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Opinions of Monday, 2 December 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Is K. T. Hammond Just A Big Baby?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr. Ph. D.

I understand the Arabic-speaking half-Egyptian Mr. Sekou Nkrumah does not speak the Akan-Ghanaian majority language (or any other major Ghanaian language, for that matter), else I would have recited that Akan maxim which roughly translates into English as follows: "The wailing of a mother who just lost her child disturbs the peace and quiet of her neighbor." The obvious reference here, of course, is to the recent appearance of Mr. K. T. Hammond, the New Patriotic Party's Member of Parliament for Adansi-Asokwa, before the Judgment-Debt Commission, vis-a-vis the whereabouts of some $3.5 million, a part of the $24 million reportedly realized from the sale of a drillship formerly owned by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

Appearing before the one-man chairman and member of the Apau Commission, the former Deputy Energy Minister in the Kufuor administration is reported to have bitterly complained that the negative publicity swirling around the missing $3.5 million had become a great source of anxiety and heartache for his elderly mother (See "Stop The Crocodile Tears: Sekou Bemoans [sic] K. T. Hammond" 11/27/13).

I suppose the right word that so pathetically and embarrassingly escaped the evidently woefully impoverished imagination of the caption writer of the news article carrying the report - perhaps even the editor of the Ghanaian Times her-/himself - is "Berates." In other words, the title of the parenthetically afore-referenced article ought to have been as follows: "Stop The Crocodile Tears: Sekou Berates K. T. Hammond." I am making a banner issue out of this ordinarily forgivable editorial howler, because the Ghanaian Times smugly and proudly advertises itself as "Ghana's Most Authoritative Newspaper."

The focus of my present write-up, of course, squarely hinges on whether, indeed, Mr. Hammond was distractingly and unnecessarily acting like a pampered big baby when he registered his utter displeasure with Justice Apau. Well, in the sort of democratic judicial system that prevails in Ghana presently but which, unfortunately, did not practically exist under the government of Sekou Nkrumah's own father's Convention People's Party, an accused citizen of Ghana, irrespective of class status, is not proven guilty until expressly declared as such by a legitimately constituted court of law. And so far, Mr. Hammond has not been brought up on any forensically proven charges by any recognizable court of the land.

And so, naturally, the man is entitled to his constitutionally recognized peace and quiet like any other Ghanaian citizen. Of course, I am also mindful of the equally legitimate argument that as a public official by choice, and a politician to boot, Mr. Hammond ought to have anticipated his current situation, vis-a-vis negative media publicity, when he made the conscious decision to pursue a career in the public eye.

Still, the fact that the younger Mr. Nkrumah spent most of his childhood in his motherland, and the inordinately male-centered Arab world, may well have blinded him to the fact that among us matrilineally oriented Akan, the ethnic sub-nationality of Sekou's own father, the moral, emotional and psychological well-being of our mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters and daughters is as paramount, in importance, as our own individual political and professional pursuits. I make this observation keenly aware of the flagrantly "un-African" and downright uncharitable manner in which Egypt's former military ruler, Mr. Hosni Mubarak, has been handled by that northeastern African country's political and judicial authorities.

Here in Ghana, even criminal convicts have a constitutional right to be treated with a remarkable modicum of decency, let alone a man who, among several others, merely stands accused of the unproven possibility of wrongdoing and who, in all probability, may not have even been as close to "the scene of the alleged crime," as is being loudly and pontifically drummed up largely by the country's government-owned and sponsored media.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Nov. 30, 2013