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Opinions of Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Columnist: Owusu, Stephen Atta

Aye Huuhuuhu: The Dilemma of Ghanaian Men Abroad

The stories you are about to read are true incidents that happened to people who are very well known to me. They may not be the only ones such things have happened to. Perhaps you have also experienced a similar problem or know someone who has. However, I have used fictional names in order to protect their identities.

A Ghanaian, Kwasi Kwarteng, came to the then West Germany in 1964. He sought political asylum with the name Edmund Boakye Danquah, professing to be a nephew of J. B. Danquah. He told the police that he felt his life threatened by the Nkrumah regime. He was granted asylum and this gave him the opportunity to remain in West Germany. Such things were easy in those days especially since West Germany, still feeling the guilt from the last war, opened its doors to all the oppressed. He learned the German language and pursued university education to a Masters level. Strangely enough, for more than 30 years in Germany, he neither wrote nor called to anyone in Ghana. His family members concluded he was dead.

Sometime in 1983, Edmund travelled from Frankfurt, where he lived, to Hamburg where a friend was celebrating his birthday. The party was well attended. Edmund saw a beautiful Ghanaian lady and became attracted to her. After two rounds of dancing, the lady also got interested in Edmund. They started seeing each other and eventually got married in court. This enabled the marriage the lady also to get her residence permit. They had two children together. After 35 years in Germany, Edmund agreed to go home and perform the traditional marriage rites. Together with the children, they left for Ghana and continued to Kumasi. Edmund told his wife that they would go to his family house first. On arrival at the house, Edmund was surprised that those who met them knew the woman's name even though he had not told them earlier. When the family met, Edmund discovered, to his surprise and disbelief, that his wife was the eighth born of his mother's sister. Edmund and his wife were first cousins and our tradition does not allow marriage between such cousins!

Due to this and other reasons, many Ghanaians are reluctant to choose their partners abroad. A Ghanaian man, a Londoner, visited his friend in Manchester. As he waited in the sitting room of his friend's house, he began looking through a photo album that was on the table. He saw a picture of a very beautiful lady and he became interested in her. He did not hide his interest in the lady from his friend. Through the efforts of his friend, he was able to get in touch with the lady who was still in Ghana.

He communicated with the woman for almost a year and informed his parents to perform the marriage rites at home. He applied for a residence permit for her. The woman finally joined him in London. He had a big welcome party for her. When they finally retired to bed, he initiated moves to taste the thing that was rightly his due. When the woman removed her clothes, the man jumped out of the bed in great surprise. The woman was a hermaphrodite!!! She had an undeveloped male sexual organ in addition to her female one. The man rushed out of the house in a very confused state. Dear reader, if you were in the man's situation, would you cause her deportation or help her to get the male organ removed by a doctor? Let us hear your views.

In another case, John lived with his wife, Mansah, in Kumasi. Both of them had a child each from their previous relationships. John was able to make it to London. Even without work permit, he was able to find two jobs. He worked assiduously and saved a lot of money. In his fifth year, he obtained his residence and work permit through an arranged marriage. He then decided to build a house in Ghana. He sent money to his wife to buy a double plot of land so he could begin to build the house. The woman bought a double plot of land as instructed by her husband. Instead of the husband's name she rather used her name to prepare all the documents on the plots of land. The man provided funding from his savings and loans from the bank. His wife was able to complete a twin apartment on the plot. She prepared all the documents in her name without the knowledge of her husband.

The man finally went to Ghana to inspect the house. He also applied for a residence permit for her to join him in London. After four months, the visa was approved for her to join the husband. She finally arrived. Within a year of her arrival, the man asked her to give him the documents of the house. The woman said she had forgotten them in Ghana. She finally went to Ghana with the promise of going for the documents. On arrival, she told her husband she was no longer interested in the marriage and would not be coming back to London and that he should find someone else to marry. The long and short of it all was that the man lost the case in a Ghanaian court and the property was given to the woman. His marriage also had ended.

It is, therefore, no surprise that many Ghanaian men abroad are hesitant to marry Ghanaian women. A case that went on at the White house court at Tema clearly revealed that there are so many men fathering children that are not biologically theirs. At the court a woman accused a Ghanaian man living abroad for not taking care of their common child for so many years. The man was to compensate the woman with an amount of 4000NGC. At the court the man, who was suspicious of his paternity, demanded a DNA test. The court, however, insisted he made a part payment of 2000NGC to the lady before he would be allowed to take the test. The man agreed and paid. The following month in court, it was revealed that the DNA test result proved that the man could not possibly be the father of the child. Should the money paid in court not be refunded to him? Aye huuhuuhu!

For the struggling Ghanaian man abroad who wants to get a home girl to marry, the age old adage of “Se woko aware a, bisa” is very difficult to follow. If you meet a girl abroad, checks on her background will be difficult to carry out. A woman who is just after her residence permit will do all to appear a great girl only to show her true colours when she gets what she wants. A similar thing can happen to those who go home and just pick a girl from the backyard who is determined to make it to aburokyire. There are disappointments in any married life anywhere but it is seems that this abruokyire project has added more to these difficulties for many people. Some of these may have led our brothers (and also sisters) too seek white people or non-Ghanaians to marry. It is important that those men who find partners abroad should check their backgrounds carefully before they marry them. If you want a home girl, it is advisable to go to Ghana physically to see and choose her and spend some time with her. This life abroad can force one to make life choices one may regret later on. Aye huuhuuhu!

Written by Stephen Atta Owusu

Author: Dark Faces At Crossroads