“A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns” (Mario Puzo, author of “The Godfather”).
LAWYER MAURICE AMPAW, A SENSATIONAL MEDIA-HUNGRY ENIGMA
Listening to Lawyer Maurice Ampaw talk one always wonders how many mouthparts he has.
This so-called celebrity lawyer is widely known for his attention-seeking tendencies and media-hungry theatrics.
Yet, he does not come across as a dynamic character cast in the spectacular mold of philosophical sophistication when he puts on his usual intellectual airs.
Moreover, like his misogynistic Trumpian counterparts Counsellor George Lutterodt and Kennedy Agyapong, Lawyer Ampaw sounds so artificially pedestrian when he attempts or orchestrates an exercise of intellection.
But then again, like Agyapong and Counsellor Lutterodt, he thrives on media hype and publicity stunts and sensational controversies in order to engage the gullibility and attention of his niche audience.
Lawyer Ampaw’s almost psychotic infatuation with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Castro, a onetime popular hiplife and highlife musician, and the latter’s lady friend Madam Janet Bandu, and with the person of international footballer Asamoah Gyan, no doubt approximates what we essentially view as a classic symptomatology of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
Listen to what may come across as one of his boastful extravagancies—perhaps also one of his publicity stunts:
“With the information, I provided for the Police, I can conclude that Asamoah Gyan and his friends at the scene know what happened to Castro and the beautiful lady involved in the incident. Just that Asamoah Gyan and his friends are not being truthful because all those who were present are DENYING they know NOTHING about the issue meanwhile they were there at the time the incident happened (our emphasis).”
“Denying…nothing, an instance of emphatic negative?
This may also mean or imply that those who were at the scene on that fateful day, Gyan and his friends, are privy to some pertinent details on the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Castro and Madam Bandu but somehow, inexplicably, these persons—that is, material witnesses—are unwilling to own up to these forensic details of great interest to investigators, whatever these details are.
But why should they own up to anything if they know nothing about the case in question? The question is, why must one indeed choose an instance of indictable possibility of self-incrimination than plead ignorance under duress when actually doing so does not justify the facts of one’s conscience?
Some media have even reported that Lawyer Ampaw has furnished the police “with enough information about the where about (sic) of Castro, the police have asked him to wait for seven years before the (sic) action.”
If, as what he claims is probably true, or what he says has any potential claim or substance of forensic validity, which is that he has evidence indicating where Castro and the lady friend are, and still goes ahead to say he has given the said incriminating evidence to the police but that the police are not acting on it, including the police not interrogating material witnesses, why does he not contract the services of a private investigator (s) to retrieve the bodies of Castro and the lady, or directly lead the police to the whereabouts of Castro?
Here is our take: Either the police are not acting on the evidence because investigators have been compromised or that the said evidence is worthless, as worthless as his publicity stints and attention-seeking skits in the public domain. Still, why Lawyer Ampaw chose the armor of semantic acrobatics over seeming rhetoric ambiguity constitutes an interesting feature of his publicity stunt.
All these are not to say everything he says is a necessary fabrication. Sometimes he is so rhetorically pointed to a fault. Read this truthful comment by him, Lawyer Ampaw, for instance:
“It is the hypocrisy of politicians. They are not trustworthy, they are unprincipled, they are vampires, they are people who are not true to themselves…They came not to serve us. They came to exploit us. They came to enrich themselves. They came to change their circumstances and their status in life. And they lie to us…And then they tell us they came to serve…
“It’s high time that orderly Ghanaians reminded politicians that the power is not theirs but ours.”
Bob Marley put it succinctly this way on “Revolution,” that “it takes a revolution to make a solution.” This revolution should be initiated by men and women of high integrity, in fact men and women with enormous capacity for moral courage and tactful patriotism, and who also believe in Bob Marley’s lyrical statement “have no fear for atomic energy, ‘cause none of them can kill me” (“Redemption Song”). These men and women are willing to challenge the moral and political assumptions of Ayi Kwei Armah’s “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born” and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and to further demonstrate to the world that the mutual inclusivity of these works will no longer be able to hold back their claims to moral articulation.
