“There are two things in life for which we are never fully prepared : wins” - Jash Billings
“If nature had arranged that husbands and wives should have children alternatively, there would never be more than three in a family”. - Laurence Housman
Pseudocyesis (false pregnancy), schizophrenia (disturbed thoughts), hallucinations (feelings of fright) paranoia (mental delusions of persecution, exaggerated self-importance, et cetera) may sound like gibberish (unintelligible words) or gobbledygook to those uneducated in Psychology. But in Psychology (typically Medical Psychology) one may frequently meet these words, and they may be wordplays or (neologism: new speech).
Much ink has been spilled on the Takoradi incident, involving Josephine Panyin Mensah and the manner by which she has deceived the 30million citizens of Ghana, with her false pregnancy, involving twins, and his fake capture (kidnap by unknown men and women).
As the events unraveled, the lady was seen in Axim, claiming her life had been spared by a spiritualist who would not want to sacrifice a twin or twins… then the question: where are the babies? Abducted by the kidnappers? The family members and the people in the neighbourhood swore that they had seen Josephine's pregnancy, they had not done any ultra-sound scan to view the images of organs, glands, abnormal lumps or unborn babies in the woman's womb. To them, Josephine was always spitting; was struggling to walk, et cetera. Josephine had deceived the world particularly Taadi Columbia with the aid of pregnancy prosthetics, commonly called silicon belly bought for only GH¢30.00. With the covered silicon belly, she had made the world believe that she was heavily pregnant.
Then the MP for the area, and the Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Otchere Darko Mensah stirred the hornet's nest and disclosed that Josephine was not pregnant – from top security and medical reports! Then, come, see. Curses, curses; insults, insults. Abracadabra: If the truth comes out and Josephine is pregnant, may the gods take away the doctors, the policemen and women and also the Western Regional Minister. If the truth comes out and Josephine is not pregnant, may the gods take us (Josephine, mother, husband, neighbours) away. More chanting. The Regional Minister was a non-performer. Afia Schwarzenegger stepped in using a five-letter word to call the Regional Minister, and claiming he was a puppet of the NPP government. She stated: “President, sack Kwabena Otchere Darko Mensah now and have him investigated. He is a suspect in the kidnapping of the pregnant woman…” And Captain Smart threw professional ethics to the dogs and grilled the Regional Minister for expressing doubts about Josephine's pregnancy. Captain Smart, speaking on Onua F.M. Breakfast Show, called on the Minister to resign or “be fired”. A resident of Columbia was upbeat about the police, the doctors and nurses all of whom insisted that Josephine was not pregnant! Where was her ante-natal card? Evidence, he who asserts must produce the evidence. We could spare Lawyer Amanliba for throwing a political jab at the Western regional Minister.
The husband of Josephine Michael Simmons could not stifle his tears: he could not fathom the “kidnapping” of his wife who had left home for a routine jogging around 5:00a.m. He reported the “kidnap” to the police. Then a call from an unknown person went to Josephine's mother demanding a ransom (how much? GH¢3,000.00?). Josephine was later found “abandoned” in the garden of the Jehovah's Witness Church at Tolanu, a suburb of Axim.
Josephine the victim of a “kidnap” became a suspect. At the court at Takoradi she was granted bail of GH¢50,000.00 with sureties, one of whom should be with justification.
Josephine's offence appears to be a misdemeanour and Article 14 (4) of the 1992 Constitution makes Josephine liable to bail: “If a person arrested, restricted or detained is not tried within a reasonable time, he shall be released, either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions, necessary to ensure his appearance at a later date for trial or for proceedings”. A bail with justification means the surety should show by property (especially landed property) that he has the ability to pay the bail bond if the principal suspect disappears.
The case has gone to court, so we are enjoined to be careful not to comment on it (except to highlight what has been made public). So now we know that Josephine has admitted to not being pregnant, and was only feigning pregnancy to save her marriage with Michael Simmons who is a caring husband. That the whole scheme was known by her mother… That all the actions, including her inability to talk except scribble her answers when found in Axim, were all a flim flam – perhaps, it was the psycho-social factors that pushed her to do what she did. In a society where they “celebrate” someone who has produced a tenth child, (Badu-Dwan) to go childless is considered a taboo. Barrenness is interpreted as a curse! And one is tempted to kowtow to societal pressure.
Kofi Akpaloo of the Liberal Party of Ghana waded into the controversy. He says: “The law must work. This lady shouldn't be spared at all, the mother, husband and whoever is concerned should be jailed to serve as a deterrent to like-minded Ghanaians who peddle falsehoods in the country.”
The “Takoradi Missing Girls” incident of December, 2018 is still fresh in our minds. Two suspects in the case, Samuel Udeotuk Wills and John Oji who were charged for kidnapping and murdering Ruth Abeka, 19, Priscilla Blessing Bentum, 21, Ruth Love Quayson, 18 and Priscilla Koranchie, 15, were sentenced to death in March, 2021. No wonder, the false pregnancy and kidnapping made everyone apprehensive, and Takoradi was attracting a tag of notoriety, keeping away investors.
Then there was this story of a school boy aged between 2 and 3 years who was nearly kidnapped by a woman in her forties in May 2018. Fortunately for the boy, his father happened to appear at the scene in the nick of time – just when the boy was being lured to board a taxi hired by the woman. What would have happened to this boy?
Josephine has pleaded not guilty to the charges of deceit of a public officer contrary to S 251 of the Criminal Offences Act, and also publishing false news with the intention of causing fear and panic. Kwame Baffoe (Abronye's) appeal for dealing with Josephine with soft gloves appears to have come rather too early, with Josephine's confession and plea of not guilty to the charges.
Did we hear someone say: “Nsem wo world”?
From Africanus Owusu-Ansah