It is said that if you want to know more about yourself, enter politics.
Once you announce your intention to contest a political position, you will hear stories about your great maternal uncle who once borrowed from his mother’s cousin and did not pay back, how that created a rift here or there and why a descendant of such a man should not be trusted with a political position.
But there are times the acrimony of political life does not reveal much until one’s death. No matter how famous a person is, someone hears about them for the first time only when they are no more.
The first time I was able to link a song to Michael Jackson was when I watched his memorial service on television. Growing up in Kete-Krachi Lakeside, in a home without electricity or television set, the Daddy Lumba, Owoahene Nana Acheampong and the musicians whose tracks I heard from fishermen were all Ghanaian, excerpt for Kanda Bongo Man. When it came to Michael Jackson, I knew only two things about the global showbiz legend: he was a good dancer and a black musician who had changed the colour of his skin and the shape of his nose. At his funeral, however, I watched “Will You Be There”, fell in love with it, and went on to YouTube to watch more tunes from the pop star.
Death brings attention to the departed and attracts scrutiny to their lives. Beyond the sincere and false tributes, the genuine and crocodile tears, and the gossips that come with announcement of their demise, lies something I consider the most important tribute to any human being. There is no greater achievement or service to humanity than living in such a way that, long after one is gone, another person will say, “I have been able to come this far in life because of this or that person.”
Last Saturday, the late Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko, was laid to rest. Missing from those who paid tribute at his funeral is an unknown child he fathered shortly before his death. For many years to come, this child, who the late MP did not know had not met, will remember him and say but for one Mr. Agyarko, he might not have achieved his goal.
The late Agyarko had heard about this boy through a Facebook post I wrote. I had returned from an assignment one afternoon to meet two poorly-clad young men who had left a note at the reception for me. They were about leaving when I met them. They looked too miserable to ignore. They had travelled from the Northern Region to Accra with a plea.
The younger one had completed senior high school three years ago and secured admissions to the university but, each time the admission came, he could not honour it because there was no money to do so. The little money the family made from peasant farming was used to care for his terminally sick father. His plea was to get help from to go to the University of Cape Coast, where he had gained admission to read Computer Science.
The late Agyarko reached out with a donation to help pay the boy’s fees. But he did more than that. Mr. Agyarko often appeared on the AM Show on the JoyNews channel on Multi TV on Tuesdays. While waiting to appear on the show that week, he overheard one of the editors talking about buying a bag for her daughter who was going to the senior high school. He made enquiries and told the lady he was in touch with me in respect of a boy whose plight I had brought to his attention.
The following morning, a Wednesday, Mr. Agyarko returned to the station with money for the bag he was offering to buy for the boy. That brown leather bag, which was picked up from the Cape Coast GPRTU station by Richard Kwadwo Nyarko and delivered to Samson Mayeem, a Level 100 student of Casely Hayford Hall at the University of Cape Coast, happens to be the only decent bag the young man has.
That was not all, Mr. Agyarko also committed to supporting Samson with a stipend anytime he was going to school. Unfortunately, not long after this, the news that came through was that Agyarko had passed.
“When I heard of his death, you came to mind,” Emily Nyarko told me. She was the one Mr. Agyarko gave the money to buy Samson’s bag. “He didn’t have a show that day, but he drove all the way here to give the money for the bag.”
I often disagree with Shakespeare when he said, “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.” I believe in the balance sheet of one’s good deeds and bad deeds. Which ever way the pendulum one one’s life swings, the dominant trait should be discussed with the not so pronounced aspects of their lives.
Mr. Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko, your good has not been interred with your bones. You will forever live in the heart of Samson and his family. Your good will forever live in the hearts of those of us who knew your about your kindness to persons you did not know, people from whom you did not stand to benefit politically. You did this without announcing with any trumpet.
May the children and relatives you have left behind be shown mercy and great favour in their times of need. May strangers be kind to them in the way you were kind to people you did not know.
Continue to rest well.
By: Manasseh Azure Awuni