I have seen that picture too. The picture in which Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is shown standing on a mounted podium, or platform, at what appears to be a durbar of chiefs and people of an unidentified township, with the platform draped in the Red, Gold, Green and lone Black Star-spangled flag of the Democratic Republic of Ghana (See “Akufo-Addo’s ‘Flag-Stepping’ Photo Sparks Controversy” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 8/13/17). The debate over whether Nana Akufo-Addo is standing on the upper red-bar section of the flag or not, or that he may be standing on a red carpet unfurled over the upper portion of the flag, is decidedly beside the point.
If, indeed, the President is guilty of desecrating our National Flag, then, of course, the most logical question to ask is this: Was President Kwame Nkrumah guilty of flag desecration when in 1964, or thereabouts, he prohibited the original and current flag of our Republic with the Red-Cockerel Flag of his so-called Convention People’s Party? For me, though, there can be absolutely no gainsaying that it was an inveterate detractor of Nana Akufo-Addo, very likely from the postelection-traumatized ranks of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who either photoshopped or doctored the picture and put it into the public domain, in order to expose the President to ridicule. But, of course, like the propagandistic tricks mounted by his most ardent political detractors and stone-cold enemies, this too will not wash. At any rate, a critical examination of the long activist and mainstream political career of Nana Akufo-Addo would readily bear out the fact that when it comes to the question of patriotism or serving the needs, interests and aspirations of the Ghanaian people, Nana Akufo-Addo has few peers on the ground, as it were. At any rate, the guilty party here are the operatives of the protocol department of the Presidency, if, indeed, the photograph in question was taken after the swearing in of Nana Akufo-Addo. On the other hand, if the photograph was taken in the heat of the 2016 electioneering campaign, then, of course, the responsibility rests with then-Candidate Akufo-Addo’s handlers or electioneering campaign managers and directors, both at the local and national levels. I personally don’t think and believe that this is such a big deal, or of any significant indication of the President’s abject lack of any sense of patriotism one way or another. The fact of the matter is that, by and large, Ghana is a predominantly Christian country that does not believe in the psycho-pathology of flag worshipping. The fact that the citizens of even some of the technologically and culturally advanced countries in the world accord a level of reverence to their national flags verging on religion or idol worship, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with us, Ghanaians, as a people. What matters most, as some of us have been emphasizing for quite some time now, is an altruistic or sacrificially responsible leadership. I mean, I prefer the leadership of a flag-stepping or trampling politician or statesman, in the case of Nana Akufo-Addo, who takes good care of our monetary and other capital resources for the development of the country, to a flag-worshipping politician with an inordinate penchant for scamming the Ghanaian taxpayer a la AMERI-Deal style. Whether President Akufo-Addo is able to successfully and/or effectively stamp out the deadly activities of Galamseyers, or illegal small-scale miners, is far more important to me than whether, indeed, he was standing on a red-carpeted podium or the red upper bar of our National Flag.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
August 13, 2017
E-mail: [email protected]