There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, whatsoever, that the key operatives of the soon-to-be-ousted National Democratic Congress (NDC) firmly believe that old saying that a lie often repeated, with little or no challenge, sooner or later comes to be widely and publicly accepted as a gospel truth. It is very likely that Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa had this mantra of calculated mendacity in the back of his mind when he issued his forensically bogus list of Ghanaian public school that operate under trees, under the auspices of the country’s Ministry of Education. It is also likely that he had this selfsame tired mantra in the back of his mind when the late President John Evans Atta-Mills reportedly told the 64th Plenary Session of the United Nations’ General Assembly that his government was in the process of eliminating some 1,700 (one-thousand, seven-hundred) schools established under trees in his country (See “Presby Church Exposes NDC Over Schools Under Trees” The New Statesman 11/9/12).
Not surprisingly, the same figure of 1,700 schools under trees appears in the late president’s last State-of-the-Nation Address which was sensationally themed “Still Building a Better Ghana,” and was presented to a full-seating of Ghana’s National Assembly, or Parliament, and the Diplomatic Corps on Thursday, February 16, 2012. Now, the latter date resonates with me emotionally because had he not transitioned some eleven painful years before, my father would have turned eighty-three years old. And to think that a president of the country in which he was born, and which the old man so dearly loved – even as on the verge of death at New York City’s Harlem Hospital Center in November 2001, he would solemnly instruct his five adult children to have his mortal remains fittingly interred among those of his forebears in his ancient hometown of Kyebi – would stand in front of a cosmopolitan and global audience to peddle scandalous lies about 1,700 schools having been established, or founded, under trees is a moral and intellectual crime that can never be forgiven the self-styled “Asomdwoehene” – or King of Peace – by either the present generation or posterity.
First of all, what does such “Tarzanization” of the reality of the state and condition of Ghanaian public education say to an already racist, stereotypical and disdainful international community, particularly the West, mean for the much-touted and staunchly and fanatically promoted “African Personality” among the global comity of humanity? But that it shamefully and wickedly dishonors and desecrates the memory of our largely unsung heroes and pioneering educators like my own maternal grandfather, the Rev. T. H. Sintim (1896-1982), of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, for one significant example among platoons, is all the more to be envisaged for the treasonable offence that it veritably is. In other words, willful liars like the late President John Evans Atta-Mills ought to have been judicially prosecuted and sentenced to at least ten lifetimes’ imprisonment.
A lion’s share of the blame, of course, ought to be apportioned our Caretaker-President John Dramani Mahama who has, apparently, sanguinely maintained the grinning visage of the proverbial civet cat while his own Deputy Information Minister gleefully and criminally deceived both the Ghanaian electorate and the international community at large. And while he has passed on, and etiquette demands that he be allowed to rest his mortal remains peaceably, nevertheless, no well-meaning Ghanaian can overlook the fact that as a distinguished scholar and educator, and one whose father was also a quite distinguished and renowned educator, by our local standards, at least, the late President John Evans Atta-Mills ought to have known far, far better than to so facilely and shamefully allow himself to become complicit in such cynical peddling of unforgivable mendacity.
But that Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, of all Presbyterian academies, would pick on that of Osu-Accra, one of the oldest and most prestigious of the nationwide cluster of Mission Schools, as a striking example of schools-under-trees admirably housed by a purportedly progressive National Democratic Congress government, constitutes the very height of sacrilege and blasphemy, for want of the most appropriate phraseology for such indescribably vicious assay at both personal and institutional defamation. And this is the man who would have Ghanaians believe that the eight years of unprecedented democratic governance and socioeconomic prosperity under the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) was all about the inexorable and wanton looting of the public dole?
Indeed, no act constitutes a veritable act of the wanton looting of public monetary resources more than having congenital and pathological liars like Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa being paid handsomely to betray the otherwise hallowed image of our country and our heroes with whole cloths of lies both at home and abroad. In essence, until vacuous loudmouths like Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa are able to justify their humongous sinecures and perks at the expense of hardworking lower-middle class Ghanaian workers, they had better shut up and not foolishly and criminally expose themselves for the naked thieves that they are!
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Selected Political Writings” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org