Ordinarily, I would not be writing about the story of two political opponents meeting at the funeral of the parent of one of them, but the news story captioned “Bawumia Stuns Catholic Priest for Attending ‘Attacker’s’ Funeral” (News Desk – Modernghana.com 12/29/19) inspired me to do just that. I mean, this sort of thing routinely happens everywhere in the world, especially in civilized democracies like the United States, Britain, France and Japan. And not surprisingly, it also happens in Ghana too. You see, the Akan have a saying that “You cannot use the solemn and seismic occasion of the death of the relative of even your personal or political enemy to feel triumphant over the bereaved. Because sooner than later, you are also bound to endure a death in your own family.”
In its Akan original, the foregoing maxim is even more linguistically poignant and esthetically felicitous. And I was going to add, and philosophically instructive. Personally, while, indeed, as Father Lawrence Azure, of the Bolgatanga Diocese of the Catholic Church, aptly commended the Vice-President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, for gracefully and graciously showing his face at the funeral honoring the deceased mother of Mr. Isaac Adongo, a virulent National Democratic Congress’ critic of both Dr. Bawumia and the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), I have never really recognized the rampantly intemperate outbursts of Mr. Adongo to be any more than the desperate and patently pedestrian rants of a vanquished politician who is eagerly trying to make himself and the defeated political party to which he belongs relevant to the discourse on our collective national development. And the good news here, of course, is that the overwhelming bulk of the effusions of Mr. Adongo often have absolutely nothing relevant for the visionary and progressive development agenda of the Akufo-Addo Administration for the country.
Ironically, however, it is these decidedly irrelevant effusions on the part of the Bawku Central’s NDC-MP that actually make Mr. Adongo erroneously envisage himself to be the relevant politician that he envisages himself to be in the eyes of some of his primary constituents but he clearly is not; and, of course, one could also aptly add that our protagonist also erroneously appears to envisage his vacuous and rampant effusions to make him relevant to the Ghanaian electorate at large. The real fact of the matter, though, is that parliamentary opposition leaders like Mr. Adongo actually make visionary and progressive, as well as dynamic, leaders like President Akufo-Addo and Vice-President Bawumia actually look like the sort of vintage and genius leaders that Ghana direly needs to take care of the business of the people for a very, very long time to come, if Ghanaians are to take their well-deserved front-row seat among the global comity of civilized nations anytime soon.
So, yes, the Adongos of Ghana’s political culture may not be as relevant as they would have the rest of us believe them to be; nevertheless, they play the equally significant role of making the overwhelming majority of the Ghanaian citizenry clearly recognize the fact that they are indescribably privileged to have altruistic and sacrificial leaders like President Akufo-Addo and Alhaji Bawumia as their leaders. As well, contrary to what Bolgatanga’s Father Lawrence Azure would have his own parishioners and the rest of the nation believe, Vice-President Bawumia did not really “take Ghanaian politics to a new level,” except to those who have not been paying close attention to the well-above-board politics of the man, ever since the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana gloriously and deservedly assumed the democratic reins of governance as the fifth Vice-President of Fourth-Republican Ghana.
But Father Azure is dead-on-target, when he pointedly observes that by his exemplary conduct vis-à-vis governance, Vice-President Bawumia laudably demonstrated that “politics is [essentially] a contest of ideas, not fights and bloodshed.” Maybe Father Azure ought to have specifically addressed this aspect of his rather instructive observations to Candidate John Dramani Mahama, the morally shameless “Boot-for-Boot” opportunistic and treacherous politician who solely and primarily envisages politicking as a zero-sum-game borne of a hand-to-hand combat in our streets and alleyways.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
December 29, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs