Parents are allowed to beat their children in Ghana. In fact, most parents do far worse than what Obinim did to their children in the confines of their room.
I’m sure we all have witnessed several instances where a parent is disciplining a recalcitrant child in public, and no one ever lifts a finger to help the child. Everyone instead feels sorry for the parent for having to deal with such grief.
And in fact, trying to help the child would draw disapproving stares from the public, who might feel you are preventing the parent from putting their child straight. Corporal punishment also happens in schools all across the country, up to the Senior High Level, where some students are legally adults, but get beaten anyway.
So what is it with this sudden aversion to what Obinim did? He claims the two are his wards, and thus he is entitled to discipline them. If he did this in the confines of his home, nine out of ten Ghanaians would agree with what he did. So why are people pissed?
Is it because he did it in a church? But that is entirely missing the point. Assaulting another person is wrong irrespective of the venue – so why would it be right in your room but wrong in church?
People do not particularly like Obinim, so jump easily on whatever he does. I find it difficult to believe anyone would muster such outrage if Otabil is found to discipline his children at home in much the same manner. Otabil might not do it in church perhaps, but that does not change the rightness or wrongness of striking another human being.
So can we all get off our high horses? I’m yet to hear a lucid argument for what is wrong with what Obinim did, in the context of Ghanaian society This happens across houses in Ghana a million times every day with no public outcry, so why this time? Either you support wards being disciplined by parents or not – including in schools. What would be more interesting would be a movement to lift corporal punishment off the books in Ghana. Parents do it, teachers do it – and we are all ok with it. Obinim, quite bizarrely, qualifies as both – at least to those who believe in him.
The simple point here is – if we’re fighting to end parents needlessly striking their children, that is a fight worth fighting. Selective outrage, on the other hand – is nothing more than the amplification of the rank hypocrisy our society is filled with.