The story is told of The Lord Christ heeding the plea of 10 lepers who asked him to “have pity on us.” He gave them a simple task: “go and show yourselves to the priest.” They were healed before they had made the full journey. One, only one of them, and a foreigner, returned to thank the Lord Christ. The Lord is said to have asked what happened to the other nine.
Our attention has been drawn to a rather long and self-serving missive from your Facebook wall, in which you take issue with us for criticising ministers who are organising and signing the Petition for Pardon to the President with respect to the jailed Montie 3. We respect your right to reply and to disagree with us, obviously, because you are one of those ministers whose conduct in this matter, we find reprehensible. Although originally, we were not minded to respond, we find the need to write this short note to you, in the hope that it might help you notice the error of your ways, like the 9 lepers and, hopefully, repent.
There are two key lessons from that story. The first is that although the 9 lepers were not lawfully bound to return to The Lord Christ with thanks when their mission succeeded, He still expected them to do the needful. The second is that people are likely to forget where they have come from when they attain success before they have walked the whole 9 yards required of them.
You were part of the team of valiant persons who took the late Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey on at the Supreme Court. Although you lost, which meant that the law was not on your side, the judges praised you for standing up to be counted. Your action had no basis in law, but you did the needful, like the one leper.
We have never said that you do not have the legal right to organize and sign a petition. But the uniqueness of your position should have made you take a step back to ascertain whether this was the right and proper thing to do, and then passed up on it, like several of your colleague ministers have done.
First, as a minister of state, you are an integral part of the Executive of this nation. You are part of the President’s eyes and ears with respect to education. Presumably, several young students in the land look up to you, and the position you hold has imposed a mentorship role on you, whether you asked for it or not. How can you, a member of the Executive that is to consider the petition, be an organizer and signer of the same petition? In other words, you are essentially presenting a petition to yourself. You have made it impossible for the President to rely on you for any ‘disinterested’ advice on this matter, if it relates to your sector. The “incestuous” nature of this should be clear, or at least apparent, to you. Would prudence not mean that you wait and counsel the President on the matter, if your opinion was to be sought, instead of signing the petition and trying to put pressure on your boss, the President? The least you deserve is a slap on your wrist.
Second, your acts and omissions in the face and teeth of this brouhaha speaks volumes about who you are and what you stand for. You stoop to call this a fight for “Free Speech”. Wrong! The acts of the convicts were despicable and illegal. Clear crime was committed, which the Executive-controlled Attorney-General would not prosecute. In fact, the Executive-controlled Attorney-General would not even commence quasi-criminal contempt proceedings. To add insult to injury, the Executive-controlled BNI issued a pathetic white-washing statement about the matter. Clearly, the Executive, which you are a part of, had no interest in seeing to it that these convicts faced justice. Had the judiciary not stood up to be counted, these gentlemen would be walking free, they and several others waiting in the wings from all sides of the political divide, emboldened by deliberate Executive inaction, to perpetrate even more dastardly acts on air. Then within hours, literally, after they were sentenced, you lead a charge to have them freed, as if they don’t even deserve a day in jail for acts to which they pleaded “guilty”.
This is the state of affairs that informed our criticism of all ministers and members of the Executive who have effectively stabbed the President in the back, by signing this petition.
Your position and those of your fellow ministers who were falling over each other to sign this petition, is untenable. Let us remind you again that it is not everything that is lawful (even arguably) that is also needful. Do take some time to do some deep introspection, and ask yourself whether this is the stance you would have taken if you were still in opposition, and the convicts were government spokespersons, or vice versa. We shudder to think that your position on this would mean you would not have taken Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey on if he belonged to your party.
When you have had that introspection, also take a long look at yourself in the mirror and, hopefully, you will see that you probably have become that which you detested and fought against. You can argue that your current position is lawful. We think it is unwise and we will not mince any words in telling you so.
No amount of verbiage will take down the fact that you are wrong, and gravely so. The other parts of your bluster, spin and spiel do not merit detailed responses, save one. We are mildly tickled by your reference to doyens like Yaa Asantewaa, Nkrumah, Lincoln, Luther King, Biko and Mandela and their stand in history. Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa, do not mention your name within 100 yards of these. You are nowhere near what they did and stood for.
Yours in the service of occupying hearts and minds for God and Country