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20.08.2019 Feature Article

Operation Tropical Cruiser

Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey
AUG 20, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

There is one strange almost inexplicable trait about Judges all over the world: once seated on the bench they behave as if they do not know ANYBODY but off the bench they are so human – laughing, sharing their frustrations, sorrows and marital problems!!!

There is this High Court Judge, my Lord Justice Anthony Oppong, Land Court One. Anytime I have an inextricable legal quagmire, I will go to him in his chambers and consult him and he will give me options in solving the issue.

But, reader, if there is one Judge I fear going to his Court, it is Land Court One. He will not bully you, oh no. He will not shout at you, but he will look at you straight in the face and tell you, “Counsel, you know what you are telling me is not supported by the law”….

In late June, this year, I was in his chambers to ask him about a strange legal problem on my hands, and after he has dissected the matter he told me his 90 years old father was gone, and the funeral would be on Saturday 17 August 2019 at his home village called MAMPAMHWE………….

I told myself this is one funeral I will like to attend, and you know, reader, nobody marks a register of how many weddings, funerals and outdoorings you have attended, but word goes round, silently… “oh, this man, he is very sociable….” So when your turn comes, people will flock to your place to commiserate with you.

Thanks to Local Government Ministry, I have visited the whole of Ghana six times over, so I boast to close friends that I know Ghana – but MAMPAMHWE? Where is it in Ghana?

I asked around and was told that it is not far from Obuasi in Ashanti Region, and it is in Adansi Asokwa Constituency where Hon. K T Hammond has held the MP seat for five consecutive terms. Very well – objective – MAMPAMHWE – I called it Operation Tropical Cruiser.

I left Accra Friday evening, and got to ASSIN FOSU, Hon Kennedy Agyapong's stronghold, slept there, and early morning left to stop over at NPP Constituency Headquarters at Adansi Asokwa. There was a four man delegation waiting and joined me, in a small three car convoy for MAMPAMHWE.

Midway to Obuasi, at Kwabenakwa, we turned right on a laterite road, about four kilometers, and hit the small farming community called MAMPAMHWE. We saw the casket of the dead man being carried shoulder high to the funeral grounds, and as we fell in step with the mourners, I remarked: “we have to look for my Lord to tell him I have come….” whereupon I heard a voice “Captain, I am right behind you!!!”

I turned to see my Lord, for the first time in clothing other than the usual robes of a High Court Judge, wearing whitish cloth, bespectacled, walking, in step with his family members, all heading to the school park for the funeral service.

It was a big funeral, by all standards, lawyers, led by our President, Anthony Forson Jnr, from far and near, Judges, from all over the country, including Justice Surubaayeh, Justice of Appeal, smiling broadly, dressed almost like a Ya Na, with a huge towel on his shoulder!!! The chiefs, police top personnel including COP Kofi Boakye, the famous “Commander One”, and the politicians, Members of Parliament…. I was there when Hon. Osei Owusu, Deputy Speaker of Parliament arrived, and we all gave him a front seat but he insisted on sitting far behind, incognito I saw Hon. Dr Kwabena Duffour, former Minister of Finance and Governor of Bank of Ghana….

It was a Catholic Church format, with the corpse in the centre of the Park, fully covered with very bright flowers.

Hiccup at such functions is only natural. There was this nicely dressed lady, moving up and down, carrying boxes of water – we heard commotion at the back, to see her in riotous fighting mood – but the Police calmed matters and took her away, her dress torn!!!

At one point, when the Police Officers were carrying the corpse to the funeral ground, they saw me, and with big smiles they gave me fans…. Captain!!!… Whereupon a friend walking with me remarked: “Captain is this a good omen or bad omen…. pall bearers giving you fans!!!

I told my Lord Justice Oppong that I want to sing my song to glorify Almighty God and he replied: “Captain, application granted as prayed. No order as to costs!!!”

As the funeral service was going on I asked an elderly person seated behind me why the name MAMPAMHWE? He explained that in the olden days a gold dealer by the river side will insist that women who want gold to buy must disrobe into nakedness for him to stare at them before he sells gold to them… “Pa wo ho na menhwe” (naked yourself for me to see)

After the funeral service, we went to Kwabenakwa for refreshments, and I saw this very cute neatly dressed lady with black headgear – just as I was about to entertain some dreams I noticed she was a High Court Judge!!!! Sorry, my Lord!!!

We got back to Accra just before midnight.

From Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey

Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey
Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey, © 2019

This author has authored 35 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: NkrabeahEffahDartey

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