JOHN (II) Agyekum Kufuor made good his promise on Monday and attended the inauguration of John (IV) Dramani Mahama as the fourth president of the Fourth Republic of Ghana.
On Wednesday January 2, 2013, a joint meeting of the National Executive Committee /Elders Committee of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ordered all members and supporters of the party to boycott the swearing-in of President-elect John Mahama, scheduled for Monday, January 7, 2013.
The party was afraid that attendance at the inauguration would undermine its rejection of the result of the December 7, 2012 Presidential Election, based on which John Dramani Mahama was declared President-elect by the Electoral Commission, and the annulment of which the party has filed a writ at the Supreme Court.
"Are these elephant people serious", the people would have asked. "Why are they causing tension in the country by rejecting the result of the presidential election and filing a writ at the Supreme Court if they would attend the inauguration of the man they claim did not win the election for which he was being sworn?"
The rationale, therefore, was okay, despite the fact that it undermined national cohesion. Ex-President Kufuor, who was part of the meeting, however, had a problem with the ban. He explained why he ought to attend the inauguration and the meeting saw reason with him and consequently made him the only exception to the ban.
Ex-president Kufuor consequently informed the public of his position after the announcement of the ban on all NPP supporters. The NPP faithful raised umbrage and besieged his house the next morning, vowing that he would have to drive over them to leave the house for the Black Star Square, venue of the ceremony. In an audience with his fellow party men, he explained his predicament to them; they seemed to sympathise with his position and the siege was called off.
However, in the morning of the inauguration, another group of NPP supporters, or possibly the same previous group cordoned off Kufuor's residence in an attempt to prevent him from going for the Mahama inauguration.
He eventually made it. The Chronicle is happy for him that he kept his resolve in the face of unthinking opposition and re-established his credentials as a statesman who ought to rise above naked partisanship. If he had not, he would have regrettably lost all claim to being a statesman.
In the considered view of The Chronicle ex-President Kufuor deeply dented his claim to being a statesman in the controversy over the EC's insistence on carrying out its constitutional mandate to create 45 constituencies for inclusion in Election 2012.
On that occasion, many who saw him on TV arguing for the NPP position for the EC not to create the new constituencies, perceived him as inciting NPP supporters to violence with his threats to the EC Chairman, Kwadwo Afari-Djan.
The Chronicle believes it is the flak he received then, both locally and internationally, after that display that mainly informed his resolve to attend the presidential swearing-in on Monday. Our advice to him, for what it is worth, is to remember always that his eight years in the Executive Office of Ghana and his sterling contribution to a peaceful transition after him, have raised him to such Olympian heights that he cannot allow himself to be blackmailed into sacrificing for anyone.
And may be those NPP supporters, calling themselves the "Young Patriots", would consider adopting the new description of "Young Elephants". Real patriotism is always in the national interest - the sort that ex-President Kufuor boldly displayed on Monday.
That is what the Roman poet, Horace, referred to when he wrote: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - It is sweet and right to die for your country". No true patriot should stand in the way of another wishing to live or die for his or her country.
A word to the wise ...