Nobody can blame the media for making matters any more uncomfortable for the Editor-Publisher of the New Crusading Guide than the recent conjugal-convert to Islam has already made for himself by his own impulsive and unguarded utterances. As the son of a seasoned Ghanaian politician and statesman, the younger Mr. Baako ought to have known better than to so lamely presume the legitimacy, dignity and authority of the Asantehene to have originated from the country’s 1992 Republican Constitution. But that is not what the subject-matter of this column is about. Only partly, to be certain. Rather, it is about the alleged flurry of threats that the television talking-heads fixture claims to have received and is still receiving from those displeased with his rather cavalier attempt to deprecate the status and significance of the Asantehene in Ghana’s political culture.
Indeed, if I were Alhaji Abdul-Malik Kweku Baako, I would not worry myself silly over the overwhelming majority of the alleged threats issued him by the admirers and supplicants of His Majesty, The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II. Most of these phone-messaging threats are invariably issued by craven cowards who only pretend to boldness primarily on the strength of the anonymity provided them by this modern-day communication technology (See “Kweku Baako Receives ‘Death Threats’ Over ‘Otumfuo Remarks’” MyNewsGh.com / Ghanaweb.com 5/18/18).
I have personally been threatened by a reader of my column with death, when I wrote and published an article that the threat-issuer found to be unflattering of his political idol. Interestingly, when I tracked down the threat-maker, using his IP Number, the godforsaken SOB wrote back in the very tone of the coward that I had already sized him up to be, vowing to report me to the FBI for threatening his life. You see, Rawlings said it best, “Most Ghanaians are cowards.” Which is why this half-Scottish waif was able to literally ride roughshod over our human rights and humanity for a protracted two decades, as well as have our constitution tailor-made for his own political convenience.
Then there was another threat-maker who actually made a trip to my college and to my department, claiming to have an urgent message to deliver to me, according to the evening secretary. He had also e-mailed one of my colleagues, actually two – but I will only discuss one of them for our present purposes – in order to make sure that I was actually employed by Nassau Community College of the State University of New York (SUNY-Nassau), so he wouldn’t have to waste his time targeting the wrong person. My recipient colleague promptly forwarded the threatening message to the then-Chairman of my department, and then called me to inform me about the same.
The Chairman promptly arranged a meeting between the two of us, read me the threatening message and asked what I felt about the same. He wanted to know if I took such threat seriously as to necessitate the establishment of any protective measures. I promptly told him that I had absolutely no fear of any disgruntled reader of my well-considered and convicted columns to go about looking over my shoulders and behind my back. The threat-maker would later e-mail me, once more, claiming to have been informed that the only person with my last name teaching at Nassau Community College was a woman.
Now, how one goes from physically attempting to track me down at my college – he missed me by just ten minutes, as I was in class about a quarter of a mile away – in order to inflict severe and possibly fatal bodily harm on me, to reaching the rather weird conclusion that, somehow, I was, in fact, a woman has continued to puzzle to this day. Now, the same person who wanted to have me summarily liquidated, from time to time, these days, pops up on the global professional networking website called LinkedIn trying to court my friendship!
You see, I had earlier on tracked “KC” (those are his initials) down by his IP Number and discovered that he worked with the Transit Authority System of New York – administrators of the New York City and New Jersey Railroad System. But even more significantly, I had uncovered the fact that KC had used one of the one of the computer terminals at his place of work, a PC that belonged to the Transit Authority System, and was thus taxpayer-supported, to issue his threat. Then also, to make matters worse for himself, my would-be assailant had also issued his threat at a time when he was supposed to be working for his contractually determined salary. That was how I literally grabbed that godforsaken SOB by the balls.
Granted, the way and manner in which the Editor-Publisher of the New Crusading Guide waded into whatever beef The Asantehene may be having with the leaders of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Jubilee House, or the Presidency, itself was unnecessarily petulant and antagonistic and one that luridly verged on the downright sophomoric. It was also jejune and inexcusably infantile because Mr. Baako is media savvy enough to recognize the fact that politicians, by the very nature of their profession, have to maintain a diplomatic and symbiotic relationship with our traditional rulers, especially authoritative and powerful rulers like The Asantehene who, by the way, is not a “ceremonial ruler,” as some of our self-appointed “constitutionalists” would have their audiences believe, any more than the British Monarchy is ceremonially inconsequential to the politics of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
To be certain, it is our Indemnity Clause-hobbled 1992 Rawlings-tailored Constitution that is a ceremonial travesty of its kind. And it is rather absurd to think that a prominent and front-row journalist like Mr. Baako would invest greater legitimacy and functional legality in the most poorly composed and edited governance instrument in Ghana’s postcolonial history. Ultimately, however, Mr. Baako is more deserving of our commendation than our condemnation, much less any threat of physical or bodily harm. Like even His Majesty, The Asantehene, Mr. Baako is not perfect. He is only a patriotic Ghanaian trying to give of his best to our national development effort.
Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.