“The insults coming from MPs from both sides of Parliament give the impression that Parliament is more hysterical about its reputation being brought into disrepute through the exposure of dishonourable conduct by its members than maintaining the honour and dignity of the institution of Parliament through a transparent, fair and credible constitutional process of dealing with members who bring the reputation of the institution into disrepute. But no institutional reputation can be achieved by covering up or insulting or citing or threatening to cite whistleblowers or potential whistleblowers for contempt or abuse”
Martin Kaiser Alamisi Amidu, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice
The month of June this year should hold much significance for this country for many varied reasons. The month witnessed the celebration of one of the most important events in the Islamic world, the celebration of Ramadan by Muslims all over the world. Back home in Ghana, the Ahmadi Muslims celebrated the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at their holy praying ground, Busthan-E-Ahmad (Garden of Ahmed), at Ashomang. The praying congregation was led by the Emir & Missionary-in-Charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana, Maulvi Mohammed Bin Salih. His sermon was aptly based on Law and Order.
This year against all expectations and tradition, a government in power failed to worship with the Ahmadi Muslims to observe the Eid-ur-Fitr prayers. Nana Akufo-Addo NPP administration failed to send a representative of his government to come and pray with the Ahmadi Muslims and deliver a Ramadan message. Of course this does not erase the fact that during this year’s 85th. Annual National Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Nana Akufo-Addo and his vice president, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia were personally present as the Guests-of-Honour, an event which marked the first official religious function the pair attended immediately after their inauguration
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission worldwide is known for many worthy lifestyles including the observation of cleanliness and timeliness. The Eid-ul-Fitr always starts at 9.00 am. Because of the anticipated traffic, the leadership of the Ahmadiyya Mission detailed members of its youth wing to direct traffic along the road to Ashomang to ensure smooth traffic flow. Despite the importance and meaning of the Ramadan festival, some recalcitrant Ahmadi Muslims who do not appreciate and understand the import of the period decided to break the law by driving on the parallel lane facing the incoming traffic and thus causing confusion. They completely destroyed the entire blessing of fasting they had subjected themselves to throughout the one month period.
The fact that you are in hurry to observe an important religious obligation which means nothing to others does not mean that you should inconvenience the entire community. This is the level of hypocrisy which has taken root in our society – selfishness and greed. So I kept on muttering to myself: “bo ho bio” in Twi, to wit “hit the place again”, as the Emir as if reading my mind started his sermon on the note of law and order and kept on coming back to it. The level of corruption and indiscipline and hypocrisy in this country exhibited by the citizens does not reflect the precious amount of time we spend every Friday in the mosques, every Saturday in the synagogues and every Sunday in the churches and the precious time we waste in opening and closing prayers at functions.
We only make a mockery of ourselves and insult God in the process. 99.999% of the people in this country who claim to be religious only worship and serve the religious institutions they lay claim to performing mundane rituals like paying of tithes, putting in appearances at religious functions to be counted among the Jones which has nothing to worshiping and serving God while a minute minority of the remaining percentage actually worship and serve God. Either the Men of God do not preach the correct message or the hearts of the members of the congregation are hardened beyond redemption.
June also witnessed two other events of mutually exclusive significance to people of this country which must have happened on the blind side of many Ghanaians but reflected deeply the hypocrisy in our society. June this year marked the 70th birthday anniversary of Jerry John Rawlings, the former military dictator and the first civilian president of the “Fourth Republic” of this country. June this year also marked the 35th. anniversary of dastardly and callous act of the brutal murder of the three high court judges and a military officer under mysterious but vengeful circumstances. Note the trickery of the figures. 70 divided by 2 is 35 while 35 multiplied by 2 is 70. If indeed wishes had been horses, nobody would have lived beyond 40 years to celebrate a birthday or even organise one or be a witness to one.
Oftentimes, we in this country when we reflect and reminiscence over the type of the inhuman nature and the utter glee with which the state sponsored murder which swept away the three judges and the military officers into oblivion was committed, we tend to gloss over similar heinous state assassinations which took place during those dark days not in the distant past on our blind side when silence was deemed golden. Of course people who love democracy and admire intellect will always continue to mourn over and condemn the state sponsored murder of J. B. Danquah by Kwame Nkrumah. However, the way and manner J. B Danquah was killed pale to very poor second when compared with the meticulously planned murder of the three judges and the military officer alongside similar overt and covert brutal murders. At this time in our lives where memories are blunted and blurred by time, the events of birth and deaths may not mean as much as the way and manner they were marked this year and more importantly the personalities who took part in the two ceremonies.
One of the scorch marks of history of people with short memories and no written history to guide them is to live each day as if the world is coming to an end tomorrow. We live from hand-to-mouth or better still hand-to-chin since the deplorable state of most of the citizens’ lives does not allow their hands to pass beyond their chins on their way from their Lazarus’ dinner pail in front of them on the ground they use as both chairs and tables to their mouths. In all this, our educated elite, the illiterate intellectuals, who should use their knowledge they acquired through the sweat of the long suffering farmers and miners and forestry workers to serve society better stand accused.
Why can we not have an authentic history of this country written to guide and lead us and yet we have a Historical Society of Ghana? Can that Society not organise for the history of this country to be written from the most ancient times? Let the Society organise two groups, one group led by Prof. Badu Akorsah and the other led by Prof. Mike Oquaye to come out with the history of this country from two obviously biased perspectives. Then form an independent adjudication panel to sieve through the two and marry the ideas to come up with an authentic history of this country. So long as we do not have an authentic history as a people we shall continue to be governed by our hearts instead of our heads and deviant personalities shall continue to ride on the crest of popularity based on perceived charisma, a situation which can only breed calamity, and perpetuate our existence in infamy. We have to be honest for a change and change our chameleon lifestyle.
By Kwame Gyasi