Ghana: 'Sex for Grades'

26 October 2019
analysis

The matter about sex for grades and harassment is an ancient palaver. It has exploded on us perhaps because we have been complacent for too long to fix it weaving a cordon sanitaire to influence personal checks and balances, unlike others which have become norms as ifedly; because it revolves a peculiar human behavior which can neither be completely restrained, deterred by law nor watch-dog policing.

The BBC's video exposure only confirms the denials, sweeping under carpets, despite codes of conduct that the limits of morality and ethics have been overrun and that time is up to soberly restore propriety. Our elderly call that decorum. It serves no helpful contribution to the renaissance required by arguing fine points of law, faulting production methodology, drawing in empathies and casting, or abstaining throwing biblical stones. It is rather what lessons to take from all to ponder and activate guidance because its all about hunting down the past and winning decency fast-track forward at the end of the day.

Yes, it is true that the dust may or not have settled on the headline's theme which triggered many "ei... ei... ei!"and "aw... aw... aw... " with no modicum of ease in sight. It is not likely yet because the subject is common knowledge and unlike other vexed matters which can be bottled, the current was bound to open fresh Pandora boxes. I believe at the end of all of the commentaries new sensations would be unfurled. Truth is they would be variations on the same affairs.And right on its heels, the harassment claim, a bombshell against the Vice-Chancellor at Legon, denied notwithstanding for now; but it is aggravating disconcertingly to wonder what's up. A Methodist Hymnist does it better: "And are we yet alive and see each other's face."?

I recall there was a case in a private tertiary institution here buzzed by similar 'hula-hula' with zealot howler-dimensions. The skandehad created a crisis of confidence in the examination system from leaked questions to grades pointing at "favorites" being given what fellow students thought did not deserve. The regulars in their protestations verbal fingerprints are: "they are our mates and we sit in the same lecture hall before same lecturers and mostly, they act truants." The rest of the causes implied allegedly, collusion and pay-day for girl-friends and concubines. But as if joking one member of the troubled Enquiry said he had been given an analogy he would like share, perhaps to relieve the ennui and indeed desperation over writing recommendations to put a cap sealing off both rumor and reality of a, unedifying situation that cringed all then.

He said narrating, that he was asked if he had ever seen or heard of a poultry Farmer at the gate of the local open market to buy a chicken. To wit, he had decided that whereas they were breaking their heads nailing culprits, it was better not to legislate human behavior but craft a mechanismwhich drives a compelling sense of decency and strengthens discipline-enforcement provisions with even-handedness. Then he called it a bad law in the otherwise, adding such always breaks itself in accordance with "Adam's downfall". The meeting ended instantly--none demurring ostensibly.

What that analogy illustrates is that we need to cut out hysteria and not race to judge which is a fudge and fizzles without impacting a dent in an iota of stipulates in a code of ethics to tread a fine line of principled-distinction in decorum--personal and external. It is well said; but how have we come to lose that is crucial thinking out a resolution. The history is more "disturbing" than the warning notice the recent videos heralded.An old poetry has a devastating line "DON'T ASK FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS." I quoted advisedly in my remarks in this column a few years ago, when the 'Anas Judicial corruption-disclosures' caught the nation wrong-footed. Those were lyrics of Kakaiku's "Mo ho asemnawoabayi". It was re-popularized by the blind minstrel OnipaNua. He did not profanised the lyrics and or meanings, unlike today. Together, the two provide a depth of wisdom-background to discourse a problem we have collectively failed to confront finding a resolution.

A chunk in part of the causes is our hypocrisy hoisted on feigned cowardice--a self-bullying into silence which Prof Albert AduBoahenemade famous and infamous, characterized as a "culture of silence." Yet, the release of that video has also spewed public discourse-disagreement in respect of methodology and standards, the same as today relative to the old scam but made new now. "Yedzitsir, yesuroenyiwa" 'we chew head but are scared of the eye.' Therefore, in the rumpus post-BBC's expose--dubbed "Sex for Grades" a country-wide euphoria has sprouted myriad pontifications. It is natural reaction, expected. On one hand, everyone is entitled to their opinion; and on another, the syntheses aggregate a commonly acceptable reasoning conclusion(s). That does not mean dissent is banished after that point reached.

I should now take the opinionated-groupings which the latest has given from the variety of talking points: They are: the we knew it [actually heard it ever so often]; but it has been academic for lack of proof; the scenes show no incontrovertible link between the headline [or title] and the persons thrown on stage, deemed or claimed suspicions of a set-up -the constant bogey which is conspiracy theory with 'go-to-court.' Going to court is an inalienable right pursuant to redeem honor, absolutely necessary.

It has pitfalls. Like in journalism every au fait counsel would caution 'don't fight back' on "it is true"; and "justification" because both irritate the court which can drag defense into a quagmire of frustration. Courts and country are too familiar how often Headlines mislead and the media explain its psychology to get away as merits neither harm nor malice after thought to quarrel over. It falls in the ambit of "Journalese", a euphemism to let go distraught as this palaver demonstrates, despite what the injury feels. I should argue that the depth of hurt and what it feels for anyone central and even peripheral in this matter, the profession has as of convention shielded a harmfor a kind of self-insulation from damning blame through this 'softner',-a cover-cloth as a convention.

It is just like the phraseologies 'informed sources', 'according to authoritative sources', 'unimpeachable source' and 'on agreed anonymity' not forgetting the old quartet: "on/off record" "for information only" and "Deep throat". In any case, they are not a set of absolute immunities, much as "DISCLOSURE OF SOURCE(S)" is compulsory when push gets to shove.

