From our viewpoint blogger, writer, producer and outspoken actress, Lydia Forson’s article “Leave Kennedy Agyapong Alone” is clearly a demonstration of a keen conscience with an active, subtle subterranean mind more than capable of sound judgment on matters of culture and critical theory.
Madam Forson is an auctorial juggernaut who tightly controls her space with unequivocating frankness.
Of course, and again, the complex issues she touched on in the afore-cited article were by no means easy interrogations of topical ideas and memes we always take for granted although, in certain places, the narrative architecture of her well-constructed critique also demonstrated a measure of structural simplicity in the development of some of her ideas.
This is to be understood because she was not writing a dense doctoral dissertation on critical and feminist theory and cultural criticism.
In other words, the structural or narrative architectonics of her article was a bold attempt at a far more simplistic overview of a constructive synergy between our relatively modern hypocritical culture and Kennedy Agyapong’s politics of misogynistic posturing, all of these tidbits coming as they were on the backdrop of the theological pulpitry of widespread clerical mysogynism.
Elsewhere Madam Forson appealed to an occasionalist argument but only in a cursory moment, or fleeting passage.
Hers was certainly an argument, if we understood her well, which she did not fully develop into any discursive form of philosophical or ideational maturation, although it tended to harbor a far more sophisticated interlocking layers of scatterbrained implications in her pointed indictment of clerical misogyny as well as of its commonality of purposeful occurrence with the dodgy landscape of secular politicians such as the undomesticated grotesque caricature, Kennedy Agyapong.
Regrettably, and perhaps rather indispensably also, the occasionalist paradigm in one sense points to the factor of transcendental or deified interventionist causation in human affairs and the convoluted course of natural evolution.
That is to say, the idea itself easily comes across as a limiting stricture of sorts on the finite psychology of the process of linking the humanization of aspects of mortal existence to a transcendental one.
On the other hand, though, the complex phenomenology of deistic realism and rational thought seriously limit this easy conceptualization to one of collective and personal, or individual, convenience, also of mortal escapism from difficult question the carnal mind cannot explain.
It is by no sheer coincidence that the occasionalist argument also becomes another existential question of some ideational complexity constrained or bounded by the hegemonic authority of transcendental or deified phenomenology of human conscience. As a matter of fact it could as well even be a simple existential question of nominalism! We have made this argument elsewhere!
Herein lies another convoluted layer of the argument, which is that the clerical class, whether Judeo-Christian or Muslim, invokes its images of misogyny by a direct recourse to the spiritual authority of its sacred texts, the Bible and Koran in this case, both of which already have an established stamp of divine imprimatur on patriarchal dictatorship and the subjugation of women.
In other words where our clerics can liberally and justifiably quote their sacred texts to support their divinely-inspired misogynistic patriarchism, Kennedy Agyapong simply cannot. Quoting these divinely-inspired scriptures does not necessarily make clerical misogyny right.
It is often forgotten that, at least, though the mythology of the Bible and Torah directly assigns creative existential primacy to manhood, the mere fact of the creator, God, taking one of man’s ribs out of which (s) he fashioned womanhood makes the woman, a creature not fundamentally different from man in several constitutional and physiological aspects, a symbol of equality, however these clerics selectively and tendentiously cite scripture largely based on millennia-old nomadic culture, to maintain their own patriarchal dictatorship and clerical power at the expense of gender equality.
For one thing, Ken is politically and intellectually constrained to do similarly by the sheer weight of the gender-blind language, spirit and letter of our secular constitution. It would have been an entirely different ballgame if Ghana were, indeed, a theocracy.
Ken therefore becomes a willing prisoner of the moral authoritarian and dictatorship of this secular constitution. This policy position is very clear!
After all, no one forced him to join the parliamentary chamber. As a matter of fact, like his colleagues and friends, he went there on his own volition, sanctioned by the popular sovereignty of his constituency. It also quite possible, that the alluring scent of money, not necessarily knowledge of intellectual diplomacy and political intelligence, may have smoothed his passage to parliament.
