Read Time: 5 minutes
Captain Tsikata & Christine – Reflections of a Mentee
Imagine being holed up in the VIP Spelthorne Suite at Heathrow Airport for three hours with Ghana’s legendary Security Capo – Captain Kojo Tsikata!
Recounting her very first encounter in 1994/1995, Dr. Christine Amoako-Nuama, Minister for Environment, Science and Technology in the Rawlings administration, and later Advisor to two Presidents – Mills and Mahama – will break into laughter at the memory.
“It was very interesting, more for what was not said, than what was, beyond the initial pleasantries!” Dr. Amoako-Nuama recalled the somewhat anticlimatic silence that ensued. Complete silence for almost three hours, and with no cellular phones to provide a welcome distraction. Strikingly, Captain Tsikata could not have been ignorant of Dr. Amoako-Nuama’s identity, beyond her role as Minister in the Rawling’s government.
As it turns out, Mr. David Afful Bimpong, Dr. Amoako-Nuama’s first husband, had in 1972 been incarcerated by the Acheampong government together with Dr. Ofosu-Armaah for an attempted overthrow of the government. In prison, they met and forged a relationship with Captain Kojo Tsikata, also arrested on similar charges. However, on that quiet day at the VIP Lounge at Heathrow Airport, it was all typical Captain Kojo Tsikata fashion – taciturn, not saying more than was necessary, but missing nothing in his environment.
Indeed, Captain Kojo Tsikata’s arrest by the Acheampong government and extensive torture in solitary confinement for the initial six weeks, is recounted in his statement issued to the National Reconciliation Commission set up by President John Agyekum Kufuor. He narrates the efforts of “a panel chaired by Mr. Francis Poku, at the time a Deputy Superintendent of Police at the Special Branch” to extract, through torture, his confession about the alleged attempted overthrow of the government.
“Once, when I appeared before the Panel, Mr Francis Poku said he had orders from the SMC to beat me to death if I failed to write a confession along the lines he was suggesting and advised me to co-operate, as he did not want anybody’s death on his conscience. When I refused to write such a statement, he got angry, insulted me and asked Sergeant Boateng to take me to a special room upstairs. This was the torture room where I was immediately set upon by Sgt. Boateng, Cpl. Ebo Duncan, and Cpl. Seidu, and severely brutalized until I became unconscious. When I came round, I was lying in a pool of blood in the reception room downstairs. The next morning Mr. Francis Poku visited me in my cell and, pretending to apologize for what had happened the previous day, said that he had no alternative as he was under pressure from the SMC to get a confession from me.”
Fast forward to 2008 when Dr. Christine Amoako-Nuama and Captain Tsikata’s paths crossed again. This time, the encounter will be far more significant. What that first meeting failed to accomplish by way of an animated discussion, this second encounter more than made up for in a shared purpose – that of bringing Professor John Evans Atta Mills and the National Democratic Congress back to power after eight years in opposition.
“Back in 2008, Captain had decided that some women in the NDC had to be responsible for certain critical aspects of the campaign of our Flagbearer John Evans Atta Mills. He had also decided apparently that our victory in 2008 will be on a DEVELOPMENT AGENDA for Ghana,” narrated Dr. Amoako-Nuama. Mrs. Cecilia Johnson, Ms. Hannah Serwaa Tetteh, Mr. Larry Adjetey, the late Mr. P.V. Obeng and many others were all later drafted into the Atta Mills Project. Dr. Amoako-Nuama along with Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi, the late Mr. P. V. Obeng, Mr. Sam Garba and some others were tasked to oversee the Manifesto Drafting process. These initiatives kick start…
[11:20 pm, 12/12/2021] Mr Pratt: Ahmad is a four-year-old child, who lives in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. He lives in a family that struggles to provide the basics for a living. Like the majority of Gazans, Ahmed’s family depends on humanitarian aid to survive.
[11:35 pm, 12/12/2021] Mr Pratt: GHANAIAN HUMAN RIGHT UNDER THREAT, MASS ACTION NEEDED IMMEDIATELY
By Baffour Ankomah, Editor at Large, New African magazine, London
Ghana must be the first country in the world to insist that you can’t travel out of the country and into the country without having been fully vaccinated.
This worries me as a Ghanaian citizen because it is a serious violation of individual human rights. Nowhere in the world has this measure been instituted.
I am in Ghana as I write. I arrived here 2 weeks ago from Zimbabwe. I find to my pleasant surprise that most Ghanaians don’t wear masks because apparently the incidence of covid-19 is now very low in the country – almost gone, and life is returning gradually to normal.
So why are the authorities deciding to violate th…
[11:21 am, 13/12/2021] Mr Pratt: Mr Kojo Yankah writes:
Today, Ghana has been classified as one of the poorest countries to receive vaccines from India. Very well. As a country we need to be honest with ourselves and occasionally take a step back to reflect on the foundations that were laid at our independence. We need to inspire our youth that we haven’t always been poor. In my next book entitled “Pain and Faith in Our Motherland”, I mention some bitter truths: Kwame Nkrumah set up several scientific research institutes to drive our development. Food Science, Aquatic biology, Geology and Geophysics, Industrial Standards, Marine Fisheries. At the time of his overthrow in 1966, many more research institutes were in an advanced stage of physical development: The Institute of Glass and Ceramics, the Institute of Metallurgy, the Institute of Wild Life research, the Institute for Research Development and a Centre for the Production of Scientific Instruments.
When Dr Oku Ampofo, a western trained medical officer showed interest in Herbal Medicine, Dr Kwame Nkrumah sent him to China to study the Chinese Traditional Medicine, so he could establish the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine. By the time Dr Ampofo came back, Nkrumah had been kicked out of power. Dr Ampofo shelved his plans until Col Acheampong came to power in the early 70s before he set up the Manpong Centre. If as a nation, we had invested in all the Research institutes, like the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine, we could now support our Health System far beyond where we are at the moment. Where is the Academy of Sciences Kwame Nkrumah established ? Now we have diluted the impact the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology could have made on the country and Africa. The University of Cape Coast has to show us records and the reason for its establishment: it was set up in the early 60s as University of Science Education to train teachers in Science, with Egyptian Engineering Professor, Dr Bakhoum as first first principal. Not only was Bakhoum deported in 1966, the name and curricula of the Cape Coast university changed dramatically. Did we have to abandon everything Kwame Nkrumah established ? It is time we set Kwame Nkrumah as a benchmark and model for leadership in Africa and learn his ways. Ghana and Africa would not be beggars today if we had had the patience for him like Malaysia and Singapore did.