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Tamale NDC Youth Targeting of AlhajiInusahFuseini Is Unfair


Ghanaian politicians of all hues have been described variously as insufferable, corrupt, and largely tone-deaf to the needs and concerns of their constituents. With a sputtering economy and its attendant hardships, public anger at politicians is palpable; not surprisingly, politicians have increasingly become targets of unprovoked attacks.

The recent attack on Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources in Tamale best illustrates my point. Towards the end of 2013, whileon a routine visit to his constituency of Tamale Central, Inusah was confronted by a group of very agitated young men. In the ensuing melee, Fuseini escaped unscathed, but his bodyguard was reportedly pummeled senseless.This monstrosity unfortunate as it was, nonetheless,exposed the ugly underbelly of politics; it is a ‘dirty andbloody’ sport.
With the exception of a muffled condemnation from regional party elders in Tamale, the National Democratic Congress hierarchy in Accra inexplicably remained silent, failing to verbally dress down this band of young party thugs who thrive on mayhem and chaos. You would assume that given the violent nature of the attack, the wheels of justice would be set rolling, but the perpetrators have so far escaped justice. Nobody has been arrested for physically assaulting Fuseini’s bodyguard and the Tamale Police have not indicated any desire to go after them.

Apparently buoyed by the inaction of party hierarchy and law enforcement agencies, the young men went a step further; in December, 2013, parading under a supposedly Concerned Youth of NDC, they called for the dismissal of Fuseini. I gagged when I read the statement. The clamor for Fuseini’s dismissal was not only misguided, rude and contemptuous, it also revealed naivety and a certain lack of political sophistication.

Who do these young folks think they are; power players in the NDC?The whole episode smacks of opportunism and naked ambition; what exactly has Inusah done to earn the wrath of a few misguided knuckleheads? Well, he does not visit his constituency often enough, and when he does, he chooses to cool his heels in the cozy comfort of a hotel – these are the reasons trotted out by the Concerned Youth of NDC to anchor their call for Fuseini’s ouster. Are these folks serious? The absurdity of these charges are just stunning.

One wonders why the confrontation even occurred in the first place. I have known the minister for close to 30-plus years and therefore can vouch for his character and conduct. He is by all estimations a fairly decent individual, God-fearing and a dedicated civil servant. He visits his constituency often and does his absolute best to assist his constituents where and when he can.

Truth be told, there is simmering anger among some elements of the NDC in Tamale towards high ranking NDC politicians; Fuseini in particular has been singled out for vilification. He has been depicted as tight-fisted and uncompromising. One can therefore surmise that the attack on Fuseini was not spontaneous, it was well-orchestrated. The attackers were gunning for the minister and his visit to Tamale provided them with an opportunity to vent their pent up anger.

Constituents are unpredictable as they are mean-spirited, vulgar and rude. One moment they are smiling and patting you on the back for building that school, or sprucing up the only public toilet in the neighborhood, but the next moment they are savaging and vilifyingfor not coming up with the money they had requested to pay their wards’ school fees, throw a glittering wedding ceremony or hold a fancy baby-naming ceremony (suna). And the list goes on.

Let’s face this realism; constituents have unrealistic expectations of politicians. The assumption however mistaken is that politicians have access to vaults of cash, influence and privilege. Invariably, if you fail to meet their demands for cash, government contracts and other handouts, you become an easy target. They will smear your character and pin all kinds of unsavory labels on you. This kind of attitude encourages corruption, a vice that has bedeviled the country and continues to be the bane of our economy.

I have chastened Ghanaian politicians in my columns for almost a decade; northern politicians have particularly come in for sharp rebuke for their seemingly inability to get ‘things done.’ Allow me to be brutally frank here, folks, my criticisms occasionally go overboard, but there are other times when the satisfaction I feel in highlighting the inadequacies of our political system and those elected to service it is indescribable. That saidthere is one thing that I will never advocate in my columns and that is, calling for the ouster of a duly elected politician, especially one who has not broken the laws of the land.

I concede that times are tough in Ghana and particularly so in Tamale where the unemployment rate is twice the national average. The ranks of the young in Tamale and its immediate environs are filled with the unemployed. Fuseini and other northern politicians have to find a way to create more jobs to absorb the teeming numbers of young people in Tamale. Otherwise, they risk the kind of attacks we have seen against Fuseini.

However, attacking a minister of state is certainly not the best way to draw attention to the plight of the unemployed youth. Aggrieved young members of the NDC should engage in sustained dialogues with the upper echelons of the party to ferret out their differences and find reasonable solutions. That is the only way out of their present dilemma.


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