There is no doubt that Heath Cliff Huxtable and his family in the sitcom Cosby show made great impressions on our lives over the last couple of decades. The physician and his attorney wife gave us all the important reasons for making education a priority in life and building a sound character to become good citizens. The spinoff of the show, ‘A different World” also maintained the same ethos where building of refined individuals capable of making wise decisions in a college environment was the theme.
Bill Cosby, the man who play Heath Cliff Huxtable, did a lot of good and I dare say single handedly put a lot of kids through college. The shows were an inspiration to many. Through the show, Bill Cosby made it possible for the average kid, especially the minority to believe that college education and staying on the right side of the law inspires a top middle class and beyond life style. I can credit my own zest and desires for further education to some of the show’s influence.
But the public perception of the man we adored so much, Cliff Huxtable, hid behind a dark side of Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby had all the good intentions to inspire society through comedy, but the demons of his innate character emerged to hunt him. It took another comedian to expose him.
Is Kennedy Agyapong the comedian to expose Anas? Kennedy is a loud mouth politician. He hasn’t got the training in fine language and one is tempted to immediately dismiss him as a braggart. He beats his chest like a gorilla in the forest, the king Kong of Ghana. Recently he has been crying foul, showing his own video of Anas allegedly involved in criminal acts. Is Kennedy Agyapong peeling the surface of something to look deeply into or is he blowing hot air? Not to discount the great work done by Anas, (as in the Cosby Show). The Anas exposĕ is admirable, but is he hiding his own demons?
Is Kwaku Baako standing by his man as Camellia Cosby continues to stand by Bill Cosby even as the courts prove him guilty? 64 women came forward to accuse Bill Cosby of inappropriate behavior, only one was admissible in court, yet, that was enough to convict Bill Cosby. Kennedy claims there are several people allegedly running to him with stories about Anas collecting bribe from them. These allegations should be thoroughly investigated, and even if one is found to be true, Anas should equally face the law. However, if these are found to be false, that, Honorable Kennedy Agyapong and his cronies fraudulently pieced clips together to tarnish the image of Anas, the honorable must be dealt with squarely.
Anas has filed a defamation suit of GHC25 million against Honorable Kennedy Agyapong. The honorable is quoted as saying; “GHC25million, I sit on that shit”. The pronouncements of the MP, Kennedy Agyapong, can often be distasteful. It is alleged that he was such a fine gentleman when he was a taxi driver in New York. Ghana politics must have rubbed him of his finesse. I hope the honorable will take a leaf from what Mrs. Obama said; ‘When they go low, you go high” but no, Kennedy Agyapong will wallow in the mud with his adversaries.
A breakdown in our legal system.
The Anas investigative work has been warranted because of the disregard for law enforcement in our society. The lack of political will on the part of our politicians and the legislature to act. Corruption and some traditional customs have rendered our laws and legal system impotent. As a matter of fact, everything Anas has uncovered hasn’t been a secret. They were and still are well known practices in the country that the institutions and legal apparatus have failed to address.
The entire country knows the Chiefs in Ghana sell land to multiple bidders. This is criminal, but how many Chiefs have been prosecuted, let alone jailed for this crime. How many Chiefs (including Otumfuo) have called a town hall meeting to declare to their people the cedi amount of the number of plots or acres of the township land that have been sold or royalties realized from companies of which the town or village will use for some identified development projects? None, (no accountability!).
Land in most villages and towns are sold as the Chief’s personal property, just as ministers use government coffers as their personal bank accounts. This behavior, big and small is paramount with people in positions of power and in law enforcement in Ghana. The partisan politics of cover ups is what has made necessary such sting operations, undercover investigation and set ups that Anas is using. The average Ghanaian is at a loss, running to churches, rivers and fetish priests looking for answers, all because, the laws in the land do not work to protect them.
Apparently, everything that happens in Ghana is spiritual and one needs to seek a spiritual doctor for directions. The judiciary system is like our hospitals in Ghana, “hit and miss”; one may need to try a few hospitals before finding a bed. And when a bed is found, a doctor may not be available or no diagnostic tools available for the doctor to work with. When one reports a case to the police, in many cases one has to pay for the transportation of the officer to attend to the case.
The bigger picture of this contention between Anas and Honorable Kennedy Agyapong is all because the laws in the land are not enforceable; mostly in conflict with tradition and culture. Kennedy Agyapong, an honorable minister of parliament, a member of the legislative branch, could announce on national television and to the world that he is married but has a girlfriend; proudly confirming that his wife knows he has a girlfriend and its part of Ghana’s tradition. So it is part of Ghana’s tradition to have stool wives.
So it is part of Ghana’s tradition to have stool servants or shrine slaves. So it is part of Ghana’s tradition for some chiefs to adjudicate on some cases. So it is part of Ghana tradition to find an influential elder to get you off the hook even when guilty. So it is part of Ghana’s tradition to send gifts to the Chiefs. In some cases, the Chiefs have aids who arrange for such “gifts’. No wonder even our judges are confused. Some of the judges claimed they acted in the traditional capacity to receive gifts but were not bribed.
Even some journalists (including Captain Smart who claims to fight corruption) gets confused discussing the subject; a gift for ‘influence peddling’ and a bribe. It is wrong and must be punishable to use the office of the state to travel and conduct transactions as if its private business. It is unethical if not criminal to use one’s position in the capacity of public service to receive gifts, solicited or unsolicited in any form with the intent to influence an outcome.
