard that your convoy has been involved in yet another accident – this time on the Accra-Takoradi Highway. This is about the third accident in as many weeks, isn’t it?
Earlier this month, there was an accident involving the bus carrying some journalists covering your campaign. This happened in the Eastern Region. Few got hurt and no one died. Thank God. My very good friend, Bernard Saibu was on the bus but escaped unhurt. I would have been devastated if Bernard (the JOY FM reporter ‘embedded’ your campaign) had suffered any injury.
Just about a week ago, two of the cars in your convoy ran themselves into a ditch somewhere in the north. Few were injured and once again, no one died – thankfully.
These are the accidents that have happened very recently. I am aware that the convoy has been involved in other accidents in other places – even before you became a presidential candidate.
So just tell me: what the heck is going on? Don’t tell me the witches in your ‘house’ are after you. I don’t want to hear you (or anyone close to you) say that someone has invoked Antoa Nyama to strike you down.
I have this very strong feeling that you think you are president already and you can speed around anyhow. Or have you been nursing illusions that you may just be the next Lewis Hamilton? Please you are not a president (yet) and you most definitely will not be the next Lewis Hamilton.
So, just slow down! Otherwise, you are going to die. You can call me a “doom monger”. I don’t give a damn. I’m just giving you a ‘citizen’s advise’. Take it and save a life (which may as well be yours) or leave it.
Do you remember what happened to JAK last year? He escaped an accident when an idiot rammed into his speeding convoy. He was lucky. You might not be as lucky.
They say the “speed that thrills is the speed that kills”. It has never made sense to me that presidents drive at such high speeds. I remember when JAK escaped that accident, I told someone to advise him to slow down. Well, as usual, he didn’t heed my advice and he keeps driving around at top speed as if his head is “not there”. But I’m not worried about him because he will be going very soon. Right now, seriously, I don’t care if he speeds to his death. I can endure 30 days of Aliu without having to doze off in boredom.
But I’m worried about you. You seem to be driving faster than even the sitting president does. I know you may be thinking that this is a rehearsal. It’s not! In any case, why rehearse when you know very well that you may lose the election? Or you think it’s already a done deal?
Let’s just assume that you win the election and become the president. Do you think you will have the moral authority to advise us to be careful on the roads and not drive above the speed limit?
In essence, Nana, I’m saying that when you sit in your convoy and allow your chauffeurs to drive like mad clones of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton you are breaking the law and endangering lives. Last time I checked you are not above the law. So, for God’s sake, slow down. I know you in a hurry to move forward. But at these speeds, trust me, you might be moving alright… but not forward. But, hey, if you want to move faster forward towards Awudome or the Royal Akyem Mausoleum, then, be my guest – speeeeeed, Nana, speed. 

Warning: This article is about toilets! Don’t read if you’ve never used one.

Last week, as the world marked International Toilet Day, I heard that in Ghana getting a place to attend to nature’s call is more difficult than getting a place to lay one’s head. The statistics indicate that just about 10 percent of us have access to the most basic toilet facilities.
This got me thinking about my loo and how important it is to me.
Thank God, I am one of the lucky 10 percent in Ghana who have access to a good loo. Truth be told, I just recently joined the group. The loo is one of my favourite spots in my small apartment. I like to keep it spic-and-span because I like to spend a lot of time there.
Almost ten years ago, I heard NDC vice presidential candidate John Mahama (then deputy Information Minister) say in a speech that the loo is one of the best places to read. I took that advice and I can testify today that he was right. Reading ‘The Economist’ and ‘Time’ in the loo is a simple pleasure I won’t give up for all the diamonds in Akwatia.
But I’ve not always had it this good. That’s why I want to spare a moment and doff my hat for the millions of my compatriots for whom finding a decent place to poo is a daily hustle.
I am talking about those who have to join a queue to use a KVIP or a pit latrine. I’ve been there before and I know how it feels like to jump repeatedly just to ‘manage’ the urgency of the moment.
If your loo is shared by the whole community and you need to walk ten minutes to reach it, one of your constant prayers is to cast out the demons of “running” – when your bowels become so loose that the calls of nature become annoyingly incessant. I’ve been there before.
If you think you are unlucky because you are forced by circumstances to use a stinking KVIP just pause a moment and count your blessings. I’ve seen people use the areas around KVIPs as social centres. If you are not busy trying to suppress ‘the things’, those moments in the queue provide a fine opportunity to catch up on neighbourhood gossip or chat up the beautiful chick next door. This is how we did social networking long before ‘Facebook’.
If you have neither a loo in your house nor a “public place of convenience” you are in deep trouble. In circumstances like these people are compelled to either do it “free range” or resort to “tie and throw”. I’ve done both before – especially when I lived in an uncompleted building in Adenta.
In case you didn’t know, free range is when you throw caution to the wind and bear the indignity of squatting (as dogs do) in any available space to do what you have to do. It could be at the beach, in the bush, behind your neighbour’s window or by a drain. This is very popular in areas like Ashaiman and Labadi.
With “tie and throw” you just deposit ‘the goods’ in a receptacle (usually a black polythene bag), tie it and throw it in a place where it’s hard to find. This is very popular in the educational institutions and developing residential communities. Unfortunately in these areas, I am told, some people have become very lax with the principles of “tie and throw” – they “tie” alright but the “throwing” leaves a lot to be desired. So I won’t advise you to pick up a well-tied black polythene bag you find on the street. You never know.
It really bothers me that 90 percent of my compatriots have been pooing rough. I wish everyone could have a decent place to attend to nature’s call in dignity. It’s not a privilege – it’s a right.
On paper, we have rules that should help deliver this right to everyone. Sadly, it seems no one has any intention of enforcing the rules about loos. The law states that every house must have a toilet facility. This, clearly, is not the case today. Greedy landlords have turned the “small” rooms which were meant for toilets into bedrooms. If you are a tenant, you dare not complain. Otherwise you will be on the streets in no time – looking for two places: one to lay your head, the other to just let go!
If you don’t have a decent loo in your house, I respect you. I share in your frustration. You deserve better. Whenever I sit in my loo I’d spare a thought for you and pray that one day, you will break free like I did so that you will get a loo you can call your own. When that happens, invite me over for the ‘loo warming’.

