THE IRONY OF POLITICAL PSYCHIATRY IN GHANA’S ENTRENCHED DUOPOLISTIC CULTURE
Is Nana Akufo-Addo Really Crazy?
The titular caption of this essay happened to be a question a friend posed to us recently. Initially we could not tell right away whether the question carried any internal sense of seriousness because, at it may appear on the surface, the solemn countenance of the questioner and the dignified hilarity of the question itself weighed so heavily on our intellect to such an extent that we found it virtually impossible, at first, to assign any meaningful exegetical interpolation to the questioner’s and question’s unequal weight in intellectual, philosophic and political output.
Stated otherwise, this uncompromising situation denied the questioner and the question a sense of exegetical commonality from our liberal viewpoint given the immediacy of polarizing sequent of undecipherable philosophic and intellectual difficulty between messenger and message.
Regardless, the cautious delivery tone and emotional rhythm of the question projected a nuanced mechanics of psychiatrical wonder in the checkered political profile of Akufo-Addo, an embattled Führer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Yet, the question is a serious one that cannot be simply glossed over given its diagnostic philosophic and political content and what that means for assessing the profiles of psychological balance, or lack thereof, pertaining to members of the ruling class, particularly that of Akufo-Addo.
In short, then, that innocent question, to wit, is pregnant with package inserts of teachable connotations for those interested in pursuing pragmatic politics of inclusion and true national development. This is not however symptomatic of the post-Nkrumah political dispensation.
None of the major political players in the country’s brief duopolistic history seems to be guided by any principled ideology of political integrity or morality.
Given that we have emphatically made this point repeatedly elsewhere, we shall not bother to belabor the proven hypothesis that the free-market capitalism of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the social democracy of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are existentially synonymous with nepotistic and crony kleptomania.
What this generally means beyond this simple axiomatic philosophic and political interrogation is, what effective electioneering package of campaign policy solutions does Akufo-Addo have for Ghana’s myriad problems beyond his platitudinous catechism of cosmetic chorus based on the refrain “try me”? How do you give or promise what you do not and will probably never have?
The other indispensable question is, how should the electorate try any untried presidential candidate who has consistently failed to roll out a workable package insert of policy solutions that are evidently on the political balance sheet of incumbency, for the electorate’s overall reasoned or rational assessment?
If in fact Akufo-Addo is politically sane, a position our friend’s curious question does not take or support, he would have rolled out one by now or piecemeal.
“A stitch in time,” it is said, “saves nine.”
It does not have to take scheduled public debates for presidential candidates to make their policy plans known to the world of the discerning and underrated electorate. In this sense the idea of President Mahama throwing out a challenge to Akufo-Addo is inconsequential, to say the least.
At least, thus far, the electorate has a precocious familiarization of or access to the policy balance sheet of failures and successes chalked under the Mahama administration, to assist Ghanaians to make informed decisions as to their choice of candidate for the presidency come 2016.
It does happen that the NPP led by Akufo-Addo and Dr. Bawamia, the former’s reprobate canine stalker, have succeeded somewhat in harping on incumbent controversial shortcomings such as the spate of judgment debt scandals and graduate unemployment, to mention but two, while refusing to provide viable alternative policy strategies for solving the country’s myriad problems.
What, in effect, we have been getting from the leadership of the NPP is hot air, a perfect instantiation of the concept of preaching to the choir. Preaching to the choir does not make politics intellectually stimulating, challenging, and taxing. It is an easy avenue to cheap popularity and political impotence.
Still, we have deployed usage of “precocious” for tactical reasons, one of these primarily being the benefit of hindsight which is supposed to afford the electorate a golden opportunity to make informed projections and extrapolations from a well-reasoned possibility of a foregone conclusion linked to the mortal transiency of incumbency advantage.
