By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

And so Hanna Tetteh, the half-Hungarian Ghanaian Foreign Minister, walks out of a conference of dysfunctional African mayors and Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, the half-Scottish Ghanaian inventor of disrespect, wants the whole world to know that Ms. Tetteh is handily the most disrespectful major cabinet appointee in our country’s postcolonial history (See “Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh Is Disrespectful – Rawlings” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/3/15). The question, though, is why did the former president so officiously attempt to insinuate himself into protocol affairs over which he had absolutely no authority whatsoever, other than the fact of him being a former head-of-state and the widely acknowledged founding-father of the ruling party, the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC)?

wpid-JJ-Rawlings-specs3.jpgReports have it that the admittedly snooty and loudmouthed Ms. Tetteh had arrived at the venue of the three-day conference to deliver the closing address on behalf of President John Dramani Mahama, when Chairman Rawlings quickly intervened and prevailed on the Accra mayor, Dr. Oko Vanderpuye, to defer the pride of the delivery of the closing address to Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur who, by the way, was not present at the conference center and had to be rushed in for the purpose. It also appears that President Mahama, the man who ought to have delivered the address, was in the country but had, somehow, instructed his Foreign Affairs pointwoman to deputize for him.

Mr. Rawlings’ quite reasonable argument was that it was not procedurally appropriate – at least according to the proverbial pecking order – for the Foreign Minister to deputize for President Mahama, while Vice-President Amissah-Arthur was not very far from the venue of the conference and did not appear to be preoccupied with other pressing official duties. What interests me here, however, is that most of the country’s media establishment are not savvily connecting with what is really procedurally amiss with this picture. And here, of course, I am referring to the widely rumored chilly relationship between President Mahama and Vice-President Amissah-Arthur.

Not long ago, for instance, rumors were rife about Mr. Mahama’s seriously thinking of strategically replacing the former Bank of Ghana governor with his Foreign Minister, in the highly likely event of him gunning for a second electoral term. Initially, Ms. Tetteh, a professionally trained lawyer and the NDC-Member of Parliament for the Senya-Breku district of the Central Region, publicly denied that she had any intention of replacing Vice-President Amissah-Arthur in the lead-up to Election 2016. Then not quite awhile ago, Ms. Tetteh was widely reported by the media to be saying that she wouldn’t mind being selected as President Mahama’s running-mate for next year’s general election. Now, that sounds like a stereotypical coup-detat to me.

In the past, there have also been widespread rumors verging on the existence of a too-close-for-comfort relationship between Mr. Mahama and Ms. Tetteh, one that was alleged to be extra-official. Mrs. Lordina Mahama was also rumored to be badgering her husband on the imperative necessity of letting go of his obnoxiously petulant Foreign Minister. The validity or otherwise of the preceding had yet to be officially confirmed, as of this writing.

If Mr. Mahama decides to field Ms. Tetteh as his 2016 presidential reelection running-mate, it could give his most formidable opponent, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party a proverbial run for his money. The pair could make serious inroads among women voters, especially with the remarkable rise of the women’s rights movement in the country in the areas of political empowerment and employment opportunities. Which is not, of course, to necessarily imply that ultimately the choice of who gets to reside in the Jubilee/ Flagstaff House would not predominantly center around bread-and-butter issues.

But that Ms. Tetteh, like Vice-President Amissah-Arthur, is also an ethnic Fante would likely blunt any remarkable bit of the edge of the anger and disappointment that are certain to arise if the Vice-President were to be dumped by his petty Gonja chieftain boss. It is not clear why Chairman Rawlings decided to so brazenly run such an early-morning interference for Mr. Amissah-Arthur. On this particular occasion and instance, Dr. Jerry John won the game. But whether such tactical chess move is apt to catch or pass the test of time remains to be seen.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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