Protocol Or No Protocol

“Those who manage the president’s speeches and everything which can affect his esteem in any form should be up to the task of their assignments because their opponents are  devilish and would do anything, we mean anything, no matter how debasing, to regain power.’’

Daily Guide Editorial

Monday, January 9, 2017


THESE ARE VERY INTERESTING TIMES, and things are happening in rapid succession- from last week Friday to date. Things are cascading. One may, naturally, expect everything happening to fall in line, that is, to follow ‘protocol’.

PROTOCOL is the official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions. There is another definition of protocol which relates to the terms of treaties. However, for the purpose of this piece, our concern is the first definition. Protocol deals with the correct etiquette regarding the appropriate behavior. It is the whole procedure, not just an aspect of it, thus, people who just pick the ‘introduction’ of personalities on a high table and end up saying’ all protocols observed’ surprise some of us because they will only have begun the programme.

You may remember Appiah Stadium. He was a die- hard NDC member who would draw attention to himself by shouting hoarse and proclaiming JM Toaso during the campaign period. He was the lone figure in the street between the Accra Conference Centre and the Parliament House when the ex-President’s Convoy was being escorted out of the Parliament House. Was it protocol? He bent down, shouting: “NDC, No shaking; NDC No shaking”. That should be cold comfort-but to whom?

On 7th January, 2016 J.J. Rawlings, the owner of the NDC, got up from his seat at Parliament House and walked towards Honourable Okoe Vanderpuije, to share pleasantries with him. On the 5th of January, J.J Rawlings had snubbed him as he (Rawlings) walked on the red carpet and Okoe Vanderpuije tried to walk bestride him. For all the information he had for Rawlings, he was not prepared to listen to him.

When the motion for the suspension of proceedings was moved by Honourable Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, Majority Leader in Parliament, Honourable Haruna Iddrisu did not immediately second it, he asked what would happen should there be war in the country, between 12 midnight and until the current President was sworn into office the morning after. The question was who would be the commander- in- chief?

Collecting ‘Accreditation Cards’ became a tough affair, a nightmare and until 10pm, some journalists and others had not received theirs at the ‘Accreditation Centre’.

When the D-day, 7th December, 2017 arrived, there was colour, pomp and pageantry. Nana Addo was resplendent in a Kente cloth whose origin could be traced to Kofi Dua Adonten’s home village, Bonwire or I could be wrong. While His Excellency Nana Addo swore on the Bible, His Excellency Bawumia swore on the Koran, but ‘God’ remained ‘God’. To His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, ‘welfare’ was synonymous with ‘well- being’, and he could not be faulted. It was ‘Asem papa bi a m’ate’,  (it was  good news that I had heard).

Dignitaries were arriving after His Excellency had taken his seat, but goodwill was written on the faces of all around, Mahama could not be spared: the ‘Away, Mahama’ taunt- and that was quite unkind and unprotocol-like.

‘All roads lead to Rome’ was a medieval episode of all roads in the Roman Empire leading to Rome the Milliarium Auverium. On Sunday, 8th January, all roads led to Kyebi- for the thanksgiving service –to thank God for having been merciful to Ghana and for having helped us choose a new President with little loss.

It was an occasion to thank God for a successful inauguration of the President and members of his government. The Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle Dr Opoku Onyinah, the main preacher chose the theme of his sermon ‘covetousness’, He advised politicians to eschew greed, excessive love for money and property. That was very much in line with what the President had always been hammering on.

The host, Okyenhene Amoatia related the historical contribution of Okyeman in the politics of Ghana, and specifically that of Dr. J.B. Danquah (the Doyen of Ghanaian Politics, William Ofori Attah and Akufo Addo, the President’s father who himself was President of Ghana in the 2nd Republic (1970-1972). The President asked for prayers for himself and his government – and, of course, for his family, as well as the First and Second Ladies. That was after he had extolled the great contributions of his great ancestors including Dr J.B. Danquah who revealed our links with the Ancient Ghana Empire, and, therefore, proposed the renaming of our country as Ghana from Gold Coast on independence and Gold Coast became Ghana

The inaugural address by the President last Saturday has generated a great deal of heat– some would say brouhaha– resulting from portions alleged to have been plagiarized. From Lincoln, Wilson, Bush, Clinton’s inaugural addresses—all American Presidents. And our Constitution has been modelled on the American one! For some people, it is only a storm in a teacup; for others, the plagiarized portions were so serious that the whole address should be jettisoned. The apology of the speech writer, Eugene Arhin has fallen on deaf ears, especially as the plagiarized part has caught the attention of the international media. People are arguing as if they were authority on ‘Discourse Analysis;

The Roman poet, Martial, popularized the word plagiarius’ (Latin: kidnapper) accusing other people of having ‘ kidnapped his verses’, especially from ‘Epigrams’ in AD 100. Martial wrote: “I live in a little cell, with a window that won’t even close. In a piece he wrote to Fidentinus, he remarked: “Fame has it that you, Fidentinus, recite my books to the crowd as if none other than your own. If you are willing that they be called mine, I’ll send you the poems for free” He added that he would give him the authorship if he were prepared to pay for it. No matter where the argument falls, it is hoped the present administration may have learnt its lesson to make sure no one falls prey to avoidable foibles, including ‘wrongful appropriation’ of another author’s work.

It is good ex-President John Dramani Mahama has written to the Jubilee House about withdrawing his earlier request for the bungalow he is occupying. For that gesture, there will be no more discussion on it. We will only say: Amen

The ministers- designate are popping up one after the other. Beautiful and fine. Did I hear someone say: “Your time will come”? I think I did.

 Africanus Owusu-Ansah