Date Published: 11/11/09
Kwesi Pratt should be the last person to pontificate on the affairs of the country By Daniel Danquah Damptey
My attention has been drawn to a feature article published in the New Punch on Tuesday, 3 rd November, 2009 which was given wide publicity during the newspaper review segment by a panelist on Peace FM. I received numerous telephone calls from friends and admirers, both known and unknown ones to tune in to Peace FM and listen to a lively discussion going on on an article I had written. The calls were very persistent and I had to oblige my constituents. At that time I did not know the so-called article that I had written. By the time I tuned in to the station, the programme had almost ended. It had to do with appointments made by the Mills administration which was totally at variance with the Constitution and tilted in favour of one particular tribe and region.
Why the late reaction: Many people have questioned why I did not react early enough. Many friends and relatives called me immediately the programme ended to react. I told them I needed to remain focused on a very important assignment I was undertaking. It had to do with the annual Harvest and Thanksgiving Service of the Church where I worship. I was the Chairman of the Harvest Committee and did not want any thing that will divert my attention from the assignment. Moreover, since I did not listen to the entire discussion, I needed to have an idea of how the discussion went in order to do justice to the subject. And my patience paid off because by the end of last week, I had all the relevant information I needed to enable me react appropriately at hand. I there crave the indulgence of my admirers to bear with me for this late reaction.
Who is the author of the feature? Before I go into the merit or demerits of the contents, I would like to state that I am not the author of the said article. Anyone who has accessed Ghanaweb before will bear me out that the so-called article was a comment on some of my write-ups by on contributor who writes under the assumed name of “The Law of Karma”. This is the truth and anyone who doubts this contention can check the authenticity of this on Ghanaweb. It surprises me that hypocritical Kwasi Pratt who has arrogated to himself the mandate to make disparaging remarks about those of different ideological persuasions and the so-called ‘enlightened” panelist who descended to the gutter and bashed me from all angles could not fathom the true identity of the author. If Kwesi Pratt and his fellow pretenders had read the article with a fine toothcomb, they would straight-away have known that such an article did not originate from my end. I have my own peculiar style of writing and any commentator on national issues must be discerning enough to get to the truth before passing judgments. Is Kwesi Pratt telling us that, inspite of all his bravado and ‘paa-paa’ he has never visited Ghanaweb before? Wonders, they say will never end.
I had some discussions with Baby Ansabah, Editor of the New Punch about appointments by the Mills administration. I told him somebody had compiled a list of such appointments which seem to tilt in favour of a particular tribe. I told him I would send a copy for his perusal and necessary action and this was exactly what I did. And up till the time the programme was being aired, I did not know it had been published with me as the author. I believe Baby Ansabah decided to use my name because I was the one who sent it to him and what I sent to him did not include the name of the author and so would not blame him much. I would not like to take credit for what is not entirely my own. But let it be noted that I am not the author of the script.
My initial Reaction: While I associate myself with most of the sentiments expressed in the write up. I would like to state that I take strong exception to reference to President Mills as “simpa panin”as “Rawlings poodle”. Mills is our President and we should accord him the respect he deserves. The Lord says we should not touch his anointed and this also applies to President Mills. Even though the NDC denigrated the presidency under Kufuor by calling him unprintable names with even ex President Rawlings calling him ‘Atta Ayi, a thief and a murderer, I have decided since the election of Mills as President not to tread such a path. I will give respect to whoever respects should be accorded. And this principle I will try to uphold no matter the circumstances and as long as the Good Lord gives me breath. This much I pledge.
Back to the substantive issues : As stated earlier, I wholeheartedly endorse most of the sentiments expressed in the article by the writer. Truth is bitter, but we must call a spade a spade in order to shame the devil. We must not sweep under the carpet such a volatile issue which is capable of upsetting the apple cart. We are all Ghanaians and the country belongs to all of us. Appointments to certain positions must be seen to reflect regional and tribal balance. Recently, some Chiefs from the Western Region expressed their displeasure over the fact that none of their people is holding any cabinet position, after the removal of George Sipa – Yankey.. The fact that such traditional rulers see the issue as an anomaly which is agitating the minds of people from their traditional areas brings to the core the need to redress such perceived wrong-doings, if I may call it so. We learnt that when Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak was sacked as Minister, the people insisted that his replacement should come from the Zongo community or someone of Northern extraction.
