On Sexual Harassment 101 Re: Nana Akufo Addo’s Fondling Tape is Fake
By Kwaku A. Danso
The week of Feb.23th must have been a nightmare for Nana Akufo Addo, Presidential candidate for the NPP in Ghana. First there was a You-Tube Video circulating that Nana Adoo, just before getting up from a make-up chair to go on air at the government GBC TV station, had touched the breasts of the female make-up artist.
The ruling government NDC party operative felt this was their chance to nail down Nana Akufo Addo and they sure tried!
Dr. Hannah Bissiw, an NDC Minister was quick to jump on the attack last Wednesday, insisting on Radio Gold morning show that “Nana Addo had fondled the breasts of Janet Owusu Dankwa and that they had a video evidence to back their claim”, according to news reports. She therefore was reported as calling on “women groups and gender activists to speak up against Nana Addo, as according to her, his conduct amounted to an abuse on women”.
This is serious stuff. But was it true? On Thursday Feb.16th 2012, Daily guide reported:
“The said makeup artist Janet Owusu Dankwa, has expressed shock and disappointment at the allegations which were spewed out by a section of the rented NDC press and repeated on radio by a deputy Minister for Works and Housing, Hanna Louisa Bissiw, and the Executive Director of the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), Kojo Twum-Boafo”
Sexual harassment and assault, defined as touching a woman inappropriately, is a very serious case in America. However, even in the US in domestic abuse cases, the cause of the complaint must come from the woman, not some hidden camera played over 20 times to get the point. I watched the tape and still could not figure out what the 3-5-second repeated tape was trying to portray.
To give an example how serous sexual harassment and assault is in America, San Francisco Sheriff (Police Chief) is in trouble and in court for holding his wife’s arm too tight to bruise her, and the woman is pressing charges. It appears she was abused before, and chose to press charges this time. That is different under law. It is serious and the man can lose his job if found guilty. I think he is even prevented from seeing his wife and child. Funny thing is that it seems the wife is from South America and does not have her green card yet, and it is complicated! As my 90 years old aunt would put it, it has become a “kramuna” case. (I heard this as a child and come to think of it now, I think she meant criminal case).
Sexual harassment laws in the West are very funny indeed. Human society is trying to regulate animal behavior,, but it is tough. It is serious because it reflects the mindset of men who are lacking control. However, there have been cases, perhaps rare, where it has been used by women to try and squeeze some money from a company or a man of means! Something like that happened to somebody I know two years ago,, and I had to get involved to save him. Poor (unfortunately black) girl was trying to hit on this young man,, and in typical African naïve style, he gave her a ride two times after work home without showing any interest. Americans say there is no free lunch. On a busy day at work (same company) the girl jumped into his car at lunch time to the other parking lot from work, and as any reasonable person would expect he tried to steal a kiss! (Wouldn’t you?). This was all! She rejected it, and everybody went to work with small “animguase” (embarrassment). There was no force and no bruises and it was right in the open but inside his SUV. It is possible the white shirt and tie and title of Supervisor gave the impression to this girl of possible gold mine. The next day she reported to the police that she had been harassed! This case took two years and about seven trips to the courts, with me coming in. The police investigators came to my house to interview me about his family background. Had these people gotten the impression this person was a “Ghetto” boy, from poverty in Africa, they would perhaps have pressed charges and deported him! It was that serious!
Who said life is fair! There are studies that correlate economic poverty to crimes in America. Poverty (ohia) is like madness, as an Akan proverb says. So knowing the philosophy, I took my time to sit this young police officer (who also happened to be black) down in my living room and gave him a PhD level lecture about the definitions of poverty in relative terms to show that the “background” (note the term very well) of this accused person was beyond reproach and there was no reason or motive for him to commit such a crime. I even told him how statistically rare this kind of crime is in Ghana. Unfortunately some of the accused man’s own statements did not help,, but well,, it is “brofo” English,, and I had to explain how language interpretations are done in English sometimes to say the wrong things like “I am not interested” when people are really interested.
I am sure we all read of the Kennedy’s and other rich folks in America and the Hollywood boys and girls getting a slap on the wrist under the law. O.J. Simpson, according to the views of many Americans “got away with murder” in the case of his trial on his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and one male friend. It is claimed he got off by hiring the best lawyers. I watched the whole trial, hundreds or thousands of hours of the trial! It is sad to say this but the laws of man were made by man, and to give the benefit of the doubt to the rich, the 1%. The 99% are the ones fighting the wars and “shufferling” in prisons (to quote Will-I-Am and his Black Eyed Peas, “Everyday I am shufferling”).
It is unfortunate modern politics can be dirty. This case of Nana Addo fondling this woman will never get to any trial but it is a warning. Ghanaian politicians are not dealing with the real core problems of our nation. Leader after leader come in and disappoint. At best these leaders come in to serve themselves and forget about those without water and electricity interruptions even for those who can pay. Many of our politicians are often reported distracted and with charges of sexual improprieties and we all know they never go to trial. Will these men please learn discipline and keep their distance and their zippers up! Please!
Nana Addo will not be touched by this, but Nana also better get busy and off his royal behind and hit hard and tell us what he is going to do different to change the lives of the people. How he is going to redesign the tax code. How he is going to decentralize and give power to the towns and districts to each develop their town with their own taxes. Who are his advisers? So far I hear all these high sounding prepared speeches, economic GDP, building new Universities, etc, and I am still not electrified as we used to hear President Obama in America in 2008. We the people need to be “Charged up, and ready to go!!!” – We need specifics in order to vote for any of them.
In summary, I must say that those seeking the highest office in Ghana must have the discipline to sit down for hours thinking and planning with others to solve problems. The idea of resorting to Europeans and World Bank advisers sound dumb to most of us! The big English will not save them either. This Ghanaian concept of politicians being “humble”, “peace loving”, “asomdweehene”, to me should be banned from our vocabulary and consciousness!! The deceptive cultural appearance of “humility” did not help our President Dr. Limann in 1979-1981 as we all know. It did not help Prime Minister Dr. Busia in 1969-72. So far it has not helped Professor Mills to deliver much change we see and touch or drink. In fact many will agree that it was this lack of vigilance on the part of President Dr. Limann that made treason by Jerry Rawlings and his team, a military coup, possible and to overthrow the legitimate elected government in Dec.31, 1981.
Ghanaians are looking for somebody who has FIRE!! People are suffering with water, electricity, sanitation, traffic and ordinary daily problems of unemployment and lack of available utilities to cope in the cities and rural areas. These are not too hard to solve!! We need somebody with FIRE!! We need somebody who can think on his feet, can act, perform, and get things done!! (without any tea-drinking committees, if I might add).
Somebody give me an Amen!
Kwaku A. Danso