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The Moving Spirit Of Kennedy Ohene Agyapong
 
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13-Aug-2017  
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The Moving Spirit Of Kennedy Ohene Agyapong (1)


“I know the responsibility, I know the expectations, I know the legacy, I know what is behind me. I know the history of this club. I know what the fans expect of me. This challenge doesn’t make me nervous because of my history over the last 10 years. It comes at the right time in my career. I feel stable and have great motivation. I am where I want to be.”

–Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United Football Club

If there is one politician in living memory who is equally loved and hated, embraced and despised, admired and vilified, treated with sainthood and infamy by a cross section of Ghanaians in equal measure by the political divide, then it is the irrepressible, irresistible, ubiquitous, vociferous, urbane, fearless, affable, boisterous and philanthropist to boot Kennedy Ohene Agyapong otherwise known as Akompreko. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong with Lawyer Adomako Baafi and Kwame Boafoh, alias Abronye formed the famous Three Musketeers – Athos, Porthosand Aramis – of NPP with Charles Owusu of PPP bringing up the rear as d’Artagnan of the group. Their pre-election verbal escapades arguably caused the greatest damage to the fortunes of the NDC and contributed most to the victory of the NPP. They used their oratory powers backed by research and well-reasoned arguments to demolish all the lies, propaganda and evil and satanic moves of the NDC and the Electoral Commission

Kennedy Ohene Agyapong is the sitting member of Parliament of Assin Central with its headquarters at Assin Foso (pronounced Fosu). To a first time visitor from the rural area to Assin Foso, the town   appears to be very prosperous one. However to the discerning observer, it is a deprived hamlet. The main “highway” from Cape coast, the capital of Central Region, to Kumasi, the capital of Ashanti Region, passes through Assin Foso. It used to be a vibrant commercial centre in the good old days when travelling by railway was a joy. Assin Foso lies at the centre of the defunct central railway line form Accra to Takoradi. The Cape Coast to Kumasi highway intersects with the railway line from Accra to Takoradi. Indeed, when I gained admission into Legon, my first trip to the School of Administration (now University of Ghana Business School) then housed on the Achimota campus was first by road from my holy paternal village of Adansi Brofoyedru to Assin Foso to join the train from Takoradi to Accra, the second segment of my journey and the final leg by tro-tro to Achimota

Assin Foso is currently living on its past glory. The town houses two important institutions, the national training school of the Ghana Immigration Service and Assin Foso College of Education which was originally meant to be a senior secondary school.  The town also houses many Catholic installations including hospital, nursing training school as well as a private nursing school. The Cape Coast – Kumasi highway stretches six kilometres through the town with the most visible installation at the Cape Coast end being the Assin Foso College of Education and that at the Kumasi end being the Melcom supermarket. Despite the renovations of petrol stations going on in the country, many of the petrol stations in the town are in form and shape which should not attract a discerning car owner to buy from them. Both sides of the entire stretch of the highway through the town have been converted into trading activities with numerous unsighted kiosks and tables  erected on the pedestrian walkways dangerously close to the highway causing not only an eyesore but also endangering the lives of  motorists, traders, buyers and pedestrians alike while creating an unacceptable traffic jam though the town.

Most of the road from Yamoransah Junction just after Cape Coast to Assin Praso, the border town between Central Region and Ashanti Region is currently in a very deplorable state. This is despite the millions of cedis spent on it by the PNDC government in re-constructing the road from Yamoransah Junction to Anwiankwanta, a town on the Obuasi – Kumasi highway, just beyond Ashanti Bekwai. Indeed before the road was handed over to the government by the South Korean contractors, the road had already started caving in. Fortunately, later on, the government secured a grant from the Japanese government which was used to re-construct the session between Adansi Praso and Anwiankwanta by a Japanese construction company making it one of the best roads in the country.

Just after the Assin Foso College of Education leading into the town is a police check point ironically decorated with numerous potholes. A recent attempt to fill the potholes looked like the work of a “one-man contractor”. The road leading out of the town towards Kumasi spots the construction of a huge facility which appears to be a factory. If indeed it is a factory, it should serve a good purpose in creating jobs for the people of the town. Overall, Assin Foso has the common appearance of most of our towns, a filthy organised disorder which should not be the case after sixty years of independence where almost all our communities and our daily lives are based on our past glory.

One serious irritant every driver encounters on the road from Yamoransah Junction to Praso is the multiplicity of police checkpoints. Just about three kilometres from Yamoransah Junction, a permanent police post has been created. Then after about 23 kilometres just immediately at the point where one turns to Mankessim, there is another permanent police post. Then there are two more, one as you enter Assin Foso and the other just as you leave Adansi Praso. These permanent police posts do not create much inconveniences as they are manned by policemen who most of the time display civility. The problem lies with the temporary police checkpoints which are mounted at the whims and caprices of the police establishment within Central Region. Indeed on a very bad day for drivers and good day for the police, one can count not less than three temporary police checkpoints between Abura Dunkwa, few kilometers from Yamoransah Junction and Assin Praso, a distant of less than 80 kilometres.

