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11.10.2021 Feature Article

Angel Treading Fear

Angel Treading Fear
11.10.2021 LISTEN

'Your children can be gays but we won’t allow you pollute our society.' I read that as a headline of a story on a news portal. Before that, a friend had called connecting me to signatories to a memo on gay rights that had been sent to Parliament. Knowing my association with some of the names, she wanted to know if I was a signatory too.

She is too young to know that the names Akoto Ampaw, Kwame Karikari and Takyiwaa Manuh go back years regarding integrity in the struggle for citizens' rights in the motherland. They are without angel treading fear. I am referring to a memo the bold and fearless threesome are said to have submitted to Parliament in support of LGBTQI emancipation in the motherland. The 'your children' MP was said to have been responding to the memo.

When my ears hear certain things, my fingers cannot wait touching letters on the keyboard. That is what happened when that friend phoned because she suspected I was part of a 'gay petition' to Parliament. She then threatened she wasn't going to speak to me again if I had been part of it.

As for the 'your children' man, I suspect he doesn't read as said about his group of congresspeople by a vice-president. 'Children' is politically sensitive because some, in this motherland, were made fatherless by the acts of those who killed to make the MP. I thought a lawmaker would talk about the memo before him and not the messengers' children. Same MP's benefactor, someone who made others' children fatherless, later shamelessly claimed his children's schooling in exclusive schools abroad was paid for by a friend.

Akoto Ampaw was the field general chief volunteer when students of the motherland decided in 1973 to spend their out-of-school time, helping to construct the Dawhenya and Okyereko irrigation dams. When we the official student leaders of the time would stay safe from ntontom (mosquito) at Tema Secondary School, off-site, during visits, Shey was holed up in a tent exposed to mosquitoes at the Dawhenya site. The young students were awestruck by the humility of Shey, a whole law student, descending and condescending from the ivory tower hill of Legon to the dam site. So, they composed a song: 'Shey Shey kpɔ kɛjɛ Legon bayɛ bunker,' to celebrate his gallantry.

Kwame Karikari has stuck to his principles (for which the PNDC threw him into prison) ever since I have known him as my senior at Komenda College in 1965 and my boss at the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, for over six years. It was at the University of Ghana too that I got to know Takyiwaa Manuh as a colleague. An outspoken equality advocate, nothing about her speaks to succumbing to bribery for riches.

None of the three, to my knowledge, has ever held on to any coattails of a president where they would skim money off the public purse to bribe their way into parliament. It's beyond any of them to take the poor compatriot's money to buy luxury cars and collect double salary. For being taken care of by the state, the lawmaker hypocrites should, in the least, learn to listen even as they lord it over the disadvantaged with their know-all but, in reality, know-little or nothing tyrannical attitudes.

These are three citizens, compatriots, indeed, more of 'commatriots' (filled with compassion and empathy), who would give their all for the public good. If they are strong and bold enough to tread where the angels dare not, it's because they are not courting government favours to feed off the motherland kitty. It's actually laughable Akoto Ampaw, Kwame Karikari and Takyiwaa Manuh would be prosecuting any agenda for money. They won't do that in their 60s and 70s when they didn't do that in their younger years!

My upbringing always makes me uncomfortable with what should be kept in the bedroom being openly exposed as debauched public discourse. I feel strongly that our little freedom to be ourselves in private must not be mixed up with what should be public. I am, however, also always reminded of my left-handed son being heartlessly caned by teachers to write with his right hand. Minorities must not be hounded and punished for being in the minority. But we must, at the same time, not encourage imposing on the public, in possibly a tyranny of the minority, what must be an individual's privacy.

It's been said that the fuugu wearer confuses Muslim identity. It must take something extraordinary to defy the physics law of like poles repel and unlike poles attract. So, who is actually born a male to love a male and female to love a female gets mixed up with who decides to exploit the male-female in all of us. We seem not to be able to tell where honam akɔnnɔ (lust) and Nyame abɔdeɛ (biology) can be separated.

To me, the stance of the trio (the selfless who have never surrendered to political office lures to join the looting of the state) is about oppressing the minority. If anyone has facts to dispute that, let them table them for conversation, discussion and debate. Those we pay and financially sustain to live in luxury, who don't read, should read and stop emotional outbursts in ignorance.

By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh

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