In this context the childishly thoughtless outburst by Madam Mavis Hawa Koomson, Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East Constituency, that President Mahama’s diplomatic overtures to Akufo-Addo for a public debate will be tantamount to the former stealing the latter’s policy ideas is grossly misplaced.
Here is what she said:
“I see this proposal of Mahama as desperate to cling on to power at all cost and since the NPP and Nana Akufo-Addo have not released their campaign strategy for the NDC to copy, the President is calling for a debate to steal some ideas for campaign…he condemned free education proposed by Nana Addo but now he wants to do it.”
Arrant nonsense! Did Akufo-Addo, an ex-Convention People’s Party’s dedicated member, not steal this free education idea from Nkrumah and the 1992 Constitution? And what about the possibility of Akufo-Addo stealing President Mahama ideas? Madam Koomson does not say.
Why “some ideas” and not all ideas? Now this is what the Constitution says regarding government policies on free education (see Chapter 6 “The Directive Principle of State Policy,” 38 (2)):
“The Government shall, within two years after Parliament first meets after the coming into force of this Constitution, draw up a programme for implementation within the following ten years, FOR THE PROVISION OF FREE, COMPULSORY AND UNIVERSAL EDUCATION” (our emphasis).
So what is Madam Koomson actually saying? Perhaps, and we should add for emphasis, she may actually be identifying Akufo-Addo with the Constitution.
For one thing, it does take Akufo-Addo the liar to claim exclusive originality for free education.
For another thing, it sure does take a crazy or politically insane character to claim exclusive originality for an idea that is so palpably enshrined in the Constitution.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
The possibility of mutual theft of political ideas exists in Ghana’s duopolistic culture nonetheless. What however remains consistently unexplored, perhaps, is an existential truism which essentially says “there is nothing new under the sun.”
This momentously reminds us of Peter Allen’s classic song “Everything Old Is New Again.” An idea that seems original could in fact be a subtle restatement or corollary of another original idea, ad infinitum.
More fundamentally, then, internal party constitutions, manifestoes, and the national Constitution provide a useful blueprint for electioneering campaign promises and partisan policy objectives since, at least in theory, political parties are not expected to operate outside the parameters of binding constitutions and manifestoes.
What is more, there is nothing Akufo-Addo or President Mahama can say in the nation’s interest that has never been tried or considered elsewhere in the modern history of political evolution.
The earlier political parties release their campaign ideas to the public, the larger the window of opportunity becomes for the electorate to digest them fully as well as to assess the promising potential of each presidential candidate.
The psychological health of each presidential candidate in this regard is extremely important. The height which our politicians have attained in terms of diagnostic internalization of psychiatric neocolonialism, with its accompanying diagnostic externalization posturing, is deeply frightening.
Politicians should not only make their assets and liabilities officially integral to public knowledge, but also their psychological assessment profiles prior to assumption of political office.
AKUFO-ADDO IS NOT ALONE IN HIS DILEMMA OF POLITICAL PSYCHIATRY
Nevertheless, Akufo-Addo is not the only notable presidential candidate who has successfully meandered unconvincingly or unknowingly into the Shangri-La of political psychiatry.
Ivor Greenstreet, the recently nominated presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), has given a tentative indication to legalize marijuana if given the presidential nod, not forgetting that one of the pressing primary policy objectives of any progressive leadership in Ghana is getting rid of all under-tree-classrooms, say.
Certainly, Greenstreet may have been spending all his quality time listening to Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It” and “Legalize Marijuana,” or may be smoking too much weed himself. Or could Greenstreet have been spending too much time listening to rapper Afroman’s sensational classic track, “Because I Got High”?
On the other hand Kwesi Pratt, Jr., the Managing Editor of “The Insight Newspaper,” was reported to have said this about Akufo-Addo some years ago:
“Nana Akufo-Addo used to smoke a lot of marijuana…and I’m telling you, a lot. Even in the morning, there used to be a cloud around him and you could see that he was high.”