When I wrote last week about being tired of NDC complaints, I was referring to their numerous complaints about the forthcoming elections. I get the sense that some of you felt I was talking about their complaints in connection with issues such as corruption, the state of the economy, the sale of state enterprises etc. I just want to make it clear that I was specifically referring to the elections.

Secondly, going through the comments, quite a number of you felt that the import of my article was that the NDC had no right to complain. Far from that. They have every right to complain. And I also have a right to complain about their complaints. Thank God you also have a right to complain about my complaints against their complaints. That’s democracy!
As an opposition party, how else can the NDC contribute to governance and keep the administration on its toes if they do not complain? My concern though is that (with particular reference to the upcoming elections) their numerous complaints are becoming a nuisance. This is because there doesn’t seem to be any substance in most of their complaints – from the one about the ‘bloated’ electoral roll in Ashanti to the alleged plot by government to use the security agencies to rig the elections. These complaints only generate heat – the very thing we don’t need at this time.
As a direct consequence, when we wake up and I hear about yet another NDC complaint, the tendency is for us to say: “there they go again”.
And this is where the story of the little shepherd boy who took raising false alarms and crying “wolf” as a hobby comes in. You remember the story, right? People got very annoyed with little for crying wolf when there was none and decided that he’d be better be ignored. When the wolf actually showed up, teeth bared, he cried “wolf”. Nobody paid attention to what they felt was yet another false alarm and the wolf devoured his flock.
It’s in our interest to have a complaining opposition party. But democracy suffers when the complaints become so frequent and baseless to the extent that people feel the opposition party should be ignored. And an opposition party with a credibility crisis is not a useful party. I am sure the NDC this is not the NDC wishes for itself.
Finally, a lot of you suggested that in 1999/2000 the NPP did what the NDC is doing now. So it’s alright. The NPP complained a lot about the electoral processes. Granted. Officials of the Electoral Commission will tell you that their complaints helped to fashion out our current electoral system, which is not perfect but is almost as good as it gets. The NPP complained, for example, about ID cards without photos and the EC responded by affixing pictures to all our voter ID cards. Contrast this with the NDC’s complaints. I haven’t heard a single complaint from them that will in one way or the other compel the EC to significantly improve on the electoral system in any way. Rather, their complaints tend to needlessly add to the political tension in the country and this is not what I expect of an opposition party.
Furthermore, this “they did it so it’s alright for us to do it” argument doesn’t wash with me at all. It’s utter nonsense! The Kufuor administration likes to point to all the wrongs the NDC did in power to justify their misdeeds. It’s not right. I have heard NDC sympathisers make this argument over and over again that “our wrongs from the past should not justify your present transgressions.” So I am surprised that these same NDC sympathisers will turn around and argue that if the NPP complained (and generated needless heat eight years ago) it’s alright for them to do the same now.
Somehow, I understand. It is politics as usual, isn’t it? Sadly, this is not what our country needs. If the NDC thinks that crying wolf when there is none is what will win them the votes, they should go right ahead. No one can take away their rights to complain. But if they seriously want to put themselves out as the ‘Obamafied’ party that will bring us change, I think they should go back to one of Obama’s core messages: that we cannot play the same old political games and expect to transform our society.
My point, therefore, is quite a simple one. The NDC can complain all they want. I am tired of their complaints. I hope I am the only crazy dude with delusions that the NDC might suffer the same fate as the shepherded boy who entertained himself by crying wolf when there wasn’t even a goat nearby.
To those of you who think I’ve been bought, I have just one question: can you tell the difference between a goat and a wolf?
 
