12.10.2004 Feature Article

The December Contest Of The Doctors.

The December Contest Of The Doctors.
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The December election in Ghana is shaping up to be contest of the Doctors. And not just in the presidential candidates even though three leading parties, the NPP, NDC and the PNC have Doctors as their candidates. The supporting casts of party executives, parliamentary candidates and advisors are filled with considerable numbers of the Doctors. In a way, we could boil down the elections to a showdown, the outcome of which will be determined by which party has the greatest number of the Doctors in its arsenal.

Ghanaians generally love titles but the Doctor title has a special place in our hearts and minds, especially the venerable Doctor of Phiosophy (Ph. D.) or Doctor of Law. LL.D.) To the masses, colonial oppression and superiority was a result of the White man's superiority in book knowledge. When a blackman acquired a Doctor of Philosophy, or the Doctor of Letters, therefore, he had reached the pinnacle of knowledge, he owned the Book, knew it inside out much like the medical doctors who seemed to know the human body and its ailments inside out. In short he had become like the white man to our gullible masses.

In politics, the doctorate, whether earned or acquired through the backdoor, can be a powerful weapon. Without it you need cash or other respected connection to be a somebody. With it you acquire an aura of invincibility; you become a bastion of knowledge. But if you don't have one, or can't acquire it through the backdoor, then a military rank can serve to shore up your lack of intellectual prowess. For example promoting oneself from Lt. Colonel to General – priceless. Or you could do it the new-fashioned way like the Master Sergeant in Liberia who after seizing power went and saw the old woman and then metamorphosed into Doctor Samuel Doe, complete with a formidable afro and impeccable sartorial enhancements.

And that is why at independence, when the Osagyefo was faced with the indomitable array of Doctor Danquah and Doctor Busia, he too went and consulted the old woman and then he came back with his own doctorate. Then he one-upped Danquah and Busia by tagging on the Osagyefo title, and he was made God. Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Fount of Honor! He knew that the Osagyefo title was not given in school, and they don't award it honorarily.

Since the Osagyefo, we have seen an alternation of Generals and Doctors. The Generals don't interest us much here for they were not brave enough to do the right thing and enhance their pedigrees into the doctorate. It is the Doctors who have us completely mesmerized. Like the great Doctor. Busia who doctored the economy into devaluation and after only two years of believing that colonization was ultimately good for Ghanaians, was rooted out into obscurity by a surgical team of disgruntled soon-to-be-generals.

Then there was Doctor Hilla Liman, alumnus of London School of Economics; the President of the 3rd republic who thought the Presidency was just like chewing goro. Fortunately, he was pleasantly surprised from his somnambulistic traipse by the greatest of them all, the Flight Lieutenant who was frantically seeking a short cut to Doctorhood.

In the case of the Osagyefo, we can say he deserved his honorary doctorate. We shall never forget the work he did to liberate Africa from colonial political rule. But of late, some Ghanaian heads of state have been acquiring the doctorate without due deservation. And they use it without proper articulation; and that is why they deserve our sound condemnation. These are the Shakala4 doctors! Take Flight Lieutenant Lord Boom for instance. After 20 years of creating for Ghana the singular distinction of Africa's success story which could not feed itself, after taking Ghana from the brink of bankruptcy, through the brink of bankruptcy, and back to the brink of bankruptcy, they awarded him, not one, but two honorary doctorate degrees!5 And we thought the venerable degree was awarded for competence! To his credit though, he put some fly-overs6 on Accra's roads.

How does one wear two doctorate titles? That's a tough one for the Flight Lieutenant being that we Ghanaians want our heroes to wear their titles on their sleeves. Flight-Lieutenant Lord Boom Doctor Doctor. Other permutations lend themselves readily to ear. Like Doctor Flight Lieutenant Doctor Lord Boom. Or Doctor Flight Doctor Lieutenant, Lord Boom. The capabilities are endless! But then a problem arises. What if Lord Boom's wife is accompanying him to a function and they both have to be announced. After all, she also went to visit an old woman and emerged with her own honorary doctorate.

His and Her Excellency Doctor Doctor, Doctor Lord and Lady Boom! Mathematics does simplify it for us though. They could just be His and Her Excellencies, Doctor(3) (Doctor cubed) Lord and Lady Boom! A sweet one there!

But not just Lord Boom; Wofa Jak has decided to join the bandwagon of Doctors. And where did he go find it? Humble old Cape Vars, an institution whose self-image jousts perennially with an inferiority complex in its relationship with the older universities. To shore up their self-esteem, the teacher-trainers have anointed Wofa with the Doctor of Laws. In response, Doctor Wofa ordered breakfast prayer meetings all over the country to pray for divine intervention in the demise of the country? A Reverend title would have sufficed, you know. Not long after this endoctorment the University of Science and Technology, all pumped up with pride, decided it was the fifth best university in the world. Henceforth they would manufacture 60 Doctors of Philosophy a year instead of the one-a-year they have been used to as the 5th best university in the world.