Let us say that Greenstreet may want to increase or add more psychiatric patients to the psychiatric political or ruling class. It also beggars belief, then, if Greenstreet indeed wants to capitalize brick-and-mortar facilitation of under-tree-classrooms via heavy taxation on marijuana products.
It appears that Progressive People’s Party’s Paa Kwesi Nduom does demonstrate some progressive streaks in his political character, but Dr. Kwame Botwe-Asamoah has shot down that widely held perception without mincing words.
That is, Dr. Botwe-Asamaoh cautiously thinks this progressive projection of Paa Kwesi Nduom in the public domain is rather a convenient symptomatology of the latter’s internalized Machiavellian pretensions.
Here is what he [Dr. Botwe-Asamoah] says in that regard:
“If there is one construct that best describes Dr. Kwesi Nduom’s idiosyncratic behavior in the CPP, it is Machiavellianism…the recent-past wrangling in the CPP can be traced to the covert and overt actions of Dr. Kwesi Nduom. This deceit, treachery and slyness, some of us saw, were calculated to destroy and prevent the CPP from becoming attractive to the growing interest in the party of Kwame Nkrumah as shown by the present generation, especially those looking for an alternative party to the NPP and the NDC, as well as those yearning for the return of a CPP Government.
“Soon after the 2007 National Congress in Kumasi, some of the delegates became dejected because of the major role money played in Dr. Nduom’s winning the election. The CPP General Secretary, Mr. Greenstreet, validated this vote-buying craze when he recalled that, ‘on his way to secure the flagbearership position of the CPP, Dr. Nduom bought the nomination with a methodical plan, paying the delegates for their votes.”
Surely Greenstreet may have inherited the multiparty gene of Paa Kwesi Nduom’s “vote-buying craze” as Samia Nkrumah alleged recently. Akufo-Addo’s political rivals in the NPP leveled similar charges against him.
It has widely been circulated around the world by NPP fanatics that, President Mahama reportedly rigged the 2012 general elections, and then he, together with certain elements within the highest echelon of his party’s hierarchy, chased George Boateng to the Shangri-La of political psychiatry.
Finally, on Paa Kwesi Nduom’s ATV channel and why it may have been taken down, a recent statement by the National Communication Authority (NCA), for instance, shows Paa Kwesi Nduom may have flouted Ghanaians laws as this NCA statement indicates that some of channels:
“ATV which is owned by businessman and former presidential of the Progressive People’s Party Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom was also affected…‘did not meet the basic requirements to operate, and above all most didn’t even have the license to operate while some were not regulated to operate.’”
Perhaps Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom may shed light on this matter in the coming days, to clear his name. Now, given the question marks on these potential presidential candidates, which of them is the best fit for the presidency? This is a somewhat difficult question the electorate must surely answer in the coming months. Namely, this is a tough nut of a question to crack for lack of viable alternatives.
And then there are the political covariates of paid and bribed village idiots, serial callers, and useful idiots who further complicate the political equation of finding the best fit for rationalizing the regression analysis of presidential politics.
Justice Adzakuma, that useful idiot who lost his eye because of the political aspirations of Akufo-Addo, did not have his lost eye replaced with one of Akufo-Addo’s. “Never make a politician grant you a favor,” sang Bob Marley. “They will always want to control you forever.”
We hope Adzakuma has learnt his lessons.
We shall return with a concluding sequel (Part 2)…
Ghanaweb. “Kwesi Pratt Speaks On ‘Akufo-Addo Smokes Wee’ Wikileaks Claims.” September 8, 2011.
Ghanaweb. “Mahama Wants To ‘Steal’ Akufo-Addo’s Ideas —MP.” March 15, 2016.
Modernghana. “Adieu To Dr. Nduom’s Machiavellianism Tactics To Get Ahead In The CPP.” February 25, 2012.
Ghanaweb. “Obinim TV, Others Taken Off Air.” March 30, 2016.