On the other hand we may all recall what happened to Muslim Member of Parliament, Nelson Abudu Baani when he proposed that adulterous women be stoned to death during parliamentary deliberation on the Interstate Succession Bill, so-called.
There is therefore a clear-cut, though not always necessarily so, delineation between the sexes which is purportedly divinely inspired. This leads to a dangerous situation of unequal dichotomy in gender relations.
What is more, questions of the nature of biological or genetic, environmental and cultural influences add to the complex mixture of the social difficulties accompanying gender relations.
On another plane, however, the grinding historicity of the kind of prominent and assertive voice, relatively speaking, which the African womanhood held and exercised in matters concerning her herself, her family, and her community in the period up until the eventful conclusion of the pre-colonial is not one in doubt, an anthropological and historical question which has occupied the auctorial cynosure of an entire generation of scholars, including, but not limited to, Ama Mazama, Cheikh Anta Diop, Molefi Kete Asante, Ivan Van Sertima, Theophile Obenga…as well as of their students.
The visionary Kwame Nkrumah tried so hard to reverse this negative trend in gender relations following his mentor, Kwegyir Aggrey’s “gender equality” and “gender equity” example, but the demonic colonial and neocolonial forces within the neonatal nation-state, as well as some recalcitrant cultural and male chauvinists, would re-emerge from behind the Iron Curtain of negative cultural internalization to oppose his progressive efforts at relative equalization in the politics of gender relations.
That said, this relative freedom which the prominence of the assertive voice of African womanhood enjoyed, unfortunately, would suffer a serious existential blow at the dawn of colonialism with its accompaniment of Victorian culture, values, and ethos and on account of Judeo-Christian and Islamic influences, all of which further reinforced the subjugation of African womanhood where, it has been claimed by some writers, the subjugation already existed in some entrenched pockets.
But the question of unequal dichotomy in gender relations is not always a veritably easy one as the preceding paragraphs demonstrate.
It begs the question, then, why polygyny is an accepted practice in African cultures as opposed to polyandry…Why women are largely at the receiving end of domestic or conjugal violence…Why women (and children) suffer disproportionately in wars…Why trokosi encompasses mostly the girl child…Why women are underrepresented in our politics even though they bear the men who subjugate them… Why our books on national history are largely phallocentric…
Why a relatively large number of those victims banished to concentration camps and reservations (“witch camps”) in certain parts of Ghana are female…Why most of the members of the traditional priesthood who are behind these banishments are, themselves, male…Where are the wizards?…
Why corrupt female politicians like Victor Hammah and Dzifa Attivor are forced to resign their offices while their male kleptocrats are rather moved transferred elsewhere within the same bureaucracy to continue their thievery…
Yet women are still the primary prisoners of household (“domestic”) slavery, of human trafficking (together with children), while the girl child is on the other hand is imprisoned in the child-sex and child-prostitution industries. Let us not lose sight of the fact that our primary focus of these nagging concerns are still on the geopolitical landscape of Ghana. We wish to make this caveat unambiguously clear.
Granted, Madam Forson’s article loudly discounted these underlying fabrics of our patriarchal phallocentrism and misogynistic national mindset, instead arguing against the recurring invocation of this peculiar rhythm of subterranean covariates as alibis to explain away out hypocritical proclivities.
She is partly right on this score, however, which is that we have no serious qualms about or objections to that line of creative, analytic line of thinking. She was certainly averse to the selective hypocrisy of the Ghanaian public in dishing out its righteous indignation to Kennedy Agyapong!
Yet any solution that also comes up short on looking holistically at this national problem, will merely further lead to a palliative medicalization of this chronic malady.
We need to look at the role the entertainment industry…movie and music…of which Madam Forson’s face enjoys some prominence, play in the sexual objectification and dehumanization of womanhood…
Here we can do well to recall the assertive vehemence with which Shatta Wale’s wife, Shatta Michy, defended her husband’s “Womammi Twe.”