We launched a competition a few weeks ago asking you to predict where next JAK would travel to.
You were imaginative with your responses, which came in thick and fast. Some of you said he would be going to outer space – a place called Atlantis. Others mentioned that he might try out his luck in hellish places like Somalia and Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, you were all wrong.
On Saturday, JAK jumped on a plane(I was misinformed initially that it was the flying coffin he used) for a trip to Liberia. Most of you thought he would be going to some far off land and no one got it right. I wonder why?
Perhaps, JAK read through your predictions and decided to "swerve" you all. So no one won the lucrative prize: that rare opportunity to be at the airport to wave JAK ‘good bye’. I guess you can never win against JAK. The competition is closed.

There are a lot of Ghanaians (and Africans) who think Robert Mugabe is a hero. I wonder what they would be thinking now after his latest outrage: “bouncing” Kofi Annan’s visa application.

Our dearly beloved Annan, the angelic peacemaker we love, has at long last decided to pay a little attention to the madness in Zimbabwe. I think he could have intervened much earlier but as they say, “better late than never.”
Annan, former US president, Jimmy Carter and Graca Machel (Nelson Mandela’s wife) – who are part of a group known as “the elders” – had planned to go to Zimbabwe to assess the extent of the humanitarian catastrophe wrought by Mugabe’s insanity.
Knowing very well that the three eminent personalities will be followed by international news cameras – which do not lie – Mr. Mugabe decided to do the unthinkable: reject their visa applications. It’s such a disgraceful thing to do and defies all international protocols. But Mugabe doesn’t know what disgrace means anymore. He’s a man in a little world of his own where madness rules.
On one hand, I believe Mugabe’s decision to reject the visa applications brings him a little closer to his expected fall. He’s going to suffer even more international opprobrium and that will cost him some of his ardent supporters, particularly in other African countries who seem to think he is a hero and not a raving lunatic. Now everyone will start asking why he wants the cameras out if he has nothing to hide.
On the other hand, though, I feel like I should say “thank you” to Mugabe for bouncing Annan’s visa application.
You see, I am very happy that Mr. Annan has suffered the humiliation of having his visa application bounced. I’ve always been very jealous of the fact that he travels freely around the world whiles I get consistently bounced. Now he’s been brought down to earth and as you can tell from the picture he wasn’t very amused.
The last time I was ‘bounced’ I cried for weeks. With what has happened to Mr. Annan, I won’t shed many tears if I am bounced again. I will simply say to myself: “If it happened to Kofi Annan…”

 

It’s difficult to understand why the opposition National Democratic Congress seems to be complaining about anything and everything these days. And only few of the complaints merit any serious attention.

