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Opinions of Saturday, 16 July 2011

Columnist: Owusu-Ansah, Emmanuel Sarpong

A Mother’s Painful Relationship with Johns

By Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah (Black Power)

Her relationship with johns as a matter of fact dates back to the colonial period. However, the seemingly unbreakable chain of encounters with Johns began in 1979. Some of the relationships were legal as they were based on mutual consent, but many were supremely illicit as the disguised johns forced or imposed themselves on her. Sadly but not unexpectedly, her john partners breached and continue to breach their vow of fidelity (i.e. the vow to remain faithful to her).

The first johns who happened to be foreigners deceived Ama Ghana into believing that they were going to impart new forms of knowledge to her children and usher her into the so-called civilized and paradisiacal world. She was thus compelled to give in to their proposals only to have huge amount of her resources stolen and transported into the foreigners’ home countries. With remarkable courage and strength, she forced divorce with the foreign crooks in 6th March 1957, opting for relationships with locals.

Her first local partner who called himself Kankan Nyame (a deity) had an extraordinary vision, and began pretty well; some political analysts even maintain that he was hundred years ahead of his generation. But, his over-ambition, it is alleged, made him a dictator who turned Ama into a slave by trampling on her freedom. He made Ama his personal property, and would not allow anybody to come close to her. In February 24, 1966, a group of impatient and probably ruthless military personnel led by four army officers and four police officers brought the relationship to a very unceremonious end by driving Kankan Nyame into exile, in their supposed bid to free the enslaved woman. The liberation exercise resulted in the death of many of her children. Kanakan Nyame expired in April 1972 while still in exile.

Ironically and quite pathetically, the so-called liberators (headed by one Ankrah and later Afrifa also known as ‘Okatakyie’) ended up subjecting the lady to the very painful ordeal that they had pledged to free her from, by forcing themselves into a relationship with her instead of allowing her to go for a partner of her choice. The treatment meted out to her was so terrible that she wished she had never been ‘liberated’ from the claws of her first indigenous partner. After supressing her freedom and misappropriating her hard-earned revenue and resources for over three and half years, the gang finally granted her the privilege to choose the person she preferred to be the caretaker of her cherished children. On the 29th of August 1969, she selected an academic (Busia) to serve as a father to her children, supported by another academic (Akufo-Addo) serving as a godfather.

The first few months of the relationship exhibited signs of hope and optimism. Ama and her children began to enjoy considerable freedom of speech as many of the strict injunctions that had been imposed on her by the previous partners were repealed. By 1971, the generous lady had adopted and was caring for millions of her sister’s children; but disappointingly, many of these adopted children were misbehaving and abusing her kind gesture. Ama’s new partner had no option but to send the deviants back to their mother, Akua Naija whose nuclear family was about thrice or four times the size of Ama’s family. Despite the effort of Ama’s new man to safeguard the freedom of speech, there were reports of him wallowing in a massive mud of corruption, and dragging Ama into even more debt. The situation compelled another group of disgruntled elements led by one Kutu to forcefully end Ama’s relationship with the educator on the13th of January 1972. This happened while he was in Britain for a medical check-up. He died from a heart attack six years later.

Kutu forced a relationship with Ama after imposing a ban on all her potential suitors. Her freedom of speech was once again repressed. Kutu openly vowed never to repay the massive loans that Ama’s former partners had collected in her named and embezzled. This made it extremely difficult if not impossible for Ama to secure loans or grants from financial institutions for developmental projects. Kutu initiated a quite laudable but short-lived agenda – ‘Operation Feed Yourself’. Some political analysts maintain that the system’s potential success was marred by what came to be known as KALABULEISM – a hugely serious form of corruption. It is even alleged that Kutu used a substantial amount of the little money that Ama had available to import a number of mini vehicles (precisely golf cars) as a means to satisfy his insatiable sexual drive. Thus, women who were willing to warm Kutu’s bed once or twice were given golf cars.

Realizing the velocity at which things were deteriorating in Ama’s family, Kutu’s colleague, Akufo, stepped in to take care of the woman and her children in 1978. He sought to reverse previous policies by initiating a programme of reconciliation. The new policy allowed for release of those children of Ama who had been locked up as political prisoners, and repeal of the harsh laws for libel and sedition. However, ‘kalabuleism’ and other forms of corruption remained endemic, and traces of dictatorship existed. His relationship with Ama was barely a year old when a group of junior military officers led by John I (John the first) induced a breakup in a bloody coup on the 4th of June 1979.

