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Opinions of Friday, 18 September 2009

Columnist: Awuni, Manasseh Azure

The Sex Scandal: Great Lamptey Mills is a Liverpool Fan

I grew up in a rural area and so believe in the existence of spirits. There, if you find a whole village gathered under a big tree, you’ll be tempted to go there. If you get there you will realise that the spectators are feasting their eyes on a common sight. Somebody, usually a woman, will be in the middle of the thick circle confessing. If you are a stranger, you’ll be told that the “gods have arrested her” and she is confessing all the sins she has committed, including the mysterious death to Yaw Nkansah, the only native of the village who has been able to go to the university. He died the very first time he visited home during vacation. You may believe it or leave it but the fact is that when you run out of luck and the gods grab you, everything that follows becomes a weird drama with a kind of plot the protagonist may never understand until everything is over.

The “alleged” sex scandal involving the proprietor of Great Lamptey Mills School is similar to a drama written by Mr. Enoch Nii Lamptey Mills (the suspect) but directed by the gods. This man is more than popular in this country. Billboards of him receiving a national award from Former President J. A. Kufuor are everywhere in the city of Accra, except in my room. His school is equally popular and he has swept countless local and international awards for his immense contribution to education in Ghana. He is a popular face on TV as well. As part of his social responsibilities, he composes music on sanitation, drug abuse and AIDS, in which he reechoes the need to “Abstain, Be faithful to one’s partner or use Condom”. What an irony! His school’s TV series educates the youth against amoral behaviours, including premarital sex. But last Friday, he hit the front page of the Daily Graphic for the last reason one would like to appear in the media. Remember it was the Daily Graphic, and not the Daily Guide! With all this image to protect, one would have readily paid for the girl he allegedly impregnated to fly to the States or Europe in order to cover up if it so demanded. But as the report had it, the man denied responsibility of the pregnancy after performing the rites. When I was growing up in the north, I heard stories of spiritually powerful cattle rustlers who could vanish with herds of the most valuable assets of the savanna region. But when their time was up, they were arrested by women who had not got even Paracetamol let alone juju. Mr. Lamptey’s cup is full and nothing can be done about it.

Mr. Lamptey Mills has done what every Ghanaian would have done in this situation. He has denied knowledge of it. While investigations are ongoing to dig out the truth, one thing is certain. The man is a fan of the Liverpool FC in this respect. Why do I say so? Liverpool fans never walk alone and in this respect, Mr. Enoch Lamptey Mills does not walk alone. Sex scandals and extra-marital affairs have brought great men on to their knees while zeroing the reputation others have used all the energy of their life time to build. On 17th May 2007, former World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz resigned following ethical concerns over his affair with Shaha Ali Riza. Former President Bill Clinton also had his image dented when his alleged oral sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky was uncovered. He was nearly impeached. South African President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma was charged in December 2005 with rape. The woman in question was said to be HIV positive, but the great polygamist later testified during his trial in court that he showered after the unprotected sex to avoid any possible infection. Yes, he showered with pure water and nothing else! The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is under pressure to resign over an alleged sex scandal with “Patrizia D'Addario, a self-proclaimed prostitute, who claims she tape-recorded Berlusconi during a night she says they spent together at the premier's home last year.

In the tapes, which were obtained by the left-leaning newsweekly L'Espresso, a man identified as Berlusconi is heard telling D'Addario to wait for him on the big bed while he showers.” Big men, big houses, big cars, big women and now big beds. Everything about a big man is big.

The Time Magazine in the States is very famous for rankings of famous people and achievements. It has also got rankings of notorious people and infamous deeds as well. One of such rankings is the Top Ten Political Sex Scandals. You need to see the guilt-ridden faces of the men tagged as the “Sinful Statesmen.” The first two on the chart, Gov. Mark Sanford and Nevada Sen. John Ensign held press conferences to admit their extra marital affairs but the number four on the ranking, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, denied beginning. You now understand why I said Mr. Lamptey Mills has done what every Ghanaian would have done in this situation.

On the local front, sex scandals abound. Dr. Richard Anane, one of the finest ministers in Kufuor’s regime had his image battered when he went to preach virtues at an AIDS conference and practised vice just there. His unprotected sex with Alexandria O' Brien will forever remain an irony people will always refer to. Interestingly, Dr. Richard Anane and Enoch Lamptey Mills have something in common. They are both holders of former President Kufuor’s medals. At the sports ministry where Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak resigned (or was forced to resign) there was another sex scandal. Even if the minister succeeded in convincing all Ghanaians that the allegations leveled against him were a plot by some mafias in the ministry to get rid of him, there was no way he could convince the least intelligent Ghanaian that the mafia’s were responsible for including the Majority Leader’s secretary in the entourage.

The list is endless.

You may now agree with me that Great Lamptey Mills never walks alone. He is among many great men who have fallen for committing the legal sin. His is criminal because he decided to stoop so low to do it with someone young enough to be his granddaughter. That is if the allegations are true. If it is false and the girl and her parents just want to take advantage of the man’s wealth and fame, why do they have to wait until after the girl has delivered? But is the girl in question the only victim of such debauchery? Is the suspect married? Someone should answer me! What becomes of the Great Lamptey Mills Schools, the Band and the Soccer Academy? Image is everything, our PR practitioners would say. There are a lot of such scandals that are being swept under carpet and with time, they will be laid bare. Behind every successful man, they say, is a woman. But I think I will also be correct to say that behind the downfall of every successful man is a woman. From Sampson’s experience to date, many are yet to learn their lessons. Sex is legal. Fornication too is legal, though religiously it is a sin. So I call it a legal sin. But there are times ethics supersede legality as in the cases of those personalities mentioned earlier on. can you imagine the effect of a sex scandal involving Barack Obama? That is the extent to which a few minutes’ pleasure can unmake great men.

But why is sex scandal destroying so many people and their reputations? The reason for this morally treasonable crime is not hidden. If you cannot tame that restless devil between your thighs (whether you are a young man or a lady) before marriage, trying to tame it after marriage will be more difficult than singlehandedly carrying a man with a broken waist. The young men, especially, must learn this.

As for the beautiful ones they are born. Sometimes you see some and you are tempted to ask whether God really created all of us in his own image. You just have to learn to tame yourself, else the next spotlight may be on YOU.

Credit: Manasseh Azure Awuni [azureachebe2@yahoo.com] The writer is the SRC President of the Ghana Institute of Journalism.