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Flashback: The saga of John Benjamite

As I was having my quiet time this morning, I read Mathew Chapter 3, verses1 and 2, which goes as follows:

“In those days John the Baptist came shouting in the wilderness, ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.’ This is who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah…”

What intrigues me about this scripture is the shouting of John the Baptist in the wilderness. Shouting is sometimes good, and I think everybody especially politicians and diplomats should learn how to shout.

I have noted that with the exception of John the Mahamian, the one who comes from the Mahamas Island, most politicians and diplomats by the name John enjoy shouting. John the Peace Maker of blessed memory once shouted, “My brothers and sisters, as for me, I want peace. I’ll, therefore, not hesitate to turn my right cheek to anyone who slaps my left cheek.”

Sometime past, John the Jerrican also did a lot of shouting and labelled it positive defiance. About a decade and half ago, John the Goliath did some shouting too by accusing John the Jerrican of planning to prepare palm nut coup, eii, sorry, soup. This angered John the Jerrican so much that he called John the Goliath, Attaa Ayi.(compared him with a notorious thief.)

He also challenged John the Goliath to come out with evidence; he asked him to mention the saucepan and ingredients to be used for the coup, oops, sorry, soup. Was he going to use kpakpo shito, prekese or dawadawa? This misunderstanding have brought ill-will between the two Johns ever since.

In recent times, John the Benjamite, a diplomat is also doing a lot of shouting, and some people think his statements are tacitly lopsided in favour of a particular group.

In spite of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 which bares diplomats from interfering with the internal affairs of countries they work in, some diplomats have and are contravening the convention, notorious among them is Craig Murray, the former Deputy High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Ghana.

Envoy Murray caused a lot of controversy during the 2000 general elections in Ghana which brought the NPP to power. He slept at the offices of the Electoral Commission during the collation of the election results, claiming that the EC is manipulating the results in favour of the then ruling NDC government; an action the NDC condemned as undiplomatic.

Interestingly, as soon as the NPP lost power in 2008, Craig Murray claimed on an Accra-based radio station, Oman FM that the Kufour government was corrupt, and that it paid US$80 million to Zhakem International Construction Limited for no work done. This confirms the point I have been making that the West does not have a permanent interest in any political party; their permanent interest has always been to suppress developing countries.

Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, the former Chief of Staff and Presidential Affairs Minister, was angered by this, and made some interesting revelations. According to him, his government awarded contracts to Mr. Craig Murray not on merit, but on basis of humanitarian grounds to enable him pay his debts, which he was having sleepless nights over. According to Mr. Mpiani, the intervention was done when Craig made an appeal to the then President Kufour, and explained his difficulties.

Mr. Mpiani went further: “I do not want to tell Ghanaians what you are because if I do, they will drive you out. Your wife is currently holding a Ghanaian passport. How did your wife come to have the passport?

“You are talking about people being corrupt. Talk about yourself. How did your wife come to get a Ghanaian passport. Why are you doing this? Some people will think maybe something is wrong with your mind?”

“NPP comes; you are doing the same thing. NPP goes; you are doing the same thing. Ghanaians are getting tired of you.”

It is said that once bitten, twice shy; and it is perhaps based on this that some people are worried about the behaviour of John the Benjamite.

Tongues are wagging oo, Ghanafuo kasa. People are alleging that the Benjamite is in bed with Yaanom, and that he is behind a plan for Yaanom to declare their own results in this year’s elections, using an Accra-based private radio station which has many affiliate stations all over the country; and that a test run for the strategy was made on April 1, this year on that station. They claimed the test run was an “April fool”. Kikikikiki, do you remember my girlfriend, Multilydia?

In conclusion, I wish to admonish John the Benjamite that the people of Ghana are wide awake this time around, and have vowed not to have another Craig Murray on their hands. I like John the Benjamite, and I don’t want him to create the opportunity for people to call him obroni pete. If he does, Ghanaians will drive him out, as Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani would like to put it.

Anthony Obeng Afrane



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