Hypocrisy, Equivocation, Prevarication


TEARS ARE WELLING in our eyes as we write this apocryphal letter, intended for the President, though knowing he would not have the time to read it and his close associates would hide the message it carries from him – Author

THERE ARE a plethora of historical and literary examples of hypocrisy, equivocation and prevarication. Michael Gerson defines hypocrisy as the practice of engaging in the same behaviour or activity for which one criticizes another. Political hypocrisy is the conscious use of a mask to fool the public and gain political benefit. The fallacy of equivocation arises when a key term in an argument is used in an ambiguous way-the witches in Macbeth: “… none of a woman born shall harm Macbeth” or the Pope’s refusal of Henry VIII’s divorce of Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn, so he could father a son and; therefore, taking England from Catholicism into Anglicanism, Prevarication is simply a misstatement, made in a sneaky way; shuffling or quibbling to evade the truth.

The officers of a company came to our office on a Christmas eve, delivered an envelope and asked us to sign. Question: What is in the envelope? Answer: Just sign here. Action: Thanks, but take your envelope away. Or a friend, the Director of a pharmaceutical company, opening his car booth and displaying cash: this is all for you if you will only sign this document. A:  What does the law say, and if we get caught? M: I’ll get you out. A: Then get us out now, by not luring us to sign! Principles, Integrity, honesty.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II made the most profound statement when the President made a visit to Manhyia in April 2017 on assuming office: “Be careful of those around you…Ghanaians used hunger and annoyance to vote the old (Mahama) government out…if they are not satisfied, they will use the same hunger and anger to get you out.”

We are not “chasing the elephant into the bush”. a la Arthur K; rather we’ll tame it. Eugene Antwi, MP, Subin, says the party does not belong to Nana Addo.  What legacy is Nana Addo leaving behind? Re-defining “family and friends” in order to ensconce NPP? What is happening to Ken Ofori Atta and the stand taken by the NPP majority Parliamentary caucus (95)? Even for a show of respect, some NPP die-hards think Nana Addo could have reshuffled Ken Ofori Atta from the Ministry of Finance to Ministry of Trade or Foreign Affairs and down-sized the cabinet. How dare anyone argue that Ken’s credibility is totally lost? Resign? An African politician?  OR “Quit, when the applause is loudest”? The arrogance of power, disregarding all pressures to adjust e-levy, leading to its failure (1.5% to 1%). Ken Agyapong says going to the IMF is handing over power to NDC, so Ken Ofori Atta insists “We will not go to IMF… we are a proud nation” and we are there! No haircut, and it is there. And Ken announces a measure before engaging stakeholders in the Domestic Debt Exchange. Instead of “Midas’ touch” of gold, Ken Ofori Atta’s appears to be “Sadim touch” of (?) breaking the eight?

Huge avoidable economic hardship, and we continue to give our pupils free food, free accommodation, free books, free uniforms, and to Ken’s credit he whimpered asking those who could afford it to contribute…and his suggestion was drowned in the din of political showmanship. Honestly, we pity Ken Ofori Atta, not hate nor envy him. He is a cool friend and Christian brother.

Trust government? Rely on government bonds? Just like the 50-cedi note Rawlings withdrew in 1979. And 77-year-old retiree, Peter Kojo Nyasepe, in a wheel-chair, laments over the bond he bought being rolled over; not getting anything until 2027 when he will be paid 5% of his interest? How long is Peter going to live? And our friend, Osei Kwame, among others in the Ponzi scheme died because he could not retrieve GH¢ 400,000.00 he had invested in Gold Coast Securities, in the clean-up of GH¢ 15 billion indebtedness with the nation’s GH¢ 25 billion.

Politics and religion? Invoke the name of God or Allah, and you get away with a scheme-not well thought out. God told David not to build the temple because his hands were tainted with blood; Solomon, built it, and turned away from God marrying Hittite, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon women-seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines, God said: “(For your disobedience) I will take the Kingdom away from you and give it to one of your officials…”

We know several countries have Cathedrals: Saint Peter’s of Rome built in AD 320; St John the Divine New York, 1892; Notre Dame, Strasbourg which attracts 4million people in a year, and which took 227 years to build (1647-1874). Russia, St Petersburg; and Saudi Arabia, the Great Mosque in honour of Mohammed In Africa, Egypt, Cathedral of Nativity, and Cote d’Ivoire, the magnificent Notre Dame at Yamoussoukro. And the National Cathedral couldn’t be built at the controversial Achimota Forest?

If things were “smooth” who would be talking about how building a cathedral is financed? Or if churches and private individuals were funding it, just like Sheik Sharubutu offered GH¢ 50,000 who would have questioned it? No, no one wants to be called Sanballat and Tobias or be tagged a “naysayer” or a “demon”, but questions ought to be asked when we have a Secretariat allegedly supervised by a man with two names (Rev. Kusi-Boateng/ Kwabena Adu Gyamfi), two mothers (Yaa Gyamfuaa /Agnes Ataa) two dates of birth (December 30, 1969 / September 7, 1971) two Tax Identification Numbers: P0002502682 / P000627241 X with a Diplomatic Passport Number DX0068458 under the name Kwabena Adu Gyamfi (as alleged by Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa).

Just identify yourself with one of the “big” political parties, and you can get away with a problem as being haunted by your political opponent. The President, had led a number of demonstrations, including Kume Preko (against VAT of 7%) with Wereko-Brobbey, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Akoto Ampaw, Victor Newman, … should others be silent over 15% VAT?

The Minister of Health, Agyemang-Manu before the Audit Committee answers to his failure to follow constitutional procedure (Article 174-189) for purchasing COVID-19 materials: “…those were not normal times. It was a situation that couldn’t make me think properly…” (No comment).

We blinked and winked at the criticism by Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa with facts on the President hiring expensive private jets to attend international conferences. People like Ken Kuranchie (Editor of the Searchlight), Nana Bonsu and Adomako-Baafi, brilliant NPP communicators were all over “fighting” for a defence of President’s action attributing our economic woes to COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine War.

The Attorney General, Godfred Dame, was explicit on the effect of the unilateral abrogation of contract (by government and individual bondholders).

And with no budget allocation made for it, His Excellency Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice-President promises one student one tablet (laptop). How much would be needed to finance this? (GH¢ 1 billion for the 1.5 million students?) Any incentive to write? Will students buy books by Ghanaian authors? Who would say: “The King is naked”? Hypocrites, equivocators, prevaricators…Alexander Pope’s ninth Beatitude sits well with us: “Blessed is the man who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed.”


By Africanus Owusu-Ansah