Opinion

Leave Tsatsu Tsikata alone!

Good day.

Allow me to start off today’s piece with a proverb in Ewe: “Gnatola ma no kpon sia, eyenabe adelan to kpo mi sena.” The great Chinua Achebe’s translation renders it as: “That until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” This proverb does not only speak to the epistemological and historiographic tensions characterizing the internecine relationship between the cultural psychologies of the colonized and the colonizer, as Fanon aptly describes in Black Skin, White Masks and Memmi in The Colonizer and the Colonized, but also speaks to the state of psychological doldrums which many of our Western-educated men and women find themselves. We shall surely return to this again.

And what has the proverb’s signification got to do with anything? Everything. Everything, you mean? Yes, something! And what is that everything “something”? I mean the ganged attacks on Mr. Tsatsu Tsikaka. How sad? Those interested in the public squabbles can consult Dr. Bokor’s “Tsatsu Is An Ant…And An Ant Stings” Ghanaweb feature article. The latter, I believe, provides a good synoptic window into the public scale of inter-party verbal pugilism presently blanketing the country. Therefore, I shall not explore an exhaustive analysis of the issues here. Dr. Bokor’s piece suffices.

However, a word or two about the public impasse is in order: Mr. Tsatsu Tsikaka publicly took one of the Supreme Court Justices to task for exercising his judicial franchise in the petition case along strict partisan lines. And the judge in question is Justice Anin-Yeboah. The opposition NPP descended heavily on him, asking him to retract the statement. Yet, the proper context of his statement and its reformative ramifications for the country’s democracy were completely ignored by the opposition, which is still in mourning. More troubling is the fact that the verbal equation between his public critique of Justice Anin-Yeboah and its similarity to those of his detractors were conveniently glossed over by the opposition for reasons of political expediency. Thus, after reading Dr. Bokor’s article I wrote to tell him this:

It—Mr. Tsikata’s critique of Justice Anin-Yeboah—speaks so eloquently to the inherent political partisanship undermining the smooth running of our democracy. Mr. Tsikata has boldly spoken the truth, not less. In fact, our budding democracy needs such open and critical verbal evaluations to set it on the right track.

I went Further:

What Mr. Tsikata has done is to merely reiterate what is already in the public consciousness—Mr. Tsikata, an NDC member, identified only one sitting Justice as being overly partisan with his judicial evaluation of the petition as far as the verdict is concerned. On the contrary, NPP’s Mr. Samuel Awuku identified eight of the nine Justices as being on the side of the petitioners. I do, however, also think his unparalleled legal prowess feeds the envy and jealousy of those so-called NPP “legal luminaries” who simply cannot bring themselves to appreciate or fathom the man’s considerable contributions to Ghana’s jurisprudence. I am willing to add that if anyone must be dragged to the General Legal Council, then that person must be Akufo-Addo. He has yet to settle scores with Justice Kpegah and to neutralize public suspicions of his still-unfilled educational gaps.

Ex-President Kufuor also weighed in on the national controversy, publicly demanding that Mr. Mr. Tsikata retract his measured critique. But Kufuor’s doublespeak went largely unchallenged by the public. Kobina Antobam’s brilliant and highly-readable feature article, “Kufuor Is Ghana’s Worst President,” is provocatively crisp and directly speaks to the Orwellian Machiavellism of Kufuor’s public disposition. The ex-President for one did so many unhealthy things—such as institutionalizing Akan “ethnic chauvinism”—to bring our much-vaunted democracy into disrepute. His strain of institutional “ethnic chauvinism” is only matched by the viral “ethnic chauvinism” of Busia. Yet, he publicly refuses to own up to his foundational role in planting the seed of poison ivy that eventually blossomed into the tree of ethnic chauvinism, which, in turn, blossomed into Tsikata’s fruity critique!

According to Antobam, ex-President Kufuor literally underwrote the paramountcy of the Asantehene of Osei Tutu ll to the tune of millions of US dollars, while the other kings got nothing. Is this not blatant abuse of presidential authority, office, and fairness? Where is the balance of politico-cultural treatment? Don’t such tendentious decisions breed unnecessary inter-ethnic antagonism as well as chieftaincy disputes? Who says the Asantehene is more important than the Ga Mantse, the Yaa Naa, or the Tobgi of the Ewes? And please don’t get me wrong. I love and respect our traditional cultural institutions. As a dedicated Afrocentric culturalist, I cannot bring myself to being characterized as a cultural Luddite. Besides, we are all aware that the Asantehene is doing some positive things for Ghanaian children through the Asantehene Scholarship Fund. But if given equal access to national resources, don’t we think the other kings may have the opportunity to make useful contributions to national development, too? Simply, what I am calling for is unbridled access to the political implementation of the cultural economics of “division of labor” for all kings irrespective of cultural geography or political affiliation!

