The Ghanaian governance system has developed with many weird tales and suspicions that have over the years developed into a genre of imaginary fixation of fabled theories to the otherwise serious business of government.
In other instances, some of the stories proved not to be ordinary tales. To what some considered to be just fables, events later proved how real, factual and truthful some of the rumours were; just as factual as day and night.
And so it happened that in the First Republic, Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was labelled on many fronts; with some arguing that he has mystical powers that make him change colours at any time he finds his life to be in danger.
The first Republican constitution did not recognize the position of a President. That position was introduced in the Third Republic where Dr. Hilla Limann was the President, with Prof. J.W.S de-Graft Johnson as Vice President.
It’s the believe that Nkrumah did not want to create any possible successor who would be eyeing his seat in event of any eventuality. Nkrumah’s adversaries therefore, put out stories that he trusted the Omanhene of the Ekumfi traditional area, Nana Akyen, to deputize for him anytime he was out of the country.
It was same mysticism that some Ghanaians believe Generals, Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka and Akwasi Amankwaah Afrifa relied on to fortify themselves before they managed to overthrow the Nkrumah administration.
There is even the suspicion that the 17th April 1967 abortive coup that was intended to overthrow the National Redemption Council (NRC) government of Kotoka and Afrifa was masterminded by General Afrifa himself. In that coup, the first casualty was General Kotoka, the then chairman of the NRC. In fact, he was killed by elements of the Lt. Arthur and Lt Yeboah coup.
Quickly, the coup was foiled by Afrifa and his troops. The rumour mill had that Afrifa pushed the young serving officers into the coup fray because he wanted to get rid of Kotoka. How true that was, became conjecturing guessing game among the regular Ghanaian rumour mongers.
Indeed, Afrifa momentarily, became the head of state until a decision was made that the leading army ranked officer at the time, General E.A. Ankrah took over the reign of power.
General Kutu Acheampong was accused of propping up his protégé, Colonel Roger Feli to succeed him. Until Acheampong’s overthrow, Col Feli was the Foreign Affairs Commissioner, a position many believe, should have been given to any one of the many serving Generals in the Ghana Armed Forces.
Alhaji Imoro Egala, was said to have smuggled his nephew, Dr. Hilla Limann to be the presidential candidate of the People’s National Party (PNP) which eventually won the 1979 3rd Republican elections. Unfortunately for Dr. Limann, Alhaji Egala died immediately after Limann’s election.
That gave the chance, it’s argued, for the hawkish elements in the PNP, who opposed Limann’s candidature at birth to team up with other anti-forces to overthrow Limann’s government.
It was therefore not surprising that many PNP people found their way into the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government that was set up by Jerry Rawlings and his other coup plotters, after the overthrow of Limann.
It was the contention of many that the only possible way to get to Jerry Rawlings in the heady days of the PNDC revolution was to see lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata for proper screening and a way of passage.
Later that role, the rumour mill had it that, was played by Captain Kojo Tsikata, the cousin of Tsatsu Tsikata. During the first National Democratic civilian administration of the 4th Republic headed by the same Jerry Rawlings, the name of then, first Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings featured as the person that can guarantee one a Rawlings ears. No one else!
Most of the Ghanaian media referred to Nana Konadu as the “She Who Must be, Obeyed”, to wit, the person wielding all powers in the NDC administration at the time. You can’t get through to the husband—Jerry Rawlings, without the approval of the former First Lady.
It was even funnily suggested in a section of the media that the former Sports Minister, Enoch Tei Mensah was the barber of the former President.
The most powerful man in the Kufuor administration was said to be then Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani. Not even the sitting President, it was gossiped around town, had “powers more than Mpiani”.
There was even the rumour that Mpaini could change ministerial appointments on the blind side of the President and cause it to be announced. And it would be done; and there was very little President Kufuor could do or act. Mpiani was often referred to as the de-facto Prime Minister.
In President Atta Mills’ administration, Koku Anyidoho became so powerful that he was often referred to as the vice president, although there was a sitting vice president in the person of Mr. John Dramani Mahama.
There is this gist that once Koku Anyido was on his way to the office of President Mills when he saw Mahama too on his way to the office of the President. The rumour has it that he asked Mahama to stop on the way for him to pass before Mahama moved or passed.
It might not be true though. But the extent of power Koku wielded at the time gave cause, for some people to misconstrue any action or move that he made. His public posturing fed into that suspicion.
Then came John Mahama and easily his brother was tagged as the alpha and omega of the Mahama administration. Ibrahim Mahama went down as one of the most vilified persons in Ghana because of the perception that he had become so powerful in his brother’s government.
Also, journalist, Stan Dogbe, was one other person that was seen as powerful as Ibrahim Mahama if not more in that administration. People even suggested that Stan could give orders to presidential entourage, when the President himself was not aware of.
The ‘GOD’ in the NPP that you need to go through before seeing the President
Gabby Otchere-Darko (GOD) is the cousin of the sitting President. He is touted to be the main anchor of the President. And why not? Gabby was brought from the UK to become the editor of the Statesman newspaper in 2004 by Nana Addo, who was then the publisher of the newspaper.
Gabby has since then been the mouth-piece of Nana Addo. Some party faithful see him as more of a Nana Addo faithful, than even the cause of the NPP. And perhaps that explains why Gabby has not been so enthusiastic about any party position.
He suffered at the hands of the police for the sake of his cousin, the President. That was during one of the many protests that the NPP organized against the NDC administration, while in opposition.
Gabby, was molested by the police detail that was deployed to ensure peace and order in one of the NPP protest marches. The police would later explain that Gabby paid the price for breaching the rules defining the march.
He virtually laid down his life on all four elections that his cousin participated in the Ghanaian presidential race; and although, the 2008 and 2012 elections eluded Nana Addo, Gabby led a team of other dedicated Akufo Addo adherents to ensure that Nana Addo won both the 2016 and 2020 elections.
Therefore, many were those who alluded to a Gabby supremacy in the Akufo Addo government even before the President could choose a team for his administration after the 2016 election. That means without a shred of evidence, Gabby was assumed, would become the “de-facto prime minister of Ghana”, even before the birth of his cousin’s administration.
Today, what seemed an innocuous suspicion, to some Ghanaians, does seem to becoming a reality. There is this joke in the NPP that nothing passes by the “GOD” if that is intended to reach the President.
In other words, before you get to the President, you need to touch base with the “GOD”. If you’re an MMDCE aspirant lobbying for the position, the first question that party people will be asking is “Have you seen GOD”? or “Go and talk to GOD”.
Perhaps, Gabby’s posturing is also stoking that belief among many Ghanaians. Often his postings on social media on programmes and activities of the President get at many people, including even some NPP folks. Some of Gabby’s arguments, it’s claimed, defy simple logic and understanding. It's simply patronaging.
But none can begrudge Gabby. That’s the height of absolute loyalty to a cause, and perhaps not too bothered for being referred to as the “de-facto prime minister" or "president by proxy".
After all, many had suffered same in the past and that reference isn’t going to stop even in the future since such coinages have become a part of our political genre.
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