GHANAIAN ENTERTAINERS CAN DECIDE WHAT IS BEST IN THEIR INTEREST
Where one chooses to direct the compass of his political allegiance is strictly a matter of personal choice and ideological preference. It is one’s constitutional obligation to do as he wishes if that will make him happy. Again, that measure of intellectual flexibility is a serious question of personal choice and preferences and may as well, entail a reasonable quota of rational introspection.
But then again in Ghana Grace Omaboe, otherwise popularly known as Maame Dokono, initially joined the NDC, later crossing the floor (NPP) for personal and political reasons. Nevertheless, she had to bear the full negative repercussions of her strategic choices in response to her range of partisan preferences and choices. In other words people make choices in life for all sorts of reasons. And therefore, we cannot fault them as they are within their rights to do what suits their personal preferences and choices, unless, of course, their suit of choices and preferences stands in sharp opposition to the public good and public sentiment.
We have the additional examples of Fritz Baffuor, Dzifa Gomashie, and Nana Ampadu, to mention but three, who may have entered the arena of politics for a variety of reasons. Thus, entertainers play all sorts of roles in the molding of national identity. We should not forget the highly questionable success stories of Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Haiti’s president Michel Martelly (“Sweet Micky”) also comes to mind. Last but certainly not least, the political ambitions of Salinko (PPP), Gifty Osei (NPP, NDC, PPP), Kojo Oppong Nkrumah (NPP), Ebi Bright (NDC), Diamond Appiah (UPP), Eric Don-Arthur (NDC), Abeiku Santana (NPP), Seth Kwame Dzokoto (NDC) are interesting in themselves and worthy of public encouragement, emulation, and study.
THE EMOTIONAL COMICS OF PROF. AMOAKO BAAAH
It is deeply regrettable that the well-known NPP comic prophesier, Prof. Amoako Baah, will make light of Dzokoto’s electoral success apparently because he did not stand on the ticket of the NPP. And who is more unabashedly comical than the pied-bearded blackface Prof. Baah? This is how far partisan politics have got us.
Partisan politics has molded the likes of Prof. Amoako Baah into a constipated blackface-minstrel talking head. Chairman Wontumi is almost there in that despiteful category of black minstrelsy. On the other hand, Ghanaians cannot but look for the comic reliefs of Prof. Baah and Chairman Wontumi from time to time to stay alive in these hard times of economic and political uncertainties.
It is worth mentioning that the likes of Donald Trump may be doing something similar for Americans who have not fully recovered from the grinding shock of recession. Humor and comic relief can have therapeutic potency.
SOME USEFUL EXAMPLES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE CHOICES INDIVIDUALS MAKE
Ghanaman also called David Dontoh, Omaboe’s alleged romantic partner during the Obra days, a formulaic episodic drama whose theme song was Nana Ampadu’s “Obra,” recently made the claim that theatre has collapsed under President Mahama.
Mr. Beautiful, on the other hand, had this to say: “President Mahama loves the creative arts and he has policies in store to develop our industry and there is the need for us the stakeholders to come out and support him.”
Mr. Beautiful says elsewhere: “Through the vision and policies of President Mahama, my colleagues and I have had the opportunity to travel abroad to attend film festivals. We have learned about cinematography and other elements that make up a good movie which we never had the opportunity to learn.”
Likewise, Bulldog, Shatta Wale’s former manager says: “Under your leadership, entertainment in Ghana is booming…You have my respect and vote your Excellency John Dramani Mahama…”
The list is endless…Each of these men has one reason or another for supporting a particular political party and its presidential candidate, bolstering our contention that individuals have every right to make decisions in their own self-interest. This is a fundamental precept of Smithian economics. And as we pointed out elsewhere, it is a serious question that answers to rational introspection, a need to meet one’s self-aggrandizing objectives, and one’s burning desire to make positive contributions to the balance sheet of public service.
Whether such personal decisions are bad is beyond the oversight range of our reproach. However, they are more than deserving of serious public opprobrium when there exists provable forensic evidence that they are capable of cumulatively detracting from national development priorities. Let us also not forget that these entertainers do not contribute to cabinet decisions that shape presidential (and parliamentary) policies. Even Chairman Wontumi knows this. Everyone knows this.
What he is probably afraid of fears is the dangerous idea of celebrities’ using their influence, visibility, and charisma to court the political arithmetic of numerical advantage for the NDC. These celebrities can make good use of their influence, visibility, and charisma to reach out to the public on behalf of President Mahama but at the end of the day they are not going to vote for the masses, for we do not think the Constitution allows celebrity proxy voting on behalf of the masses. Neither can celebrities force the masses to vote at gun point. Individual voters have the gift of free will to do as they choose, a gift that makes every person a rational agent of his or her own personal choices and preferences.
