When the history of Ghana’s current music industry is invariably written one day, Sunday, the 19th of May 2019 will go down in infamy.
Two spoiled brats, Misters Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale, engaged in an act that did not only soil our hard- earned reputation as a genteel nation, but also exposed our unbridled culture of impunity.
The chaotic scene Sunday night at the Conference Center where the cream de crop of Ghana’s music industry had gathered for an evening of good entertainment, was deeply embarrassing and totally uncalled for.
There they were, two of the country’s famous musicians and their bands of dopey followers, brawling and bringing to a temporary halt, a colorful and beautiful function organized to honor them.
What precipitated the brawl and attendant chaos was Mr. Wale’s inexplicable decision to mount the stage with his supporters just when his mortal enemy, Mr. Stonebwoy was receiving an award.
Thinking his life was in danger, Mr. Stonebwoy, reacted without putting on his thinking cap. He mindlessly pulled out a gun from a holster on his hip and threatened to use it if the need arose.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and what could easily have been the first live shooting captured on television was averted.
Sunday’s fracas was the logical conclusion to long simmering tensions between Mister Wale and Mister Stonebwoy. They have been going at it for well over a year.
Ghanaians understand there is bad blood between the two young men, but they don’t want to be part of the squabble.
Much as it is appropriate to pin the blame for Sunday’s night chaos on the two young men who over the last several years have entertained Ghanaians with remarkable good music, fingers must also be pointed at Ghanaian authorities for allowing a culture of impunity to fester and grow to these uncontrollable levels.
Let’s admit the obvious; there is a certain segment of the Ghanaian population, running the gamut from self-conceited politicos and mendacious pastors to petulant entertainers who have this weird mindset that they can do whatever they want, even flout laid down regulations, and won’t get punished by authorities.
Sad to note, as a direct consequence, indecent, crass and rude behavior has become the norm and is tacitly encouraged.
We saw this on full display in the early stages of the current administration when hoodlums invaded a court of law in Kumasi and ransacked the place.
They weren’t made to pay for their blatant disregard for our laws. So, invariably the bad continued across the length and breadth of the country.
I am not going to psychoanalyze Misters Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale. I will leave that to the talking heads on television and on radio.
What bothers me endlessly, however, is the painful fact that our country is fast losing its moral compass; it is awash in guns, state institutions are incredibly weak, and violence is at an all-time high.
The behavior of Stonebwoy and Wale last Sunday underscores my point.
It is gratifying and indeed encouraging that the two young men have been banned indefinitely from the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
We now wait with bated breath to see if the court system will work; will it put the two men behind bars, in prison, to demonstrate that government is in control or will it let them walk thereby justifying the belief in some circles that there is one set of laws for the rich and powerful and another for the poor and marginalized?