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“Misconscrew.” Don’t bother to look up this word in the dictionary because you won’t find it there, Jomo.  “Misconscrewing is a term coined by psychologists in the field of political communications to describe the very deliberate misunderstanding of what is said, in order to advance a clandestine motive. 

Put the other way round, it is the very deliberate understanding in the wrong way and wrong sense, of what was said by a political opponent, in order to achieve a goal detrimental to the interest of that opponent. 

In other words, “misconscrewing”  is deliberate as already explained, as opposed to misconstruing which is not deliberate, and serves the purpose of making a political opponent's words appear to mean something the speaker did not mean at all. 

Frequent victims of “misconscrewing”, tend to be those politicians who are inclined to leap before they look and who are so careless with sensitive matters of political correctness when communicating, that they easily give their opponents a wide and open choice to “misconscrew” what they say. 

The NDC this week called on the police to arrest former Ghana Bar Association President , Mr. Sam Okudzeto for reportedly threatening the life of President John Mahama. Mr Okudzeto had blurted out that President Mahama would be “planning his own funeral” if he grants presidential pardon to the famous Montie Three wHo have been jailed on conviction of contempt of the Supreme Court.

The NDC’s General Secretary, Mr Johnson  Asiedu-Nketiah last Tuesday  charged that Mr. Okudzeto”s statement was an open threat on the President’s life and constituted “a danger to Ghana’s Constitution.”

Mr Okudzetor has in a counter attack described his critics as deficient in English language proficiency. In other words, his words had been misconstrued. To accuse them of having “misconscrewed” them would have been to credit his critics with a good command of English if you have been following the drift. What precisely would we mean if we said someone was by an act, “planning his funeral” and add that “we all live in this country?”

National Democratic Congress Chairman Dr. Kwabena Adjei once put himself and the NDC in a similar spot of unnecessary bother, mainly because he chose to speak 18th century English in an age of sensitivity to political correctness. 

Dr Adjei addressed a press conference, and of all the words in the dictionary, the man chose to call for a “cleaning up” of the judiciary by the Chief Justice, failing which he warned, there would be “many ways of killing a cat.”   With the case of the tragic abduction and murder of three court judges and a retired army major in June 1982, still fresh in the minds of many of our compatriots, Dr Adjei has opened himself up to both grave misinterpretation. His political opponents knew exactly what Dr. Adjei meant by “many ways of killing a cat” but “misconscrewed” it to mean a threat to assassinate court judges again! 

The impact of “misconscrewed” information as a political propaganda tool must have hit all politicians because the counter attack on Dr. Kwabena Adjei and the NDC remained one of the most flogged issues in the history of political communication and propaganda Ghana, managing to stay on top of all other issues of national debate for longer than a week. 

At the trial of the abductors and killers of the judges and army major in 1982, it was revealed that one of the accused had taken the other suspects around and shown them the houses of the judges to facilitate their abduction.

That is why when in threatening to kill justices of the Supreme Court the jailed Montie Three added that bit about knowing where the residences of the justices are, they denied themselves the opportunity to claim that they had been “misconscrewed”. Yes, that is the word, Jomo!