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Opinions of Monday, 15 August 2016

Columnist: Asare, Kwame Ohene

Kennedy's joke at Charlotte's expense not funny

News of Kennedy Agyapong's retraction of his accusation against the Electoral Commissioner was received by both NPP sympathisers and foes alike, with utter shock and horror.

Such utterly heinous accusations against anyone, even a clearly biased EC without an iota of proof should be denounced with alacrity and discouraged from our political discourse.

A few years back we witnessed an intending Minister of State having to, as it were, eat back (his) words, with which he had sought to character assassinate Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, the worst victim of this rather unhealthy vogue in our body politic. This happened when the intending minister came up for vetting. It would appear the minister was forgiven merely because he admitted to making the statements for political gain.

Again, a few years back the Rawlings' were adamant that a man who had spent the best part of his life practising Law, was not a Lawyer, all in the name of politics. Such dishonest misstatements which have the natural consequence of injuring well earned reputations, even if inadvertent, are completely repugnant and not acceptable. It must be exorcised with every facility at the disposal of anyone with the power to reward political office.

The 'babies with sharp teeth' comment of Rawlings immediately comes to mind.

Kennedy's excuse that he uttered his accusations against the E.C. merely in jest should also be greeted with a huge dose of incredulity, especially when the honourable Member of Parliament was serious and seemed in a rather acerbic drive when he made those comments and even threatened the victim of his injurious comments with further revelations, cautioning and asking not to be dared. His posture did not lend itself to the interpretation he is now inviting us to put on it. The joke was completely unfunny!

Notwithstanding that, we should all take great solace from the fact that he has the humility of spirit to confess to the falsity of his allegations against the E.C.

Redoubtable, unparalleled and peerless though Kennedy may be in several spheres of his life, managing his temperament and emotions in public cannot be one of his strongest points. He must take this as a very low moment in his political career and do something very significant to show remorse, such as apologize to his party and the E.C. and eschew public commentary for 12 months to avert the risk of having to cause any more serious harm to the reputation of anyone with political influence, whether friend or foe, to himself and above all, to his party and its flag bearer even as tempers get frayed as we enter the hottest quarter of this election year, otherwise he should commit not to make any such serious allegations in future without hard evidence.

In view of his own admission, Kennedy's comments were unfortunately unjustifiable, undesirable and unbecoming of any senior politician.

It was the honourable M.P. for Assin Fosu, who in the past, accused his own party folks of lacking what may be referred to as Native Intelligence, simply because they were unable to defend the not so palatable comments in a leaked audio recording attributed to one of the Party's senior members and from which they rightly dissociated themselves from.

My eyes were fixed on the Puerto Rico V Germany women's tennis finals in the Olympics as I came to conclude my take on Kennedy's confession. An un-seeded 20 year old Puerto Rican beat the seeded German player to win Gold at the games in Rio. It told me everybody matters.

Well, with a measure of trepidation, can I ask all and sundry to join me in advising the honourable Member of Parliament that intelligence is multi-faceted and it is now known to include emotional intelligence.

No one person has it all and the over- abundance of wealth may well provide some evidence of a man's blessings but it may not make a man complete. The emotionally mature thing to do at this time is for Kennedy to apologize to the Electoral Commissioner! Oops! unless he can produce some hard evidence as to why he was able to brave such a joke against an Electoral Commissioner in public, bearing in mind that it is not even every truth that is worth sharing, especially in public.