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14.04.2009 Feature Article

The Gladys Madzaka drama: So shines a good deed

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“So shines a good deed in a naughty world”-Portia in Shakespeare's play THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. Even before I start commenting on the case of Ms. Gladys Madzaka, I strongly believe that apologies are in order. In my last week's article entitled NOT ONLY ISSAH MOBILA BUT MAURICE KPIEBARREH TOO, and published in The Chronicle of Monday, April 6, 2009, I referred to the case in which one Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Ebenezer Quaynor was alleged to have shot dead one Mr. Maurice Kpiebarreh, a senior officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, on June 24, 1999. I thought the case had not been finally determined by a court.

My attention has been drawn to the following facts. WO1 Ebenezer Quaynor was actually tried and sentenced to death in June 2000. In 2007, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, under an exercise of Presidential mercy, and WO1 Quaynor is currently serving his sentence at the Central Prisons in Kumasi.

In view of these veritable facts made available to me, I hereby most profusely and sincerely apologise to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was in power at the time, to ex-President J. J. Rawlings, to the then Vice President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, the families of Mr. Kpiebarreh and WO1 Quaynor (and WO1 Quaynor himself), for stirring up the pain they may want to forget, to ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor for not being aware of his exercise of presidential mercy, and to all those who may have been affected, one way or the other, by the remarks. If the case of the Kume Preko killings, in which Ahunu Honger and Jerry Opey died, has also been finally determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, then I also apologise.

Finally, I wish to thank my well-wisher, the “Good Samaritan” who took the time to phone me with the correct information about the death of Mr. Maurice Kpiebarreh, and the trial of WO1 Ebenezer Quaynor. By mutual agreement, I am reluctantly withholding the name of my well-wisher, at least for the time being. Now to Miss Gladys Madzaka.

This is the story of Ms. Gladys Madzaka, as told by the media, with the Daily Guide playing the major role. Up to the time of the memorable event, 23-year old Ms. Madzaka was a casual worker with a company in Accra. (By the way, is she 21 years or 23 years? The Daily Guide gives the two dates in its initial story published on Wednesday, April 12, 2009, and on Tuesday, April 7, 2009)

On the day in question, Ms. Madzaka had alighted from a 'tro-tro' bus and found a bag of money.

The Daily Guide report states, “According to ACP Awuni (Nima Divisional Police Commander), as the lady picked up the bag, a driver's mate who saw her tried to convince her to share the booty with him, but she refused and decided rather to hand it over to the police.” (Daily Guide-Wednesday, April 1, 2009)

When the driver's mate rallied other young men to try to take the money from her, she rebuffed the attempt and managed to get to the police station, after bumping luckily into a policeman to whom she told her story. The money in the bag amounted to almost GH¢3,000 (Three thousand Ghana cedis). What do we make of the young lady's story? In the first place, that was not the first time anybody had returned money or property stumbled upon. There have been instances. Consequently, the story was not a novel one.

Secondly, the money did not belong to her. Therefore, by the demand of the law of the State, in accordance with morality or social norms, and in line with God's stricture against stealing, Ms. Madzaka was bound to return the money to the owner. She did nothing more than was expected of her as a citizen.

In the third place, there are a number of people to whom GH¢3,000 (Three thousand Ghana cedis) is chicken feed. They would not feel its loss, and might not even bother to report to the police to help them find it.

If the above sounds boorish and uncharitable, then wait and mark the sequel. One or two things make Ms. Madzaka's honesty special.

In the first place, she was reported to be a causal worker seeking permanent employment. As a casual worker, she would definitely not earn much. Moreover, the real possibility of being laid off must have hung over her head daily. Why should she return so much money which could possibly provide a financial cushion for her?

In the second place, whether she is 21 or 23 years, she is physically and emotionally mature enough. She is conscious of herself as a woman.

She would need money to go to the salon (not saloon, please) from time to time, to have her hair done: washed, cut, retouched, restyled, plaited or 'corn-rowed' or whatever women do to their hair to make them beautiful. Look at her hair in the pictures taken of her.

In the third place, as a woman, she would need to change her clothes more often than a man would. Would her pay as a causal worker enable her to buy even 'obroni wawu' clothing?

How many of us, even if we were reasonably well off, could have resisted the temptation to keep the money? That is what makes Ms. Madzaka's case worth every bit of the attention it has received.

If you are tempted to condemn her as a fool, pause to think of the fact the money could have belonged to you. Would you be happy if it was not returned to you?

Apart from the well-deserved publicity, notice the other fall-outs from Ms. Madzaka's act. She has secured a permanent job in the finance department of the AWET Group of companies. In the finance department, note that.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of that company also presented her with three pieces of wax prints, one for her mother, and an amount of GH¢100 (One hundred Ghana cedis).

Compared to the money she returned, what she got was clearly small, but it is money she can use without her conscience pricking, or without any fear of being killed or maimed by 'juju' used by the owner of the money, that is, if she believes in 'juju'.

I liked it best of all when the CEO expressed his desire to groom and nurture her to become successful in future.

Already, she has made the owner happy. The report says that somebody has already contacted the police to claim the money. If the police are satisfied and return the money, I hope the happy owner would show his appreciation to her.

But, I do not like Legislative Instrument (L.I.) 704, which would give the whole of the money to the State in case the rightful owner was not found. It does not encourage honesty, and should be amended to give part of such monies found to the finder.

Thank you, Ms. Madzaka. I am proud of you. May God bless you?

Ghanaian Chronicle
Ghanaian Chronicle, © 2009

The author has 1023 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: GhanaianChronicle

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