Open letter to Hajia Fati

Generally, a bad issue always hurts the victim(s) in a situation, but there is a side to it that hurts the perpetrator unless that perpetrator sets out, actually with prior intention and preparation, to hurt the victim(s).  And that distinction, whether the hurt is intentional or accidental, makes massive difference in whether the remorse shown by the perpetrator is genuine or not. 

To bring the issue home, yes, after assaulting the Adom FM journalist, Ohemaa Sakyiwaa Awhenepa, few weeks ago, you, an obaapanin of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Hajia Fati, has apologised.  But how genuine is your apology and will you learn the inherent lesson?

The question is relevant, because there are so so many instances where a person(s) who have hurt others have apologised for the hurtful act(s), but the wording and accompanying attitude clearly show that the apology was made not from remorse, which is what really matters in such situations, and, indeed, what will and does touch the hurt the victim feels to bring him or her to closure.

Antecedents

Hajia Fati, it is no news that since 1992 you have been a solid member of the NPP.  Also, those who know enough about you know you are a self-declared protector and defender of the man who is President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.  It is also no news that you are almost fetish about the fortunes of your party, to the extent that at any time, t, you measure the actions of other party colleagues by either of two situations.  When the NPP is in opposition, your standard is what will take the party’s presidential candidate into national administration.  And when the party is in national administration, you measure the actions and omissions of party colleagues by what will not take the NPP into opposition.

As great as that disposition is, the zeal with which you show it in dealing with party colleagues and others is sometimes, to call the creature by name, barbaric.  From what Ti-Kelenkelen hears, when any colleague violates your standard, he or she should be on guard, because, Ti-Kelenkelen also hears, if you step out, charter a taxi and departs, you are likely to return with your with your “boys” to discipline that colleague.

In the case of Nana Akufo-Addo, Ti-Kelenkelen hears that any party member who is talking about him should be careful in his or her choice of words or what he or she says, otherwise…

Ideally, such loyalty to good cause and to properly-constituted leadership is fine, and is something the Ghanaian, in principle, can learn from you.  In a civil society, however, the way you show that loyalty in practice does and should have limits, as the Sakyiwaa case clearly shows.

This Is Bad!

To call the creature by name, Hajia Fati, beating up a journalist, even when he or she is bothersome, or the destruction of his or her equipment is barbaric. 

When we were boys, a friend of mine who is now a medical doctor in the US, Kofi Appiahene Asare, liked a statement on a kiosk – it said “People talk to People.”  In civil society, people talk to people; they are not supposed to assault others or fight.  That rule does not change even when we disagree, even deeply or one has actually hurt another.  If apology and forgiveness are not enough in mitigating the hurt and loss, the victim goes to higher authority or the courts to seek redress and compensation for the loss.  In other words, in a civil society, the prescribed way to deal with all forms of disagreement is by people talking to people.  That is why, Hajia Fati, your hitting of Sakyiwaa in the face is so out of place, especially, when it was woman to woman situation.

According to reports, Sakywaa was simply taking a picture of you when you hit her.  Yet our African Elders say in Akan: “Woo to Agyinamoa fo no, na woo to Momone nso fo” – while advising Cat, you should also be advising Aromatic Fish.  And so Ti-Kelenkelen would like to table for Sakyiwaa questions based on the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) Code of Ethics.  Since the circumstance was not a public ceremony, say Independence Day parade, but at the NPP head office, did Sakyiwaa ask Hajia Fati before taking her photograph?  If not, did she not fail to apply the Code of Ethics?  Because it is only in subterfuge situations that the journalist can defend taking a photograph of someone without prior notice; even then the journalist has to do it without the person seeing him or her.  Did the situation demand subterfuge?

BUT that in no way justifies your assault, Hajia Fati.  You should have talked to her, woman to woman.

Both your after-the-fact supplication and explanation of what you say you felt was going on hence your violent reaction are like a blunt knife.  According to the Ghanaian Times publication of Thursday, May 10, 2018, you explained that you thought Sakyiwaa had been sent by party-suspended Sammy Crabbe, who wanted to contest for regional chairmanship of the party; hence you thought she was up to some mischief.  Talking to her would have readily established the truth that she was not a Sammy-Crabbe operative.  You also said you thought she was an onion seller.  That is equally bad or even worse, Hajia Fati, because you do not beat up an onion seller; the worst you do is to tell her “I won’t buy any”, period!

Finally…

Journalists are a band of workers “of and for the people”, the same way a political party is a band of workers “of and for the people”.  That means both are in the same job, in the service of the people.  That too makes your assault really bad, Hajia Fati.  In that particular circumstance you allowed you zeal to get ahead of you and you made conclusions that were false premises for your bad action.  What made it all the worse is that it happened around the celebration of World Press Freedom Day here, in Accra, under the auspices of the International Federation of Journalists (IFEJ.)

People who intend and prepare to hurt others refuse to apologise, while some, when compelled, do it half-heartedly.  You have apologised and we hope it is genuine.  The NPP too has apologised.  Yet it is up to Sakyiwaa and Adom FM to accept it or pursue any action they deem fit to mitigate the assault, including going to court.  Beyond that, Hajia Fati, this case must represent a red light to you – next time, rein in your zeal and talk to people instead of assaulting them – because the next case may spin out of your control.

Ironically, even if Sakyiwaa and Adom FM do nothing, you bear great loss already, Hajia Fati.  Your assault has hurt the very person and group you care so much about, President Akufo-Addo and the NPP.  In the minds of a lot of Ghanaians, it has added one mark to the minus side of their tally card.  And if nothing at all that should remind you to be careful any time you deal with others in future.

Highlights

“To call the creature by name, Hajia Fati, beating up a journalist, even when he or she is bothersome, or the destruction of his or her equipment is barbaric.”

“That is equally bad or even worse, Hajia Fati, because you do not beat up an onion seller; the worst you do is to tell her “I will not buy any,” period!”

“Beyond that, Hajia Fati, this case must represent a red light to you – next time, rein in your zeal and talk to people instead of assaulting them – because the next case may spin out of your control.”

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