By Anthony Obeng Afrane
Style in literature is one of the many literary devices a writer uses to create meaning, mood and images in a piece of writing. As a writer, I appreciate good style, and one writer I hold in high esteem when it [ads1]comes to style is Manasseh Azure Awuni, an investigative journalist at Joy FM. My admiration for him goes beyond his good writing style. I love his courage and forthrightness as well. Manasseh, a son of a poor night watchman, has an incredible story of how his misfortune was turned into great success. Given that my father was a poor driver, and I also went through similar challenges when growing up gives me a lot to share in common with the young journalist.
Both of us grew up under difficult conditions, but rose above the odds of poverty and hopelessness; attacking him is the last thing I would want to do. But his insinuations of the former First Family’s legacies in his article, “Manasseh’s folder: Rebecca Akufo-Addo’s ‘strategic mistakes’,” is a misplaced sense of what seems fair, and this is a more hawkish tilt to what he is best known for. My eyes were fully dilated with shock and disappointment when I read that write-up. He may particularly not like the Former president and his wife, but to subject their legacies to contempt is just plain ridiculous because there is no shred of doubt that they have been development arteries of our country, and deserve a heck of a lot of respect and commendations for what they did for Mother Ghana.
I’m going to give a hell of a reason why I think my younger brother is wrong. I don’t intend to be snarky, but I want the best for him.
First, implying that former President John Dramani Mahama commissioned most major projects close to the 2016 elections to gain a political advantage was absolutely unjust. After the Supreme Court election petition case which stymied the progress of his government for nearly a year, H.E. John Dramani Mahama had three years to execute his infrastructure agenda; and such major projects required about three years or more to complete: and therefore, most of the projects were completed in 2016 which was coincidentally an election year. All the projects were commissioned as soon as they were completed; a typical example is the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange.
It is worth noting that not all completed projects were commissioned in 2016, some of which our president, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo has commissioned and taken credit for; examples that readily comes to mind is the Shama Ceramic Factory, Wa Water Project for the people of Jambusie in WA in the Upper West Region, the Offshore Cape Three Points Integrated Oil and Gas Project among others.
Second, his description of the former First Lady’s legacy is more reminiscent of perversity than quip. That. Was. Very. Distasteful. He praised our First Lady, H.E. Rebecca Akufo-Addo for opening the Mother and Baby Unit at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and recently cutting sod for the construction of a hostel to house mothers and their children undergoing treatment at the Korlebu Teaching Hospital. These are good initiatives by all standards even though but for poor management, those hospitals could have generated more than enough revenue to undertake such projects.
Conversely, H.E. Lordina Mahama’s projects were targeted at rural healthcare where they are needed most. Mrs Mahama does not travel abroad with as little as 2,000 Ghana Cedis to buy cheap items for orphanages and vulnerable groups as Manasseh wants us to believe, but donated expensive items such as ultra-modern ECG and X-ray machines, ambulances, computers, ultra-modern hospital beds, and other essential medical supplies. In all, she donated to 80 health facilities in all 10 regions of Ghana.
Interestingly, funding of this medical equipment and supplies did not come from government contracts as Mr Azure wanted to suggest – they were donated by a humanitarian aid organization, Medshare in the US.
These were not all, she gave start-up kits for artisans, barbers, tailors, hair-dressers and others to create thousands of jobs. She also worked hard towards the reduction of cervical and breast cancer cases in Ghana by creating awareness, and encouraging women to go for regular medical examination.
Furthermore, apart from donating items to orphanages, she provided accommodation and educational facilities to the inmates of the Gambaga “Witches” Camp.
Just one more loose end to tie up, Mrs Mahama may have her faults like any human being, but she has a fascinatingly lovely spirit. She is selfless and humane. In 2016, during Christmas, she visited her friends at the Gambaga camp to present them with their Christmas gifts, and also fraternize with them. The alleged witches were so touched by the love exhibited by Mrs Mahama that they hugged her and broke into uncontrollable weeping. Tears stung in the eyes of the former First Lady as she swallowed a lump in her throat! She also broke into unmanageable sobbing.
I’m not in any way downplaying the effort of Mama Becky, our First Lady, she is doing her best, her contribution in those hospitals is going to save lives and bring relief to many families, but on the scale between pretty important and absolutely crucial, Auntie Lordina stands tall. In Luke 10:41 of the Bible, Jesus told Martha that she is worried about many things, but only one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen it, and it will never be taken away from her – Madam Lordina has touched the hearts of the underprivileged and that of God; any attempt to rubbish her legacy will not wash because the weight of truth is very heavy in the case of her exploits.
Manasseh in recent times has given some heavy jabs to the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government, and his article is a sharp contrast, a complete dichotomy of what I know and thought of him. The only plausible explanation I could come up with, regarding his action is that he was “pushed” or “seen” to equalise. I hope and wish that is not the case. My advice to my dear younger brother is that being courageous, candid, objective and staying focus will mean more to his admirers than he’ll ever think of; and these will avert his journalistic credibility from crumbling.