Yes, and quite from everything we have said thus far, Lawyer Ampaw has every right to describe our politicians the way he did, in no uncertain terms as unprincipled bloodsucking vampires, something he did with surgical precision. This clinical description of our politicians is so apt as not to call for a rejoinder of thoughtful negation. As a matter of fact these unwieldily, prosthetic-brained Trumpian breakdancing automatons are spineless and a debasing symptomatology of alternative facts, political ethnocentrism, post-factual politics, otherism, and ethnic inequality.
However, where we seem to disagree with the contents of his indictable sentiments about the questionable character of politicians is where he advises Ghanaian to remind politicians that power is not exclusively theirs, a policy position which we also strongly believe does not go further enough in his general critique of the Ghanaian political landscape.
In any case, we do not think it is the responsibility of Ghanaians to advise their politicians about the intricate mechanics of political power and how power dynamics in the philosophical architecture of politics should be exercised. It is simply the rights of Ghanaian citizens to take this power from their politicians who demonstrate a lack of unpatriotic aversion to nation-building.
Thus, Ghanaians should take this power from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC). This is really important as the country’s duopolistic kleptomania has deeply sunk nation-building in the doldrums of frigid political wickedness on the part of the ruling class.
But more importantly, Ghanaians should first begin by asking themselves why they keep generously rewarding politicians who consistently lie and deceive them by voting them into power. Ghanaians should be asking themselves why they are so vulnerable to the appealing magic of grand political lies and deceptions. Once they find out why, and have convinced themselves that they have indeed finally found the answers, then and only then will they surely also understand why their leaders are not real and why they themselves have always been taken for granted.
Thus Ghanaians cannot usurp power from their politicians, and that real political power will also always elude them too if they do not so much as come to grips with their natural vulnerabilities to the captivating magic of political superstition, which some of their own kind wield over them in the form of alluring political lies and deceptions repackaged as elective politics—democracy.
At the end of the day Ghanaians must learn to protect the integrity of their consciences from the corrupting influences of democracy. They should do this in the interest of seeking the truth!
“The truth is an offense but not a sin,” sang the great Bob Marley (“Jah Live”).
SOME CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES: NOT EVERYTHING LAWYER MAURICE AMPAW SAYS IS ALWAYS WRONG
Recently Lawyer Ampaw alluded to the fact that those Ghanaians who want to become filthy rich should consider going into politics, pastorship, armed robbery, and stealing. And he was damn right! He was not lying.
The saddest, but perhaps, also, truest, part of his interview was when he said those we generally like to honor in our society are thieves, political criminals and curroptocrats. He went further to say we glorify these thieves, political criminals and corruptocrats when we overlook the sources of honorees’ wealth.
Lawyer Ampaw’s central point was that Ghanaians could not care less about the questionable sources of the wealth of the persons they love to celebrate and idolize.
As a matter of one of those upon whom he vented his criticism was Haruna Iddrisu, a Ghanaian-trained lawyer and the Member of Parliament for Tamale South, the latter located in the Tamale Municipal District, Northern Region, of Ghana.
Lawyer Ampaw alleged that Iddrisu has become filthy rich merely by becoming a politician. The former did not stop there, however. And this, in spite of the fact that we have no way of concretely verifying Iddrisu’s alleged wealth. He indicted the Kufuor government generally and described how some members of this corrupt government became filthy rich by virtue of their status as politicians.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, lawyers are a major problem in and for Ghana—too.
In fact, lawyers are part and parcel of the myriad of problems confronting Ghana. In other words, some of these lawyers who are also politicians are part of the fabric of major problems the country faces today.
This is because they have always been integrally involved in signing away our vast natural resource assets, thus shortchanging Ghanaians and placing the economic health of the country in a claustrophobic straitjacket of underdevelopment and virtually destroying the country in the process.
There is also no question that these lawyers and their counterparts in the judiciary are involved in all our sensational judgment debt crises, as well as in judicial decisions that tend to reinforce class cleavages and distinctions, social injustice and inequity and unfairness, political criminality and thievery, impunity, coercive power, abuse of incumbency, and arrogance of power.
