Feature Article of Sunday, 5 February 2006

Columnist: Debrah, Joe Aboagye

?Anomasem? - The Return Of The Bird

Fellow Citizens,

Events of these days have given me the opportunity to write you this article.

I actually would not have commented on these and other matters of national significance in such a medium if I had not heard some of our honourable radio pundits on one of the FM stations in Accra on the acquisition of the GulfStream Executive Presidential jet. Hence, these 'anomasem'. Forgive me my trespasses, if I trespass!

Let us recollect events that have been orchestrated by our dear government which are then explained or wished away in a manner, which in effect insults the collective intelligence of the good people of this country.

Sometime ago, the then President, the venerable Dr. Dr. Jerry John Rawlings, ?Lord of the Rings? himself and a government delegation went on a trip to the USA. I believe it was one of those investment road shows. The objective of such shows, fellow citizens, is to go to the investor (because he will not come?) and preach the gospel of Ghana. But as we all know, the then Omanpanyin and his elders needed some means of transport to get there. In fact, decent means of transport. The analogy for our governments in these road shows, laid in some business school manual. Invariably, if you are a businessman, the first impression you create in a potential business partner's eyes goes a long way to determine how the potential partner will perceive you. That explains why such a person will go out of his way to procure a very nice Saville Row suit ("la-borrow"?), expensive shoes and watch, matching briefcase and the latest "in-your-palm-into-your-breast pocket" mobile phone. When the other party sees you, aaah, 'here comes ?odisika abrantie! In the same vein, Ghana?s Omanpanyin and his elders also need to give a good impression of themselves and of Sikaman, abii?

So you can imagine Dr. Rawlings? agony when the ?anoma? that was bequeathed to him by the late General Mr. Kutu Acheampong (a.k.a. Alhaji Blanket) decided to "show" him in the place where he needed to make the best impression. In fact, I have a feeling Papa Jay himself does not fear taking a ride in that plane (hereinafter called the Kutu-Fokker) because of his background in the air force. So, Ghana?s Omanpanyin has an anoma that takes him out to places once in a while. But this "dadie anoma" is a stubborn bird (apologies the original stubborn cat) and has been giving too many problems. I suspect that at a point, any minister instructed to travel with then Omanpanyin will "trot" for two days and fast and pray...'Oh Lord, if it is your will, let this cup pass'. Nobody could tell the Omanpanyin that because his machine has been certified by the 'sleeping Elders Inc. as a "flying coffin", they could not go on this trip because '...my doctor has just diagnosed some serious 'kokoo' that needs emergency treatment'. Have you wondered, omanba, whether there was any chatter or laughter on that "anoma funu" as it made its way around the world? Everyone including the omanpanyin himself would be silently praying the plane to the destination. So when the anoma finally got stuck somewhere on a certain US trip, the 'do was die'. There just had to be a way to get on with the onerous task of promoting Sikaman without tempting fate every time. If I were an elder in the palace, of course, I would wish and pray that some solution was found to the problem. After all, dribbling Ghanaians is so easy...

Fellow Ghanaians, by now, every citizen must know that what is referred to as the original presidential jet was actually acquired by the Late General Mr. Alhaji Blanket in 1978. Do not ask me why he decided to get it in 1978 when he had seized power in 1972. Maybe he was thinking of breaking his flying phobias in grand style. Anyway, General Mr. Alhaji Blanket never got to it when the original "mfimfim" led the other royal elders to chuck him out. In those days there was nothing like parliament, independent media like those ?sergeant mosquitoes? in PRINPAG etc. People like me would not have a lifeline to get these 'nsemsem' off my chest. In that jungle, all the then Omanpanyin needed to do was to decide that 'hei amanfo, I have just got myself a superb gleaming jet. All those who object should report to 'Gonja' barracks immediately". All mouths were sealed with superglue. Maybe if Alhaji Blanket had metamorphosed into a proper omanpanyin, I believe he would have had this same problem when he unilaterally bought that anoma. Whatever it was, some people might have felt it was not necessary at the time to get it. Anyway Alhaji Blanket's bird served for a long time. In fact, for a greater part of its service to Sikaman, the former Omanpanyin used it more than anyone else. But then apart from 'agya mfimfim', who else has had the chance?

The smell of the sea (fishy-fishy) was introduced into this whole affair when probably for the first time; the deliberations of the sleeping elders Inc. were leaked. Wonders, suddenly ahenfo and asofo and akuafo were saying that the Kutu-Fokker was messing up the omanpanyin and so they virtually ordered him to stop using it and see about getting a new one. Immediately all sorts of spin were put on this leak. If the aban had been open about information dissemination on such sensitive issues of national interest, the 'hullaboutwho' may have been avoided.

But at the time, we had been blessed with a government that was born in an era where the torches were held by themselves to be shown in dark places. A government that had consequently tried to ban the importation of flashlights. When you are born in an unaccountable era, one could not expect the elders would become advocates of "reverse accountability". In fact, my little science tells me that when you stay in the dark for too long, you just can't stand light being shone on you. You adjust to the darkness!!!

So rumours began seeping into town when the sergeant-mosquitoes of PRINPAG relayed some 'filla' that the elders had actually bought an anoma and packed it at Obonsamfoo Abacha's garage. The former Omanpanyin's elders immediately denied that the government had procured any bird. After the brouhaha on the matter, things seemed to have quietened down. The Bird Watching Society of Sikaman postponed its activities. With the "mmobrowas" struggling to the castle junction only to get walloped, few presumed this "anomasem" would surface at the time it did. Moreover, some people had been served some sakora meal after waiting for years and 'eyes were red'. The doctors and nurses had all had a go at the government for improved conditions of service. I personally foresee all these matters resurfacing again what with labour leaders saying that when you are hungry, you forget about law and order and proceed apace with strikes. Mr. Aryeetey and his colleagues at the National Labour Commission have a tough job with these union jerks. But I digress! It was in the middle of all that brouhaha that the bird landed! News reaching me indicates that the bird watchers intentionally went into inland canoe fishing as a ploy to get the new anoma to surface.