Now behold, the elections are upon us and the Doctors have lined up to give us the wisdom of their learning and experiences. In response, the people have gathered on the field, eager to be filled with election promises, and then judge which bunch of doctors shall inherit the Osagyefo Doctor's country.

Doctor Poodle has vowed to the people of Cape Coast that he will find the murderer of a dead Dagomba traditional chief. He is backed by Doctor Doctor Lord Boom, who is preoccupied with explaining to his fans that he does not want to be President. Not far away is Doctor Batakari of the PNC, who went to his home area, one of the poorest districts in the country, to announce that if they cast their votes for him, he would sell the presidential cars and walk to the Castle daily. Cruising around them with centripetal wariness is Doctor Wofa Jak, dexterously intent on avoiding the fusillade of accusations of corruption, poor economic performance, intimidation, et cetera et cetera, from the combined wrath of all the other Doctors. He wears the privileges of incumbency as snugly as the tailored suits he employs on his begging expeditions abroad. And what a fine figure he cuts as he breezily campaigns through the impoverished communities of Ghana's heartland promising the people water, toilets, electricity, schools and tractors in exchange for their envy and vote. The election atmosphere is severely charged! The stakes are high. The arsenals are let loose and the Doctors are on the rampage in a hellish inter-faculty brawl with Mammon as the judge.

However, the venerable Wofa Badu, Chief Apache of the akpa - tses9 of Kwaebibirem, decided he had heard enough and he made a prophetic statement. In his illiterate wisdom, he reasoned that the more Doctors Ghana has in government and politics, the less the development of the country. We who are blessed with mathematically savvy proudly informed Wofa Badu that he had developed a new mathematical relationship: the number of Doctors in the government and politics is inversely proportional to progress in the country. And Wofa rejoiced and hoped his imminent fame might bring in some much needed foreign exchange to complement the paltry US$60 he received from the disbursement of HIPC funds by Doctor Wofa Jak. He would invest more funds in his growing herd of oboyaa!!

Surprisingly, it is the political parties who don't have the Doctors as presidential candidates that seem to have a lot to say. Some of them are taking the little they have to say, and saying it so loud that they are beginning to sound like the Doctors. Take Dinosaur Dan and his Ghana Not-Consolidated-Anything Party, for instance. Drowned out by the cacophony of the prizefighting between Doctors Poodle, Boom, Jak and Batakari, he promised to raise Ghana's GDP from 8 Billion dollars to 810 billion dollars in the next four years, if elected. Unfortunately, the only person who believes him is Kutu Acheampong and the acolytes of Operation Feed Yourself, which Dinosaur Dan says was his own brain child. Too bad, Kutu is long very dead, and dead men don't vote and too many people are more familiar with Operation Can't Feed Yourself, the creed of the post-Kutu Doctors.

While we may slight the Dinosaur for this euphoric burst of political senility, we must forgive him for sounding like one of the Doctors. After all he is only trying to play catch up to people like the indomitable Doctor Tony of the NDC. Looking Ghanaians straight in the eye, the noisiest barrel in the NDC camp next to Lord Boom himself, pronounced in Kumasi that the NDC, if voted in power will not 'toe the IMF and World Bank line'. In only four years Dr Tony has forgotten that the NDC is the legitimization of PNDC military rule through the agency of World Bank loans and tutelage. But then we must pardon Doctor Tony's flights of fancy, after all, he has the thing – the doctorate!!

As for the Osagyefo's old party the CPP, they don't have a doctor presidential candidate, but their arsenal is by no means lacking in them. They don't say much these days. Could be because Osagyefo's heirs are now led by a security-conscious Security Company owner with a very ominous sounding middle name that portends an unquenchable lust for money!

Adweaa!! And that is why I say, that is the reason for Wofa Badu's ill-fated visit to the hospital when his wife contracted swine fever after decades of rearing the previously mentioned oboyaa. He told the white Roman Catholic doctor that, “Doctor, Doctor, my wife is Akosua Kumaa, obowa mogya kenten”.

(She can cough a wicker basket full of blood) And the doctor incredulously asked, “Whaaat” Wofa Badu perked up and imperiously announced to his wife, “Akosua, ose yen tie oh ooh”. (Akosua, he said we should listen attentively.) Exasperated, the doctor said, “Don't be silly”. Reaching into Akosua Kuma's wallet which was always hidden in her copious bosom, Wofa announced in triumph, “ ose yen fa siren mmra”. (He said we should give him a shilling) In great bewilderment, but mesmerized by her husband's ability to comprehend and communicate with a white doctor, Akosua Kuma sweetly smiled and demurely proffered in her best English, “kro-kro-dile”. Seconds later, an articulated truck, an eighteen-wheeler tractor-trailer, crashed through the doctor's office and killed them all!

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