|Cannons at Fort Antonio in Axim in the Western Region, Ghana|
Source: My personal album of fabulous pics
In military history, cannons transformed the art of warfare and were essential artillery for some key battles dating back to Ancient China. Cannons were also vital to naval combat and the phrase 'loose cannon' alludes to the fact that if your cannons were not secure, they were likely to roll about on deck and cause damage to your ship. It is not surprising therefore that modern English has adopted the term:
Main Entry: loose cannon
: a dangerously uncontrollable person or thing
Source: Merriam-Oxford Dictionary Online
Over the years, a number of colourful 'loose cannons' have dotted the Ghanaian political landscape and just like improperly secured cannons, these are usually from one's own armoury. For some reason, some chairmen of incumbent parties have demonstrated uncanny propensities towards mis-speaking in public.
A few years ago, the chairman of the previous administration's party was caught on tape making damaging disclosures that appeared to amount to corruption and graft among his party members. Just this past week, the chairman of the current ruling party made statements about cleansing the judiciary that supposedly could be interpreted as inciting others towards violence.
It is not surprising that these comments have sparked a real storm in a tea-cup.
Class, the take-home message is simple: if you do not want your political opponents to make mischief of ambiguous statements emerging from your camp, then control your loose cannons. If you are unable to do so, the ensuing damage could be serious. You would then be forced to field spokespeople who have the excruciating task of explaining the indefensible to the general public. At that point, you just have to hope that the spokespeople are able to use enough circular logic to dazzle the populace and prevent further questions.