These temporary police checkpoints are very often mounted in curves, on top of hills and places where there is vegetation creating a sense of wellbeing, and either at the outskirts or within the centre of towns and villages where pedestrian movement is minimal. The ostensible purpose for these temporary police checkpoints is to check unauthorised drivers and vehicles as well as speeding drivers. However, the entire exercise ends up in police extortion of money from helpless drivers who have more serious and important appointments to meet and are thereof forced to pay bribes to earn their free movement without unnecessary impediment. Apart from extorting bribes from drivers, they also shamelessly beg for alms where they cannot find any fault with you. This type of police behaviour is also rampart on the Accra – Cape Coast road and it appears to be the hallmark of the Central Region police command.

 



The Moving Spirit Of Kennedy Ohene Agyapong (2)

“I know the responsibility, I know the expectations, I know the legacy, I know what is behind me. I know the history of this club. I know what the fans expect of me. This challenge doesn’t make me nervous because of my history over the last 10 years. It comes at the right time in my career. I feel stable and have great motivation. I am where I want to be.”

–Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United Football Club

The personality of the Assin Foso town does not march the personality of Kennedy Ohene Agyapong. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong is a person who does not need any introduction to people who keep close contact with the media and the political temperature in this country. Love him or hate, you cannot fail to recognise his guts, brazenness, bashfulness and swagger. To those who despise and hate him, he is reckless in his utterances and acts foolishly and yet so far nobody has effectively challenged him and stack any legal charge against him. To those who worship and love him, he is their hero who does not suffer fools easily and pulls no punches with the fools and corrupt in society he meets on his way.  My encounter with Kennedy Ohene Agyapong goes as far back as the first John Agyekum Kufuor NPP administration. It is a story worth telling in full.

During those days when the world market and the cedi dollar exchange rate were playing havoc with our petroleum industry resulting in the fluctuation of prices of petroleum products on the local market and therefore making planning difficult for our business sector, I came out with a petroleum pricing formula in this my column to solve the problem. My proposal was simple. At the beginning of the year the government should establish a hypothetical cedi-dollar exchange rate and a hypothetical crude oil price as a basis of pricing petroleum products in the country which will rule throughout the year. So, for example if at the beginning of the year the actual cedi-dollar exchange rate and world crude oil price were 2:1 and US$100 per barrel respectively, my suggestion was to assume an exchange rate of say 3:1 and crude oil price of US$120 per barrel respectively to form the basis of pricing petroleum products throughout the year.

This will result in surplus to the government during the early part of the year which should be put into a Petroleum Equalisation Fund Account. By the end of the year the exchange rate could have moved to say 3.6:1 and petroleum prices to US$ 130 per barrel which would result in deficit to the government. The surplus earned earlier and put into the Pertroleum Equalisation Fund Account would be used to defray the resultant deficit occurring during the latter part of the year. The mechanism would ensure uniform petroleum pricing throughout the year. Incidentally my suggestion later on became the basis for the establishment of the Petroleum Reserve Fund which was meant to defray the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) debt.

Then the NPP came to power and Albert Kan-Dapaah became the Minster of Energy. He became alarmed at the amount of fuel consumed at the petrol depot at the Castle. So he came out with instruction limiting the amount of fuel anybody could lift form the depot. I wrote in my column that he should not kid anybody because there was no way the petrol attendant at the depot could refuse the instruction of the Minster of Energy to fill his tank.  Then a few days later, when I went to the office, I received a message that the Minster of Energy had called me and left a telephone number for me to call. What came to my mind was he might not have felt happy with my article. I immediately called the number. The call went to the minister To my surprise, he told me that government had decided to establish a National Petroleum Tender Board (NPTB) and my name has come up as one of the persons to serve on the Board and he wanted my permission. He looked to me as person who speaks his mind and will say black if it is black and white if it is white. I said no sweat, after all it was national service. So that was how I ended up being a pioneer member of the NPTB.

We were sworn in by President Kufuor at the Castle. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong was one of the members of the new Board. It was at the swearing-in ceremony that we first met even though I doubt if we took notice of each other at that function. We had our first meeting at our adopted head office, a three bedroom flat housed in an old block of flats close to the  expansive compound of the Latter Day saints office complex without any rules and established conditions of service. The office is currently occupied by the National Peace Council. We started our job without any enabling Act.  From my earlier interaction with the Energy Board, (now Energy Commission), I knew there was something missing. I told my colleagues we could not operate without an enabling Act. I have had the opportunity to study the Act establishing the Energy Board and I felt we also needed an Act like that. So the government was informed of our fears. It took another four years for an Act to be enacted and by the time it was ready, the Act came with a new name: National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

As we started work, the group got to know each other better. I notice many things about Kennedy Ohene Agyapong. He was a non-conformist. There were times he will come to meetings in full western suit which could only have been purchased from some trendy Paris supermarket. Other times he will come in a political suit which appeared to have been sewn by an apprentice tailor at Assin Dompim. There were other times too he will come in shorts with open neck T-shirt looking like a school boy preparing to play truant. He appeared to be full of energy but was able to control it. The aura around him appeared to be like somebody who always wanted his presence felt. There were times one could sense some deep frustration within him. He appeared to be somebody at war with the establishment and he always made his view point clear without mincing words. He very often appeared to have some mischievous smile on his face which accentuated the handsome face God gave him. From the way he carried himself, there was no way anybody who did not know him could judge his weight in gold as far as his wealth was concerned.
 
 
Source: Kwame Gyasi/E-mail: macgyasi@gmail.com
 
 

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