He started very well. A young, vibrant politician, steadily climbing the political ladder, unassuming, hardworking, respectful and above all, versatile. I used to like him so much for his prowess in communication and his dedication to his duty as a General Secretary of the NPP. He was not the snobbish type, a quality which made him likable by not only members of the NPP, but a cross section of Ghanaians. His image soared high when he led the NPP to victory in 2016 and repeated the dosage in 2020. He was on his way to stardom.
When John Boadu started to taste the good things in life, his behavior and character changed. He forgot where he came from and decided to join the rich men in society, hobnobbing with those who matter in the scheme of things. Nobody advised him to keep a low profile and so he forgot that as a politician, if you live a luxurious lifestyle, people will talk. To John Boadu, there was no stopping as he thumped our noses and kept cruising on. After all, was he not the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scribe of the ruling political party? When the rumour mill started grinding louder and louder that John Boadu was engaged in ‘galamsey’ business and that he has acquired many excavators and other earthmoving machines to engage in the mining of gold in the country, I knew he was running towards the exit gate. He took things for granted. Instead of bowing out when the ovation was loudest, he decided to contest the position for the third time. The result was the humiliation that he got at the just-ended National Delegates Conference. Serves him right! If a child wakes up too early in the morning, he will be soaked by the dew of dawn. If he rises again, he should know the type of friends to take.
This Chairman Wontumi guy is a problem for the NPP, not only in the Ashanti Region but Ghana as a whole. During the struggle of the NPP to come back to power, after more than four decades in the political wilderness, Antwi Boasiako, AKA Chairman Wontumi, was a kid and was nowhere near the trenches when the battle was hot. In fact, when the affable F.F. Anto, the former Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, was in control of the region during those days of Rawlings’ brute force to stay in power, Chairman Wontumi was nowhere near the battleground of blood and iron. We only heard of Chairman Wontumi when he threw in the towel to contest as the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the party in the run-up to the 2016 General Election. He was and still engaged in ‘galamsey’ so he had the ‘awoof’ money to spend on delegates and so he won, hands down. People started worshipping him like an idol because he has the money and other properties. They did not worship him because he has the wisdom, knowledge and political experience. Politically, the guy is blank and raw like uncooked cassava.
This was the guy who went to his Wontumi TV station and faced the camera with a bag full of gold bars. He poured the gold bars on the table in the full glare of the world and boasted that he was rich. How stupid and infantile behaviour! Which politician will ever display such opulence knowing very well that a greater number of the ruled is simply living from hand to mouth and some cannot even get three square meals a day? Even the great Asantehene, who sits on the Golden Stool, will never display such opulence for the world to see. Or maybe this man thought his TV station is watched by only the people in the Ashanti Region where he holds some of the people at ransom with his ‘galamsey’ money.
What made me angry was that, the half-baked politician displayed his ‘galamsey’ gold bars a few months after the President of the Republic, Nana Akufo Addo, told the country that he was prepared to put his presidency on the line to fight ‘galamsey’. And everybody, including the opposition NDC, supported him for boldly making that statement. The gospel truth is that Chairman Wontumi contributed hugely to the downfall of John Boadu. It was alleged that John Boadu and Chairman Wontumi joined hands to engage in ‘galamsey’ in the Ashanti Region. Chairman Wontumi is unpopular in the Ashanti Region because of the way he uses money and political power to have his own way in the region, particularly ‘galamsey’ areas. When John Boadu was put in charge of the Ashanti Region during the party’s Constituency Executive Officers election, Boadu used his position to cow down and ruthlessly subdued other contestants simply because, Wontumi is his colleague in arms in the ‘galamsey’ business. MMDCEs were bullied into submission to work against opponents of Chairman Wontumi. After all, how dare you go against the General Secretary of your party when he speaks? When the incumbent Regional Chairman of your party is seeking a second term, how dare you campaign against him, knowing very well that he has the power, money and borrowed glory?
The same Chairman Wontumi nailed the coffin of John Boadu when he was able to trick fifteen Regional Chairmen of the party to assemble in Kumasi to declare their support for John Boadu. Because of his political inexperience, Chairman Wontumi did not realise that his trick was rather a political suicide for John Boadu. He was acting like Norman the Gambler, reckless and careless. At the end of the day, the delegates from the fifteen regions proved to Chairman Wontumi and their respective Regional Chairmen that no Jupiter could decide for them. So at the end of it all, the delegates decided to send a message to Chairman Wontumi that money is not a panacea for everything. The delegates were smarter to this “Burger”. They collected John Boadu and Wontumi’s booty and voted according to their consciences. Who say man no dey? The message was sent through hooting. It was all “huuu, huuu”, “galamsey, galamsey”, “thieves, thieves”, etc., as Wontumi and John Boadu were driving out of the venue. What a disgrace!
But the Wontumi poison is still there to dilute. What will these fifteen Regional Chairmen say when the newly elected General Secretary visits their respective regions? How will they work with the man? In case the new General Secretary decides to pay a ‘thank you’ tour to their regions, how will they respond to the “Thank You” message? From today onwards, what will be the relationship between these fifteen Regional Chairmen and Chairman Wontumi, who tricked them into selling their consciences and hard-won reputations? Will they follow Wontumi to sabotage the new General Secretary as is being alleged? How can we Break the 8 with such suspicion? Questions, questions, one million questions and no answers! On behalf of the fifteen tricked Regional Chairmen, I want to seize the opportunity to beg Lawyer JFK from the bottom of my heart to forgive but not to forget. The plot against him is very painful but Lawyer Kodua should remember that pain recedes with time and grace. The focus should be the Breaking the 8 Agenda he promised the delegates. That is what matters now. May the Good Lord of Israel soften his heart to accept my apology? Somebody should help me say AMEN!.
BY Eric Bawah