Let us add that some of their acts have also shielded political criminals and thieves from the adjudicative high-handedness of what should have been neutral courts of competent jurisdiction. These troubling instances may have given way to too much pussyfooting in the Ghanaian body politic.
Indeed, many of these political lawyers are fanatic predators and vampiric crony capitalists in the Orwellian jungle of Ghanaian politics. In the main, these unpatriotic lawyers who are also politicians are mere intellectual pimps and prostitutes beholden to the status quo, men and women who go into politics to enrich themselves, their cronies, their families—at the expense of national development.
Again, there is no question in our minds that the Machiavellian notion of “political realism,” the core underlying or foundational architectonics of the art of politics, itself renders the art of politics a dishonorable undertaking.
Great and visionary leaders such as Nkrumah were among those very few who invested enormous intellectual, moral, and philosophical efforts in changing this negative face of the art of politics. This is why we must resurrect the ideas of Nkrumah! Let’s bring Nkrumahism back then, and the dignity and respect that come with conscientious political thought and practice!
SOME MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS
“If religion was to be taken away from the world completely, including the one I grew up with, I’d be one of the happiest people in the world. My only fear is that maybe something more terrible would be invented to replace it, so we’d better just get along with what there is right now and keep it under control” (Wole Soyinka).
Those critics of Lawyer Ampaw who are conflicted between seeing this lawyer as a potential victim of mental instability or a contentious personality of great genius have no argument whatsoever to make in accordance with whatever choice they make. The man is his own public relations authority.
These critics must first come to terms with the notion that Lawyer Ampaw is neither a maverick character nor a contentious personality of great genius. This is due to the fact that Ghanaian jurisprudence is a big joke. Our crooked lawyers are partly why we have reduced our duopolistic kleptomania to secular political Wahhabism. Ana Aremeyaw Anas has shown how corrupt the Ghanaian legal system generally is.
On the other hand, the behavior of professional lawyers such as Ampaw clearly demonstrates that classic wisdom and natural intelligence from the perspective of Ghanaian and African cultural habits are not the preserve of the clinically sane and the highly educated, given that both his unrestrained rhetorical technology and Trumpian exhibitionist media-hungry proclivity are the ones that have given him away insofar as his intellectual and philosophical unsophistication.
Of course, lawyers or jurists are not repositories of human wisdom. Neither are they spokespersons for God nor superhuman. They bear all the moral and intellectual frailties of the human species. Yet Lawyer Ampaw’s controversial views on religion are not far from the truth. In fact they are correct in many an important instance. Here, dear readers, listen to Max Romeo (“Stealing in the Name of Jah”):
“…Stealing in the name of the Lord
“My father’s house of worship,
“Has become a den of thieves…
“They said this place called heaven;
“The rich man cannot go…
“Yet the reverend drives a fancy car, buys everything tax-free,
“The people have to sacrifice, to give in charity…
Here is Bob Marley’s “Babylon System”:
“Building church and university
“Deceiving the people continually
“Me say them graduating thieves and murderers
“Look out now: they sucking the blood of the sufferers…
Now, finally, here is Bob Marley’s “Talking Blues”:
“I, I’m a gonna take a just—a one-step more
“‘Cause I feel like bombing a church:
“Now, now that you know that the preacher is lying…
Both parts of Mutabaruka’s “People’s Court” have the last word. Readers should go and listen to these songs.
Both songs indict the negative aspects to or evils of secular politics and religion, especially Christianity. Is Mutabaruka right? Well, we shall leave that judgment to the discretion of readers!
From our angle though, we agree with Mutabaruka wholeheartedly in that we fundamentally see politics as being synonymous with corruption, lies, and selfishness and also that there exists too much corruption in the church. That said, Mutabaruka backs up Lawyer Ampaw’s controversial positions!
Let us be clear here: We are not indicting religion necessarily, our dear readers, for we have to agree with Soyinka when he said “religion is also freedom of expression… Now, it’s true that freedom of expression carries with it an immense responsibility.” We respect this liberal view without question. On the other hand he also broadly takes up aspects of these controversial questions in his book “Of Africa.”
