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Opinions of Saturday, 7 August 2021

Columnist: Opanin Archimedes Owusu-Ababio

An ode to honourable ET Mensah: A piece of advice to NDC political turncoats

Former MP for Ningo-Prampram ET Mensah Former MP for Ningo-Prampram ET Mensah

We Africans generally tend to revere old age and have profound respect for elderly persons falsely believing that in all instances with advancing age and passage of time long life bestows profound wisdom and innate intelligence for which reason all elderly persons justifiably deserve to be accorded unflinching and unmerited societal respect.

While it is generally true that elderly persons deserve to be respected and celebrated for their lifetime achievements and contributions to society considering that they represent a living repository of experience and knowledge acquired over a long lifetime, and as such they are a treasure trove of societal wisdom and institutional memory from which contemporary history can be gleaned, discerned, dissected and purposely referenced especially by the younger generation who may consult elderly persons to solicit advice and thereby learn from their failings and successes to help advance the course of society and thereby not repeat past mistakes often borne out of errors of judgement, indiscretion and poor decision.

“Our hearts are all prison walls when we hold people captive with chains of unforgiveness” – Ikechukwu Izuakor (Nigerian Author)

However, with age what becomes of persons whom in their youthful ages and perhaps working adult life were generally deemed to have consistently acted unwisely, or behaved stupidly and foolishly in the eyes of their peers, friends, associates, and colleagues?

Thus, having established a lifetime pattern of behaviour considered by those who know them best to be characterized and described as a lifetime of folly, stupidity, and foolishness, does society have to placate and accord such elderly persons the respect usually accorded to elderly persons simply because they are now senior citizens who have suddenly become wiser?

It may sound distasteful, absurd or politically incorrect to suggest that societal respect should not be accorded wholesale to all elderly persons on a silver platter simply because they’ve advanced in age even when some persons in their old age continue to act immaturely and unwisely by exhibiting crass petulance, intolerance, and vindictive tendencies akin to the behaviour typically associated and exhibited by toddlers and juveniles who often hastily desire to seek revenge for any act of provocation and infringement meted against them.

For those elderly persons whose hallmark is bitterness, resentment, vindictiveness, and quest for retribution that they’ve nursed and harbored against other persons over the years, and which now seems to define who they are and also clouds their judgment and discernment on issues as they seek any opportunity by using any means possible to retaliate and extract revenge for past sins and acts of omission or commission against them, do such senior citizens deserve to be accorded elderly respect?

“An open heart has greater power than a clenched fist” – Matshona Dhliwayo (Canadian Philosopher of Zimbabwean descent)

The question I want to pose to Honourable Enoch Teye Mensah who is now an elected Member of the Council of State, and also previously served as a PNDC Member, former NDC Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampam Constituency, and former Minister of State under erstwhile PNDC and NDC governments; what does senior citizen ET Mensah personally stand to gain by pouring sand in the gari of Honourable Collins Dauda the incumbent NDC Member of Parliament for Asutifi South Constituency, and by implication on the NDC party as a whole that he (ET Mensah) was formerly associated with when previous NDC governments under former President’s Mills and JM only sought to modernize and bring development to his backyard and home constituency of Ningo-Prampam by conceiving and implementing the Saglemi Housing Project which is now before the Accra High Court?

“Never miss good chance to shut up” – Will Rogers (American Actor)

By age ET Mensah is now in his mid-seventies (approximately 75 years old) and having been elected to the high office of Council of State is an elderly person whom by all standards ought to know when silence is golden. By virtue of his age ET Mensah is by default accorded the respect that comes with old age, especially by his own spouse (wife), children, family members, friends, former colleagues, townsfolk, and indigenes of Ningo-Prampam Constituency and even his Church members.

Indeed, for ET Mensah having especially studied Theology at the Trinity College post his retirement from active politics and having been ordained a Christian Pastor (Deacon) society expects him to be more measured and conduct himself in a dignified manner by upholding Christian values and virtues of tolerance, patience, forgiveness and not bearing false witness against their neighbour.

“How easy it is, treachery! You just slide into it” – Margaret Atwood (Canadian Poet)

With the passage of time and advancement of age everyone periodically needs to constantly take stock and reflect on their lives, examine their conscience and answer for themselves how they wish to be remembered one day long after they have transitioned to the afterlife and are no longer counted in the world of the living.

We all need to periodically reflect on the legacy, honour or dishonour that we may consciously or unconsciously leave behind when we die and are no more because oftentimes, we leave behind pleasant and unpleasant memories that are indelibly and deeply etched on our children, family members, kinsmen, friends, former colleagues who have to endure the stigma and shackles of their mere association with you during your lifetime.

To Messrs. ET Mensah, Koku Anyidoho, Allotey Jacobs, Stephen Atubiga, nobody begrudges you for dissociating yourselves from NDC party although looking back the very same NDC provided you with the opportunity and political stage that helped and propelled you in diverse ways towards becoming the persons you are today. Do not allow bitterness, resentment, and the quest for retribution and an unforgiving spirit to define your lives outside NDC no matter how deeply embittered or disappointed you are.

Heal yourself by maintaining your golden silence as you chart a new course for yourselves mindful that the people you met along the way as you climbed the political staircase to fame are the same people you will meet when you descend the staircase.

Remember that Paul Afoko of NPP has every reason to be bitter and seek retribution by speaking out against the injustice meted against him by his own NPP party but has wisely chosen to maintain a stoic silence.