RE: Prez Mahama Defends "All-Die-Be-Die" In His Book And Yet ...
De facto propaganda chief of the NPP, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko in a widely circulated article last week which was published in the Daily Graphic of Monday 3rd September, 2012, offered the latest instalment in a sustained effort by his party to denigrate President John Dramani Mahama with a view to denting his squeaky-clean image.
In the said article, Gabby heaped insults on the person of President Mahama describing him in certain paragraphs as “oafish”, “flimflam” among other appalling invectives. The article has since spawned further write-ups which are equally in bad taste and has become a reference point for vile attacks on President Mahama by NPP propagandists.
Obviously rankled by the fact that the relatively youthful President Mahama holds greater appeal for the youth and broader masses of Ghana as compared to their near septuagenarian candidate, the NPP has for some time now made it a key plank of their campaign strategy to hurl as much mud at him in the hope that it will stick.
Beginning just three days after the burial of the late President Mills, the NPP held a press conference addressed by its chairman Jacob Obetsebi Lamptey during which he unfurled some of the most risible acussations ever penned against the President. Indeed, so outrageous were the claims in their defiance of logic that it left one wondering the sort of brainstorming session that went into the drafting of that statement. A case in point was when in that statement the NPP suggested that the NDC’s promise of setting up the Savanna Acelerated Development Authority (SADA) had been broken and so that amounted to corruption on the part of President Mahama.
The truth however is that SADA has indeed been set up and all monies promised them released. Till date SADA has received GHS 260,000, 000 which is in excess of the seed capital of GHS 200,000,000 promised in the NDC manifesto of 2008. This has gone a long way in giving them the wherewithal to roll out far reaching interventions aimed at transforming the lives of the inhabitants of the entire Northern Savanna Ecological Zone (NSEZ).
One such intervention is the setting up of a 40,000 metric tonne capacity Shea nut factory at Buipe in partnership with the Produce Buying Company which has created a ready market for Shea nuts which is one of the mainstays of the livelihoods of people in Northern Ghana. Currently, SADA in partnership with a private firm, Avanash is constructing a rice processing factory at Nyankpala in the Northern Region. This rice factory will have the capacity to process every bag of rice produced in the entire Northern belt of Ghana. These two projects have provided jobs for thousands of hitherto unemployed youth.
That said, assuming for argument sake that the promise to set up SADA had even not been fulfilled, how does that amount to corruption on the part of President Mahama? Such has been the paucity of depth in the message of the NPP over the last three and half years.
It was therefore little surprise that Gabby Otchere Darko in the same spirit threw in his article just when the NDC was concluding its special delegates congress which gave President Mahama an overwhelming mandate in Kumasi. Writing under the guise of critiquing the hugely successful autobiography by President John Dramani Mahama, “My First coup D’état”, the NPP spin doctor had only two objectives in mind. I will not spend any time defending the contents of the book because no such defence is required as it speaks for itself. Besides, a masterful review was written last week by the respected Colin Essamuah in which he set out all the relevant points about the book.
Armed with his favourite tools, sophistry and insufferable arrogance, Gabby first sought to portray President Mahama as a condescending elitist and a believer in mindless thuggery of the sort preached by Nana Akufo Addo through his blood cuddling “all-die-be-die” war cry.
The second objective was to extricate his boss Akufo Addo from the deep-seated public view about him as a haughty aristocrat with a sense of entitlement to the Presidency of Ghana and in recent times as a desperate politician who is prepared to resort to blood shed if only it will secure him the leadership of Ghana.
In order to set the stage for this unwarranted attack on the President, the skilled propagandist, took a chapter of the book in which the President recounted an incident during his days at Achimota School involving a bully called Ezra out of context and distorted the message that the writer was sending across that it was possible to stand up to wrong doing in society and live to tell the story.
In the end, Gabby fell short of achieving either objective because unlike Akufo Addo, President Mahama does not have to do anything to convince the electorate that he is a gentle, affable, down to earth politician who for all the period that he has been in public service has upheld the highest standards of ethical conduct. They are fully aware that President Mahama is also not terribly afflicted by the lust for power which has pushed Akufo Addo to hanker after violence.