We also see why it is morally nauseous for our female musicians to make songs highly disrespectful of African womanhood. We copy blindly without thinking about their impact on society…such as our hip-life music videos which endorse the aesthetic commodification of the bodies of women and girls in nude and semi-nude appearances while their male counterparts remain fully clothed…The fact that capitalism and economics are the driving factors behind these aesthetic acts should not in any way arrest our sense of cultural respect for the female sex!
For instance, many American girls and women primarily from the Latino and African communities happily refer to each other as “bitch”…a female dog…as a term or address of endearment, but sometimes if not oftentimes take umbrage at the opposite sex when they are referred to as such.
In one notable instance Civil Rights’ activist Cynthia Delores Tucker took on the American rap and hip-hop world by storm as she “fought” individual rappers, music executives and record labels for allowing their artistes to include misogynistic content in their songs. In fact she onetime sued the estate of Tupac when the latter referred to her in his song, “How Do You Want It”:
“Delores Tucker, youse a motherfucker…
“Instead of tryin’ to help a nigga you destroy a brother…
“Worse than the others, Bill Clinton, Mr. Bole Dole…
“You’re too old to understand the way the game is told…
“You’re lame so I gotta hit you with the hot facts…Want dome on lease?…
“They want to censor me; they’d rather see me in a cell…
“Livin’ in hell, only a few of us’ll live to tell…
“Now everybody talkin’ bout us I could give a fuck I’d be the first one to bomb and cuss…
“Nig.a tell me how you want it…
Likewise, we have the troubling example of African-American rappers also using the derogatory word “nigga” as a term of endearment amongst themselves but take umbrage at White-Americans who dare use the same term for them. We see these hypocritical examples creeping into our popular culture as well.
Our male musicians are equally guilty of this new music genre that is gaining a foothold in the national consciousness. Our communications leaders and cultural gatekeepers rail against Shatta Wale’s “Womammi Twe,” A.B. Crentsil’s “Moses,” and Rex Omar’s “Abiba,” to name but three, yet these same critics would hypocritically allow worse foreign tracks on our airwaves as well as privately, even sometimes publicly, unabashedly endorse and patronize these so-called “vulgar” songs as they dance happily to them and as they enjoy them in the comfort of their homes.
The scenario is somewhat similar to late rapper Tupac’s “Dear Mama,” a Grammy nominated track that touts his appreciation of the virtues of womanhood, while in the next breath his gangster musicality promoted the glorification of sexual objectification of women, rape, dehumanization of femininity, and so on. Tupac and several other rappers have no qualms using the objectionable word “nigga” except, perhaps, when a white person uses to refer to a black person.
But all these are not to say sexual objectification of women is necessarily bad or morally objectionable or repugnant, say, for the concept itself no doubt underlines the biology or physiology of romance and also underwrites the genetic perpetuation of humanity. Man’s sexual urge is coded into his genes. And romance is a mere physical manifestation of these genetic underpinnings of or proclivities in our complex makeup.
However, it is when it assumes a perception that essentially makes the female a domesticated object whose only presumed natural province is childbearing and no less satisfying the male’s testosterone-driven sexual urges, that it becomes problematic, objectionable and repugnant. A woman should be more than simply that perception of her as a natural design only good for man’s dildo, a domesticated sex object!
We need to encourage African-centered womanism and feminism to counter these negative perceptions about African womanhood and to promote awareness about the many contributions our women are making to our civilizations, for man’s civilization has no bright future without the creativity and contributions of our hardworking women to every facet of our spiritual and material existence.
Women are really tough as in the emotional, physical, and physiological pain associated with childbirth, for instance. We doubt how many men can tolerate this from one childbirth to another!
Even more pertinent are our women coming together as a progressive bloc to resist our culture of phallocentric- and patriarchal-driven misogyny. Madam Forson’s articles “Manasseh Azure Misogynistic” and “Women Against Women; When Your Ally Becomes Your Greatest Foe” exemplify this line of thinking! We shall not waste time and space on this aspect of our thesis!
It seems we have no idea how much gender inequality is costing our civilization and development. This is why men like Kennedy Agyapong should not be allowed to derail the little progress that has and still being in gender relations, with their careless, uneducated rhetoric.
