By: Kwabena Akyeana
A New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential hopeful, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong is the highest rising candidate in the field of eight others vying for the NPP’s presidential nomination November this year. The two other leading contenders are Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen and Vice President, Dr. Mahmudu Bawumia. In the latest opinion polls by the Global Info Analytic (GIA), Agyapong scored the most points both in the internal NPP primary and in the national election projections.
From a paltry less of 10 percent in very late last year, Ken Agyapong made an astronomical leap of more than 13 percent to hit a tally of 23 percent; with his two main rivals—Vice President Bawumia and Alan plummeting to 39, 37 respectively from their earlier higher pecking. On the national scale, Ken Agyapong is within the same or just a whisker of all potential three leading contenders—John Dramani Mahama of the NDC; Alan Kyerematen and Dr. Bawumia of the NPP.
While Alan polled 46 percent against John Mahama’s 54 percent; both Kennedy Agyepong and Vice President squared off at 39 percent as against President Mahama’s 55 percent. You may judge or misjudge Ken on his often abrasive vituperative outbursts that may seem un-presidential; yet the majority of Ghanaians seem to be clamouring for the Assin Central MP as the national gauge mood suggests. The highest demographic group rooting for the Ken Agyepong candidature is mostly the youths, who are within the ages of 18-35.
And fortunately for the business mogul, such demographic indices are in the majority; and will increase on the national voters’ register by the turn of the 2024 elections. Interestingly, the youths, as this author gathered seem not be interested in the portioning politics. They consider the Agyapong candidacy as national project; a kind of civil revolution akin to the Rawlings popular uprisings of 30th June 1979 and 31st December, 1981. The difference though is the mode and medium of the two mandates.
While Rawlings’s relied more on brute military force, that of Ken’s is a rallying civil revolution led by the youths against what seemed fascists and oligarchy regimes that Ghana have ruled Ghana throughout the three decades of the Fourth Republic. So, why the sudden splurge of Kennedy Agyepong in the Ghanaian political space? This is a man that the professional politicians did not give a chance at the least instance. Indeed, he became a laughing political neophyte that some NPP folks even thought was doing the bidding of anyone of Alan and Bawumia.
Perhaps, Kennedy Agyapong had different ideas. Emerging trends suggest that indeed, Agyapong knew exactly what he was doing. Don’t be surprised he has a well-lubricated election research machinery that situated the Ghanaian problem and linked it to the mood of the country, and presto the Ken magic began hitting a crescendo. So today, Ken Agyapong is not doing the bidding the Alan or Bawumia; Ken, is no longer an also-run in the game, but the real contender to the NPP plume prize and every stretch of possibility—election 2024.
Indeed, with the current drab and dejected mood of the country, many Ghanaians consider the Ken Agyapong candidacy as a major call for radical shake up, similar to what Rawlings unleashed on Ghanaians in 1979 and 1981. The years from 1977 to ’81 were perhaps the most depressive periods in Ghana’s political history. The economy of Ghana was in tatters, just like what the current administration is struggling albeit failed to fix.
Unemployment in the stated former periods went astronomically high, similar to how graduate students have formed unemployment groups to bemoan their plight in the current dispensation. Hunger, deprivation, squalor, rape, robbery and all negative acts that have bugged Ghana today were just a flashback of what went on in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The euphoria of Rawlings’ intervention within the period was therefore a matter of course, just similar to the craze for what looks a Ken Agyepong presidency call now.
Rawling’s first Coup D’etat in 1979 was seen as a divine intervention by many suffering Ghanaians. No wonder, such group of Ghanaians hailed him as Junior Jesus (JJ). Majority of Ghanaians were really not in favour of Rawlings handing over to a civilian administration just after three months of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council’s House Cleaning exercise. So, rather unwillingly, Rawlings and other members of the AFRC left the scene.
But the Limann administration that came after Rawlings played and behaved just in manner the regular Ghanaian politicians behaved: Unusual opulence, stealing and emptying of the national coffers; acquisition of properties all over the country; took over the economic hub of the country. In effect, the Limann administration just behaved like the Busias, the Acheampongs and the Akuffos. The end result was the second intrusion of the Ghanaian politics by Jerry Rawlings and the Provisional National Defence Council that ruled Ghana for 11 years from December 31st, 1981 to January 6th, 1993.
Kennedy Agyapong, the National Mood and Jerry Rawlings
Perhaps, the only thing repugnant to Rawlings’ intrusion into Ghana’s politics was the means— Coup d’etat. Aside from that, many Ghanaians especially, the youths find in Kennedy Agyapong, a democrat Jerry Rawlings that will deal with the political class including members of his own political party just as opposition elements who may fault the law. He talks about corruption in high government places and the canker, according to the Assin Central MP is festered more in his own political party than it was, in the previous NDC administration.
And Ghanaians hail that, just like they hailed what then looked like Rawlings’ truthfulness in 1979 and 1981. Ken Agyepong is not shy of labelling his own administration, including the presidency as the citadel of cruelty and unimaginable corruption; Rawlings did same talking to authority or the Ghanaian politician on the manner they had fleeced the country during those periods in our political history. Kennedy Agypapong often went vulgar to show the extent of filth, decadence and outright dejection that have engulfed the Ghanaian body-politic and Rawlings did same.
It’s through Rawlings anger at the system that we heard of such strong descriptive words like Punks, Dwuloe (to wit, thieves in the Ga language), Gbemelaho, (bastards in the Ewe language) and many others. The only difference between these two protagonist is the setting of their anger— a democratic space that deals with people’s reasoning as the case may be for Ken Agyapong; and a military regime where decrees and brawn of the gun runs as it was in Rawlings’ In the Rawlings’ era therefore, people were marginally coerced into accepting the Rawlings’ principles of June 4 and December 31st.
In the case of Agyapong however, the drive and the call for his presidency, are sourced from many of the deprived and depraved Ghanaians. Within the NPP, the delegates are saying “it’s Ken Agyepong because he helped and still continue to help us in our times of needs.” They still shout it out loud “None of the contesting candidates has helped the NPP with money and other logistics like the Assin Central MP.”
On the national front, Agyapong seems to be the Junior Jesus of our time. He speaks the minds of the ordinary Ghanaian; shares in their grief; that family that cannot pay the school fees of the children despite the Free Senior High School noises. Agyapong has sponsored many brilliant, but needy students from basic schools to the University levels. He has given famers, fishermen and other artisans implements to work with; he shares in the grief and pain of these people because he was once, one of them.
The Hon. Ken Agyapong still remembers when he wore a shoe at age 18 in his Assin Donpim rural enclave of the Central Region; and how he managed to travel outside to begin his long life’s journey as Taxi or Cab driver to get to where he is now. He does exhibit the typical hypocritical tendencies of regular Ghanaian politicians. He says it, as it is. And that’s why today many Ghanaians, majority of who are youths are out to endorse first, his candidature as the presidential nominee of the NPP and subsequent, the President of the Republic of Ghana.
Today, the Ken Agyapong Revolution thickens, keep soaring and hitting the entire sack of the geographical area called Ghana. Interestingly, areas that hitherto were considered no-go area for the Donpem show boy are all being “bewitched by the Ken Agyapong magic.” Do Mahama, Alan and Buwumia have answers the raging and growing Ken inferno? It’s so real!