It is not lost on the Ghanaian electorate that in spite of President Mahama’s relative youth, he has more public service and governance experience than Akufo Addo having served as a three-term MP, a deputy minister, a minister, Vice president and President. In all these years he has not put a foot wrong but has rather carried himself with admirable grace and circumspection especially in his utterances. This rich track record makes him by far the best prepared man for the job of President in Ghana at the moment.
On the other hand, Nana Akufo Addo’s public service and governance record is limited to stints as a three term MP during which period he served as Attorney General and Foreign Minister respectively. Needless to say that his tenure as Attorney General was replete with shocking instances of ineptitude such as going to court with wrong charge sheets, failing to prosecute NPP supporters caught trafficking drugs, preferring wrong charges against suspects in the Ya-Na murder trial etc. The inertia that characterized his handling of the murder of some Ghanaians in Gambia provides further proof of his poor performance as a Minister.
Again unlike President Mahama, the widely held views about Akufo Addo’s arrogant and violent disposition have been based on his own conduct and utterances over the years and it will require more than sophistry to erase them. This is a fact well known to Gabby Otchere Darko and his colleague handlers of Akufo Addo as can be gleaned from some of the campaign antics he’s been up to in recent times.
The carefully syndicated pictures of Nana Addo engaged in stage-managed eating of local delicacies with party supporters which have intermittently been splashed on the front pages of NPP newspapers have not gone unnoticed. It points to a desperate attempt to carve out a non-existent image of a humble, down-to-earth politician who mingles freely with the down-trodden in our society after years of distancing himself from them. Why should it be front page news if a ‘humble’ politician eats with party supporters?
Instructively, President Mahama owing to his pleasant demeanour towards all manner of persons has not had to dabble in such elaborate ruses to convince anyone about his close ties to the masses of this country
Ghanaians are unlikely to be taken in by Akufo Addo’s gambits as they are aware that the attempt to project him in this uncharacteristic light is in stark contrast with the image that he has cultivated for himself all this while as a man of elitist extraction and one from a privileged background. Akufo Addo and his relatives have not missed an opportunity to flaunt this background and table it as reason why he should be elected president of this country.
One only needs to glimpse the official magazine which the NPP produced for their lavish 2007 congress at Legon to find proof. On page 29 of the magazine which profiled Akufo Addo, it was boldly stated in paragraph 15 that “Nana Akufo Addo comes from a background where public service is considered a duty and where PRIVILEGE AND GOOD FORTUNE demand even greater commitment to the common good”.
Paragraphs 16 and 17 on the same page also proceed to tell who in Akufo Addo’s family was a big man in society when it states that “Generations of his forbears and relations have been in the forefront of the fight for freedom and democracy in Ghana. His maternal grandfather was Nana Sir Ofori Atta 1, the illustrious traditional ruler and major political player in the Gold Coast until his death in 1943. Three of the Big six were his relatives: J.B Danquah (grand uncle), Edward Akufo Addo (father), who became Ghana’s third Chief Justice, and later the President of the second republic, when Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia was Prime Minister”.
Even more bizarrely, Akufo Addo’s mother’s appearance before the Watson Commission was touted as reason why he should be made President. This is found in the same paragraph 17 which states that “His mother Yeboakua, Adeline Akufo Addo, never ceased to remind her children that she was the one woman who appeared before the historic 1948 Watson Commission, which designed the future constitutional development of the then Gold Coast, now the nation Ghana ,celebrating her 50th Golden Jubilee year”.
Nana Akufo Addo effectively severed any ties he had with the ordinary man when haughtily declaring on 5th December, 2008, at Accra Academy where the NPP held its last rally before the first round of elections in 2008 that he had never credited “Yoo ke gari” (Gari and beans) in his life. This was meant to make mockery of President Rawlings who was compelled in the 1970s to buy Yoo ke gari on credit to feed starving army boxers under his supervision.
It is therefore incongruous that a man who has always insisted on being elected president on account of which family he was born into and who never ceases to draw a distinction between himself and the ordinary people of this country who may have at one time or the other been compelled to credit Yoo ke gari due to economic difficulties, would now be foisting himself on these same people as one of their own.