I was surfing the Net, as it were, barely a week ago when I came across a news item captioned “Bagbin: Time to Serve Kufuor” (Myjoyonline.com 1/5/09). I didn’t quite know what to make of such heading; for it, obviously, connoted two things, namely, either that the former National Democratic Congress’s minority leader in Parliament was calling for the then-outgoing President John Agyekum-Kufuor to be served some legal papers – a subpoena, likely – to appear before a legitimately constituted Ghanaian court of law, to give a full and oath-sworn account of his eight-year stewardship, or simply that the NDC-MP for Nadowli-West was commending the New Patriotic Party leader for having delightfully and tactically insidiously ensured that the presidential baton would be passed over to the NDC flagbearer, rather than the presidential nominee of Mr. Kufuor’s own party.

Now, these are quite interesting questions to broach because, not very long ago, in the lead-up to Election 2008, Mr. Alban S. K. Bagbin personally observed publicly that although Nana Akufo-Addo had diligently served President Kufuor, both as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, as well as subsequently as Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Kufuor appeared to be overtly dead-set against the election of the former Abuakwa-South NPP-MP as the third president of Ghana’s Fourth Republic.

What makes the preceding observation quite worth remarking upon is that at the time that he made his remarks, Mr. Bagbin appeared to fault Nana Akufo-Addo for President Kufuor’s openly hostile attitude towards the former’s presidential candidacy. It had evidently not occurred to Mr. Bagbin that Mr. Kufuor’s cold-shouldered treatment of Nana Akufo-Addo may very well have stemmed from the fact of the ex-president being pathologically ungrateful and, perhaps, incurably nepotistic, as it shortly became evident that having initially pledged impartiality in the run-up to the NPP’s presidential primary, Mr. Kufuor, in fact, had both unprofessionally and in an un-statesmanlike manner hedged his bet on one particular candidate who was widely known to be the President’s relative of some sort.

And to be certain, even reliable sources had reported having spotted the then-substantive president roaming the streets of the Brong-Ahafo capital of Sunyani, offering potential voters American currency notes ranging from $ 10 to $ 50 as payolas to vote for his favorite candidate.

The caption of “Bagbin: Time to Serve Kufuor” also seemed to call Mr. Kufuor to account for his two-term stewardship; and this, of course, made perfect sense because during his two-term tenure, President Kufuor virtually and thoroughly appeared to have been hell-bent on seriously undermining every moral virtue and/or mark of leadership responsibility to which he had earlier sworn himself to uphold. The most glaring of these regarded the very way and manner in which he kept stone-silent as his own Attorneys-General vigorously prosecuted cabinet members of his predecessor’s government, under the guise of some dubious phenomenon called “causing financial loss to the state,” and having them serve portions of their prison terms, only to have Mr. Kufuor make an about face by granting unconditional pardons to these criminal convicts and felons.

Needless to say, by so behaving, Mr. Kufuor also managed, either wittingly or unwittingly, to seriously impugn the credibility of the individual judges involved in the various “financial loss” cases and in the process cynically came off as President Santa Claus. What such patently un-presidential conduct ended up effecting was actually reprising – or ironically duplicating – the very crimes that his Attorneys-General claimed to be stanching or deterring. In other words, we were presented with an equally unsavory scenario whereby judges were being fully paid to put the proverbial bad guys behind bars, only to be direly informed later, via facile presidential pardons that, after all, these expensive judicial proceedings had, literally, all been a charade. Now, if the foregoing does not amount to willfully and avoidably causing financial loss to the state, I frankly don’t know what else is!

On the eve of his official exit from the Ghanaian political arena, a lot of un-laughably funny things happened which made some of us wonder whether, indeed, some of the reported 77 bags of missing cocaine had not made their way into Mr. Kufuor’s private mansion, and then into his nostrils and, perhaps, even his brain. One, after six years of comical judicial wrangling and the sentencing of Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata to a 5-year slap-on-the-wrist rest-stop at the Nsawam Medium-Security Prison, Mr. Kufuor signed an executive order causing the unconditional release of the duly convicted and sentenced former Managing-Director of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). And unless he intends to personally defray/refund the respective financial costs involved in the Tsikata case, Mr. Kufuor may well have to be charged with having caused unnecessary financial loss to the state.

And here must, also, be significantly noted the fact that Mr. Tsikata has since roundly rejected his unconditional pardon, even as he and his family have served public notice of their intention to vigorously fight off his conviction. Now, I personally do not see how he could win this clearly open-and-shut case. The evidence is too glaring to be refuted. Still, having a president like Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, who shamelessly claims Tsatsu Tsikata to have singularly caused Ghana’s recent oil discoveries could make all the difference.

Then, also, there is the equally troubling case of Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, who had been charged with naked theft and robbery of government property vis-à-vis the purchase and ownership of the Nsawam Cannery. This case dragged on for nearly three years, although right from the get go, as it were, it was all too embarrassingly plain that the Kufuor government lacked the spine, or courage, to see the case through to its logical end. And so why Mr. Joe Ghartey and company decided to expend huge amounts of the public dole to prosecute Mrs. Rawlings is anybody’s good guess. Needless to say, on the eve of his presidential exit, Mr. Kufuor also announced that he was dropping all charges originally preferred against the life-president of the faux-nongovernmental 31st December Women’s Movement.

Form the preceding, one begins to get a tiresome and dolorous sense of the fact that deciding on law as a career choice must have been a great mistake on the part of our immediate ex-president. Not even his choice of a political career, however successful, may be aptly said to have had any remarkably redeeming effect. Indeed, if he was so hell-bent on becoming, perhaps, the finest Ghanaian political actor to play Santa Claus (or Father Christmas), then it, obviously, would have been far better for Mr. Kufuor to have enrolled into the Amisano Catholic Seminary, or even one of the other ones dotted across the country.

As for Mr. Bagbin’s statement, while seconding a motion by Mr. Abraham Ossei Aidoo, the former Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, that “It is time to serve Kufuor,” one couldn’t agree more. The question here, though, is this: Exactly what sort of service does Mr. Bagbin have in mind, being that the former parliamentary Minority Leader spent most of the last eight years organizing massive opposition parliamentary boycotts of our nation’s business?

Credit: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “Selected Political Writings” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008). Okoampa-Ahoofe will also be teaching “Autobiographical Writing” during the Spring 2009 semester. E-mail: okoampaahoofe@aol.com.

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