It is time Ghanaians evolve from those traditions that bring shame, turning the country into a bunch of jokers and elevate those elements of our culture that speak to Ghana as a constitutional democratic republic; a country with enforceable laws that govern the land. For this to be realized, Ghanaians must rise from the grassroots to the top; demanding accountability from the Chiefs to the ministers and to the President, call for a change to some of the antiquated traditions and customs that disadvantage the commoner and fly in the face of human rights, else there will be no progress in Ghana.
Commentator…..George Oteng Attakora
Commonwealth is no longer an entity for colonies, so don’t disband it by Tee Ngugi
First, it was Eduardo Dos Santos, ex-president of Angola, then Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the defunct Soviet Union, and then the long-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II.
I am ideologically a republican, because hereditary leadership, whether of queens in Europe or chiefs in Africa, is quintessentially undemocratic. The queen was loved by citizens of the United Kingdom, most of whom feel the crown embodies not only the sovereignty of the UK, but also the long traditions of the country.
Her death has sparked controversy in some quarters. Some have felt that the queen owed citizens of the former colonies of Britain an apology for colonialism.
During her funeral at Westminster Abbey, an African man caused havoc and consternation by staging a loud protest during the solemn ceremony. I’m not sure such histrionics are the way to make a political or ideological point.
And there is, of course, the glaring and underlying contradiction in that protest, because the man lives in London, having, no doubt, fled from an independent African country.
But the point the man wanted to raise was to what extent the queen was responsible for her country’s colonial history. Being only a figurehead, she did not send British troops anywhere. The entity perhaps who should be held responsible for colonialism is the British government, which is the successor government to those that sent British troops to conquer the world.
The protester might argue that as the crown, she represented the British government and was, therefore, as liable as the relevant prime minister. On this issue, Black British writer, Aminatta Forna, has called for ‘‘thoughtful debate’’, instead of “trolling”.
An essay that discusses the issue of colonialism in a thoughtful way is “in praise of alienation” by the late Nigerian scholar Abiola Irele. He resists the emotive, often hysterical, polemics of cultural nationalism and instead discusses both the brutality of the colonial occupation and how that encounter impacted the African traditional worldview and Africa’s cultural and technological contexts.
It’s a multilayered essay, showing the contradictions within the colonizing ideology and the colonial enterprise, as well as within the traditional African universe. Such thoughtful scholarship has been replaced by a shrill, self-righteous, and self-dramatizing pan-Africanist ideological orthodoxy.
So this new-age radicalism now calls for the dismantling of the commonwealth. The Commonwealth, however, has outlived its colonial beginnings and is now a voluntary organization of equal independent states. Its collectivity gives it diplomatic power. It uses its diplomatic power to promote democracy and economic development among its members and elsewhere.
In the arts, it promotes diversity and creativity. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize, for example, catapults winners and those shortlisted onto the world stage of literature.
Dismantling the commonwealth, therefore, is not a heroic anti-colonial act. It’s akin to cutting your nose to spite your face.
Tee Ngugi is a Nairobi-based political commentator
How many ‘human exports’ will make our countries rich? Joachim Buwembo
Madness, an eminent psychologist said, manifests by doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting to get different results. Health officials recently told us that 14 million Ugandans — that is a third of the population — are afflicted with mental challenges.
We are not mad, but we tend to act in accordance with that symptom of doing things the same way and expecting different results.
Take this rampant exportation of the country’s youngest adults and expect that we shall develop the country that way. This is not new. It has been done before colonialism when the continent’s strongest young men were shipped off to the Americas.
They helped develop that now developed part of the world but they did not develop their home countries. Even the development of those Africans has been more for exceptional individuals. And the one who rose to the highest office of the world was of very recent Kenyan origin, not a grandson of slaves.
The colonialists became smarter and decided to exploit the Africans from their home ground, together with the riches of their land.
For decades, the Africans slaved at home and became even more disgruntled. The exception that confirms the rule happened when the Africans were taken to go and labour on the battlefields of European wars. The conscripts who fought in the first and second world wars helped fuel the independence struggles and helped win freedom for their countries.
But what have we seen? Many say they will work for a few years, accumulate enough savings, and come home and invest big time, to grow old among their own people.
Many have been lucky, gotten stable employment, and entered the system where they work for the rest of their productive years servicing mortgage, educating children, and paying bills upon bills. By the time they know what, they are 60 and a visit to the motherland reveals that they just cannot fit anymore.
You meet them and they lecture to you how the home is so bad and they cannot risk their children coming here. They blame the government and everyone else except themselves, and pity you for having wasted the many chances that you had to relocate but never used blah blah blah. You down the last drink and promise to look them up next time you pass through their glorious new home and so on.
And now the present craze! The rate at which we are exporting our young ladies to go and work as housemaids and the young men to become guards in the Middle East and other countries with strange names like This…stan and That…stan, and expecting that we shall get enough foreign currency to develop our countries is amusing, just like watching a mentally challenged person trying to walk on his head and hope he will cover a long distance.
Now many of these young people leave after selling off their family land and now we see some of them being brought back as indescribable corpses. Those are the “lucky” ones.
Our minister of Security (Internal Affairs) has been saying some of those destined for Saudi Arabia are actually sent to Thailand, their organs removed for the medical tourists, and the rest of the bodies fed to crocodiles. He is a cabinet minister talking, not some man on the street.
And any doubting Thomases have seen for themselves a now vegetative young lady on TV who was brought back minus a kidney, probably explaining why the labour exporters/importers insist on children they take being thoroughly examined and confirmed to be in perfect health.
Anyway, we continue exporting them, expecting that they will bring back enough dollars to make our countries rich.
Joachim Buwembo is a Kampala-based journalist. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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