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Time, history – they do fly! They have this unique habit of interfacing with memory to indict, embarrass, vindicate or make us learn. Sometimes, especially, history, by repeating itself, or time, simply passing or just staring us in the face reveal our follies…

Sometime last year, history itself was being made a joke of, when some individuals met somewhere in Accra to aggrandize the chief bishop of a so called “National Cathedral of Ghana” with yet another award: The Grand Master of Kume Preko. Significantly, the real founder of the Kume Preko protest marches, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, would have nothing to do with it and stayed away. Other stalwarts like Dr. Nyaho-Nyaho Tamakloe ignored it, so did Kweku Opoku, the quiet one. Poor Newman had passed on…

I had a tangential role to play in the protest marches – the type of role that would get mentioned as a footnote somewhere in a main narration: I was present at the very first tentative tossing about with the idea and actually took part in the “conspiracy”. As claims to fame go, I was also the very first media person to inform the public, being the editor of a then popular newspaper, of associated with the “conspirators” and there were many such newspapers also claiming credit for that association…

As his boss, I gave the late Ferdinand O. Ayim (Ferddy/Freddy) the editorial instructions to get a story ready, which the two of us would put together, announcing the birth of a massive demo to hit Accra. I got on very well with him – both of us being loyal fufu lovers with “roving eyes” over a good sexed up story. When he died in a very painful road accident, I cried like a baby on Citi FM, when I was invited to say a few words of sympathy. The few words turned into torrents of tears. But that’s all history now…

Kume Preko was in 1995. In 2020, when the aggrandizement caper was given full media exposure a day after, by some sections of the media, I felt entitled, like the proverbial fly on the wall, to chip in my very little insight, in a commentary I wrote on the marches. This I believe was sometime in May, commemorating the deaths of the young victims of political intolerance and violence that led to the needless shedding of their blood.

Herh!!! A leading spokesperson and apologist for the Bishop of the “National Cathedral of Ghana” took me on in a vituperative monologue on Peace FM that left me aghast with trepidation regarding that individual’s state of mind. In fairness, I do not remember now, whether he kept my name out or not but I am not mentioning his name – we know ourselves. For me, it was a matter of “who the cap fits” and so I wore it with as much tolerance and dignity as I could muster! For over thirty minutes, he went on and on making pasaa of my point of view, while at the same time boasting about his “documents” to set his records straight and boosting the cathedral bishop’s ego! He intimated that he was going to publish those documents into a book as the authoritative voice of Kume Preko as a book, or so I heard. On that, I took him at his word and wrote in a riposte that I would be looking out for the book a year from then, so this past May, as I saw history passing by, I was expecting the authoritative book on Kume Preko in our bookstores.

The year has come full circle and gone and the magnum opus on the Kume Preko marches is yet to materialize. If it had, I would have known, because he would have had to consult me as a resource person in his research, due to my footnote role. So we do not have the book yet, but history has caught up so fast and we are now in July 2021!

Ejura. Wa and other matters arising…

Yes Ejura, Wa, et al: Techiman South, Ahmed Suale, Ayawaso West Wuogon, armed military invasion of parliament, brutalizing of the Citi FM journalists, the young female journalist’s mishandling by security people on the premises of the superior courts, gun totting MP, now a minister, soldiers poured into the Volta Region to “help” protect Election 2020 when in truth it was intimidation, the Unanimous FC of our judiciary and its team captain’s threat of judicial retribution against the freedom of expression during the 2020 election petition, not forgetting the many alleged corruption stories like PDS, Agyapa, with the bread butter madness like hiking of utility prices, fuel prices  – and the many others not captured here. All concerns that could generate Kume Preko marches many times over.

Ejura, one of the food baskets of Ghana has become yet another place of infamy when police-military violence left a number of innocent Ghanaians dead and others badly injured. Their crimes: merely for embarking on a mini Kume Preko march against the murder of an innocent man who stood up to the impunities and injustices currently reining supreme in Ghana. This bloody Ejura Kume Preko itself, coming under military-police fire, ended in yet more deaths. This leads us to the Kume Preko connection I am trying to make here and how history is coming in to expose the lies, hypocrisy, wickedness, bad governance and incompetence now parading as democratic governance in Ghana!

Was that not the raison d’etre for Kume Preko 26 years ago?There was a major demonstration led by the organisers in every region of Ghana then. Following the pattern set by the Bishop of the “national” cathedral of Ghana, soldiers run amok in the city of Wa even before our inks had dried on our stories and commentaries on Ejura. Refreshingly and thankfully, the genuine bishops, and I am referring to the Catholic Bishops Conference have since come out with a major statement condemning the Ejura Killings. Not so, the so called Peace Council, Christian Council and the motley collection of other Protestant/Pentecostal/charismatic types. The Peace Council, whose inane statement was clearly couched in language that would not displease the Bishop of the “national” cathedral was downright hypocrisy.

And can someone tell me the difference between “Kume Preko”, “Occupy Ghana” and “#fixthecountry”? Nothing actually, all being principally protest actions enjoying constitutional blessings. Kume Preko was when Rawlings was in office (four people died); OccupyGhana during the presidency of John Mahama (nobody died) and #fixthecountry, during the present dispensation (three people have been killed). Those who died during Kume Preko met their demise at the hands of political thugs, but check out the difference: those who died at Ejura, a combination of political thuggery and state sector vigilantism perpetrated by people wearing our police and military uniforms!

It is a terrible indictment on all of us. In 2016 and again in 2020, we walked with our eyes and ears open into a monumental con. Today, we are reaping the poisonous fruit from that hype. Who to blame but ourselves? The irony, for me, is that all the pillars of society, including the clergy, traditional rulers, the media, the CSOs, academia, business leaders, who ganged up and called for change (an unnecessary one at that) seem to have lost the will to use their voices this time round – bar the Catholic Church’s recent statement. So even as our country is showing all the signs of overheating and failing, they, like snails, have all slunk into their slimy shells of opportunism for protection. Protection? Oh yes! From the ravages of the Neo Culture of Silence.

So who speaks for Ghana now? Looks and feels like the barrel of the machine gun! No exaggeration here. The evidence is out there and if in doubt, just see how our armed forces are now becoming more and more the bodyguards of partisan political operations. Madam Jean Mensa, the public servant who would not account to us on her role as EC Chairperson, supported by the Unanimous FC, now moves about with a posse of uniformed heavily armed guards. For fear of what? I don’t know.

It is frustrating: the arrogance, corruption and incompetence of the current dispensation, but we must not get carried away. I have been hearing a phrase that says “Ghanaians are not angry enough”. No, let us not be ruled by anger. Let us use these nightmarish experiences as a learning process, so that, next time, we can go by the dictum of “Not all that glitters is gold” to guide our political choices. History will still be waiting in the wings to either be repeated or to be learnt from or to mock us in one, or the many guises it can choose from…

By Amb. Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Harruna Attah