New Force suffers a puncture

Do leaders of masked groups remove their disguise or announce themselves?

Unless there was some political advantage to be gained, I was surprised that the man behind the New Force mask unmasked himself so soon.

What some of us had been told was that it was not a political movement, as in partisan politics, but a pressure group.

At this stage of our development, Ghanaians don’t need a political saviour, because there will never be one: see how “Junior Jesus” – the most loved of all our saviours and redeemers – failed us so badly! 

Has the New Force been deflated? Let me unmask myself: after the revelation that its Spokesperson, the Belgian lady, Shalimar Abbiusi, obtained her residence permit under false pretences, I lost all faith in the genuineness of the group.

Perhaps this Cheddar man had no means of knowing the circumstances under which she obtained her travel documents, but as the leader of a moralist movement promising moral change I thought the last thing to do was to mass a crowd on the court premises to protest her arrest.

Again, I ask: has the ego of the New Force been punctured?  The most shocking piece of news for me this decade is the charge of “plagiarism and intellectual theft” levelled against Kenyan Law Professor Prof. Patrick Loch Otieno (P.L.O.) Lumumba, one of the loudest anti-graft crusaders I ever had the privilege to listen to.


A Kenyan constitutional human rights lawyer, Wachira Maina, has successfully sued P.L.O. for plagiarising an article he wrote, which was published in an East African newspaper.

Maina says Lumumba wrote an essay titled, ‘From Jurisprudence to Poliprudence: the Kenyan Presidential Election Petition 2013’, and that nearly 5,000 words of the 10,000-word essay were lifted from an article he wrote, published on April 20, last year.

Maina wants the court to declare that Lumumba’s conduct undermined values and principles of public service, hence bar him from holding public office.

I had prayed that we would wake up the next morning to news that the Professor had rubbished the story.

But no.

Hours later, the worst happened.

News filtered in later confirmed that “Lumumba is expected to write by himself or through a counsel, a suitable letter of correction … directing the Law Society of Kenya, the Attorney-General, the Kenya School of Law, Law Africa Publishing (K) Ltd to immediately recall and delete” the article from the journal.

The Professor’s case is relevant to us in Ghana not only because of his sudden rise to fame here from his brilliantly and passionately delivered lectures but also because he was one of the speakers listed for the Convention planned by the New Force Movement but which was aborted at the eleventh hour by government. 

My take on the two incidents involving persons associated with the New Force Movement: “He who comes to equity must come with clean hands”.

Remember that from a moral high ground, the New Force had written to condemn the politician who was thought to have claimed to be man in the mask.

They described his action as “reprehensible and indicative of a lack of credibility, which undermines his ability to lead a new political vision.”


For me, the two incidents are morality issues and I bring them up only to juxtapose them against the action by Germany’s Ambassador to Zambia, Anne Wagner-Mitchell who reportedly returned a gift box she received from the boss of an unnamed Zambian company.

The gift box contained electronic gadgets, including a power bank, a flash drive and a thermos flask. 

She returned the gift box and wrote on her X-page that “as a public official, I’m compelled to avoid even the appearance of gaining any personal advantage or to be susceptible to influence with regard to official duties. Return to sender.”

To the CEO, the Ambassador made a plea: “Please, do not send me any gift in the future. I am sure the money spent on these gifts would be highly appreciated as a donation to a charity caring for the most vulnerable and poor of Zambia’s society.” 

These are words I expected to read from President Mahama when the Burkinabe contractor offered him a $100,000 Ford Pathfinder, and from Rawlings when Abacha offered him those millions of dollars. 

Having said all of the above, methinks Ghana government’s action to cancel the Convention planned by the New Force was needless.

Such ill-advised actions create unintended heroes.

Why, for instance, should a simple question by a journalist at a press conference in the heady days of the Rawlings military rule send the journalist to prison without trial? How was Kume Preko ever going to be a platform for a forcible change of government? 

Akufo-Addo knows the answer to the last question; that is why it is difficult to fathom an explanation for the last-minute cancellation of last week’s ‘Convention’ called by the New Force. 

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