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18.08.2004 Feature Article

Who stands for the "MMOBROWA"?

Who stands for the
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In the light of a minister's role in the attack on his domestic servant, I wonder who stands up for the "mmobrowa" in Ghana. The "mmobrowa" could mean the poor, the disadvantaged, the unfortunate, the uneducated, in fact all the people who do not "matter" in the eyes of our politicians, the rich and the powerful of our land. I am posing this question because the Minister of Interior, DISHONOURABLE Hackman Owusu Agyeman is privy to an open brutalization of his domestic help (house girl), and yet no one in law enforcement seems to be saying anything in Ghana about this criminal act.
Many house girls go through horrendous domestic abuse at the hands of their "taskmasters/mistresses", but when such unspeakable treatment occurs under the nose of a Minister of State, and one who pays policemen to arrest criminals to boot, it cannot simply go without comment. The man whose office supervises policemen and women to keep the citizens in line to obey the law is found wanting when it comes to obeying the law himself. This is an irony!
In Ghana, it appears there are three sets of laws for the citizens! There is one for the upper class of politicians, the rich and the powerful. The police are afraid to touch them. The police look away, or hide their faces, when these criminals show up at the police station, like they behaved when Mr. Owusu Agyeman dropped by at the Airport Police Station to berate them for releasing Ms. Turkson. Then, there seems to be a second set of laws for the Middle Class. This group of people could be arrested, or at least threatened with arrest. But if they can call the police's bluff, it is possible that if they bid generously they could get the police to "drop" their cases. Then there is the renowned class of my friends, the "mmobrowa". They are those, like Ms. Turkson, about whom no one cares. They are too "light" to merit any one's attention, especially if their malefactors are the rich and powerful of the land. And even when the rich and powerful hurt them, they the victims are the ones who end up in jail.
It has been several weeks now since Mr. Owusu Agyeman instructed his body guard to beat his servant. Even though this incident has been widely reported in Ghanaian media circles, there has been no comment from the Minster. You would think that if the man was innocent he would have called a press conference by now to clear the air. In the civilized democracies of the world, the Minister involved in this scandal would have long gone public with his resignation. Of course, for something as serious as the flagrant abuse that Hackman Owusu Agyeman and his body guard indulged in, they would be drinking orange juice in a Federal jail by now.
A few weeks ago when I challenged Mr. Owusu-Agyeman to focus his energies on more fruitful ministerial endeavours, I drew flak from one of his aides. He sought to know why I had the audacity to criticise the "Honourable Minister". I replied that our politicians, regardless of their wealth and education are still ordinary people WE put into office, who are therefore accountable to us. By that token, we can tell them our piece of mind whenever we deem it necessary. Isn't it precisely this kind of regal treatment we accord our politicians that mislead them into thinking that they are above the law and beyond its reach? That mindset must stop!
Of course Ghana's is not a civilized democracy. If it were, the President of the Republic, Mr. Kuffuor, would have fired the Minister by now, and/or a prosecutor's office would be putting a case together for a court arraignment. If we want to emulate the advanced democracies of the world, we must do so not just by mere rhetoric, but also in deed. Because this incident happened in Ghana, however, the most that the public might hear about this issue from the higher ups would be the "promise" of an investigation. And then that would be the last word we would hear. When democracy works in reality the following, however, is what happens:
Several years ago, US President Bill Clinton's secret service entourage was approaching an intersection in Washington D.C. without the usual Presidential motorcade sirens. Apparently, the President had frowned on his Secret Service's excessive use of the sirens to draw attention to him. But as they drove through the intersection on a red light they hit the side of a car proceeding through the green light, and caused an accident. The victim in the accident sued the White House Secret Service over the accident and the subsequent injury he suffered. The White House tried to get the judge to throw the case out of court, arguing that it was the President's security detail so the plaintiff was wrong to have proceeded through the intersection. The plaintiff, on the other hand, argued that since the Secret Service motorcade hadn't turned on their sirens, it was difficult to recognize the President as he approached the intersection. As this case was causing President Clinton's office a lot of embarrassment, he instructed the Secret Service to withdraw it from court. They did, and settled out of court, paying a reasonable settlement to the plaintiff.
Boy, that was democracy at work! An ordinary person sues the Secret Service for the President of the United States, and sends the President asking the plaintiff to accept a settlement. I know some will say that Ghana and the United States are at different stages in our democracies so I should stop comparing the two nations. Yes, I agree Ghana is no where near the United States, the world's bastion of democracy. But charity, they say, begins at home. If we cannot take the little things seriously, the bigger issues would overwhelm us because we will not have attempted to solve the easy ones.
A few weeks ago when I challenged Mr. Owusu-Agyeman to focus his energies on more fruitful ministerial endeavours, I drew flak from one of his aides. He sought to know why I had the audacity to criticise the "Honourable Minister". I replied that our politicians, regardless of their wealth and education, are still ordinary people WE put into office who are therefore accountable to us. By that token we can tell them our piece of mind whenever we deem it necessary. It is precisely because of the regal treatment we accord our politicians that they think they are above the law and beyond its reach. That mindset must stop! It seems to me that although democratic institutions have been put in place some of our political office holders are still acting as if Ghanaians live in a totalitarian state.
Folks, the bottom line is that someone needs to stand up for the "mmobrowa" of Ghana like Ms. Turkson if we are going to get serious with our democracy. Or better still, if the "mmobrowa" start barking, someone should notice and take action. B.K. Obeng-Diawuoh Bardstown, Kentucky USA Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.


B.K. Obeng-Diawuoh
B.K. Obeng-Diawuoh, © 2004

The author has 16 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: BKObengDiawuoh

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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