They complained (and justifiably so) about Nana Akufo-Addo’s use of state resources to campaign.
Their vice presidential candidate, John Mahama recently complained about police in the Volta Region asking him to cancel his campaign tour because Nana Addo’s wife was in the same area he was planning to visit. I agreed with him.
The NDC also complained about how the people behind the recent clashes in Tamale and Gushiegu appear to have been let off the hook with the government showing a complete lack of interest in ensuring that justice is done. I agreed with them on this score as well – especially considering the fact that a district chief executive was accused of allegedly ordering the torching homes in Gushiegu.
I have been trying very hard to fish out some more ‘worthy’ complaints from the NDC but I can’t seem to come up with any. In fact, it seems to me that most of the complaints from the opposition party have ranged from the frivolous to the ridiculous. Many others would have sounded pretty serious – if only they had been backed with any serious evidence.
Take the “ways and means” allegation for example.
Top guns of the NDC claim to have come across a document detailing how the ruling New Patriotic Party is scheming to rig the elections in December with the connivance of the Electoral Commission. The rigging plot has been set out in detail in what the NDC calls a “ways and means” document. This is a serious allegation that needs to be looked into. But no one is taking them serious because there is nothing to show that the document came from the offices of the NPP – no signatures, no letterheads, no logos. Any half-wit could have sat in an internet cafe to prepare it. And the NDC bigwigs know this. Yet, they have been brandishing the document all over the place. They have even presented it to an ECOWAS delegation as evidence that the elections in December could be rigged.
After failing to get anyone’s attention with the so-called “ways and means” document, it now seems that the NDC and its bigwigs have developed an inordinate interest in needlessly crying wolf when there is none. In most cases, their complaints just sound like a cacophony of mischievous grumblings.
For example, former president Rawlings seems to think that one of the directors at the Electoral Commission, Albert Kofi Arhin, is some geeky fraudster who has a secret computer which can be used to cook up the election results.
“[In] 2004 I know what they did with their computer software in the Electoral Commission office,” Rawlings says. “There is a thief called Arhin. He is hiding there with his gang and they are making preparations to steal again.”
When I heard this, allegation I just asked myself: “how?” With all the safeguards the EC claims to have put in place with the consent of the party representatives on the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), I don’t see how any individual can sit up in a dingy room somewhere and manipulate the figures. In fact, when I hear my former president talking about the EC and its officials like he did a few days ago in Kumasi, I am left with no choice than to think that he just might be losing it.
I have also heard NDC officials complain that in 2004, its polling agents were fed with poisoned food which forced them to be on the lookout for rolls of toilet paper instead of keeping an eye on the voting. This, they claim, made it possible for the NPP to steal the vote.
Shortly after the first IEA presidential ‘debate’ newspapers affiliated with the NDC also complained about the alleged leakage of the questions to the NPP’s candidate.
Last week, I heard the most ludicrous and dangerous complaint yet.
NDC loyalists in Cape Coast complained so bitterly about the fact that students in the polytechnic and the university there were transferring their votes from elsewhere in the country to the constituency. They fear that the student votes will swing the contest in the ruling party’s favour. So they attacked the students and gave some of them a very sound beating.
To justify their actions, the NDC thugs claimed that since the students were not “indigenes” of Cape Coast, they have no right to decide who represents the constituency in parliament. Last time I checked, this is not how the system works. In fact, any Ghanaian with a vote can choose to vote in any constituency of their choice. That’s why even though I am not an “indigene” of Accra I am going to vote (if I decide to) in the national capital. If we were to accept the logic of the NDC thugs in Cape Coast, President Kufuor will have to go and vote in Atwima Nwabiagya and I’d be saving up for transport to go and cast my vote in Essikado.
So what are we to make of the NDC complaints? Some people think the party is deliberately ‘fouling’ the electoral atmosphere in order to create justification for it to reject the results of the poll.
If most of the NDC complaints were not so petty and, as the lawyers say, vexatious, I would say this is not true. But now, really, I don’t know what to think. All I know is that I have had enough of their whining and grumbling. They should just give us a break and stop crying wolf when there is none.
 

Many people have asked me to “moderate” comments on this site. That is to say that I should edit and cut out some of the crap – and there is a lot of that here. Those calling for moderation say some of the comments are too offensive and insulting, they damage the country’s reputation abroad and are too provocative (and could spark some strife).

I agree that some of the comments are hard to read. But I am not prepared to make it a part of my job to pore over every comment, deleting the ones I don’t like and keeping the ones I do. First, only a mad fool will read an article here and feel so incited as to go pick a machete to chop off limbs. Secondly, I see nothing wrong with us washing our dirty linen in public. Every country has an image problem – one way or another. And thirdly, in a free society, I believe it’s fair game to trade in harsh words that do not necessarily boost our self-image and egos. Just be ready to take as much as you give.
So I’m not going to “moderate” the comments. Everything goes… well, almost!
I don’t want to be hauled before court for unsubstantiated allegations that do not come from my mouth. Comments that impute criminal conduct to other people will, therefore, be deleted. I’d rather go to court and defend allegations I have made than look stupid in front of a judge for publishing allegations made by someone I may not even know.
Plus, an extra feature just added to the site – and I’m very excited about this – is one which makes it possible for me to respond to every comment.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE FLAGBEARER
 
BK Oduro, our dearly beloved presidential candidate, wishes to acknowledge the numerous enquiries to his office about who is running mate could be.

BK believes that this is yet another indication that ours is the fastest growing political grouping in the country today.

Besides, members and well-wishers enquiring about who the running mate could be, BK has also received a large number of applications from many successful men and women who want to be his running mate. These include a kenkey seller from Teshie Nungua and a coffin-maker in Ada.