Those who are shouting themselves hoarse and condemning me as if I had done a great deal of injustice to my country have no sense of national history and love of their country. Let us examine the contents of the said article. Is it true that more than one third of Presidential appointees come from a particular region and tribe? This is the crux of the matter! Is it conformity with the spirit and tenets of the constitution? If it is true, on what basis were those appointments made? Is it on competence? If it was done on merit, couldn’t the President have appointed people of the same/similar competence from other tribes or Regions? If this had been done, the accusation of tribalism would have been avoided.
Sensationalism : Kwesi Pratt and his group of uninformed panelist including the moderator of the Peace FM programme would have been justified in their attacks against me if what was presented was not based on facts. It surprises me that the moderator of the programme allowed the discussion to go in the direction Kwesi Pratt was taking. Any moderator worth his sauce on a very sensitive national issue would have made attempts to call me for clarification. But he fell too much in love with the direction clueless Kwesi Pratt was taking that he virtually gave his birth right to Kwesi, who then had the cake and the knife and so decided to cut the biggest portion onto himself. With a blank check and nothing to hold him in check, Kwesi Pratt bamboozled and intimidated the other panelist to toe his line.
The write-up was not based on sensationalism like what triggered the mob attacks against Ghanaian nationals in Cote’d’Ivoire after a football match between Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Assec Mimosa. In that issue, the reporter published pictures of accident victims of some Ivorian players and presented them as Assec Players who had been attacked and beaten up after the football encounter between those two teams. That was wrong and evil and should be condemned by all.
My stand and belief in Ghana: Let me emphasize the fact that I am not a tribalist, but I speak what I know to be the truth without minding whose ox is gored in the process. I had publicly taken a principled stand against my own friend and classmate from the same town during the NPP parliamentary primaries on the grounds that the other candidate from another town was better. I made myself an enemy to most people from my town who told me to the face that I was a saboteur for blocking good things from coming to our town. I told them we should not be greedy and should allow other towns and villages to also enjoy the benefits of democracy for it was unfair to have both the District Chief Executive and the Member of Parliament from the same town. If I could go against my own friend, classmate and townsman, you should by now know the sort of stuff I am made of.
I have also told members of my family that if any of them wants to contest an elective position and I find the person not capable, I will ask the one to step down and if he/ she doesn’t heed my advice I will personally campaign against him/her because the incompetence would be brought to bear upon the job should he/she win the position. That will be a smear/stain on the family.
I do not hate any tribe. I have publicly stated that the Asantehene occupies a very unique position when we talk about chieftaincy in the country. I have at the same time also stated much to the displeasure of some Akyems that the Okyenhene’s position cannot be equated to that of the Asantehene. I am not a blind nationalist of the Iddi Amin type who sees everything about his nation/tribe as right. I hold Ewes in very high regard, for they are very nice people and I value their friendship. Three of my brothers are married to them and my father’s nephew who is the chief of my father’s village is also married to an Ewe.
But the issue we are talking about is beyond that. What we are saying or asking is: Do the appointments reflect Regional/Ethnic balance being spoken of in the constitution? If it is, then I stand condemned, Baby Ansabah stands condemned and the authentic writer of that piece, “The Law of Karma” too stands condemned. If it does not, why should we be silent over it? Why should Kwesi Pratt and his one-sided panelist haul me before Pontius Pilate to crucify me? If as one of the reasons why people are calling for the abrogation of the Vodafone agreement is that ex President Kufuor alone held discussions with officials of the company, even though that did not breach the constitution of the country, why should we remain silent when President Mills appointments is clearly in breach of the Constitution?
Questions for Kwesi Pratt and his Panelists: Let Kwesi Pratt and his group of hypocrites be sincere with the truth for once, because what goes up must surely come down. The hypocritical stand taken by Pratt and his panelist has exposed the chameleonic nature they are hiding beneath the mask of patriotism which they have used into deceiving or hoodwinking the vulnerable people of Ghana for long. I am throwing an open challenge to Kwesi Pratt and those who constituted themselves into the Sanhedrin on that day to tell themselves what they did when the NDC circulated a list purported to be relatives and cronies of Ex-President Kufuor who were appointed into his administration?