Shortly after bringing the relationship between Ama and Akufo to an abrupt end, John I, (who was affectionately called Junior Jesus), paved the way for Ama to once again choose her own companion. Ama went in for another academic (Limann) in 1979. The academic apparently had a systematic plan in place and preferred the ‘one at a time’ kind of approach in his effort to make Ama a prosperous and happy woman. The academic’s seemingly snail-paced operation and action compelled Junior Jesus (who had developed a titanic craving for power and authority) to unlawfully dislodge him as Ama’s partner on the 31 of December 1981, and to take his position.

After supressing the freedom of Ama and her children for approximately ten years and clearly failing to deliver his promises of liberating them from dictatorship and poverty, he, in 1992, created an environment within which Ama could once again select a partner of her choice. For whatever reasons, Ama decided to stick to Junior Jesus. John I, whose assistant during the last four years of his relationship with Ama was also a John, did the best he could for the lady and her children; but his best was obviously not good enough considering the fact that he occupied that position for almost two decades. By the time John I’s relationship with Ama was over, a number of her children and former partners had been executed, among them were Afrifa, Kutu, Akufo, three Supreme Court Judges (Kwadjo Agyei Agyapong, Frederick Sarkodie, and Cecilia Koranteng Addo), Joy Amedume, Yaw Boakye, Roger Felli, Robert Kotei, Major Sam Acquah, Major Dasana Nantogmah, etc.

The departure of John I marked the arrival of John II in 2001. John II whose appellation is ‘Diawuo’ and is affectionately called Gentle Giant, promised a zero tolerance of corruption and a continuous flow of the basic necessities of life. He in fact got off to a good start, but the latter part of his relationship with Ama was a disaster, as corrupt activities ballooned almost beyond imagination. His effort was also soiled by high-profile and preventable murders, cocaine scandals (involving some of his colleagues), and what some analysts call needless travels, among others. Some of his sympathisers argue that Diawuo was a faithful partner, and that his relationship with Ama was tainted by the dubious activities of some of his co-workers. The fact however remains that great leadership encompasses the ability to appoint the right people to work with.

The John dynasty was maintained when in 2008 Ama chose John III affectionately called Uncle Atta or ‘Asomdwoee Hene’ (king or man of peace) to be her companion. Interestingly, Uncle Atta appointed another John as his assistant. Prior to his selection, he promised to promote peace in Ama’s family and to provide jobs and quality education for her children. He even vowed to considerably reduce the prices of fuel for her and her children. To what extent have his promises been fulfilled after two and half years in the relationship? He undoubtedly has not performed to expectation as corrupt activities are being manifested ‘not in single spies but in battalions’, the cost of living is becoming increasingly unbearable, and his ‘Better [Ama] Ghana Agenda’ appears to be in shambles. It must however be mentioned that only one thing can probably provide a fairer assessment of John III’s performance – the impending 2012 elections.

Why is Ama Ghana so “fond” of Johns? Is it because the name ‘John’ unlike others such as Alexander Erskine, Arthur Kennedy, etc. is easy for majority of her children to pronounce? Is it because of its strong biblical connotation? Could it be mere coincidence? We may never know. With the re-election of Prof John E Atta Mills as the flag-bearer of one of the two biggest parties in Ama Ghana, the dream of those favouring the continuation of the John dynasty is very much alive. But the big question is whether or not Ama will stick to the Johns in 2012, give the Akufo’s a third chance, or try a new name (something very unlikely to happen).

It is becoming increasingly clear that one has to be a john and/or a John to enter into a relationship with Ama. But until the johns are gotten rid of and Fideses are given the chance, Ama Ghana will continue to experience painful relationships, and her cherished children will remain stuck in the web of economic misery.

Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah (aka Black Power) is a lecturer and an investigative journalist in London, UK. He is the author of ‘Fourth Phase of Enslavement: unveiling the plight of African immigrants in the West’. He may be contacted via email (andypower2002@yahoo.it).