Dancing Kpanlogo In Accra

Alfred-Okoe-VanderpuijeKpanlogo is by far the most popular and recognised dance among the Gas (the people of Accra). Visit any Ga community where there is a traditional marriage ceremony, a funeral or an outdooring of a new baby, and no doubt you would be highly tempted to join a kpanlogo dance being performed by the people.

So it happened that last week Thursday, June 12, a group of Ga chiefs and people calling themselves Coalition of Concerned Group of Ga Mashie, led by the Sakumo Wulomo, Numo Ogbamey III, at a press conference in Accra, called on President John Mahama not to renew the appointment of Alfred Oko Vanderpuije as the Mayor of Accra.

The reasons for their call, according to media reports, included financial malfeasance and misapplication and misappropriation of funds by Dr/Mr Vanderpuije (you see, the man has been the Accra Mayor for four years, but Ghanaian journalists have still not agreed on whether he is Dr or Mr. There is still doubt about whether he holds a PhD – but that’s not my concern now except that it shows how the Ghanaian journalist has become either lazy to search for the truth or seems unconcerned if people give themselves titles they do not have.

Sorry for the distraction, please let’s go back to our kpanlogo dance. So these Ga chiefs and their people last week publicly accused Oko Vanderpuije of such heinous crimes which easily qualify to be tagged as ‘causing financial loss to the state’, punishable according to one’s party membership – NDC or NPP – and whose party in power.

But let’s not forget that politricks is better practised by those who understand the game, including Oko. Within one week he has shown the chiefs that ‘khaki no bi leather’, as my good Nigerian friends would say. He has mobilised all his arsenals to ensure that chairmen of some sub-constituencies of the NDC party within his jurisdiction have publicly come out to call on the President to retain him as the mayor due to his ‘good works’.

And in a very interesting twist, the Numo Ogbamey-led chiefs have only in a matter of a week, made a u-turn and have started praising Oko for ‘his developmental drive’. The same Numo Ogbamey who only last week accused the mayor of misappropriation of funds, says the chiefs and people of Accra “would rally behind him (Oko Vanderpuije) and give him their support”.

Before this fresh endorsement by the chiefs came, they had been assured by the mayor that the Ga Mantse’s palace will be renovated, and that work had already started on the project.

Another major reason for the chiefs’ sharp u-turn, according to Numo Ogbamey, is that “all the aggrieved chiefs are now happy because Mr Vanderpuije had promised to work with all of them. He added that: “We promise to support him so long as he co-operates and work with all the chiefs. All the allegations we levelled against him are no more important. Now there is peace and we are happy”.

Yes, all the allegations are no more important. Period! If indeed the allegations were based on facts, how come the chiefs say they are no more interested in pursuing them to ensure that the mayor is held accountable? What could have changed the minds of the chiefs within one week is anybody’s guess. Ecclesiastes 10:19 says: A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything. And in politricks this scripture is perfect.

A few questions are disturbing my mind. Why is the AMA using its funds to renovate only one palace? Does it mean all the District Assemblies can use their funds to renovate palaces? Will it be a crime, therefore, if the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District Assembly uses its funds to renovate the palaces at Breman Asikuma, Brawka and Odoben when poverty continues to stir in the face of the people, just as it is stirring in the face of the people of Chorkor and other Ga communities most of which still don’t have toilet facilities?

And what about the KMA (Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly) pulling down Manhyia palace and building a new and modern one for the Asantehene, and Assemblies in other cities renovating palaces of the chiefs there? Who knows, the chiefs there may also learn from Numo Ogbamey and his team and sweep under the carpets any malfeasance or misappropriation of funds meant for the poverty alleviation of the people?

Is it not surprising that when the AMA is supposed to cater for the wellbeing of all people living in its jurisdiction, its prime concern is the renovating of the Ga Mantse palace. What support has the Assembly given to those whose wares got burnt in the Kantamanto, and other markets in Accra? And what support has the Assembly given to the people living along the coasts who still use the beaches as toilets?

Is it not disheartening that when one man, Martin Amidu, has single-handedly fought his own government, his party and some top people in the party/government and earned 25 million euros for the nation, some chiefs will behave in this way, projecting their selfish interests. See a picture in The Ghanaian Times of Tuesday, June 18, page 13, and you will be surprised to see the kind of special kpanlogo dance Numo Ogbamey and Oko are dancing.

Oh, lest I forget, did I hear Dr Kwabena Adjei say the fires burning most markets in the country were set by NPP members? Dr Adjei has been one of the people I have always respected. I therefore thought that having been a minister of state, and holding other high-profile national positions he would have matured above petty politics, especially when it comes to issues of national concern.

So if the NDC Chairman knows who are setting the fires to the markets, what was the need for President Mahama to seek assistance from the United States in bringing experts to come and find the causes of the fires. The truth is that if we don’t stop these petty party squabbles when it comes to tackling important national issues, we shall continue to be where we are, always holding our plate and going to other countries to beg for money, resources and personnel.

The fires burning almost all prominent markets must be of great concern to all our political parties and their leaders, for which reason there must be non-political dialogues and national debates on how to stop them, and also find out whether the fires are arsonists’ activities or the result of mere negligence on part of the traders who use the markets.

President John Mahama has been a personal friend long before he even entered parliament and therefore I will never wish him anything bad. But as a democrat, I strongly believe in the rule of law, which I believe President Mahama also believes. It is based on this belief that I have since January 7 insisted that all Ghanaians gave him the requisite respect as the President of the Republi, irrespective of the on-going court case. He remains our President until our laws say otherwise.

This is why I’m saddened by Felix Ofosu Kwakye’s (or is it Kwakye Ofosu?) infantile declaration that “I bet my life that NPP will lose the court case”. I have always supported youngsters occupying high national political offices because that is one way of raising national political leaders for the nation. But I get sick when such youngsters out of over zealousness begin to show sycophantic tendencies. We saw some of them under President Mills forcing President Rawlings to describe them as babies with sharp teeth, etc.

I am not sure President Mahama rewarded Ofosu Kwakye for his acerbic tongue and insults he poured on political opponents, many of whom were/are far older than his father. Rather, I strongly believe President Mahama gave him the appointment to encourage other youth to engage in active politics.

In any case, if I may ask Hon Felix Ofosu Kwakye, how much does your life worth that will make any impact on President Mahama? Even his own mentor, President Mills has died and gone and will soon be forgotten as other leaders who preceded him.

It is time we realised the need to tackle critical national issues by putting aside the acrimonious and dirty politicking and resolve to address national issues in non-partisan way for the advancement of our dear nation.

In the advanced countries, especially the United States and United Kingdom, despite the clear ideological differences of their political parties, there have always been either bi-partisan or non-partisan mechanisms for handling issues of national importance which could affect their countries and peoples. We need to learn from that kind of politics.

In the United Kingdom there is no enemy of the Labour Party who is a friend of the Conservative Party when such friendship or enmity has to do with the national interest of the country; this applies to the Democrats and Republicans in the United States. And this is why they continue to develop and advance.

As I rest my pen till next week, let me acknowledge the bravery and extreme show and display of nationalism by Citizen Vigilante Martin Amidu. I hope the government is ready and prepared to implement the Supreme Court decision on the judgement debts and therefore will act quickly against all those indicted by the ruling.
Martin, I say Kudos!!

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