Let Kwesi Pratt and his group tell Ghanaians what they did when Ben Ephson, editor of the Dispatch attempt, albeit unsuccessfully to sow a seed of discord between Ashantis and Akims? What did they do? They maintained a stony silence!
Hypocritical Kwesi Pratt and his likes should tell Ghanaians whether President Mills has not breached the Constitution by appointing more people from one ethnic group and Region into his cabinet and other public corporations, to the disadvantage of other tribes and regions? Is this right? Let clueless and visionless Kwesi Pratt and his gang of nation wreckers tell Ghanaians whether appointments so far made by the Mills administration is in the spirit of oneness and nation building .
Do Kwesi Pratt and those who constituted themselves into my accusers really love the country? I guess not! If they do, why should they unleash their rabid dogs after my blood for bringing into the public domain an issue, which, if not rectified, is capable of plunging the country into the precipice? What did Kwesi Pratt and his panel do or say when a group calling itself the Ga – Adangbe Youth Association issued a fatwa to ex-President Kufuor to vacate his “office”if he indeed loves himself? Those hypocrites remained like eunuchs with no balls hanging between their legs. But today, such hypocrites and unpatriotic elements in the country have got back their voices to speak as if they had just come down from outer space because the character involved is common Daniel Danquah Damptey. What advice have these men offered President Mills to be always guided by the spirit of the spirit of the constitution when making appointments?
Were we all not in Ghana when a learned Professor wrote a book disparaging other tribes while heaping praises on his own tribe? What did Pratt and all those vilifying me for touching on a subject which bothers on ‘no go area’ do or say when that book came out? Today, such a person has been honoured with an award which happens to be one of the highest portfolios in the land – the plush office of Chairman of Council of State. What did they say when the appointment was announced? Nothing! You see how hypocritical Kwesi Pratt and his colleagues could be.
One among the lot: What I did was to alert my fellow countrymen on a very dangerous precedent or agenda being vigorously pursued by the Mills administration. And if because some of us are saying that the perceived injustice being perpetrated against people from other tribes is unfair, unjustified and unconstitutional, others like Kwesi Pratt and co will crucify us, so be it. All that we have sought to do is to bring it to the notice of the President to rectify the anomaly. Let me state for all who care to listen that I don’t care what part of the country the President comes from, provided he can perform the task well. All that we are after is that the President must act within the frame of the Constitution.
Maybe, the President is not aware of this fact. Maybe, those hypocrites who act as his advisors have chosen the path of stony silence because it falls within their hidden agenda. Whichever be the case, we have alerted Ghanaians about the dangers such a trend could lead to.
I owe nobody any apology. I stand for the truth and I shall utilize every atom of energy in me to do what is right for my country. I shall not kowtow to any earthly power, no matter how intimidating that power might be. And if, because I am saying the truth, someone wants to eliminate me, let the one go ahead. We shall all appear individually before the judgement throne of the Living God one day.
But I would like to remind such people to beware of the power of a determined peoples will to resist all unjust laws. We should never forget the fate that befell the American soldiers in Somalia. We should also not forget the fact that the Americans at the time of the Vietnam war possessed the most sophisticated weapons ever to be developed in the history of warfare in its armoury, she could not defeat the Viet Congs.
Advice to Kwesi Pratt: Kwesi should be circumspect in his public utterance for he alone is not the repository of knowledge and intelligence. He speaks as if he is the only enlightened and knowledgeable person in Ghana. But as he always says, he cannot be more catholic than the Pope. Kwesi Pratt claims he is a socialist and always repeats the communist mantra of Karl Marx like a parrot. He spoke against Kufuor’s son acquiring a bank loan to buy what they nick- named, “Hotel Kufuor” When it suited him, his wife too obtained a loan from the bank to build a house. If Kwesi wants to live by the tenets of Communism/Socialism, let him renounce the title deeds to the house and give it to the masses/workers. This will be his own contributions to the cause of Socialism.
Those who live in Glass Houses should not throw stones. Kwesi Pratt is disaster waiting to happen. This is the simple truth, Massa.
Daniel Danquah Damptey
E-mail address – danieldanquah_damptey @yahoo.com