I knew it was only a matter of time before the founding-patriarch of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) came public and personal with his gladhanded, or pro-forma, eulogy for Mr. Komla Dumor, the famed BBC-World Service and Joy-Fm program presenter and news anchor who died at his home in London last month. If memory serves me accurately, the Rawlingses have already written up their thoughts and sentiments about our deceased brother in one of the many books of condolences opened up in Mr. Dumor’s memory and honor around the country.
Now, we don’t know what the faux-revolutionary bloody couple entered into the condolence book which they had occasion to graciously sign (tongue in cheek, of course), but we definitely got quite a reliable hint of it when Mr. Rawlings eulogized Mr. Dumor at the latter’s funeral (See “Dumor Is the Last Person Deserving of Death – Rawlings” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 2/21/14). Short of its abject hypocrisy and criminal disingenuousness, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind, whatsoever, that when she made the following eulogistic remark in honor and memory of the deceased media celebrity, Ghana’s longest-reigning first lady meant every word of the same.
Well, this is what Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings had to say about the late Mr. Dumor: “In all seriousness, if some of the so-called professional journalists in this country had a mere [sic] fraction of Komla’s intellect and integrity, the corruption and [lackluster] performance that we see in the media would not have sunk to such depths.” I am not sure, however, whether Mrs. Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings appreciated the full import of her tribute. Very likely, it was more a matter of sheer formality than anything else.
You see, I lived at least the first three years of the so-called second revolutionary re-emergence of the then-Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings in Ghana and fully witnessed the tragic fate of astute and conscientious journalists like Mr. John Kugblenu, and one or two others whose names I cannot readily recall presently. And I don’t suppose for a split-second that Mrs. Agyeman-Rawlings even remotely meant to imply that, somehow, a brilliant and faultingly honest and patriotic journalist like Mr. Kugblenu – my eldest maternal uncle, Rev. Lt.-Col. H. H. Sintim-Aboagye (1921-1987) was on a first-name basis with the late firebrand frontline media operative – “had a mere fraction of Komla’s intellect and integrity.”
The fact of the matter is that you cannot collaboratively go about with your stratocratic and blood-thirsty husband rounding up and torturing journalists, in the middle of the night, for supposedly writing all the wrong things about your person and him and his rag-tag government, and then summarily sentence them to harsh terms of imprisonment and, somehow, expect that Ghana would conducively and auspiciously produce journalists of the sterling caliber of Komla Dumor (1972-2014).
What is more, 1997 is rather too late in the treacherous mine fields of Ghanaian journalism for the mettle of Mr. Dumor to have been tested in the kind of hell-fire baptism endured by the hardy likes of Messrs. Kweku Baako, Kofi Badu, Ebo Quansah, Amamo Krakra, Akwasi Donkor and even our own two-timing and double-crossing Kwesi Pratt. Then also, time does not permit me to conduct a comprehensive dry run of the list of the sterling Ghanaian, and continental African, media mavens who preceded Mr. Dumor to the BBC when the African person was still widely reckoned to be, at best, a professional adjunct brought in to simply make “Master-Boss” feel morally self-gratified and politically savvy and racially inclusive.
Of course, there is absolutely no question about the professional versatility and genius of the late Mr. Dumor; nonetheless, decorum and the solemnity of the funerary celebration of his “untimely” passing ought not to be boorishly and indecorously capitalized upon by a cynical and brazenly hawkish and megalomaniacal politician like Mrs. Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings to castigate the very media operatives to whose widely perceived professional mediocrity Nana Konadu and her husband, Togbui Avaklasu I, have immensely contributed.
Indeed, he couldn’t be more dead-on-target when Mr. Rawlings pontifically notes, perhaps even with incontestable sincerity, that Mr. Dumor was “the last man deserving of death.” You know, I have, myself, heavy-heartedly been wondering this past couple of weeks why pathologically wicked and unconscionable people like Mr. Rawlings continue to live comfortably and feed fat on the public dole/dough, while good and hardworking, affable, productive and highly talented people like Mr. Dumor are prematurely laid to waste by the proverbial Ice Man. To be certain, it rattles my faith in Divine Providence sometimes.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Department of English Nassau Community College of SUNY Garden City, New York
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