You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2019 01 30Article 719489

Opinions of Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Columnist: James Kofi Annan

Simpa Panyin: I want to vote for NPP’s Maa Lydia

Lydia Seyram Alhassan Lydia Seyram Alhassan

Last week after I had submitted my article, a Journalist with called to ask if I could tone the script down a bit.

I had introduced two new concepts, Powertics and Monetics, and I wondered whether it was the truth they wanted me to tone down or the facts imbued in the truth?

In the end, they proved that they are Journalists! They exhibited bravery and published the article in full.

Of course, I could understand the initial editorial conversations. These days of libel suits, media houses are looking to avoid one additional court case, by checking and cross-checking.

But I think I have gathered sufficient experience in the media to nuance myself carefully, in using the right prefixes to avoid exacting when I am unsure of the facts.

Sometimes I don’t get certain things well. People are stealing in this country, and most of these people are in positions of authority, in Parliament, as ministers, in the church, in the mosques, and are everywhere being celebrated.

We know that this person who is flaunting unexplained opulence could not have afforded it but for Menzgold reasons. Yet we are expected to wrap these Menzgold reasons in some fine languages so that we do not offend him, the same hypocrisy that has brought all of us to our knees.

We run away from the truth because we believe he is a businessman, he is a minister, and he is in Parliament, so he has the honourable title. The honourable title should be earned, not conferred, and I believe it is time Parliament take another look at who qualifies to be called honourable. Does it include those who use brutal tactics to win their seats? If we will have to call everyone who enters Parliament honourable, but refuse to confer the same title on that market woman who pays her taxes faithfully, then would you wonder why the title is losing its value?

In my view, I would be happy if the names of all women could have the prefix honourable. Women go through a lot, and no matter how honest, hardworking a man is, women are the ones saving this country; they are more honest, peaceful, and lawful, and the last to give up on their children.

A couple of years ago I picked an elderly woman, call her Maame Adwoa, on my way from the bush. Maame Adwoa should roughly be 70 years old. She had closed from the farm and was carrying a decent bundle of firewood, walking slowly in the drizzling rain on her way home.

It took me quite a number of minutes of negotiation to convince Maame Adwoa to agree to join me in my car. She was afraid I might harm her because she had heard stories of missing people whose human parts had been removed for various rituals for money. But also she thought that my car was too nice for her farm costume, and she did not want to soil Honorable’s car.

The ride was very short, but I deliberately slowed just to have more time with her. Maame Adwoa told me about her exciting childhood, and the pride she had in her late husband. She was the second of her husband’s four wives. Two of the wives have died. She still lived in her husband’s house with the other surviving rival, and according to her, all of the wives remained the best of friends. They shared their farms. They shared common hopes for their children. And they shared their husband’s pride.

As I listened to Maame Adwoa, I realized how the so-called modernization has deprived us of happiness. Even at 70, Maame Adwoa sounded so innocent, reeling in the joy her husband brought to her life and the lives of the other women he married.

How I wish this woman would have stood for even an Assembly election. I would have voted for her, just to make a statement, that, we will have to reward dignity, honesty, and hard work, not necessarily unexplained opulence. Forget about Maame Adwoa’s lack of educational qualifications; she was honourable in her own right!

I don’t know the late Emmanuel Agyarko’s wife, Maa Lydia, but I pray that she wins today’s by-election. She is a woman. And she is more qualified than many people who are presently being called honourable (she even has MBA). Maa Lydia is on the board of Minerals Commission. She is involved in a number of Pharmaceutical businesses. And most importantly she is involved in several social causes, including Lion's club.

Apart from her qualifications, I have thought of the suddenness of the late Emmanuel Agyarko’s death, and I have thought through how the family is coping. If Agyarko was not a politician, the family would have enjoyed some levels of privacy in their mourning process. Probably they would have taken their time to plan his funeral, and taken the time to process the whole loss.

It’s been several weeks of sadness in Agyarko’s home. The thought of losing a father in his prime. The thought of losing a promising younger brother. The thought of losing a husband while still young. I have been here twice, having lost a sister in her twenties, and having lost a brother in his teens. It is deeply sobering and immensely lonely.

In the run-up to the 2016 elections, the NDC, unfortunately, lost its Parliamentary candidate, Desmond Ocloo, through a car accident. The widow of the deceased, Mrs. Linda Ocloo, decided to contest the seat to honour her late husband. That was a very brave and dignified decision she took, and I hope all wives would master the courage to put themselves forward in the manner that Mrs. Ocloo did. Eventually, Linda won the seat for NDC, and it gave meaning to the honour we gave to our departed brother.

Agyarko’s last day was the moment when his wife needed him most. In that blue room, when all the lights were blinking, and when all the life support machines were ticking too slowly towards death, and desperation had set in, wives, children, brothers, everyone was holding on to God, to speak, and to do one more miracle, to save the life of a man who loved, and who was loved, it was God’s will to let go.

Agyarko was a good man. He was a devoted party person. And he stood as a proud representative of Ayawaso West Wuogon. It is now time for us to stand with his wife, and bow in pride to his memory. As we walk to the polls, and as we thumbprint the ballot papers, we might want to spare a moment, to think of all what the living stand for, and all that Agyarko went through in his last moment, the battles he fought with death, and that last moment when life failed him, and in his honour, and in the honour of his brave wife, still in solemn spirit, we will cast that one vote for Maa Lydia, in honour of our departed brother.

Still, the battle is the Lord’s!