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30.08.2016 Feature Article

A Nation In A Trance

A Nation In A Trance
LISTEN AUG 30, 2016

IT does not take much to diagnose certain illnesses. Even without medical training, one can so easily tell when a person's mental balance is impaired that a proverb has been coined to make the point.

The proverb says: “onipa a wabo dam no ani te a, na єnnyє kakra a כde behunahuna nkwadaa!”("Even when a mentally ill person has recovered from his illness, enough remains of it to frighten children with!”)

In other words, mental illnes is not too difficult to recognise. And indeed, one need not be a trained psychologist before realising that a large section of the populace of Ghana seems to be currently sunk in a trance of massive proportions.

They take the trappings of religions seriously, without caring a fig about the fundamenta moral values that those religions inherently seek to see them practise on a constant basis.

In the week that the President of the Republic crassly flexed his political muscles by pardoning three individuals who uttered the most vicious threats imaginable against the person of the Chief Justice – a lady whose only offence is that she is brilliant enough to be appointed the first female Chief Justice of Ghana – certain traits of character were exhibited by some Ghanaians as made one wonder whether they were sane or not.

Now, in many Ghanaian communities, when people misbehave to an unacceptable degree – and I place the threats made against the judges of the Supreme Court (at a time when the brutal assassination of their fellow judges in June 1982 was being commemorated) in this category – even their relatives shun them for “smearing their families with dirt” by publicly disgracing them. “Who brought them up to speak in public this way?” decent people would ask.

In this vein, a person who had suffered imprisonment was often “purified” before he was allowed to mix with others. Even after such purification, the errant person would carry the stigma of his imprisonment for the rest of his life. People would not talk about his misbehaviour openly, but they would be careful of him all the same, in the belief that “there is always blood in the head of a tse-tse fly.”

This is why it was deemed a major calamity to behave in such a way that one was publicly punished. The late Bob Cole, one of our famous singers, dramatically illustrated this situation with his comic song, “Aban nkaba”. In it, one guy berates another for asking him, “How's life at home?” The aggrieved chap answers back: “When you met me, my hands were encased in handcuffs. And walking stolidly behind me, was a policeman. And yet you ask me, 'How's life at home?' Do you think if life was all right at home, I'd be wearing these handcuffs?”

So, when the Montie Trio were released from prison through the Presidential pardon, do you think they went to slaughter a sheep to “purify” themselves?

Not on your life!
They rather held a triumphal meeting, described by the media as a “thanksgiving service”, at which they apparently celebrated machismo characteristics, indicating therby that “power pass power”. In other words, presidential pardon can overcome a Supreme Court sentence! "Biegya returns!" they apparently chanted (Biegya has two meanings: in military terms, it means 'open fire'; in civilian lingo, it means "to accelerate" [whilst driving a vehcile].

The Montie Trio held their meeting/thanksgiving service at the premises of the very radio station they had used to make their unspeakable threats against judges of the Supreme Court. People cheered them and although the report I read on the “thanksgiving service” did not specify whether a priest was procured to officiate or not, I wouldn't be surprised if there was one ready to provide a religious tint to the proceedings.

Why would I not be surprised, you may ask?
Because impubity seems to be the order of the say in our country. Almost simultaneously as the Montie Trio show of defiance was taking place, a large group of fervent “Christians” were besieging a police station in Accra, where their spiritual leader, “Bishop” Obinim, had been placed in custody for allegedly pocketing nearly 12m Cedis belonging to someone else. (At first, it was thought that the “Bishop” had been taken in by the police as a result of complaints made to them over a public whipping he had administered to a young man and his girl friend, whose “fornication” he had detected.)

"Christians”threateneing violence against the police? But that's a contradiction in the usage of words?

Yes!
So what happened to the teaching of Jesus that one should turn “the other cheek” when slapped?

The admonition of Jesus to Peter not to use a sword against a Roman soldier?

Those are just words, aren't they? To be a “Christian” in the Ghana of today, the only words that matter are those that relate to what is known as the “Prosperity Gospel.” God loves you. ONLY SELFSH, EGOISTIC YOU! So, God will take money from the Government, or your business concern, or someone else, to make YOU wealthy and happy. Other human beings don't matter. YOU were created with love; they merely evolved!

And so, within a few hours of being released, Bishop Obinim was telling a credulous “journalist” who kept calling him “Angel”, that God so loves Obinim that Obinim now has possession of 20 houses; plus seven SUV vehicles (which Obinim has selflessly passed on to his pastors”. And as for Obinim himself, God has given him an incredibly luxurious AUTOBIOGRAPHY (sic) vehicle, which has sensors that make it impossible for it to be involved in an accident, and whose doors cannot be banged shut!

That's not all: it has been revealed to Obinim that very soon, Jesus would make Obinim a “god”,

You hear these things and you ask yourself, so these followers of Obinim, do they read their Bibles at all? Or do they just go to the church to yell and dance and go back home with their minds emptied of all common sense?

Because -- didn't Jesus say that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God?

A man behaves as if he has never heard a word that Jesus said, by boasting of his personal wealth; a man insults his congregation by telling them that the perfume he uses on his person costs more than some of them earn in a whole month; a man tells others that he can turn into a snake or tiger by the power God has given him! And yet human beings equipped with brains cannot ask themselves this simple question: In that case, how were the police able to clasp handcuffs on him and humiliate him? Why did he not turn into a cockroach and escape from the police cell in which he was made to sleep? Ah, but for all we know, these were ''trials'' sent top test his spiritual ENDURANCE? The naivetry woulds be laughable, were it not so pathetic.

The trance into which Ghana has been thrown is deeper than that induced by mesmerism or hypnosis. For in such artificially-induced trances, thge subject can emerge out of it when the magician snaps his fingers. But when the trance is largely self-induced by self-hypnosis or auto-mesmerism, when are our fellow countrymen and women going to be able to get out of it?

www.cameronduodu.com

Cameron Duodu
Cameron Duodu, © 2016

Martin Cameron Duodu is a United Kingdom-based Ghanaian novelist, journalist, editor and broadcaster. After publishing a novel, The Gab Boys, in 1967, Duodu went on to a career as a journalist and editorialist.Column: CameronDuodu

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