Opinions Fri, 12 Feb 2021

Are we a country of mountebanks?

After losing the argument to compel the Electoral Commissioner to mount the witness box, counsel for the Petitioner has now filed a subpoena, asking the very same court to compel the Electoral Commissioner to mount the witness box to testify. And if this sounds like some type of risible soul opera, you should ask yourself exactly when we stopped joking as a country. We are a country of jokers indeed!

We are a country of jokers because we like to pump up our imaginary heroes, to confer accolades on them, to praise them for releasing a puff of circular smoke, and to turn them into eternal demigods without caring to ask how they vaulted the heights unto Mt. Olympus. How and why did these people turn into gods and demigods? And what was their genuine trajectory onto this apotheotic pedestal?

But then again, we are a nation of powerful religious cults always looking for human gods to praise and worship as our pathway to some sort of cathartic discharge, no matter how disgusting. We are the ignoblest and pathetic deplorable, cloned, cultivated and acculturated to be the worshipping clowns in all things, serving our devotion and emotions on mountains, rivers, crosses, dunghills, dung-heap and even bright stones and large feathers. There is nothing we are not happy to worship, to create our myth around, to genuflect to, and to anoint with our precious oil and hard-earned pots of gold!

And that is why some people have become superstars in our legal system without any gravitas to back up the myth.

When you watch these charlatans performing their raconteur in our courts, you are left aghast and wondering what on earth they did to earn their status. Indeed, when I watch them performing their theater of woes in court, I am embarrassed and even offended. What with their arrogance and sheer stupidity and incompetence in the motions and notions they concoct, the cant and terms and gibberish they mouth, the empty jargons they misquote and mispronounce and the processes and procedures they concoct and invent.

Even if they inflict powerful damage on the English language and lisp through their utterances and sentences and sound grandiloquent like panjandrums, they are hailed as being perfectly eloquent!

These incompetent lawyers may be good in the classroom because of their recycled and repetitive lectures and worn-out ideas but are completely clueless in the courtroom decorum and the perquisites of solid advocacy. They also represent the class of phony hillbillies within our adversarial system to whom impressionable acolytes daily pay homage.

And this problem of hollow and high falutin encomia for undeserving cronies did not begin yesterday. We have been hailing the mirage throughout: I recently undertook to dig a bit deeper into our national heroes to determine their authenticity. I found for example that Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey claimed to be a Doctor of Osteopathy; to wit he was some sort of physician-masseur who manipulated joints and bones to treat diseases! I was wondering how many people he massaged or how many bones he set.

Or was it the case that he fell in love with a strange word which he used to pooh-pooh the illiterate people within the country? And where was his doctoral certificate in any museum anywhere? We must settle the question of Aggrey’s scholarship and authenticate his certificate; or otherwise consider him fake.

And now enter Kwame Nkrumah who lived in both America and Europe and was pretty much jobless and homeless but for Arko-Adjei who provided him succor. When Nkrumah arrived in Ghana in 1947, he claimed to possess a Ph. D, a claim thereafter found to be patently false. Nevertheless, it was of no moment to the motley crowds of dunderheads who continued to call him “Doctor”. Nkrumah somehow regularized the title by acquiring several honorary doctorates.

To date, his acolytes are willing and able to question the doctorate of every other person except that of Nkrumah. We must also question Nkrumah’s certificates and authenticate them, or otherwise consider him fake. For if you listen to Nkrumah’s pronunciation and intonation alone, you are more likely to believe that he was hiding somewhere in the Liberian forest than that he had any education abroad, let alone a Ph.D.

After Nkrumah came people like Professor Allotey whose credentials were also padded to give him a pass as a Mathematics genius. He was supposed to have developed a mathematical constant known as “Allotey’s Formalism” which never exists anywhere else in the known world except in the popular imagination of the Ghanaian people. He was also supposed to have won an award called the UK Prince Phillip Golden Award in science in 1973. That award has a list of recipients that does not mention him. Yet we worshipped and hailed him till death.

Then came Rawlings, another non entity and an aficionado of fakery. This man never passed any exam, never served in any administrative or political position, nor bothered to conduct himself in any exemplary manner. He had no property to his name nor any achievements of record, except “a coveted speed bird trophy” (Read a toy plane) which he won upon completion of his cadet officer’s course.

Out of sheer indiscipline, he staged an unsuccessful coup and was arrested and jailed. When another mutiny by another ragtag group of undisciplined soldiers was staged, he was chosen to be the deadbeat leader who would lose nothing by putting his life on the line by going to broadcast that the government had been overthrown.

Thereafter, he escaped into the Achimota forest and was later cajoled into town to head the government.

All of a sudden, Ghanaians hailed him as a Messiah and Junior Jesus, somebody who was going to restore the national economy, bring about general prosperity and restore the dignity of the country among the comity of nations. Nobody questioned the bases of these expectations, appellation and accolades. Only that Ghanaians endured his brutality and murder for nearly twenty years; and when he retired and died, he was buried as a national hero, and given the appellations of the gods.

We must question the basis of the Rawlings charade and ask ourselves how come normal people saw him as one come to give redemption to a country when like Nkrumah, he arrived with nothing in hand and took everything out of our hands.

I was bemused on my high school WhatsApp platform recently when I questioned whether after forty years, anybody had really changed in character. I had argued before then that those we met in high school had virtually remained the same: Those intelligent ones in high school had their places in academia. The dull ones had become pastors, religious leaders or juju men. In between, the average ones had become politicians. The jokers and comedians are still joking and performing comedic acts on our platform.

And so my question was, what really changed in their character after forty years when they had the opportunity to go through the school of formal education and the school of life? I concluded that nothing has changed. And if nothing changed, then what did they attend school for?

If you put the question across board to encompass any aspect of our national life or agency, you will find that everybody is trained to be fake in Ghana, to find ways to enrich himself and family through acts of deception and corruption and graft. We have had no formula for righteousness with which to imbue the citizenry since the founding of the nation. Our teachers are fake. Our lawyers are fake. Our pastors are fake. Our policemen are fake. Our political leaders are fake. Everybody is fake!

And that is why we have arrived at the destination of fakery wherefore the one who is our star lawyer is also fake, winging non-existent processes and procedures to bamboozle our law lords who are also enchanted by him, bullied by him, confounded by him and impressed by him.

We should begin to produce the personas we want in every aspect of our lives, not just imagine them, and take time to train them with a sense of purpose to be ready for the national project; otherwise this fakery will continue forever, and we will continue to be a land of mediocre thespians.
Columnist: Dr Samuel Adjei Sarfo, Esq.
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