Kwesi Pratt is a man of personal integrity and discipline. He appears frugal and non-ostentatious, because of his socialist inclination, I bet that is being the question now, because some people feel, he has developed a penchant for the finest things in life. Some say he is a socialist by day and capitalist by night, who will not, this is 2015.
I still believe he has not departed from his principles, which by and large defines who we are. It is said that a man without principles is a man without life. Kwesi Pratt has proven over time that he is a stickler of principles, and I admire him for that.
Toady some of us, have the luxury and the bravado to sit behind our computers and write either praising someone like Kwesi Pratt or criticizing him as am doing now, because when some people packed bag and baggage and left this country, some of them stayed behind to ensure that we are where we are today.
Democracy is the best form of government anywhere and some people laid down their lives for us to also enjoy the benefit of freedom of expression, association etc.
Often times in this part of our world, we do not celebrate our heroes, when they are alive, we quickly arrange national honours and state burials when they die. Annoyingly we even go naming everything after them, something they will not see and even appreciated.
Kwesi Pratt was last Sunday afternoon enskined by the Gulkpegu Naa, Alhaji Alhassan Abdulai ,as the Yelvuhi Naa (to wit: a chief who can speak his mind without fear or favour) in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital.
This obviously did not go down well with some people, who questioned Kwesi Pratt’s reverence for the Chieftaincy title. They argue that the man has without number questioned the relevance of the Chieftaincy Institution in our democratic dispensation. What they forgot is that it is this same utterances and stance, which made the man speaks his mind regardless of whose ox is gored, is what earn him that title.
We should be able to agree to disagree , we are all infallible and are bound to step on toes as we go along. It is former President Bill Clinton of the United States of America (USA), who said that if you do not want to step on toes, you better stop walking.
Kwesi Pratt has paid his dues to the country he love, he has gone to prison in pursuance of a free and just society, he has sacrificed his personal liberty in the interest of a larger society.
The man deserves more than what he got from Tamale not because he is better than other crop of Ghanaians of journalists, but as a journalist, you can never predict him. Every government since we ushered the 1992 dispensation, has come under scrutiny of Mr Pratt. He has never wavered in what he believes in, except with all of us, as we grow the radicalism that characterized how we react to issues begin to change.
In as much as people expect him to hit the street as he did during the era of Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuo, for which he is remembered and well noted for, and named “Ghana’s Agitator-General” the baton and responsibility should be handed over to the next generation.
I remember him from his War against corruption in both the era of Jerry Rawlings and Kufuor, he has not departed from that crusade, except this time around he is not as vociferous and forceful as he used to be, perhaps he is aging.
Have some of our Chiefs lived above reproach? The answer is no. So what is wrong if because of the behavior of some Chiefs, the whole Chieftaincy Institution is dragged in the mud and somebody comments about it so what?
If Chiefs in this country want a return to the glory days, where they were revered and respected, they must also begin to live exemplary lives.
In the fight for the restoration of free press, two personalities stood out from the inky fraternity, they are Kwesi Pratt, who has been honoured and Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr. I cannot and do not have any Chieftaincy title to confer on either of them, but I sincerely believe that, if the people of the Northern Region, have found it useful to honour Kwesi, others should also take a cue and put some cap or whatever it is that they put on their heads on that of Kweku Baako.
We sit here and confer Chieftaincy titles on foreigners for donating second hand clothes, known as ‘Obroni wawu’, yet our own, who can stand shoulder to shoulder to any hero anywhere, are not disserving of honour.
Kweku Baako, like Kwesi Pratt, have also contributed immensely to this country’s history, I do not want to see us erecting monuments in his name, when he is dead and gone. Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, decorated him some time ago, with a State Medal, the honour itself was without controversy as the National Democratic Congress (NDC), then in opposition disagreed with that gesture.
The time is up for us to honour them, without its attendant controversies. On a lighter note, why can’t radio stations in Ghana honour them, since their presence on their stations is an impetus for people to listen to them?
Kwesi Pratt and Kweku Baako , more or less made their name by leaving polish imprints since the days of Acheampong, right through the years of Jerry John Rawlings up till now. These two gentlemen are my hero-kings.