There is something in New York City baseball parlance called a “Bronx Cheer.” Of course, The Bronx is one of the five boroughs or city districts that make up the New York Metropolis.
A “Bronx Cheer” is a boo or the shaming of a baseball player who provokes the displeasure of spectators, often with wrongful game play. My point here is that the widely reported flat refusal of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) not to extend an invitation to former President John Agyekum-Kufuor to the commissioning of the Bui Dam Project, one of the latter’s pet projects and epic achievements of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, amounts to the political equivalent of a “Bronx Cheer.”
At any rate, I don’t quite know why the man whose singular creative and progressive initiative and ingenuity led to the construction of the Bui Dam thinks that he was, somehow, snubbed by President John Dramani Mahama by not being officially extended an invitation to attend and witness the commissioning of the first phase of the $622 million project that was originally scheduled to supply hydroelectricity to the northern-half of Ghana some fifty years ago (See “Kufuor Slams Gov’t Over Bui Dam Snub” JoyOnline.com/Ghanaweb.com 5/3/13).
In flagrantly ignoring Mr. Kufuor, the Mahama government was only sending an unmistakable signal to the former president that it viscerally resents the flat refusal of the two-term premier to condone the massive rigging of last December’s presidential election by Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan in favor of the former National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Gonja-West Constituency.
The problem, though, clearly inheres in the curious failure of the former president to be resolute in his stance and attitude towards the reprobate and unconscionable key operatives of the so-called National Democratic Congress. For instance, his regrettably lame decision to play the decidedly incongruous role of a progressive and conciliatory statesman by attending the constitutionally dubious presidential inauguration of Mr. Mahama, even while vehemently protesting the legitimacy of the same, did not come off to many of us avid students of postcolonial Ghanaian political culture as diplomatically savvy.
At best, his ill-considered decision to attend the Mahama inauguration portrayed Mr. Kufuor as a pathetically indecisive leader who would rather be liked by members of both two major aisles of parliament, than be respected, or even venerated, for his righteous principles. Couple the foregoing with the notoriety of the key NDC operatives as being pathologically vindictive, and the predictability of Mr. Kufuor’s not being extended an official invitation to Bui becomes a pedestrian matter of course.
What is more, for the former president to have even half expected Mr. Mahama to have decoratively trotted him in and generously paraded Mr. Kufuor as the cynosure of Bui Dam’s commissioning, would have uncharacteristically detracted from an embattled and morally diffident President Mahama’s need to histrionically pretend to have achieved something worthwhile in the barely four months that he has nervously held onto the reins of governance as Ghana’s substantive Chief-of-State, that is pending the handing down of the Atuguba court’s decision on Nana Akufo-Addo’s Election 2012 petition challenging the legitimacy of the former Atta-Mills lieutenant.
In other words, giving the proverbial shaft to Mr. Kufuor clearly allows Mr. Mahama to mischievously log in the Bui Dam Project as being integral to the NDC’s so-called Better Ghana Agenda. And I am, to be certain, quite a bit surprised that Mr. Kufuor had not seen it coming.
Recently, for instance, when Microsoft mogul Bill Gates took a brief philanthropic tour of the country and was effusive about the Kufuor-minted comprehensive national healthcare system, either out of sheer canine civility or abject naivety, not a word was utterd by a single one of the key New Patriotic Party operatives vis-a-vis the incontrovertible fact of the NDC having done absolutely nothing remarkable to develop Ghana’s healthcare delivery system in the twenty-and-odd years that that pseudo-socialist party occupied the reins of governance.
Maybe the key NPP operatives were darn too afraid of being accused of washing the country’s dirty political linen (I prefer Kente cloth) in public. But in practical terms, that was not savvy politics. You see, Mr. Kufuor and his ideological clansmen and women cannot allow “Ahmedinejad Socialists” like President Mahama to take them and their unique achievements for granted, all in the dubious name of national unity.
Ultimately, the vintage language of Mahama’s NDC is inexorable vindictiveness; and the key operatives of the NPP had better learn to speak in the only language that their inveterate political opponents and sworn enemies understand.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
May 4, 2013