Call it executive jet, presidential jet, state jet, Jerry jet, brotherhood jet, K4 jet. The names can go on interminably. The fact of the matter is that, it has been procured. My beef is that no one is being able to tell us, the citizens of the country, anything much about that acquisition.

Who ordered the purchase? Was it purchased or leased? On what terms and for how much? Do we have options to purchase after some time? What is the real cost? These, my friends, are the fundamental questions that have got under my collar, stayed there for years, moved down onto my heart and are actually weighing me down.

Why do we do things the way we do them in this country? Obviously Omanpanyin and his elders know better. If years after anoma was sneaked in, the honourable chief of omanpanyin?s evangelistic ministry, does not seem to know the details of the acquisition then they might as well forget it. Any figures that will be finally given will be tainted by these huhudious hide and seek our elders are playing. With all this hue and cry, why can't the elders come out and say that ' OK, we bought anomapa. In fact, we had to bargain hard at an overseas 'anoma makola' in order to get such a good deal. You see, we only had ?5bn left and because of our love for education, we had to give a whopping ?3bn to all those "yappie-yappie mmobrowas" and spend only about ?2bn on anomapa. There was a very nice one going for about ?117bn but we let them know that, there was no way we would give them money we have earmarked for education, health, roads, etc. back in sikaman ".

Oh, mpanyinfo, say something! In fact, even lie to us! After all we have been diagnosed with" acquired immune lie-lie syndrome". We have all become ?odwanfunu?. Do we care? Of course we do! Our elders do it all the time, why not now. It is this "in-your-face mentality' that appals a lot of Ghanaians?. Wo su na me yo" or what? And by coincidence, can parliamentarians get to use the bird first? Oh my brother, don't you see? It's for all of us. Who knows, may be very soon, I'll travel to the new airstrip at Wa on it.

All of us must realise that our present elders are virtually prisoners of history. The PR problem of the former elders had arisen because of what the then omanpanyin himself had said and done in the past. People just can't get it, when these things are done by the same people who lectured in courses like probity and accountability and 'we no go sit down' which was a compulsory course in the first year of their college. If you ask me I'll tell you that you ain't seen anything yet. Just like happened to all previous elders, the real filla should have surfaced when they were no longer there. It's only then that we could accept some of the facts that may come out. The paradox is that the facts are still murky and undisclosed, despite political capital invested, earned and disinvested!

The 'in-your-face mentality' has all but abated but why is disclosure so difficult for a government of positive change? If our present elders really want to do something, what you and I think, feel or say, cry or smile, mmobrowa or not will not move them. You and I in the present scheme of things seem to matter only when our ?kokromoti? is needed to stamp their foreheads for them to do it to us all over again.

Yes, the State-Presidential- Executive jet is the nation's asset. Did we buy it or lease it? Was it a gift? Me ni sani n? koraa?

I am therefore seizing the bull by the horns and doing what our positive changers have so far refused and/or been unable and/or unwilling to say and/or do:

"Fellow Ghanaians, in fact you all know that when omanpanyin dies in that flying coffin, (tofiakwa!), the country will die too. I have made this country into what it is today. In fact, God created this country exclusively for me and my elders. There is therefore the need to get a better aircraft for me to use. You see, all these journalists who are making paa paa will one day fly on this beautiful plane. And by now, you should know that anomapa does not belong to me. After all, "aka me nda ahi? The brotherhood may be using it. Your MP will use and later try to disassociate himself from it. You may even get to use it one day. So don't listen to all that talk of the opposition. You see, they politicize every issue. I have been informed that one of them suggested that we go back to the seller-supplier-lessor-vendor-?giftor? and ask for a bigger bird. But you know me. It's not the ostentation. You see, I just need to get in the air once in a whole and do the job you gave me. Taflatse, it is your plane, not mine or for my government. Thank you and God save us all!"

As the Fantes would say,... naanyin! That is all! Amanfoo . Don't waste your breathe. If you have an opinion on this "anomasem" get it off you like I am doing and go get yourself some place to chill. What you say won't change them or change things. But for Christ's sake, if you have an opinion, share it!

Today its 'anomasem' because omanpanyin did some "anomadwuma". You can bet your last pesewa that if some navy man (God forbid, people Resist!) wakes up and decides to change his "sreeping prace" and go live by the sea in that fortress, who says he will give us a new executive-presidential-state jet. He or she (who says the women will not do it in these days of feminine power) will go for a big yacht, which he/she needs for the fulfilment of their responsibilities. Amanfoo, I prophesy that we will sail in this new millennium and not fly. In fact, let us get a big yacht like the decommissioned Britannia, the Ohemaa?s yacht which she's become fed up with. If its available , lets go 'buy -lease' that one too. So that when the skies become clogged, we can meet our appointments abroad by sailing on the blue seas, ... on national assignment of course.

WO HAW NE SEN? "Some country, we live in it". Keep talking about this but don't lose your life over it. Live to see the Yacht.

This time, lets not wait for the sleeping elders inc. to say it. Join me to plead with him/them...'Omanpanyin, Osagyefo, Diwohene, Obrempong, Okatakyie, Yewura, me sre me ka, ya hye ye sika awie nti mo tena mu wae'.

After all, using that jet, kwataaaa, would signal just about 20% tolerance for ??!

Ghana, the land of beautiful nonsense!!!

JOE ABOAGYE DEBRAH Esq.
LEGAL PRACTITIONER
ACCRA.310106


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.