BK assures you that he has been thinking very deeply about this all-important decision and as a result he hardly goes to bed without his smokeless pipe in his mouth. You will be duly informed when a decision is made and you can be certain that it won’t be as incredulous as Dr. Anane’s decision to "do it" without adequate protection.

Noko Fio – Changing things, To move forward so that we can all chop small, small.

For more than 10 years, there has been no love lost between John Kufuor and Jerry Rawlings. The two men have never missed an opportunity to show their disdain for each other.

Rawlings thinks Kufuor is a “thief”. Kufuor says Rawlings is the devil – “Sasabonsam”. Whenever it suited them, the two men have levelled outrageous allegations against each other.

Do you remember when Kufuor claimed that Rawlings had gone to an Arab country to secure funds to buy weapons to destabilise the country? He couldn’t provide a single shred of evidence – for “national security” reasons, of course.
It doesn’t bear repeating that Rawlings believes strongly that Kufuor ordered the killing of Ya Na Yakubu Andani – and many others, even including the deputy MD of the Ghana Commercial Bank who was killed in Tema.
You see, both of Rawlings and Kufuor are drenched in needless paranoia – Kufuor has been living with a constant nightmare that Rawlings would unseat him and Rawlings thinks Kufuor has undone whatever good he believes he had achieved whiles in power.
At the height of their childish schoolyard rivalry, Kufuor decided to “withdraw” all of Rawlings’ “privileges” just to show who was in charge. That meant, among others, that Rawlings couldn’t use the VVIP lounge at the airport and officials of Ghana’s missions abroad were not obliged to lay out the red carpet for him as and when he happened to be in, say, London or Berlin.
The two men just hate each other… pure and simple.
When George Bush came around a few months ago, the two of them were seen smiling at each other and amiably shaking hands – pretending to be the best of friends. Photographs of the occasion were in newspapers, heralding a new era of reconciliation between them.
I knew then that it was a fluke.
Like two little kids desperate to please an uncle holding a loaf of bread, they were merely putting up a show for the most powerful man on earth. Immediately, George Bush got out, the two men were at each other’s throats again.
Now, Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu wants to do what George Bush couldn’t do. In fact, he wants to do what many others have tried and failed – reconcile Rawlings and Kufuor. However, the Asantehene says he will wait and make his first move after Kufuor’s tenure has ended.
My question is: why sweat it, Nana?
Who cares whether Rawlings and Kufuor are reconciled. If they didn’t consider it wise to be friends whiles they were both powerful men, why should we care when they become just another pair of ‘common’ Johns who only have next to no influence on the destiny of the nation?
I am sure that Otumfuo Osei Tutu – like most Ghanaians – has been very much aware of the enmity between Kufuor and his predecessor. If he cared so much, he should have acted much earlier than this. As one of the most respected men in this country, the Asantehene could have called the two men to his palace as far back as 2001 to knock some sense into their obstinate heads – when it became very evident that they hated each other. He didn’t. I don’t begrudge him… even King Solomon would have had trouble trying to get a paranoid president and his desperate, inexplicably embittered predecessor to see eye-to-eye.
Through it all, we tolerated Rawlings and Kufuor’s quarrels for the eight years – sometimes with bated breaths, praying that their silly stand-offs will not take our country to the brink. Thankfully, it didn’t. Now, the worse of the Rawlings-Kufuor ‘madness’ is well and truly (almost) over. In January both of them will be consigned to history.
As former presidents, I would expect both of them to know better and carry themselves as elder statesmen who deserve our respect. If they don’t wise up and they feel that the best way to make themselves ‘relevant’ is to continue insulting each other they should go ahead. No one should stop them.
Otumfuo will be wasting his precious time if he makes any attempt to ‘reconcile’ Rawlings and Kufuor. It just won’t work. The two of them may meet in the Manhyia Palace and vent all they want. For being so tolerant and allowing them to waste his precious ears, Otumfuo would then ask them to shake hands, hug (possibly kiss) and make up. And then what?
I don’t see Rawlings calling up Kufuor once every week to ask: “how are you doing, buddy? Have you received your pension yet?”
I will bet my last pesewa that Kufuor will never invite Rawlings to share a bottle of whiskey at the beautiful lobby of his (son’s) Hotel de Waawaaa as they discuss the latest treatment for erectile dysfunction – or any of the diseases that afflict old men.
I’m not completely giving up hope, though. Maybe – just maybe – they will come together and form an Association of Former Presidents of Ghana. Even then, I am certain they would still squabble!
It’s not my place to advise the Otumfuo. So those who have his powerful ears should kindly tell him not to waste his precious time on Kufuor and Rawlings. We’ve had enough of their silly bickering and we don’t really care where they take it next.