The truth hurts like labor pain, the pain of childbirth—that is!
We should like to appropriate Bob Marley’s “Survival” at this point through purposeful reinforcement of the underlying philosophical infrastructure of this article. The song goes in part as follows:
“How can you be sitting there?
“Telling me that you care, that you care
“The people suffer in the suffering
“In every way, in everywhere…
“I tell you what: some people got everything
“Some people got nothing…
Lawyer Ampaw’s pastor and sakawa political thieves and armed robbers got everything, the people nothing. The sharp dichotomy between the criminals and the rest of society is therefore convincingly clear for our analytic purpose, as many of these sanctimonious and holy thieves will do everything in their power to protect their underserving elitist social location from the perceived corruption and pollution of the other, of law-abiding citizens.
These celebrity thieves tell us they are also deeply religious and spiritual, even godly. Mutabaruka tells us an interesting story on Part 2 of “People’s Court.” The sheer narrative power of this conscious music is seen in or defined by its poignant logic of momentous historicity. The story goes that the colonial missionary taught black people to close theirs as they prayed together. Then as soon as those black people opened their eyes the colonial missionary had their land, the black people had the colonial missionary’s Bible and gun…and we shall add his alcoholic beverages too.
What is the lesson here? Today, the Ghanaian politician and his pastor colleagues are the new colonial missionaries in the unique political context of our kleptomaniacal duopoly. The pastor and the politicians have dispossessed Ghanaians of their minds and consciences, the fruits of their labor, their futures, and their natural resource assets—all in the name of a promised millenarian socio-economic caliphate that does not seem to ever materialize to ease the lingering burden of human suffering.
Nevertheless, as far as Lawyer Ampaw’s indictment of corrupt pastors and politicians are placed in their proper contexts of social-political realities, ultimately one cannot but to also add the indictment does not take away the fact that he is part of the national problem of leadership crisis. But we should also understand that his trademark by-heart talk helps him pitch his trade. It is more or less an advertising formula much like the serial calling, partisan insults and banter, and partisan publicity stunts in our politics. Kennedy Agyapong makes us understand this phenomenon well.
Well, the law is not the language of human perfection. Rather, it confirms the dubious language of our existential error as human beings. As Charles Dickens had Mr. Bumble say in “Olivia Twist,” “the law is an ass—an idiot.” This statement is so true as not to question it. It is the height of absolute weirdness when the law majestically presents itself as an eternal, uncompromising enemy of truth, as a logical instrument for the negation of truth. As a matter of fact, Martin Amidu’s and Ace Ankomah’s controversial though somewhat spirited, justifiable defense of the sudden adjudicative discharge of the so-called Delta 8 exemplifies this Dickensian truism.
All three of them—Amidu, Ankomah and Ampaw—sometimes make the art of lawyering and Ghanaian jurisprudence look so cheap when they force the undignified face of partisan politics on them, namely, the art of lawyering and Ghanaian jurisprudence. This is the time for a moral revolution.
That being said, one wonders how long it took Lawyer Ampaw to reach his kind of odious conclusions about our politicians, pastors, and corrupt society at large. Lawyer Ampaw is therefore no news! Everything he has had to say about our politicians and pastors are public knowledge! It does happen sometimes that people like him suddenly find their voices when political patronage does not come their way.
In the final analysis Ghana, the so-called Gateway to Africa, is also one of the important epicenters of political corruption in Africa. Our country is gradually turning into the Gateway to Corruption in Africa. Both our politicians and religious folks have managed to turn the idea “God” as in “God Bless Our Homeland Ghana,” our national anthem, into a dangerous state of Trumpian mammonism.
In Ghana the popes, the angels, the saints, the Virgin Marys’, and the Mother Teresas are the criminals. Corruption is the new “God” almost every Ghanaian who has come of age freely worships these days. In fact, the noble idea of “God” has itself been reduced to a shameful victimhood of Nietzschean suicide in the political psychology of Ghanaians, religious and non-religious alike.
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