Ghana is such a funny place. Sometimes I am at a loss just how to characterize the Ghanaian. Our knack for hypocrisy is unbelievable. We would jump on the bandwagon of 'stupidity and foolishness' just for the sheer sake of it. Are we really serious at all about this 'thing' we prefer to call democracy?
Let me first express my condolence to the Rawlings family. I am personally grateful to the Almighty that He spared the lives of those present in the house at the time. It is reported that the incident took place on the so-called Valentine's Day. Ah well, I guess Chairman Rawlings is no believer in such things as Valentine, otherwise he would have been at home with the wife; but alas different men do different things at different times. Some Ghanaians are not interested in knowing where (Vume, Volta region) the Chairman was at the time, and are also not particularly concerned about what took him there. For me, if it is alright with Kofi Adams (aide to the Chairman), I would like to know! I hope Kofi Adams would not misconstrue that and call the Police.
Ebei, Ghana! Has it come to this?? Citizens cannot express themselves freely on the air anymore? This Nana Darkwa guy 'claims' that the Chairman did the 'thing' himself, and all hell breaks loose. Yes the claim was irresponsible but what about the reaction from the state security apparatus? Is this the kind of unfounded allegation that has never been made before? Ever? What happened over the last eight years under the previous administration? Didn't people make all sorts of allegations?
For anybody to refer to what Nana Darkwa did as 'criminal' is as mischievous as it is disingenuous! Oh, and these same people claim that even if Rawlings made similar unguarded and unfounded allegations against the former President Kufuor, that was somehow different. They argue that the NPP should have prosecuted Rawlings but since they did not, they should shut up and let Nana Darkwa rot in jail. And still they want us to believe that this is not political; the Police were just doing their job. Let me get this straight: is the NDC and its apologists telling me that if somebody maligns my integrity or if I believe my character has been defamed, I can pick up the phone, call the police and the police will respond with rapid promptness, effect the arrest of this individual 'soiling' my name, charge the individual and arraign this individual before the law courts? All in record time? Is that how the system works in Ghana?
Or are we to believe that in this particular instance because it involved a certain J.K. Rawlings, a.k.a Chairman the laws should operate differently? Yes, he is a former president but the law is still the law, right? Or maybe, just maybe, he is a little above the law!
One Dr. Michael J. K. Bokor believes Kofi Adams “took the appropriate steps to report his claim to the police, who arrested Darkwa and took the matter to court. At this point, the onus of proof lies on Darkwa, not the political machinery of the NPP. So, why are the NPPMPs crying wolf and diverting attention from the real substance of Darkwa's case?” I believe the NPP leadership would have an appropriate response for him but I would try to provide some answers to his questions:
I thought, in a democracy, MPs were supposed to represent the people. Parliament seeks to protect the people it represents and prevent the Executive from excesses that would negatively affect the people. That is my 'class one' understanding of the primary role of Parliament. Why then should these MPs sit in Parliament when the very people they have sworn Oaths to protect are under 'siege'? Another disingenuous assertion is that “If not expeditiously tackled, this misconduct by Darkwa will open the sluice gates for indiscipline in the work of the media. It will create a free-for-all situation in which anybody at all can make allegations against anybody with impunity” Really?? Do you read the 'Lens'-crystal clear and otherwise? What about the other NDC papers? You don't think there is already indiscipline in the work of the media?? And people have not been making such allegations already in the not-too-distant past? WOW!! I tell you, some people are just unbelievable!! It almost seems like we are talking about two different countries here. Again, he asked whether the NPP thought the charge brought against Nana Darkwa was not in the statute books; well as far as I can tell the charge was “publishing false news with the intention to cause fear and alarm”. Can the 'learned' Doctor take us through the charge as provided for in our statute books?
Did Dr. Bokor read about the NDC mob that gathered in front of the radio station, apparently ready to pounce on Nana Darkwa? How come he did not mention a word about that? Or maybe he was alright with that kind of behavior and did not see anything untoward about it? Is that the kind of democracy he's talking about? There is another report of a similar gathering that waited outside another radio station for Kwesi Pratt and Alhaji Bature, because they had made certain statements that did not go down well with some people. According to him the action of the NPP MPs “smacks of cowardice and belies the hidden intent of the NPP Minority in Parliament to cause mayhem”. Apparently he is able to read into the 'hidden intent' of the NPP but he fails to comment on the open display of public disorder and potential mayhem by the NDC mob. If there should be any talk about strengthening this democratic experiment, dealing with such intolerant mobs should be top on the list. And to observe that the police were there with this mob and did nothing is even more puzzling. O, Ghana!!
I thought the 'learned' doctor lived in the US and if that is correct, how did he come by this observation? That “In democratic dispensations, citizens act and speak responsibly so as not to create tension” Has that been his experience in the US? Seriously? Was that the situation during the Bush years? And what about the age of Obama? I would want him to tell us just what he thinks would have happened had the NPP government decided to prosecute Chairman for his outlandish allegations. He seems to believe that the NPP was somehow “afraid of the consequences of any such move”
Meanwhile these are the very people who believe that a judge is under some influence when she sentences Tsatsu Tsikata to prison; never mind the evidence that the prosecution may have provided, but the judge in this current situation, to them, smells of roses-he has discharged his constitutional mandate 'without fear or favour'. We are to believe that the police were at their professional best-under no influence whatsoever-they were just doing their job; just like they do every day in any other situation.
Until and unless we stop this hypocrisy and double-standards, we are getting nowhere. Putting on our political lenses to look at every situation would not help either. A just and equitable society where all citizens feel part of should be our focus; and if that is our focus then clearly we are on the wrong path.
Written and submitted on February 22, 2010
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