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Opinions of Friday, 25 September 2015

Columnist: Collins Essamuah

The Ghanaian moral society!

Opinion Opinion

Is there a moral society in this country? That is, a group of identifiable men and women of faith who can be counted on to bring us all back to the path of moral rectitude when things fall apart in the nation, community and our homes? People of faith because such privileged leaders must first and foremost believe in something worth aspiring to, and must themselves lead lives worthy of emulation, if not in detailed imitation, at least as credible guides to the moral life.

Yes, I have become preachy and indiscreet today, two days after the first screening of the much-awaited Anas video, because the disgraceful and disgusting contents of the video bespeak a moral emptiness in all our lives. This is a void which seemingly cannot be filled because those to give us the spiritual food to satiate our hunger themselves desperately need spiritual deliverance from the current religious and moral teaching of prosperity, materialism, the crasser the better, and other negative, soul-destroying nostrums from our supposed men of faith.

State attorneys/doctors
Can you imagine the following events in our society? State attorneys go on strike asking to be put on the same pay scale as their superiors whose remuneration has been aligned to that of superior court judges! And they have an association which has dismissed its secretary because he said the most normal and expected of things for a prosecutor to say in the face of the Anas video; that all those found culpable must be prosecuted. Amorality of the highest order!

Doctors go on strike and ask to be considered as Article 71 office-holders, which includes judges of the superior courts, that is, they should also retire on their salaries! I am waiting for the lay public affairs persons to parrot this deeply immoral wish of our doctors! You wonder which of the outrageous demands, requests or negotiation gambits our government must and can satisfy.

Then we learn, in a rather disgraceful but dramatic manner, courtesy Anas, that some of these revered judges take bribes to twist justice, and unleash injustice on us. Obviously, the facile argument that they may have done so to augment their salaries is a flat lie because others below them on the salary scale see them as occupying the summit of comfortable remuneration.

So the question remains, what happened?
Explosion of charismatic and Pentecostal faith organisations
What happened, or one of the significant things that happened, is the explosion in numbers and prominence of charismatic and Pentecostal faith organisations in this country, and their near-immunity from social opprobrium. Its leaders shamelessly preach and promote the wanton craze to be rich and well to do at all costs. None of them ever preach service, sacrifice or patriotism because these are the age-old barriers to a meaningless acquisitive lifestyle.

Consistent and repeated messages from these leaders, some of them highly educated, nonetheless, encouraging their flocks to brighten the corner in which they find themselves to the exclusion of everything else, praising greed, unbridled greed as a public and private virtue without batting an eyelid tickled by moral conscience or social consequences.

Such men of faith sow the seeds of crime and felonies masquerading as success in life, shaming those whose moral hesitation is seen as lack of divine blessing and favour. Materialism is a blessing for which the receiver must show and demonstrate appropriate thanksgiving, which invariably means, the increase of the contribution to church kitties, which also goes to finance the lavish filthy lifestyles of these church leaders.

These leaders travel as kings, like Mansa Musa, first class with enough luggage to fill the holds of the aircrafts in which they travel, containing the finery dubbed ecclesiastical robes they adorn their bodies with.

What is worse, when caught, these educated thieves, instead of admitting to human frailty, rather shroud the truth in pompous learning, causing further moral damage to a sick society by giving the false impression that the purpose of education in itself is merely a convenient tool for committing crimes. Just behold the lawyers who are busy claiming that the Supreme Court will rule for Justice Dery and his colleagues because some precedent in the past says so!

Is the Supreme Court bound by its own precedents? The answer is no! Such so-called experts conveniently refuse to imbibe the lessons of the Woyome case, where Justice Ajet Nassam freed Woyome in spite of the Supreme Court earlier ruling ordering him to pay up. In other words, such people expect the Supreme Court to close their eyes to crimes committed in flagrante delicto, and free the culpable judges from condign punishment. What moral universe do such experts inhabit?

What remedy?
It is such that is our lot in the wake of the Anas video. I know some of us, in keeping with the spiritual misdirection and misteaching, are all for all night prayers and deliverance sessions. I only urge her Ladyship the Chief Justice Mrs Georgina Wood and the Judicial Council to be firm, resolute and unbending in the application of the appropriate sanctions and punishments to the men and women who have so wantonly abused our trust.

It is no defence of bad conduct to claim all are complicit and so one went along with it. Positions are given in society for a purpose; not only to carry out heavier responsibilities, but also to be a bastion of the values of society.

I have noticed a disturbing phenomenon of late in some of our traditional areas. Some chiefs sitting in state in their traditional areas during the celebration of their annual festivals have a contemptible habit to remain sitting when the President is shaking hands with them.

Why such obvious disrespect to the highest individual in the land? No chief in this republic has even powers of arrest, a power district chief executives have. That the President is subject to the chief in his traditional area when he should feel honoured that an inconsequential festival has been patronised by the President? How is such disrespect and arrogance defended?