Over the years, I have seen, heard and read about the downfall of many great and famous men and women as the result of avarice, power drunkenness or extra marital affairs. There are also those who get entangled in corruption cases, misappropriation of public funds, drug trafficking and many other wrongs.
When they indulge in nefarious acts and their cups get full, they continue to deceive themselves. To them, the cups are only half full and therefore more adventures to top up. Within time, their cups start overflowing and they get badly exposed. The result is that they come down with a heavy fall. While some are able to recover their shame, others do not. The stigma follows them.
As scandals over scandals involving these once a great men and women unfold before us every now and then, one has come to realise that learning to say enough is enough is too hard for those who get themselves involved in whatever scandal or the other. It is only when they are exposed that they run all over the place apologising to families and friends for embarrassments caused them.
The difficulty in seeing through enough being enough predates us. In the Bible, there are examples of such great and famous personalities who lived with the guilt of not saying enough is enough early. David is one such guilty person. He used his position to call for and sleep with Bathsheba, a married woman and then arranged for her husband Uriah to be killed at the battle front. In the Book of Psalms, he confessed his guilt, asking God for forgiveness.
A cross-section of personalities continues to live under humiliation due to a scandal they got associated with. Politicians all over the world come to mind. They would refuse to listen to the voice of the people even when it looks obvious that they have lost trust. Enough is enough is not part of their language.
Many examples abound in Africa. We have had and still have some political leaders who find themselves in entrenched positions, so much so that even when their fall looks eminent, they would say they are standing upright. Former Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe is a living example of a politician who never saw that his cup was overflowing.
After ruling his people for over thirty years and at the age of 92, he was still dancing to tunes that he was a great leader for life. In November 2017, he was forced to accept that enough was enough when he was ousted by the army.
The greed for power has shut the ears and eyes of some of our politicians. They refuse to see the stark hardships and the cries for change by their people. We saw it in Liberia with Mr. Charles Taylor, in Sierra Leone, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the North African countries that were affected by the Arab Spring a few years ago.
The raging Syrian war that was started in 2011 is an example of politicians refusing to see where enough becomes enough. Unfortunately, thousands have been killed, hundreds have been maimed and still the war rages on.
Admittedly, all over the world, there are some upright ones who would not hesitate to resign when they admit their wrongs for the rest to move on. Former Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK is a good example of this, resigning after the Brexit referendum in the UK.
Unfortunately politicians are not the only ones blinded to when to say enough is enough. We have seen world renowned diplomats falling into the trap. In 2011, at the pinnacle of his career as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr. Dominique Strauss-Khan was alleged to have been involved in a sex scandal that led to his arrest, an embarrassment and a premature end to his shinning career.
His reminder of enough was enough came when a hotel housekeeper in a Manhattan Suite in New York accused him of sex assault. This was a man who was nursing French Presidential aspirations at the time. He resigned as IMF boss and lost out on his presidential ambitions in France.
In the last few years, across England and the United States of America, several former entertainers and radio personalities have faced trials over cases of sexual assaults years after they had left the scene. The fact that for some of them two or more different accusers came forward to testify meant that their first attempts were never enough.
The same attitude gets exhibited by those caught in cocaine cases. A lot of times, they were not first time offenders. The drug money must have lured them into doing it over and over again.
In the exposes of investigative Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, including the recent one on the Ghana Football Association, one lesson comes out strongly. Enough is still not enough to some people when it comes to greed. Why does corruption keep re-surfacing?
Well, the shame and the irreparable image damage for those caught in the web are enough lessons for everyone. And the lesson? If whatever you do in secret would bring you shame and embarrassment if your family and friends were to hear about it, then do not do it. That is the reality check for when enough becomes enough.
…with VICKY WIREKO (Writer’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)