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Opinions of Thursday, 25 August 2016

Columnist: James Kofi Annan

In my dreams

James Kofi Annan James Kofi Annan

I have no idea why I live; maybe to protect myself from dying or maybe I live just to hide under my dreams. Bedwetting is something I dread a lot, so in many instances when I’m about to dream, I remind myself that, hey, make sure you don’t think you are standing by a gutter.

So far I don’t dream that I’m standing by a gutter, I will not be deceived into believing that it is time to wee-wee, so I will not face any morning shame.

So I have come to assure myself that I live to dream. I don’t want to wake up, even though I feel the realities of everyday life. And that is the problem I have with myself; my own doubt of my own existence.

You remember the judges who took the goats as bribe to subvert justice? And you remember those judges who exchanged sex for justice, as in Anas’ video? When I first heard these scandals about the judges, I knew I had done my thing again; dreaming to think that anything of that sort could have happened, that these few judges could be so contemptuous of their own selves, so much as to open their courts for ordinary mortals like us to pee inside.

I’m waiting for a day when someone will attempt to wake me up from my dream; that day will be war, maybe that will be the first time I will commit murder. And my wish is that when I have finished killing and found myself in jail, my feeling of being in jail will also be a dream that I will never wake up to.

Reality is just too harsh, difficult and contradictory. I have wondered many times why someone is not waking me up from my dreams just so that I can taste life, just to know what real life looks like, real life just for a day. My only fear is whether I will be able to resume my dreams after I have tasted reality.

Then I told myself that it is not necessary. It is a risk that could be too costly, assuming am unable to go back to sleep and to continue to dream of a world where I could go to the president to ask him directly, whether, tafletse, he too is dreaming.

Why not? It would not have been my fault. This is something I could easily blame on my state of affairs, dreaming that I’m just dreaming that I’m telling the president in the face what he needs to be told.

After all it is only in my dreams that I could go to the president without any appointment to sit down with him as a friend, and to have such conversations with him, and if I realize anything is wrong with his dreams, I will let him know.

That in my dream, I will see all the powerful men, and all the less powerful men, at war with each other. I will see who initiated the montie petition, how the petition got to the Council of State, and what went into the advise upon which the president did not pardon, but remissioned (whatever that means) the montie 3 contemnors, and I will know which interest the president served, Ghana or his party.

Unfortunately during the cause of this dream, I came across myself praying that God has pardoned Ghana’s deadliest convicted criminal, Ataa Ayi… I never believed myself; even in the dream I thought this was a mistake. But no, it wasn’t. Ataa Ayi had actually, in my dream, been set free, visiting the homes of the families of the victims of his robbery, to demonstrate that he is now a free man, visiting the children of the men who he killed, and the women who he raped; most of them living in squalor.

In one of such instances, still in my dream, I saw Ataa Ayi waiving to a woman whose husband he killed, after she was raped, and then I realized this woman bore a child out of that rape, and this child sat by this woman while Ataa Ayi passed by her in full royalty. The woman did not comment, except a small notice; that pain, hate, and vengeance have taken over this woman’s heart.

One of the episodes of such unrelenting dreams was when I saw the Chief Justice, Justice Georgina Wood, at a wedding reception somewhere in Cantonment. And she came with her husband and children, and uncles and aunties. At the same wedding was Salifu Maase, Alistair Nelson, and Ako Gunn. The president, His Excellency John Mahama, joined midway into the ceremony.

As the Chief Justice sat through the ceremony, with all the many years of law school, and with all the many years of practice, and with all the many years of being at the Supreme court, sitting with her family, side by side Salifu Maase, as the president introduced them to each other; this is Ako Gunn, this is Alistair, the two young men who wanted to marry you…

And as the president did the introduction, Georgina Wood’s husband looked on, her children looked on, and there flew a couple of tears, and I saw her reaching out for a wiper, attempting to hide her shame, struggling to be unnoticed, as she cleans her eyes, of the tears, tears caused by impunity, cleaning the tears caused by a woman’s world, and the one caused by power…

Still in my dream, unwilling to wake up, I saw Alistair, Ako Gunn, and Salifa Maase, as they shoveled behind the president, moved from table to table, shaking hands and hugging, and congratulating themselves, of a team that works, a partnership of pain, of freedom that sacrificed justice, or maybe of a gross moral gloss.

As more people joined the wedding party, I saw Justice Atuguba left the venue in silence, trying to be a man, refusing to tear. I saw a dispirited Justice Sophia Akuffo and her husband and children, walking away in fear and trembling, trying hard to avoid the president’s entourage making their way to her table, for she was too afraid to behold the sight of Salifu Maase, a man invincible enough to escape the attention of our woman Attorney General so as to see nothing wrong with him issuing death threats on the only woman Chief Justice Ghana has ever produced.

As the judges, one after the other, filed out of the wedding reception, it was obvious to me how they had lost the battle with themselves, and I wondered the meaning of the tears they wore in their eyes.

As I flew in my dreams, I saw a Supreme Court where judges queued to be married to political appointees. I saw a supreme court whipped in line with politics, I saw a supreme court where the judges will confer with the presidency before delivering judgments. I saw a supreme court which freed rapists, murderers, and robbers once such criminals were seen in political colors.

I saw judges; men and women, who began to dream of the end to themselves. De-motivated judges who only existed because they wished to continue drawing their salaries.

I saw Justice Georgina Wood going to the bank, asking her banker how much the balance was in her account, and I saw her writing GHC200 on the cheque, and handed same to the cashier, and as she was handed back the GHC200 in cash. I saw her sneaked out of the bank as she fought back tears.

Then as she emerged out of the bank, I saw Salifu Maase entering the same bank, and without asking for his balance, he wrote GHC5,000 for a weekend, a reward for a well deserved taming of our courts.

In one of the dreams, (I think the part three of the dreams), I saw myself having a conversation with President John Mahama, and he was asking my opinion on the remission he has granted the montie 3, and I had told him the truth; that he might have been legally right to have freed the three contemnors.

He might have lived within his powers to grant pardon. It might have been a good thing he did by following due process and getting Alistair and his men out of jail.

But I also told him that he had just killed a baby girl called Georgina Theodora Wood, that he had just run a knife through and slit her life away. The president asked me to be honest with him, so I was. I told him he had just killed the only female hen left to lay our eggs.

Then I walked away quietly, as I realized it has all been a dream…