Opinions

Winneba’s New Year Is Exploding In The Name Of The President

16 minutes ago | Opinion Winneba’s New Year Is Exploding In The Name Of The President By James Kofi Annan

For me, 2018 was quite a long winding year with lots of human surprises and life's changing scenes; the year could go down as the most unexpected.

I began the year thinking that God is good. Of course God is good! But the goodness of God has taught me a number of lessons, both in shock and in fruits.

Nearly exactly a year ago, I had a very rude call from a Ghanaian uniformed soldier, who sounded as though he was a new recruit. He called to inform me that he had been sent to Winneba to deal ruthlessly with me if I did not allow the government to impose its wishes on the Winneba Fancy Dress Festival. I later found out that, although in uniform, that soldier was at Winneba not for official duties, but was brought in just to satisfy an individual's interest.

In 2018, unfortunately, the same problem reared its head, and I was reliably informed that there were over 50 soldiers, alongside over 200 heavily armed policemen and women, who were going to be deployed at Winneba to deal ruthlessly with me again, and any other person who expressed dissenting views on the way the Winneba Masquerade Federation was being interfered with.

But, unfortunately, it is also becoming difficult to explain to anyone in power, whether close or remote from the President, how the President's name is being abused, thereby making President Akufo-Addo look as though he is a bully. I would never have supported him in 2008, 2012 and 2016, if I had seen him as a bully, because he is not a bully!

But it seems it is erroneously and secretly being explained to the oblivion of those of us who do not have direct access to the National Security, and those relevant government officials that it is this rather unfortunate action of some individual politicians which is needed for the fortunes of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at Winneba.

I have continued to be proud that I am a true son of the land, Winneba, although it looks challenging going into 2019, with all the resources stored to be unleashed on those who disagree with unlimited power brokers. It feels as though I am the last alternative NPP voice standing, so the idea is to get me out, like it has been done to so many others so that there shall be only one all-mighty unchallenged all-right and exclusively clear voice standing.

Never in my limited history have I seen such an absolute power concentrating in the hands of one person, like the way it is being done at Winneba. Even in the 1980s and the early 1990s when Rawlings was Rawlings, it could not be said that he held such an obnoxiously tyrannical power.

And I have stopped several times to think whether or not the President is indeed aware of the oppression and the abuse of his name at Winneba. Nana Addo is an epitome of social justice. He stood for justice for over 40 years on his way to becoming President. He is the last human being I know on earth who would make any attempt at suppressing voices. The Nana Addo I know will not make any attempt at destroying the businesses of those who disagree with him.

So how could I become silent under an Akufo-Addo government? Or does any voice at Winneba know President Akufo-Addo more than I do? Are you Nana Addo's boy more than me? Ask Emmanuel Adjei Domson, the former Asikuma-Adoben-Brakwa DCE, and ask Percy Dennis, the Central Regional Organizer of the NPP, and they will tell you that even in the days of the 2007 Alan Cash Craze, I was the loudest voice for Nana Addo at Winneba.

Regardless of my love for President Akufo-Addo, I have always spoken my mind. I have criticized him when it was necessary for me to do so. That is the DNA of social justice activists.

So for all those at Winneba who are afraid to speak because of intimidation, sabotage, blackmailing, threats of death, and physical harm, rise up and speak. President Akufo-Addo is an open-minded person. He does not endorse the tactics of intimidation that is being deployed on the people of Winneba.

Currently, the Winneba Masquerade Federation has carried out a number of activities already in the last few weeks, leading up to this festival, and all those activities were done peacefully with their recognized four groups. It is only at the mention of a fifth group that brings confusion.

Please allow the Winneba Masquerade Federation the breathing space and the freedom to apply its own constitution. If they so wish to add a fifth group, let it be their own decision. Don't try to use money and power to force their hands into accepting something they are not ready for.

I am not against the inclusion of number five. In fact, I am in support of the opening up of the number of masquerading groups that participate in the fancy dress festival. Also, remember that there are several members of the number five group who are my relatives.

But I am not in favour of the manner in which some individuals are using money and power to force something in the throat of the federation. When you hear utterances such as “whether they like it or not the number five group will participate in the festival”, then you know that arrogance will meet resistance, with the federation also vowing to stand their grounds.

For your information, I have been declared a national security threat at Winneba. I don't know when I am going to be arrested in the wake of the threat. But I have done nothing other than defending the proprietary rights of the Winneba Masquerade Federation. I have been warned that I shall be crashed to death.

The Effutu Municipal Assembly and the Effutu Municipal Security Council shall be used to destroy any business I am doing at Winneba. I will be frustrated until I run away from Winneba. All these are not mere threats, as they have begun to unfold one after the other manifesting right in front of me, as government machinery is being deployed to weaken my fundamentals.

Of course the battle is still the Lord's!

James Kofi Annan

James Kofi Annan James Kofi Annan, © 2019

This author has authored 98 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: SimpaPanyin

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