Prime News Ghana

The ugly science of insults in Ghana’s politics

By George Sydney Abugri
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F-k-g b-tch! Hey, which politician said that? Darned if I know his name, but this much I do know: In Ghana’s politics, ill-tempered politicians with a deep hatred for their political opponents and political activists who are encouraged and rewarded by those same politicians to insult people they perceive to be standing in the way of their ambitions, have become an irritating phenomenon.

Insults are by no means entirely new in our politics but the frequency, scale and revolting nature of the insults which buzz around every election year like enraged bees, take the nagging issue of insults to hell in a dirty handkerchief. 

The threat to national peace is obvious and raises the question of what the average person in active politics should do when assailed by professional insulters on the loose.

One option for the insulted is to fetch the insulter a very hefty one on the jaw and drive his insulting teeth down his throat, gums, molars, incisors and all, but the insulted were better off not trying that of course, unless his punch packs enough destructive power to physically decommission the insulter. It may be wise instead, to ignore or forgive the insulter. 

Unfortunately, there is only a very tiny number of people who due to their upbringing, temperament and religious beliefs, can cope with the deviant behavioural traits of insulters.

Coping with these characters is easier when you understand what makes them tick: To begin with, insults amount to no less than verbal violence or psychological assault if you like, and that means the insulter craves violence.

Psychologists have noted a few other things about those who insult others openly and with the clear intention of hurting, demeaning, denigrating or intimidating their victims: Many of them are typically insecure and immature people with flaccid minds and petty, if also vicious temperaments: 

They tend to be losers with heavily built-up aggression, who are unhappy and who try to take out their frustrations on other people. They also tend to be jealous and try to bring people who have what they cannot get themselves, down to their level.

Male victims of insults are often helpless but where the victim of verbal abuse in the political arena is a female politician or political activists, the popular threat is often to get protesting women to streak in the streets. They often threaten to pour out into the streets in the nude all physiological appendages on the female anatomy on full display.

Being mostly people with large constituency support, women politicians subjected to insults are easily able to organize such protests. Refer to the case of “Osei Versus Agyapong”, as heard in the court of public offense.

Some smart politicians and activists {discounting Kennedy Agyapong}, have sometimes been delighted to discover that you could insult a rival to your hearts content and apologize when assailed by severe public criticism.

Long before Agyapong claimed to the chagrin of many women in the republic, that Electoral Commission boss Mrs Charlotte Osei hopped into bed with some unnamed fellow in exchange for her job, an MP called Mr. Kofi Jumah had alleged that the mayor of Kumasi at the time, Patricia Adjei, had traded sexual favours for her appointment as mayor.

Since it implied the existence of a sex-for-appointments culture in the political administration of Mr. J.A. Kufuor, the former president was far from amused. That the lady in question is a married woman took the seriousness of the allegation even notches higher. Apologize or else..! Mr. Juma was all over the place with profuse apologies.

The gradually emerging evidence appears to be that the insulters in political discourse in Ghana today are being paid to do so but then, that is only because they have the temperament or lack character. Check them out at Ghanaweb: “Stupid”, “idiot”, “fool”, “ ugly baboon”… 

According to one sage, “character is the noblest possession of a man. Character he said, exercises a power greater than material wealth. It dignifies and exalts the man of good upbringing and manners. Men of character are the conscience of society. Character is moral order embodied in the individual who possesses it and is actually human nature in its very best form.”