By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
I find the very notion of Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur apologizing for her at once lurid and repugnant and crass exhibition of arrogance and condescension to the Headteacher of the Kukurantumi Presbyterian Primary School, and the chiefs and people of the Adonten (Vanguard) Division of Akyem-Abuakwa, at an Accra school function, some 63 miles away, objectionable.
Predictably, some propaganda shills of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) are hailing this half-hearted measure as a sign of maturity (See “Second Lady Shows Matrity; Hailed For Apologizing” Ghanaweb.com 7/20/15). Maybe somebody ought to apprise the wife of Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur of the fact that the Chief of Kukurantumi, the Adontenhene, is next in command to the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori-Panyin II. The Kukurantumihene is much bigger, culturally speaking, than the chief of the home-village of the vice-president’s wife.
What this means is that the proper thing for Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur to do is schedule a day convenient for the Adontenhene and return to Kukurantumi to officially and unreservedly apologize for her churlish behavior. Indeed, what has been described by some reporters who have little or absolutely no remarkable appreciation and understanding of Akan culture as an apology is actually an inexcusably preposterous attempt by the Second Lady to cavalierly justify her verbal abuse of Mrs. Juliet Oppong, the Kukurantumi Presbyterian Primary School headteacher. As I vividly recall, Mrs. Amissah-Arthur told the gathering at the Jack and Jill School that she had merely intended to encourage the spirit of communal self-help in the Kukurantumi township. And then in the usual self-righteous and half-hearted manner, the woman who caused so much outrage, humiliation and pain throughout the country last week, conditionally mumbled something to the following effect:
“If what I said was taken the wrong way by the people of Kukurantumi, then I am sorry.” Well, common courtesy does not allow me to dissect matters and put Mrs. Amissah-Arthur in her place, but we don’t need any half-hearted apology from her. On the other hand, if the Second Lady wants to permanently make good not only with the people of Kukurantumi, but the people of Okyeman in general, then, even as I stated a short while ago, Mrs. Amissah-Arthur needs to schedule an appointment with the Adontenhene of Akyem-Abuakwa and genuinely apologize for her gross misbehavior. Trust me, she would be loved and deeply appreciated for such emotional turn-around. She may even choose to be accompanied by her husband or President John Dramani Mahama. Else this nationwide contretemps is unlikely to go away or subside anytime soon.
We shall tackle this in another column, but the Ghana Education Service (GES), whose leaders now claim that they have available enough chalk for the use of all public schools in the country, needs some explaining to do. I have said this before and hereby repeat the same, that if Mrs. Amissah-Arthur wants to take over the statutory functions and/or obligations of the Ghana Education Service, the way she has reportedly been doing for sometime now, then the Second Lady needs to register and license her enterprise as a non-profit foundation or organization.
This means that she needs to open up her operations for the inspection of the Auditor-General’s Department, by disclosing to the latter and the Ghanaian citizenry at large who her sponsors and donors of the items she has been regularly ingratiating herself and her party with are. Her means of funding also needs to be made public, or she may have to get out of the way and let institutions constitutionally and statutorily mandated by the State do their work. She may also need to go back to school and acquire some training in political diplomacy and human relations.
I also wanted Mrs. Amissah-Arthur and people in government who reason and behave like her to fully appreciate that like most small, old towns in Ghana, Kukurantumi has a rich and enviable history. Perhaps the finest Ghanaian political fictionist, columnist, journalist, diplomat and science teacher in the second-half of the 20th century, Mr. Carl Mutt (aka Henry Ofori) was born and/or raised at Kukurantumi. His other equally significant ancestral hometown, of course, is Akyem-Asiakwa. Needless to say, the sort of conniption so unprofessionally exhibited by Mrs. Amissah-Arthur has absolutely no place, whatsoever, in the venerable and godly field of philanthropy.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]