Having said that, these shameless NPP cowards have failed to say anything against ex-President Kufuor’s militant ethnicization of Ghanaian politics. I hope the Mo Ibrahim Foundation is closely watching. As I am wont to say to my critics, my being part Asante part Fante does not necessarily follow the Hegelian logic that I must be sycophantically or servilely sympathetic to the political shenanigans of Akan-Presidents like Kufuor—Afrocentrists are not like that. After all, Hegel’s The Philosophy of History laid the historiographic and epistemological foundation of Africa’s continuing denigration and dehumanization at the insidious hands of cultural Eurocentrism. And now this brings me to the focus of this feature piece: The recolonization of the (de)colonized African mind. Which warped cultural ideology possibly explains the scandalous case in which a US-based Ghanaian accounting professor (name withheld)—parading himself as a law professor—treats Justice Atubuga as a leprotic intellectual/legal pariah, telling the world the respected Justice cannot speak English very well. Why do some of our Western-trained intellectuals love to shower themselves under the glare of public razzmatazz? Do French, Portuguese, Japanese or Chinese jurists speak English in their courts? Does ex-President Kufuor speak English better than Justice Atubuga? Does the dyslexic George W. Bush speak English better than Justice Atuguba and ex-President Kufuor?

What is this psychotic infatuation with English? Once upon a time, this stifling cultural emphasis on spoken English compelled Ngugi wa Thiong’o, one of Kenya’s foremost men of letters, to impose the sledgehammer of a thoughtful riposte on the slumped head of a Western missionary. His retort was simple and straightforward: Jesus Christ didn’t speak English. It turned out that the missionary idled about the countryside of Kenya telling Kenyans how good Jesus Christ was at spoken English. But Christ spoke Aramaic. Since when did Aramaic alchemically become Shakespearean English? Did Christ go to Oxford or Cambridge? Did Christ grow up in Stratford-upon-Avon as Shakespeare? Or was Shakespeare Christ, Christ’s English tutor, or Christ’s Siamese alter ego?

Yet the NPP folks said nothing about or against this NPP-affiliated accounting-turned-law professor. And you know what is even more surprising? The legal questions upon which he erected his specious arguments and upon which he leveled his criticisms against Justice Autauga and the Supreme Court are pedestrian phenomena in his own backyard (the State he lives in America). Fortunately for us, Ghanaian law students and professors who live in his State have pointed those out to him. Why doesn’t he write to the governor, mayor, or the Supreme Court of his State telling them the exact arguments he had been making to Ghana’s Supreme Court and to Justice Atubuga?

So, you see, with all his degrees, US citizenship, and legalese-filled writings, brothers and sisters, he knows that no one in the State, particularly those white jurists, may listen to him. After all, his dense accent isn’t better or clearer to the listening white ear than Justice Atubuga’s. Even Johnnie Cochran, Derick Bell, Randall Robinson, and Charles Ogletree, four of America’s most celebrated legal luminaries (all African Americans), knew their social limits and political place within the justice system and, therefore, spoke in the corridors of power with circumspection. Who is this accounting-turned-law-professor to humorize our respected Justices? I am not implying that the constitution of the Supreme Court is beyond the bar of reproach—far from it. What I am simply saying is this: Why use Eurocentric or foreign standards of critique as far as our judicial system and its mouthpieces are concerned? Even worse, this fraud has never taught law or practiced law in America, I have learnt. So, what right has he to speak so officiously stupidly of Judge Atubuga and of the Supreme Court?

Interestingly, most Ghanaians who have daily reading presence on Ghanaweb know this professor very well. But have they checked his pedagogical evaluations on ratemyprofessor.com? If they had, they would have realized almost immediately that most of his American students can’t even understand him. Why? The negative evaluative consensus points to his thick accent and to his boring and slumberous punctuational verbalization. And there he was telling the world that his fellow African couldn’t speak English! Yes, I also read many of his legal arguments and critiques in which he quoted from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson. Yet he didn’t tell us Locke’s The Second Treatise of Civil Government laid down the moral and theoretical foundation of slavery and that Locke himself profited immensely from the institution of slavery. Or that Thomas Jefferson was a “rapist” or “pedophile” (The 42-year-old Jefferson had sexual relationship with the 14-year-old African American Sally Hemings!) and that he, too, owned slaves!

I shall return…

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