There are two challenges to the media in all the ensued arguments, not just the BBC. These are ethics [code of honor] and facts to establishing truth. Defining to allow them to relate to the report shall explain legitimacy of investigating at all. Bear in mind that platform isa universal consensus that "malfeasance" has rampaged including Universities; and that commonplace as it is, proof has been the discomforting and comforting fugitive offender. And as a sequitur this conduct does not operate on cast quid pro quid but a mutually developed "Understood" -- familiarity-known, once the conversation is engaged, starts.

Therefore, the process from first parleys to drop, confirm that nothing is for free in our world today; except Show-Bizz legend Sam Cooke's: "the best things in life are free"--the seasons, the moon and the stars, sun and moon the rain, the air we breathe and the birds that sing, all belong to everyone. Investigative journalism is prompted primarily by cover up of something wrong and has defied the establishment of its truth or falsehood; but it is also mainly a semi-red alert to the public that the wrong-doing was harmful or could cause a national or community disaster.

That is what the media sets out to unravel--the bare face of the on-going or impending upset. That is the limit and the press does not prosecute because unlike the police it went out to lift the veil and not to assert a crime was on. Its outcome though might be useful informatively to guide further probe by police to get to their goal of ascribing an infraction of law prosecute. With regard to the videos, there are sufficient inklings of inappropriate language--'have you ever been forcibly kissed?' 'let me be your... guy' and the probing tentative and positive with the instigations of prurient instincts are quite hard and might not be incontrovertible. In entirety, the video gives sufficient glimpses of the presence of eye-brow-raisers, driving home the contradictions to date.

I guess I have said enough to pre-empt the significance by a fourth position faulting to grade the methodology and approach of the BBC's production as not meeting standards. Which standards? I believe questioning 'standards' is legitimate but not meant to intimidate credibility necessarily being after all a critique for one's opinion and for its obviousness from the video. Nor is it meant to muzzle accountability.The essence of the production was and is to find and report the reality or mirage of an activity that is global knowledge and the same seem to feel hapless and let the exposure either confirm without sordid detail to either soothe nerves away from edge, or inform society to sit up, circumspect about not being seen or interpreted as hounding to persecute any, who may or might- imputed or directly, both allegedly but still unacceptable totally.

These add explanations to "Don't ask... bell tolls" and "me ho asem... .woaba... " It's no use waffling about technical and or technique, passable professionally because those are really not the issue to complain about, criticize and or condemn. These easily lead to miss the crucial point and the matter is scuttled into banal only to resurge putrefied and therefore intractable and we are forced to wish it had not become a convention, like the intent to order the churches in the kitchen at homes and the humbug of the confusion of 'sexuality identity' and 'sexual' turning us to look bonkers.

To the good I might as well slot here that the submission bears from two pillars: "to inform" and ethics. I think the following is a classic definition: "the existence of a code of ethics is often regarded as one of the most important characteristics which distinguish the occupations known as professions from all others. The primary function of a code of professional ethics is to adjust the balance of power so as to protect the patient [client--student, worker etc] against the practitioner, who has immense advantages which are derived from knowledge and experience. A secondary but no less important function of the code of ethics is to protect the main body of practitioners [professionals] who comply with its provisions against exploitation by the black sheep who are prepared to defy them." [Sir Roger Ormerod--British Medical Journal 1967]

Another side band of the furore is the attempt to politicize it into typical Ghanaian NPP-NDC accusation trading, as if as usual. Curiously apart from the suggestion alleging one of the set thinking done in by hit back, the remarks and arguments have been strangely bereft of political fire and return salvo.

However, unless this is the final finding--sort of job done and main point established, I would have thought that for balancing the female importuning would be fitting epitaph. The absence leaves prattle talk and would inadvertently feel that only the male is guilty. I have in the course of the discourses heard women say that a woman stalking a man for "S..S..S..S.." iscapable of remarkable ferocity, viciousness and cunning which are greater pressure than a man's masculinityinto committing rape.A late senior relative used to represent this poetically as follows:

"If a woman enticeth thee:

First time?

Resist

Second time?

Consented

Third time?

Break it."

Here is what reads penultimatestraw in a running storyapparently per our jinx and sphinx Social Media reporting a male lecturer-examiner's experience. It saysa female student wrote nothing in the exam answer booklet but posted her nude picture to the male Lecturer-Examiner. Limiting it education only our socio-economic difficulties can be blamed because they have generated their own force fields. This is how it looks out--everyone wants status. The competition has grown revoltingly dirty in most recent years.

Holding a University Degree is key to the 'open sesame' and access to education is not hindered. Thus has developed categories -all want the certificate but the intents divide them into three racing groups--some via dirty; others genuinely hard-striving but would combine with the first out of desperation generally or through peer pressure; and the third sits between the other two. Randomly,it would not be exaggerating to suppose the dirtyare ascendant.

These get by because the male who are vilified after black-mailed, don't talk, once they succumbed or were felled. All of which come down to what the Gas [Accra people] adivisedly suggest "esaniakeonukpahimeiakwe mli" [it requires delicate wisdom] to deal-detain the rot which can never be completely defused, except brought to a canter to calm things down more than a bit. It is going to be a long road to travel. But a start can be made. The great goal would be that it is not the best means to achieve excellence in academia or for job-promotion.It is as dishonorable as demeaning for its caveat.

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