Dateline – Thursday 7 February 2019. Time check – circa 2.00pm. I had had a very hectic long day in the High Court, doing cross examinations in about four cases. I was mentally and physically exhausted.
But the day was not over yet. I entered another courtroom for a hearing. The case was called, and we, the lawyers, announced ourselves.
Then, most unexpectedly the Judge asked:
“Captain, what is the meaning of Bloody Widow”?
I was completely taken aback. “Bloody Widow my lord?”
“Yes, Captain, what is the meaning of Bloody Widow”?
Instantly my mind went over to Parliament House and I remembered the day the Minority boycotted the swearing in of a fresh member of the House, Hon Lydia Seyram Alhassan.
“My Lord, by Bloody Widow, the impression is being created that she rode to Parliament on the horseback of blood, due to the violence in the by-election…”
“Captain, are you sure? Does it not mean she killed her husband?” We all in the courtroom laughed and shifted our attention to the real case on the table. But an idea had been sown in my head. “Bloody Widow!”
Most educated people throughout the world are familiar with the epic story of MACBETH, where his wife, Lady Macbeth, pressurised him to kill the King, Duncan, so that he will become the King, and, she, Lady Macbeth, as the Queen.
One Macbeth film portrays Lady Macbeth out of her mind, naked, endlessly washing her hands of ever-flowing imaginary blood.
Kyeremanteng Agyarko was rumoured to have been extremely very hardworking downstairs, so he had about three or so number of the fair sex as his life partners. When he passed on, it was considered natural that one of his “Solomonic” wives should replace him in Parliament.
Lydia Seyram Alhassan looked a better choice – with roots in the Volta Region and the North, standing for parliament in a highly cosmopolitan constituency like Ayawaso West Wuogon, her victory needed no Owusu Bempah prediction.
With the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in power, winning a by-election for an NPP seat in an NPP stronghold warranted no violence at all. But, consistent with the by-election culture in Ghana – Atiwa, Akwatia, Talensi Chereponi – it was not unexpected that the doomed to lose opposition candidate would foment trouble.
… And trouble did come, but the NPP won all the same, as expected. So, the newly-elected MP came to Parliament House on Tuesday February 5 to be sworn in as a new member of Parliament (MP),, and the opposition MPs staged a protest walk out, which was normal, except that they went over the bar when some of them whisked a banner or placard with the inscription : “BLOODY WIDOW”.
“Bloody Honourable” or “Bloody MP” or “Bloody Candidate” or even “Bloody Politician” would each have been more appropriate. “Bloody Widow” is terrible, a faux pas, a needless expression, most in appropriate, because the veiled suggestion is that it was she who killed her husband.
Must the matter be left to rest, just because Hon. Seyram Alhassan has already publically forgiven the Minority for referring to her as a “Bloody Widow”? Probably yes, except that if I were to have been her advocate, I would have impressed upon her the need for her, not only to demand an apology, but a complete withdrawal and extraction of that reference.
A hundred years from now, all of us would have been dead and gone. An entirely new generation will people the nation Ghana, and historians will recall once upon a time a “Bloody Widow” who sat in the floor of the House to take her husband’s seat.
I have no doubt in my mind that Minority Leader Hon Haruna Iddrisu, a lawyer like me, will agree that all this is most unfortunate. I do not think any member of the Minority ever intended this erroneous impression to be created, and it will be most honourable for the Minority to come out boldly to apologise and withdraw, and extract the expression “Bloody Widow”.
They can still make their point, albeit baselessly, by referring to her as a “Bloody Politician” “Bloody Honourable” or Bloody something …”
But, at any rate, let me beg to ask? Did anybody lose his life at Ayawaso West Wuogon? If not, why the expression “Bloody”?
Honourable Haruna Iddrisu, my learned friend, are you reading me?