On Thursday September 22, as I sat across Nii Arday Clegg Snr, the Morning Starr host for the news review in the Starr FM studio, I knew something was wrong, he was a man burning with emotions and hurt. And his demeanour betrayed his emotions.

As a result, I consciously refused to engage him like we often do before we go on air for the review. He needed the space to fix himself for his show.

I knew there was a wrong to be corrected, I just couldn’t imagine the extent Robert Clegg would go to heal his reputation that had been unfairly injured, just the night before by a man many respect.

As a practicing journalist, I have been privy to countless instances where people have given casual apologies for their lies and everything went back to normal, like it never happened. But my orientation about lies has changed for good, thanks to Robert Clegg and Paul Adom-Otchere.

Paul Adom-Otchere

As I sat in the Komla Dumor Newsroom to listen to an interview between Mr Adom-Otchere and Robert Clegg over a lie Paul had told about Robert, my blood run cold and fingers numbed.

Never have I heard or read a man ripped-off his pride, reputation and integrity over a lie. It was excruciating for the soul and body, even for me who was merely listening. Nii could punish with words and he went for the kill.

As I listened to the sleek and fluent Paul beg for mercy, I felt sad and let down by a broadcaster who has become a standard in TV talk shows in Ghana. In my opinion Paul’s Good Evening Ghana is the best TV current affairs show currently. Paul’s ability to breakdown even complex topics for the understanding of the average viewer is legendary.

But did Paul deserve all that sledge punishment by his former schoolmate? I am afraid, yes! He did.

He had unfairly impugned crime to the reputation of a man who lives on his integrity. Robert says his integrity is his life and I admire him for it. Nii is boastful about his integrity and I am yet to come across someone who will challenge it.

But on this peculiar occasion Nii was lucky, he had a huge platform to fix the wrong that was done him. And I trust he has succeeded with it, if feedback is anything to go by.

But that whole exercise got me thinking. It got me to appreciate the enormity of the pain others have suffered and possibly died of because of some dangerous lies that were told about them.

In our country today, there are many whose only truth about President John Mahama is the wicked lie that he had countless children with different women. The President has denied the claim but the lie may have stuck and unlike in the case of Nii and Paul, those liars were never subjected to strict proof. They are free.

Again, many in this country still hold on to the lie that the NPP flagbearer is hooked onto some substances even though there has been no shred of evidence to that. He still clears his name over those allegations every now and then. That is yet another evidence of what a lie can do to people.

Growing up, I heard stories about the fact that former president JJ Rawlings was a leader who fortified himself and his government with several spirits and idols who were resident in a particular room at the Osu Castle. Mr Rawlings has left government for many years, I am yet to see any of those idols that were kept at the Castle. Those were obviously dangerous lies.

President Kufuor and the late Mills had their own share. And those are not lost on us. You remember that gay lie that was thrown at the law professor?

The worst of them all, was what we all heard about Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah. We heard about a certain “Kankain Nyame”, the famous god of Dr Nkrumah whom he supposedly fed with the blood of pregnant women. Those were lies. And the fact that I still remember this story years after his demise, shows the damage such a lie did to the reputation of the good leader during his era.

Lies are just not another part of the story, liars are just not deviants. In some cases, their actions kill and destroy beyond repairs. We all, may have been before. Let’s just take a second look at ourselves.