“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for doubting too. If you can wait and not be tired by waiting ….Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it And –which is more – you’ll be a man, my Son!”
IF – RUDYARD KIPLING
IT WAS A COLD SUNDAY in January, Most Reverend and Justice Gabriel Yaw Anokye was at St Paul’s Catholic Church at Amakom. Punctuality was the word and by 7:00 am all were assembled to meet the likable man of God, Archbishop of the Kumasi Catholic Diocese.
He said he was not going to preach; but rather sing the praises of God for what He had done for him and the congregants (his 18th year of becoming a Bishop fell on Monday, 17TH January, 2022); and the congregation was upbeat.
He could not resist the force of Isaiah 62: “For Zion’s sake, I will not keep silent, For Jerusalem’s sake, I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines and like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch”
So we pitch this Isaiah’s exhortation against Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Sound of Silence” “… And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains within the sound of silence; and like the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Magi from the East to Jerusalem, Isaiah’s exhortation wins the day. For NPP’s sake we will not keep silent! For Ghana’s sake we will not remain quiet.
We then recall the very brilliant analysis of the vicissitudes of NPP by a veteran political journalist: what has been the reward for Ashanti for helping NPP to come to power – one region whose votes cancelled out the votes of more than seven regions; with Bawumia as Vice-President, if he should be voted into power for President in 2024, for another 8 years, he will have done 16 years – is that not too much for a single person?
Then, compare Alan Kyerematen – Is it not his turn, given his contribution to the party? And why should Alan’s supporters be harassed expecially Alhaji Ibrahim Kaleen, the communications team member of the Northern Region for being among the “ Friends of Alan” and leave unscathed the “Friends of Bawumia” who openly displayed their flag at the funeral of Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie (Sir John) on 3rd June, 2021 at Wonoo?
Trying to pick the better of both worlds, we recall a meeting with handsome Asuming, an in – law – to – have – been. He stated “We cannot have 2 presidents; some people will have to ‘sacrifice’ for the sake of the party. Any slight mistake, power will slip from our hands”.
‘Sacrifice’? Yes. And Elton John calls it a “human sign” the 17 NPP presidential aspirants? …..the insistence of people going independent after losing the primaries…. People deciding to vote “skirt- and –blouse,”…
We recall the invitation by a losing parliamentary candidate to us to stand independent in her constituency. What! And lose our NPP identity? And we recall a CEO who insisted that anyone who advocated the choice of Akufo Addo as flagbearer in 2008 was inviting a split in the party. Now the man is the CEO of a big company and his relationship with Akufo-Addo has been further bolstered by a conjugal contract.
And in those days, it was not easy to indicate one’s choice of Akufo Addo among a certain group of professionals. Those of us who did, suffered ostracism. But the Akufo-Addo haters are now riding high, drinking and dining with him at Jubilee house. And we know the new lovers of Akufo-Addo will twist history and swear to the heavens that they had rather been the lovers of Akufo-Addo and we, the haters! That is Ghanaian politics for you. Gossip about your colleague, destroy him and ride high- a job for you- a member of a board, ambassadorial appointment even a ministerial appointment. Surprised? No. Otto Von Bismarck, the first Chancellor (1862-1890) to Wilhem I, King of Prussia said: “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best”? In “Real Politik”, the political philosophy of setting pragmatism over one’s ideological goals, it is impossible to get everything one wants, there is the need to compromise – perfectionism is unattainable, so reconcile competing interests to move to a win-win position. Definitely, something will have to give! And that is “sacrifice”. Pitch this against Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung’s philosophy: “politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed”.
J.B. Danquah, the doyen of Ghanaian politics, came played his part in Ghanaian politics and died miserably in Nkrumah’s prison without becoming Ghana’s head of state. Victor Owusu was touted as Ghana’s model for head of state: he never arrived there. Professor Albert Adu Boahen, with the “Stolen Verdict”, never wore the crown. We make bold to say that it was an admixture of luck, fate, prayers, dogged determination that propelled John Agyekum Kufour galloping to victory in 2000. It was indeed, “Awurade kasa”. Fortunately, with his own political prowess and the great support of the men and women around him, Kufuor was able to steer the affairs of the nation excellently to the admiration of even his opponents.
It is now the turn of Akufo-Addo. In Ghanaian patois, one would admonish him: “shine your eyes”. We are not jealous of those who have caught the President’s eye. Good for them, particularly those who supported him in his campaign prior to his winning the 2016 political battle. But others had set the pace: 2008 and 2012. Some sacrificed all they had, some were mocked, some lost great property, and some lost their jobs! (Col. Damuah may be among the lucky few -from military to Customs (GRA).
We have no qualms with a number of persons showing their heads as flag bearers of NPP: it is now an open secret Mahamudu Bawumia, Alan Kyeremanten, Boakye Agyarko , Joe Ghartey, Owusu Akoto (this arrangement is for convenience only). Much ink has already been spilled on first two (Bawumia and Alan).
Where are “Friends of Boakye Agyarko”. “Friends of Joe Ghartey” or “Friends of Owusu Afriyie Akoto”? But the statement by Joe Ghartey, as reported by Enimil Ashong is stoical and phlegmatic “President or no President I want to be able to look Ghanaians in the eyes, like Prophet Samuel in the Christian bible and say, I didn’t use Ghana’s money on myself ….. But what is Presidency all about? Why don’t we aim to build a nation where no one needs a godfather to survive? …. “I was not dreaming to be president one day, all I cared about was the interest of the NPP”.
In our sober moments, despite Isaiah chapter 62, we turn to Max Ehrman’s “Desiderate”. “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story…”
From Africanus Owusu-Ansah