The caption under the long-angle shot of his photograph that appeared alongside of the Ghanaweb.com news article that carried his expression of utter displeasure with some ministers and deputy ministers of the Akufo-Addo cabinet, who would have Mr. Kwame Asare Obeng, popularly known as A-Plus, control his tongue vis-à-vis party affairs, was captioned “A-Plus is a Staunch Member of the NPP.” The news article itself was titled “Stop Disturbing Me, You Can’t Tell Me How to Live My Life – A-Plus to NPP Ministers” Ghanaweb.com 5/27/18).
Ghanaian journalists tend to use loaded adjectives like “staunch” loosely, even as the Singaporean literary critic and scholar Edwin Thumbooalso once observed about Ghanaian poets to his utter consternation because, Prof. Thumboo, by virtue of the country’s relatively more intimate relationship with the English language and British colonial rule had expected Ghanaian poets, and writers in general, to express themselves better and more eloquently than writers from many of the other member countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations, now simply called The Commonwealth.
Now, I don’t know how any serious writer gets to describe Mr. Kwame Asare Obeng (aka A-Plus) as a staunch member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), when the young notable Hip-Life artist has on more that a single occasion categorically stated that although he recorded and duly got paid for an electioneering-campaign jingle for then-Candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the leadup to the 2016 Presidential Election, nevertheless, he is unabashedly his own man and is inalienably entitled to freely expressing his mind on significant and controversial party issues and letting the proverbial chips fall where they may.
Now, those are not exactly the words of a “staunch member” of any legitimately constituted political party anywhere in the civilized democratic world. I am also quite certain that if he were to volley any of the corruption accusations and virulent attacks against some of the Akufo-Addo presidential staffers and Jubilee House, in general, that he has been making over there in Ghana here in the United States as a member of either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, Mr. Asare Obeng would almost definitely have since long been either suspended or expelled, especially if he could not forensically sustainably substantiate such accusations.
You see, being a “staunch member” or stalwart of any legitimately constituted political party, especially a powerful and governing party like the NPP, means that one is prepared to have one’s political conduct and pronouncements reasonably regulated by party rules. Interestingly, while he seems to accept the descriptive label of a “staunch NPP member,” Mr. Asare Obeng would have his fellow party members and officials accept the fact that he is fiercely an independently minded personality who privileges and/or prioritizes his personal political opinions and how he expresses these over and above the established norms and rules of the party.
He wants to be proudly envisaged as a maverick. If, indeed, he sincerely takes himself that much seriously, then, of course, this talented young musician does not seem to fully appreciate the true nature of his relationship with the New Patriotic Party and his place underneath the expansive earflaps of the Mighty Elephant. He had better be promptly schooled in the dos and don’ts of pragmatic political culture or declare his political and ideological independence and then conduct himself unabashedly as such. Needless to say, as matters presently stand between the rest of the party and himself, A-Plus is at best a nuisance to the collective interests and aspirations of the rank-and-file membership of the New Patriotic Party.
At the worst, he is a devious detractor who gloats on using the institutional and structural weaknesses of the party to gratuitously attempt to manipulate the affairs of the party in his favor, which he once clearly did when he contractually could not have his way with some key operatives of Jubilee House vis-à-vis some lucrative contracts that he thought he deserved. In other words, when all has been said and done, A-Plus is at heart not as fiercely independent-minded and free-ranging as he would have the Ghanaian public believe. He is at heart a cutthroat mercenary like all the other political contractors, including the unabashedly confessional Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, whom I greatly admire for his “forthright frankness,” in the memorable alliterative tautology of renowned investigative journalist Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
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Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.