Good Riposte On Obeng Picture, Daily Guide!

Tue, 27 May 2014 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Ever since the blistering waves of condemnation hit the publisher and editors of the Daily Guide, an unabashedly New Patriotic Party-leaning newspaper of record in Ghana, I have been wondering precisely what sort of media crime, or even misdemeanor, the key operatives of this finest of newspapers have committed to warrant such intemperate torrents of attacks, other than the widely known fact of the Daily Guide's being heavily NPP leaning.

I have restrained myself from joining the fray, until now, because I wanted to get a clear perspective on the matter. I have also on several occasions clicked on the Daily Guide's tab on the Ghanaweb.com website in hopes of taking a peek at the allegedly distasteful publication of the photograph showing the mortal remains of Mr. P. V. Obeng, the former Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) Chairman of the so-called Committee of Secretaries.

Finally, I am able to weigh in on the raging controversy, the Daily Guide's publisher and editors having now come out to boldly and fearlessly defend their very professional, and even laudable, decision to publish the "silhouette" picture of the late Mr. Obeng. I am, however, aghast at the rather inexplicably curious stances taken by the executive operatives of both the Ghana Journalists' Association (GJA) and the National Media Commission (NMC), because the decision to publish only the "silhouette" of the mortal remains of Mr. Obeng clearly appears to have been taken in good faith and with unimpeachable professionalism and sensitivity towards the family, relatives, close friends and associates of the deceased man, unlike some of the gory pictures most of the Ghanaian print and electronic media distastefully bombard us with practically on a daily basis.

After all, haven't most of us avid patrons of Ghanaian newspaper websites, for example, been rudely confronted with photographs of decapitated stark-naked corpses from the Peki-Tsito running and perennial conflict from time to time? Likewise, haven't we been confronted with nude pictures of criminal suspects brutally mauled by urban-community mobs, even before these suspects have been arraigned before a legitimately constituted court of law and have any charges preferred against them?

And just what have these latter-day pontifical and self-righteous media capos at the GJA and NMC said about such incidents of unspeakable barbarity? Or is the Obeng case jst another example of a classical "Animal Farm" situation, in which some deceased Ghanaians are deemed to be worthy of more dignity than others? Frankly, these stomach-oriented media capos of the Ghana Journalists' Association and the National Media Commission ought to thank the very heavens and their stars that Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe is not running the show at the Daily Guide; else, I would have pleaded with the mortuary attendants at the LEKMA Hospital to the peel the shroud off the corpse of Mr. Obeng, so that Ghanaians may see how unimpressively naked to the balls this blatantly dirty politician and treasonous anti-democratic criminal was really like each and every one of us.

You see, I keep nightmarishly wondering about how the dead man's genitals, particularly his gonads, might look like, being that Mr. Obeng was a key actor in Mr. Rawlings' "revolutionary" junta of the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) whose agents and assigns criminally humiliated our relatives, both men and women, by parading them thoroughly nude, at gunpoint, through the principal streets of many Ghanaian cities, towns and villages during the late 1970s and early 1980s. I personally had a classmate whose father, a highly dignified travelling medicine salesman, or an apothecary, as I vividly recall, was stripped stark-naked and paraded through the streets and alleyways of Akyem-Asiakwa, for reasons that have yet to be clarified for me. And we haven't even begun talking about the deleterious psychological impact that such an inexcusable act of savagery had on the children of this man.

And what 50-plus-year-old Ghanaian citizen has so soon forgotten the grisly pictures of General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Commander Utuka on the front-pages of the Daily Graphic and the Ghanaian Times; heads lolling over limp bloodied bodies, feces and urine, and tongues sticking out like newly shot game on stakes at the Teshie Military Range?

How about the bullet-riddled corpse of General Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa? (And, by the way, I attended Akropong Salem with the son of Gen. Afrifa, a spitting image of his father with the same name, who preferred to be identified as his nephew; as well as a nephew of the slain general, some three or four years prior to Gen. Afrifa's execution. Couple the preceding with the fact that I was born at Asante-Mampong, and the fact that Afrifa's immediate younger sister was my late mother's intimate friend, and you can, perhaps, begin to partially appreciate my heavy emotional investment in the fate of this soldier's soldier).

What nerve, GJA and NMC, and NDC! And you wonder why I still do not miss Ghana, thirty years removed from such despicable acts of wanton depravity and savagery?!


*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

Board Member, The Nassau Review

May 24, 2014

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net


Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame