The Man Nana Addo: Manasseh’s Lament

Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni is a good journalist. He writes well and that’s what matters to me. He is bold and courageous and does fairly risky stuff in the choice of his subjects and words. He takes the accountability required of him seriously and does not go about wearing silly and ridiculous masks! His face is out there in the open for friend and foe alike to look, like or dislike. His award-winning journalism is anchored in straightforward finding-out, cross-checking and sincere reporting

On Monday the 4th of February 2019, his opinion piece, If Nana Akufo-Addo had died in 2016 generated much interest in the media. I saw it on three platforms on which I participate and read without leaving any comment. Somewhere along the line, a sibling of mine also forwarded it to me. With that, I shared a comment, and this is what I wrote back to my sibling: It is because, like many others he did not know Nana Addo.

Son of a member of the Big Six, son of a former Chief Justice, son of a former President, relation of John Boakye Danquah, another Big Six, highly connected to the ruling clan of Akyem Abuakwa, a lawyer, a politician, and a man with an obsessive desire to become President of Ghana, Nana Addo-Danquah Akufo-Addo grew up in an atmosphere of privilege. Can’t be blamed for that! His luck. Equipped with a good education and an indeterminate British accent to match, he grew up with the ability to easily command the attention of people, his diminutive size notwithstanding!

Over the years, his has been a familiar face and name in political circles (CPP, UNC, NPP) and resistance movements like the Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ) and of course Alliance for Change (AFC), organizers of the Kume Preko marches. So, for a lot of people, he is lionised and idolised along those lines. A myth has developed around him as a nonpareil with the unquestioning loyalty of his political/ethnic bedfellows and awe from those fascinated by glitter � his real and innate character traits as a person receding into the background.

People who really know and have authentic apor on him would not be surprised at how far his ambition has brought him and would equally not be surprised at how he is mishandling the high office he is currently occupying. They would shift uneasily, cringing at: his lack of deftness (Re: friends and family government), his lack of sensitivity (Re: swipe at disability community in blind Ayawaso speech), his arrogance (TV address talking down on Ghanaians for the benefit of the US. Re: Ghana as a base for US troops), his pettiness (Re: refusal to commission Terminal 3 at KIA), his bigotry (Re: a Christocentric national cathedral in a multi-faith secular polity), his incompetence (Re: Boakye Agyarko and AMERI deception), his lack of thoroughness (Re: plagiarism in his inaugural address), his vindictiveness (Re: removal of EC Chair Charlotte Osei), his recklessness (Re: State sponsored terrorism at Ayawaso West Wuogon). These and other traits of the Altered Statesman are some of the pin pricks deflating the bloated Nana Addo myth

I will not blame Manasseh for his miscalculation because he did not know. If he had done thorough due diligence on his former hero, he would have taken him with a pinch of salt, ab initio, and his 100% adulation would not have fallen to below pass mark so early in the day. It would probably have hovered around the same 40-30% from the very beginning and stayed that way

This article is not meant as a testimonial on Nana Akufo-Addo, or a critique on Manasseh’s well-written opinion piece, but to point out that the adage of Not all that Glitters is Gold makes sense most of the time. There are many people (including NPP insiders) who would have advised Manasseh to modify his over-enthusiasm regarding the man they call Addo D. If he had spoken to people in the know. Manasseh’s Lament, as I describe it, would not have been so heart-breaking. But we all live and learn. The Lament is a lesson to us all but especially our journalists, not to take people they actually do not know that well at face value (good or bad) and run with it.

And in closing, I have a little eye-opening exercise for our journalists: AFC, Alliance for Change, aka Kumepreko. Research it and set the records straight.

Source: Modern Ghana