Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some cats are Sacred

Prov 30 21 "Under three things the earth trembles,      under four it cannot bear up"

I love to draw inspiration from words of wisdom that have stood the test of time. The best place to find them is in the good old book. Proverbs 30 :21 says "Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up". I thought the fourth republic's scariest day would always be the day some people went into a radio station and called on NDC activists to match on the electoral commission building because they perceived NPP was about to rig the election of 2008. I kept praying that the hawkish elements in the NPP wouldn't join them on the streets around the EC because if they had, Ghana would have joined the African Hall of Shame for undemocratic practices in the 21st century and perhaps we would have been hosting an African Union peace mission in the country today. But sadly, I have counted three panic-filled fear-stricken moments under which our democracy has trembled with great trepidation in the Prof's less than two year old administration. We do not need a fourth, because our democracy may not bear up.

The antics of the marauding NDC foot soldiers, relentless and irrepressible in seeking vigilante justice, are the ugly side of our democracy. In a misguided attempt to counter-balance acts of political patronage in the previous government, these political infantry brigades run amok, venting their spleen on anybody and everybody that does not wear the red, white, black and green NDC bandana. They takeover lorry parks and desecrate the unholy sanctum of human waste without shame. They lock out legally appointed public servants from their offices and "dis-appoint" DCEs appointed by the president. Some have the audacity to dare the police to uphold law and order. Some NDC loyalists can indulge themselves in sophistry, trying hard to justify this madness, but let the truth be told, it is a big sign that leadership is lacking in their party- perhaps this is the Prof's biggest failing.


No word, spoken or written, conjures images of fear and panic more than the law on causing fear and panic. Who said we have decriminalized speech in this country? When Ticolo got home with Yaa Beauty, the babe he had been hunting down for the past six months, he was full of expectation until the lady decided to make a quick dash out of the house for her own safety. Ticolo's next door neighbor, Kankama was in a more advanced stage with his own project, and the wooden wall dividing the two rooms did little to conceal the screams from the lady in Kankama's abode. Paralyzed by fear, Yaa panicked at the approaching trauma, a taste of which could be heard next door. She left immediately for her own safety. Ticolo is convinced that Kankama caused unnecessary fear and panic and is contemplating contacting the Ghana police. This law has assumed elastic properties stretching from fools who make wild allegations on radio to journalists who refuse to reveal their sources. It is scaring the hell out of our democracy.


Pictures of a slim macho man wearing an Aca P woven in the red, white, black and green, with an enema syringe in hand walking towards the Supreme Court is a nightmare that can force Auntie Georgina to abandon all thoughts of sleep for seven days. Knowing the antecedents of the NDC, threatening to purge the judiciary in the fourth republic is not the smartest "talk" that we expect from an NDC chairman, but when he decides to utter those words at a time when the Parties infantry brigade are on the loose, certainly not only Auntie Georgina, but all lovers of our democracy must be filled with fear, panic, trepidation and horror. Kwabena Adjei's speech of horror underscores one of two things. We either have a terrible judiciary that cannot be reformed using the normal processes or he belongs to a band of irresponsible politicians who talk before they think. Assuming without admitting that the former is the case, any discourse on the perceived bad judgment must focus on the shortcoming of the judgment. Without that, reasonable Ghanaians will struggle to associate with whatever course you want to pursue. Apart from hurling vituperation at the judiciary, Dr Adjei failed to tell us what was wrong with the judgment that necessitated the press conference.    Unless of course, there is no real problem with the judgment, and perhaps the judge is right after all; a case is a good as a lawyer's brief. Maybe the essence of the discourse is to execute a coup de grace to rescue the case on appeal by spreading fear and invoking memories of judicial martyrs, to strike panic. Some people may prefer this approach to appointing new judges to the superior courts to rescue a case. 

Dr. Kwabena Adjei has brought us to the point where no matter the ruling on the Ghana at 50 Case, there will be political meanings read. It will be " The judge has kowtowed to fear from the NDC" or "we said it, the judiciary is against the NDC" depending on which way the case goes. Recently, a judge in the United States discharged some young Somali men arrested in the gulf of Eden from charges of piracy because he disagreed with his country's prosecutors on the definition of piracy. If that happened in Ghana, Kwabena Adjei will call the judge a pirate. We have successfully politicized everything in Ghana including crime and justice. We do not seem to have values in this nation. Because our opinion on a matter is dictated by who is involved rather than the issue at stake, politicians easily find welcoming hideouts in our society to escape confronting the shame that accompanies acts of adult delinquency. With their penchant to have their way at all times, especially if they control power, these politicians care very little about the dangerous repercussions of their public tantrums. They simply have no shame. In support of Dr. Adjei, some NDC chairmen called for a debate on corruption in the judiciary. I wish to respectfully tell them that politicians are perceived to be more corrupt than judges. What will these Chairmen say, if a soldier, totally disillusioned with corruption and cronyism in our body politic calls a news conference and threatens to clean our politics? Does that remind you of our past? It may sound distant now, but if we encourage this kind of irresponsible attacks on the pillars of our democracy, this can be for real. Our democracy will struggle to bear any such attack.

Under three things our democracy has already trembled, perhaps if we all speak without looking at who is involved, we will have no cause to discuss the fourth. Yes, there are many ways of killing a cat. In the region where the cat is a great delicacy, nobody will touch the cat from the shrine. Kwabena, some cats are sacred, keep away your sack.   









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