Kennedy Agyapong’s volatile allegation, if he truly made those allegations in the first place, sensationalizes womanhood in a way that undermines progressive politics and development economics.
Particularly, the allegation sensationalizes Madam Charlotte Osei while being uncomfortably silent on her male counterparts in the alleged sex-for-role exchange, much like Acheampong’s infamous “Fa Wutu Be Gye Golf,” literally meaning “Bring Your Derriere in Exchange For Golf,” controversy.
In other words, manhood appears to be totally absent in Kennedy Agyapong’s sensational allegation though it is implied in the standing conscience of our cultural parlance, unless, of course, Madam Osei’s anonymous sexual partners in the sex-for-role exchange were and are females.
On the basis of our cultural parlance alone, we must also know that he, Ken, was clearly making some reference to her male counterparts involved in the sex-for-role exchange.
But who are these influential political men?
This is why Kweku Baako, Jr.’s unfortunate comment that Madam Osei should not seek redress in the courts is neither here nor there.
Madam Osei can, in fact, still go ahead and conduct the general elections while her attorneys seek legal redress in the courts.
From our standpoint, we will like to posit that it is far from clear if Kweku Baako, Jr. really grasps or understands the real national security implications of Ken’s powerful allegations.
It may have been lost on the former that whether Ghana remains as one geopolitical entity or otherwise, will largely depend on how the opposition NPP in particular interprets the election results in the general context of Ken’s allegations, particularly if the election does not go its way.
Getting to the roots of Ken’s allegation is therefore the right thing to do, after all the chairpersonship of the Electoral Commission (EC), like any public office in the land, is sacrosanct and must be held to a higher standard.
Also against this background, asking Ken to apologize to Madam Osei is morally wrong and politically premature since we are not privy to the kind of forensic evidence the former has. He has already asked the public to dare him and he will reveal more. It is possible it may be Madam Osei who will have to apologize to Ken if this evidence turns out to be true. We wait to see!
Regardless, Ken is known for making sensational empty threats but this time around we must hold him accountable for his words and actions.
Again, this is because he might have some supporting evidence for his sensational allegation.
On the other hand if he does not have any supporting evidence then he must as well apologize to his constituency, the world at large, Madam Osei, and Ghanaians while doing the honorable thing by forfeiting or resigning his parliamentary seat. He must also seek help for his uninhibited outbursts, uneducated rhetoric and utterances, and abject ignorance of matters of public diplomacy.
Thus those who want to appeal to the wobbly conscience of political equalization have not yet come to the realization, that the tide of public opinion is rising fast and dead set against Ken.
He should be forthcoming with the evidence rather than waiting for the public to dare him before he will decide to do right by his conscience, if he has any, and by the people he serves.
It is in his own interest as a public official to move heaven and hell to protect his brand, his public image, his integrity, his business empire, the fiduciary relationship he has with the public, and the source of his vast wealth. Madam Osei deserves these too!
We must then also look at how our hate-filled partisan politics, the rising tide of political theology, attack and adversarial journalism fuel these kinds of negative sensationalism.
Also is their failure to acknowledge the fact that our modern-day phallocentric culture of misogyny is a normative fixture, though it is also a mechanism of recurring or iterative psychology that comes easily and unconsciously to most men, of the Ghanaian mindset and therefore we must listen to public opinion and make a powerful precedential example of Ken if he does not produce his evidence.
If Ken says he has the evidence then he should as well make it available so that we can shame Madam Osei and the unmentioned or anonymous males involved and, possibly, or inevitably, their defrocking…to serve as a powerful teachable precedent to all those who aspire to public office.
But dismissing him out of hand is not an option we should entertain. We all know or have heard about:
Male professors, lecturers, and teachers who trade high grades for sex…
Greedy parents who give their daughters’ hands in marriage to male highest bidders…
Male politicians who use their political office to illegally amass wealth come of which they shower on women and girls…
Male pastors who go about impregnating their female church members and claiming to use the divine power of their manhood to exorcise these possessed women…
Male pastors who caution their female church members not to wear undies when they come to church services because it make it easier for God, the Holy Spirit, and Christ to penetrate them…
We shall return…