Plus, we do not even know which of these celebrities serve the executive presidency in an advisory capacity. Even if there were, that would be beyond the remit of constitutional oversight. More than anything else that privileged space is reserved for the Council of State and others the Constitution approves of. Indeed these are simple statements of fact. Hopefully Chairman Wontumi will not disagree with us.
Let Chairman Wontumi understand that everyone Ghanaian has a right to his or her freedom of conscience, even as we make the case that he should not impose his freedom of conscience on others.
Could it be that those who have openly declared their support for President Mahama had been bribed or patronized in any way? This is highly likely though we do not have the evidence. Still, could it also be that Akufo-Addo and Chairman Wontumi may have bribed Daddy Lumba and Kwabena Kwabena? This is also equally highly likely if we want to apply the same standards. The plausibility of these questions do not, however, make for forensic empiricism for lack of provable or verifiable evidence.
THE POLITICAL GIMMIKRY OF THE GHANAIAN POLITICIAN
As should be expected, the lazy politician has nothing to show for his highly publicized yet ostensible capacity for transformative social change and for this reason he makes a tactical decision to rely on the imported idea of social romanticization of celebrity influence, charisma, and visibility, to, as a matter of fact, extend his stunted reach of social-political marketability in high hopes of making up for his visible shortcomings in view of the long range of public expectations.
Celebrity influence, charisma, and visibility is intended to penetrate or break through the thick fog of grassroots ignorance in order to instill there a false sense of political realism in behalf of Machiavellian politicians and to establish opportunistic relations of political cordiality and social visibility with the normative expectations of grassroots constituencies. Sadly, this whole celebrity business thing is a sham, a means for some individuals to appropriate the threadbare attire of social relevance and to impose it on themselves. It is like imperial monarchist John “50 Cent” Kufuor hanging loose a heavy gold-chain around his tuber-neck at the end of his presidential tenure!
The notion of celebrity thus fits the local sartorial context of forced social self-definition. It does not exist as it does in notable places like America. It is shamefully a virtual reality of sorts. But, as for the politician and his wicked Machiavellian tactics and strategies for courting undeserved public approbation, we should quickly add that he allows the machinery of media propaganda, patronage of local celebrities, celebrities’ unbridled tendency to identify with the political class as a means of courting the elitist privilege of social relevance and self-importance, celebrity greed, and mass bribery to do his bidding. That is the crooked nature of the political animal our politicians have become.
At least Mr. Beautiful has been bold to tell the world that President Mahama takes care of him.
WHAT ELSE WE SHOULD CARE ABOUT
These carefully orchestrated strategies and tactics are tailored to the normative political mechanics of manufactured consent. They have become part and parcel of systemic bias insofar as the practice of Ghana’s partisan duopoly.
Having said that, Kwabena Kwabena says “I’ll Still Campaign for Nana Addo.” Bulldog says “You have my respect and vote your Excellency John Dramani Mahama.” Mr. Beautiful adds “I will campaign for Mahama in 2016.”
Then contrast Dumelo remark that “Akufo-Addo can’t be president” with Chairman Wontumi’s “If Ghana is to develop, it cannot be under the rule of President Mahama.”
POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS: JOHN DUMELO VERSUS CHIARMAN WONTUMI
What are they seeing in their respective political idols that the other does not see in the other’s political idol? Only they can tell what they see that the world outside theirs cannot dream of or hope to see even with their borrowed inner eyes.
The fact that some NPP big boys manage to secure mouth-watering contracts from the Mahama Administration and still go on national television and radio to lambast the executive presidency, as if they have never had anything to do with it, is completely lost on Chairman Wontumi. This is not to say those in opposition who manage to secure contracts from the executive presidency cannot and should not criticize it when it goes wrong.
Doing so actually is a hallmark of leadership and statesmanship. But to be in bed with the executive presidency and its parliamentary majority in shady procurement deals is a whole new ball game. Or the fact that some staunch NPP members sit on the board of Ibrahim Mahama’s company Engineers & Planners is also lost on him. These two examples also operate in the opposite direction, with some NDC big boys on the other side of the political aisle.
Also those in the NPP fold who dare criticize Akufo-Addo, question executive decisions of the party, or praise President Mahama for doing something right for the country are suddenly said to be planted there by the NDC, according to myopic politicians like Chairman Wontumi, a grown man who somehow believes it is his exclusive right to dictate to those who want to play partisan politics for private reasons.
Suddenly Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong have become paid moles planted in the NPP by President Mahama and his evil NDC. Not even have former President Kufuor, Kwame Pianim, Nyaho Tamakloe, Arthur Kennedy, Sammy Crabbe, Charles Wereko-Brobbey, and several others who have boldly stood up to the excesses of the executive authority of the NPP been able to escape this dismissive sarcastic label, or dragnet, of political expediency for the likes of virtual President Akufo-Addo and his sycophantic gang of useful idiots!
