How Dare You, Kwesi Pratt?!

Kwesi Pratt may, indeed, have a point in decrying the morbid and pathological tendency of many Ghanaians to let their emotions take the better part of them when it comes to mourning the dead, particularly the politically prominent and celebrated. I personally do not believe that inasmuch as all deaths are equally painful in theory, in practice, no two deaths can reasonably or even intelligently be compared to one another. For we, each of us, live our own unique lives replete with unique experiences and circumstances, however humanly strikingly similar we may all appear. My problem, though, regards the fact that until the recent, some have called it the "untimely," passing of Mr. Komla Dumor, the celebrated Ghanaian-born British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) program presenter and news anchor, Mr. Pratt had absolutely no qualms, whatsoever, in subordinating the personal and political significance of the five other members of the legendary "Big Six" founding fathers of modern Ghana to that of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of postcolonial Ghana. Mr. Pratt even believed that Ghana was the veritable creation of the late president. And so it is rather amusing to hear Mr. Pratt vehemently decry the attitude of those who seek to magnify the image of the late Mr. Dumor above all else; this overnight conniption of the managing-editor of the so-called Insight newspaper can be best characterized as insufferably hypocritical. In the past, Mr. Pratt and his faux-socialist fellow truckers had fanatically sought to make the very geopolitical entity of Ghana seem like the singular handicraft of just one personality, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah. And, needless to say, such grossly and adamantly misguided attitude towards the history of our country had effectively relegated the magnitude and significance of modern Ghana to the demeaning status of the mere footstool of the African Show Boy's. And so I don't really see the sincerity in Mr. Pratt's public pretence to self-righteous anger and immitigable umbrage. I suppose those claiming the late Mr. Dumor to have been iconically bigger than the Republic of Ghana, including Ms. Dzifa Gomashie, the Deputy Tourism Minister, are alluding to the fact that as a journalist, our late brother had transcended the relatively parochial confines of the Ghanaian media landscape, in much the same way that Mr. Kofi Annan, Ghana's sole Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, has been routinely described as the first UN Secretary-General to have attained the enviable status of a rock star, in fame and celebrity. In much the same manner, his yeomanly martyrdom in the inviolable cause of justice and socioeconomic and political equity among the South African people raised the status of former President Nelson R. Mandela over and above the status, and stature, of virtually every African leader both before and after him. In other words, political and circumstantial transcendence are what we ought to be discussing, or talking about, presently and not the morally crass and emotionally jejune comparison of apples and oranges, though, even as one witty critic poignantly observed recently, both apples and oranges belong to one organic family, the family of fruits, of course. *Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Department of English Nassau Community College of SUNY Garden City, New York E-mail: [email protected]