Apologies: the Pan-African Literary Forum is competing with my workload to take up all of my time this week.
Been so busy that I would have missed this news story - if not for my colleagues, Franklyn and Sefakor - in which our beloved former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings appears to accuse the NPP's presidential candidate, Nana Akuffo-Addo, of faking his legal qualifications. Not letting the inconvenience of his having been an Attorney-General and President of the Greater Accra Bar Association get in the way of a good yarn, she said:
“Now, we have somebody… who is coming and is also saying he is a lawyer, trained in France; it’s all a lie. He did not go to any law school. He has been practicing in Ghana as a lawyer but he never went to law school... We cannot sit down for them to peddle these lies around.”
Perhaps she was talking about some other fool walking around Ghana lying about having gone to law school, becoming a lawyer, training in France, faking the... bah, forget it.
I tried, but Ghana's undisputed answer to Hilary "Snipers in Bosnia" Clinton was clearly talking about the NPP flagbearer, adding that his tenure at Coudert Fréres in Paris was as an economist and not as legal counsel. She even threw the President's legal qualifications in the mud for good effect.
You've got to love the woman.
Funnily enough, the first person to shoot down the story was none other than Professor Atta-Mills, Rawlings' preferred (NDC) presidential candidate. One can imagine the Prof's eyes rolling for the umpteenth time upon hearing the news. What the poor man did in a former life to deserve to be saddled with the Rawlingses in this one, one can only wonder. A teacher of law himself, reports of the Good Professor countering her claim hit the newswires before Shinehead's own spokesman could even string a statement together.
I did law myself. No... seriously (you in the back: stop snickering). First degree. Hated it with a passion. Wanted to do English Literature but my mother had some concerns ("What do you want to be afterwards? Literate?") Some of my highest-flying colleagues since are people who studied other courses but then made the difficult decision of taking yet another year out of their lives (and pockets) to pursue the conversion course necessary for enrollment into law school.
People who take this option tend to be pretty serious about law, so I was not surprised when the president of the Ghana Bar Association confirmed Shinehead's qualifications. I love the fact that it took the president a couple of hours to do so though. Although the Fake Lawyer story broke in the morning, Mr. Nii Osah-Mills' confirmation of Shinehead's bar qualifications hit the wires just before day's end. Is it because the man had better things to do, because the record was on a pre-computer scrap of cardboard somewhere in the GBA vaults or because they quickly had to doctor something together, else incur the wrath of a possible future president?
More importantly though, why did Mrs. Rawlings say what she said? Come to think of it, what compelled Hilary to say what she said? Is it catching? Airborne? Who is next? I wasn't before, but now I'm looking forward to Laura Bush's inevitable memoirs for damn sure. Particularly the chapter where she lures Osama Bin Laden out of hiding using the scent of freshly-baked chocolate cookies.
Some Ghanaians tar Mrs. Rawlings a Lady Macbeth, but I prefer to think that Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings are a fun-loving former first couple who bond on Sundays after church by concocting speeches and misspeaks with which to entertain the Ghanaian public every other week or so. The people lap it up too: it is said that whenever JJ is on the cover of a Ghanaian newspaper, sales double.
Ama Ata Aidoo? Please. Between President Kufuor and ACRAG, someone missed a clear opportunity last week to award the Rawlingses for their contributions to the art of Ghanaian storytelling.