MR. BEAUTIFUL’S HUMBLE ADVICE TO CHAIRMAN WONTOMI
“Chairman Wuntumi should have talked about policies rather than trying to create division and victimizing people. That is just a childish way of doing politics and it will not help in national development.”
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
Chairman Wontumi should go to court and petition it to deprive his political opponents of their constitutional and political rights and obligations, because his agitprop intimidation tactics will not wash. If for anything at all, he and the leadership of the NPP should come up with a formidable campaign of ideas capable of neutralizing the partisan political opportunism of his ideological detractors. Perhaps this is the only he can protect the NPP brand. As a matter of fact, anything short of this strategic and tactical prescription is tantamount to ideological and political failure.
In other words, Chairman Wontumi and the leadership of the NPP should encourage their teeming supporters to submit their political intellect to the moral dynamics of issues-based voting (competence voting in the larger contexts of prospective voting and retrospective voting), rather than to agitational propaganda of intimidation. This strategy is most likely to backfire and thus embolden his ideological enemies instead. He should also have realized centuries ago that politics as economics is likely to sell more than his brand of primitive political psychology, which has no place in the progressive practice of inclusive politics.
We are yet to know what Chairman Wontumi’s private reservations are about Akufo-Addo’s “Yen Akanfuo” and “All-die-be-die” political mantra, Ken Agyapong’s controversial call for Akans (“Asantes”) to kill Ewes and Gas, and Yaw Osafo Marfo’s celebrated partisan political ethnocentrism! And what about Ursula Owusu’s controversial remarks about Northerners, cattle rearing, and free education? Those reservations aside, we have not forgotten the Rwandan Genocide and some of its major partisan and social causations. This is not to indict Chairman Wontumi for provoking ethnic tensions per se. He has not explicitly said anything to that effect to the best of our knowledge.
What we have rather done is to indict his provocative political communication based on a loose translation of his political use of the phrase “my people.” Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels made excellent use of political and social engineering to achieve their ideological objectives, with Hitler in many instances interchangeably using “my people” and “Aryan race.” The Biblical God assigned cultural and spiritual spirituality to Jews by referring to them as “my people.”
The consequences of these privileged status assignations (e.g., “my people”) have not been pleasant. The evidence is there for all to see. Let us therefore strive to learn from the diabolical precedents of misanthropy where, for instance, the emotional conflagration of ethnocracy and ethnic superiority has burnt down or dissolved the Great Wall of progressive civilizations and of human relations. What we are in effect saying is that a formidable campaign of ideas will not make it absolutely necessary for anyone to think of threatening the lives of Dumelo and Mr. Beautiful for their political beliefs.
It appears, then, that some individuals who may be sympathetic to the NPP are threatening the persons of Dumelo, Mr. Beautiful, and others who have promised to throw their weight behind President Mahama. It is possible that irresponsible statements such those of Chairman Wontumi may have contributed to these new developments. This is why we all have to be guarded in our pronouncements especially in the lead up to the 2016 general elections.
Thus, Chairman Wontumi may do well to recall that unfortunate statement. We had expected General Akufo-Addo to have rebuked him in strong terms. But we also know that will never happen until General Akufo-Addo is transformed into President Akufo-Addo. Was General Akufo-Addo part of the Transfiguration of Jesus when he sought the face of God at the Wailing Wall? This we do not know for sure.
1) Rahamatu-Lahi Zakaria. “Mr. Beautiful: I’ll Campaign for Mahama Again:…But I’m scared for my life.” Graphic Online. February 1, 2016.
2) Ghanaweb. “Don’t Campaign for Mahama—Wontumi Warns Entertainers.” Sourced from Peacefmonline.com. January 27, 2016.
3) Ghanaweb. “I’ll Still Campaign for Nana Addo—Kwabena Kwabena.” Sourced from Zionfelix.com. January 28, 2016.
4) Ghanaweb. “Theatre Has Collapsed Under President Mahama—Dontoh.” Sourced from Starrfmonline.com. January 7, 2016.
5) Ghanaweb. “You Have My Respect and Vote—Bulldog Assures Mahama.” Sourced from Livingfmghana.com. January 8, 2016.
6) Ghanaweb. “I Will Campaign for Mahama in 2016.” Sourced from Adomline.com. April 20, 2015.
7) Ghanaweb. “Akufo-Addo Can’t Be President—Dumelo.” Sourced from Classfmonline.com.
8) Ghanaweb. “Mahama Has Reversed Ghana—Chairman Wontumi.” Sourced from Peacefmonline. October 9, 2105.
9) Charles Addo-Darko. “I Did Not Say All Northerners Are Cattle Farmers—Ursula Owusu.” Ghanaweb. December 4, 2012.