OPINION

This Otiko Djaba “thing” speaks volumes

Folks, what is emerging from the decision by Otiko Afisa Djaba from “active” politics suggests to me that there is a lot going on to raise eyebrows.

I can see beyond the surface to know that something nasty is brewing in this lameduck Akufo-Addo government. On the surface, there appears to be some kind of cohesion and team-work going on. Beneath, though, there is much entering the grapevine to make me use this Otiko Djaba “thing” to be the usual devil’s advocate that I have been all along in writing opinion pieces.

Let’s examine the circumstances. First, the shuffling of appointees by Akufo-Addo wasn’t far-reaching to suggest that it was indeed a major shake-up. No new entrants but the old faces turned around in the game of musical chairs. What qualities did these appointees demonstrate to be assigned to the various Ministries that Akufo-Addo now doubted to catalyze his moving them around?

Second, Otiko Djaba turned out to be the only Minister taken out to be sent to Italy as Ghana’s Ambassador (implying that she would play a second fiddle to serve under the Minister of Foreign Affairs with whom she had stood on the same pedestal as a fellow Minister). Indeed, she was being downgraded as such. Why?

This is where the third viewpoint emerges, which has to do with the reasons given by Otiko herself (that at 56 years, she has done enough in politics and must retire to enjoy her private life with her family and to take care of her ex-husband).

Granted the benefit of the doubt, Otiko may appear to be raising a sound argument. But I don’t buy that argument at all. Much has been published about the callousness of Otiko toward her ex-husband (and Daniel Bugri Naabu spilt a lot of beans in damning her as such).

Otiko Djaba never reacted to claims that she had abandoned the ex-husband for 6 years or more; and such claims stuck deep. She wasn’t even reported to have been with her ex-husband to, at least, disprove the allegations.

So, all of a sudden (especially at the time that she has been booted out of the Ministry), she is turning round to re-trace her steps to her ex-husband’s bosom? Something is not adding up here.

Again, if her marriage to that man really ended on the rocks, should Otiko be the one to take care of him? Wherein lies the significance of the phrase “ex-husband”? (Mind you, folks, the fact that the marriage broke up doesn’t mean that Otiko should hate the man; but abandoning him for so long only to use him as a crutch to ease herself out of government and politics sounds too contrived for me).

Tied to this third reason is the fourth one, which relates to the timing of Otiko’s move. One deeply wonders whether she would have ended her political career had she not been removed from that Ministry. It is not out of the way to guess that she got peeved at Akufo-Addo’s action and chose to cut short her political career.

(We have heard from the grapevine that she hadn’t even been consulted before being removed from that Ministry to become a political-Ambassador. We heard that she got to know only when the official statement was announced in the media; and she immediately went wild, confiding in close associates that she won’t accept that appointment.)

Again, the grapevine has informed us about the turmoil that would motivate Akufo-Addo to kick her, suggesting that Otiko had disrespected Akufo-Addo by rooting for Stephen Ntim rather than the Freddie Blay that Akufo-Addo favoured to be the NPP’s National Chairman.

Whether true or false, what is emerging from the grapevine suggests that Akufo-Addo didn’t like Otiko’s insubordination. To revenge? Send her out, which he did.

And for Otiko, her strong feeling that Akufo-Addo “cannot forgive” or that he is “vindictive” is confirmed by her demotion to a role that would take her out of Ghana, meaning that she won’t have her feet on the ground anymore. Having been the NPP’s National Women’s Organizer, she won’t like that move.

Another reason to suggest that there is something boiling hard in Team Akufo-Addo can be gleaned from the forum chosen by Otiko to tell the world that she turned down the appointment to become an Ambassador and that she had informed Akufo-Addo as such.

(She did so about a day or two ago, which speaks volumes. But then, the counter-claim is that Otiko hasn’t communicated her decision to the Presidency and the NPP. What must be happening at all? See https://www.ghanaweb.com/…/Presidency-not-aware-of-Otiko-s-… ).

Baring everything in the interview with the Daily Graphic is quite intriguing; but I won’t expatiate on it. If Otiko didn’t inform the Presidency and the NPP about her rejection of the Ambassadorial posting and consequent retirement from active politics but went ahead to say so in this interview, where would she be pushing the matter to?

Or is she on a mission to bait Akufo-Addo so he would rescind his decision and return her to the Ministry or assign her to another? Or to blackmail him? In Ghanaian politics, anything can happen.

In any case, there is more emerging. The Minister of Health is reported to have said that enemies within (the NPP and the government) are plotting to get him removed from office but will not succeed.

Folks, the kinds of inkling(s) emerging from happenings in this lame-duck administration suggest strongly to me that all is not well in Team Akufo-Addo. There is too much nursing of grudge and senseless head-butting going on. Speculation is rife that Akufo-Addo and Bawumia aren’t as close as they used to be (probably because of some mistrust regarding the Ameri deal, especially or whatever else).

To douse the fire (be it real or not) means more than baring teeth at those perceived as “enemies within”. It means more than Akufo-Addo’s setting himself up as the potentate whose word must be the command for all to obey. Teamwork goes beyond this kind of “strong-arm posturing”.

In any case, we will continue monitoring the situation to say whatever piques our interest. That’s the beauty of politics. We keep our eyes, ears, and mouths shut to our detriment.

I shall return…
By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
(E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com )
Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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