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Opinions of Friday, 4 November 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Check Yourselves into the Slammer, Tarkwa-Atta and Co!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I have two brief but almost equally interesting stories before me, even as I write this story of my own. The first of these is captioned “Thief Hands Himself In After Bible Reading.” It is dated September 20, 2010, and was published by It is the kind of magical story that one hopes would firmly grip the Mills-led so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) come Election 2012. It retails the story of a poverty-stricken South-Korean man who, allegedly divorced by his wife for being improvident, decided to go on a “Kawu-kudi” spree. In other words, in Hausa parlance, the man, called Ling Cho, decided to rob his fellow citizens at knifepoint, in this particular instance, in order to quickly restore himself to his apparently more dignified former status.

The reader is not given such vital statistics as the age and former income level and professional qualifications of Mr. Ling, and so it is a bit difficult for the reader to figure out just how much stealing would enable this poor “criminal-convert” to be restored to his former more dignified station in life.

Anyway, in the story, we are further told that this new poverty-induced thief walked into an English-language institute in a city called Ulsan Jungbu and demanded money from an unnamed female teacher, who promptly and, one imagines, fearlessly, and perhaps even angrily, demanded why Mr. Ling had targeted her, in particular, for such an ungodly and potentially deadly mission. Anyway, seductively regaled with Mr. Ling’s riches-to-rags story, “The teacher read to [the would-be armed robber] passages from the Bible, whereupon Mr. Ling profusely apologized for this error of his ways.” The teacher, reportedly, then gifted her would-be robber and assailant with an MP3 player filled with gospel tunes, which convinced Mr. Ling to leave the female teacher unharmed.

As fairy tale-like as the preceding story reads and sounds, we have absolutely no choice but to believe in its veracity. For, needless to say, South-Korean hi-tech gadgets have been globally known to work wonders on patrons and victims alike. Besides, after all, wasn’t it just barely two years ago that a handful of South Korean-made, or assembled, IBM laptops turned the heads of Ghana’s Vice-President John Dramani Mahama and some of his largely NDC executive minions, and caused the big man with allegedly obstreperous appetite for extra-marital rendezvous to unreservedly, as well as unreflectively, parcel out $10 billion worth of Ghana’s economic future to a nondescript Seoul-based construction company called STX?

Well, in our South-Korean story, Mr. Ling, the poverty-induced knife-toting thief, returned some twenty minutes later, evidently after being shamed by the gospel-music filled MP3 player gifted him by his would-be-victim of robbery and begged the English-language teacher to turn him in to the police. We are further told that after Ms. Whatchamacallher refused to turn Mr. Ling in, the would-be robber called the law-enforcement authorities himself and demanded to be arrested and prosecuted. The story ends with the reporter noting that Mr. Ling “now faces five years in jail for attempted robbery.”

In the second story captioned “NDC Will Rule for 16 Years – President Mills” ( 3/29/11), my sunny-faced Uncle Tarkwa-Atta is reported to have told some denizens of the three northernmost regions of the country that so yeomanly has his National Democratic Congress government performed, that he is convinced that the good and enlightened Ghanaian voters would retain the NDC in power for a dozen more years post-Election 2012. In a photograph accompanying the article, my Uncle Tarkwa-Atta is sporting what appear to be sunglasses. As I align the two stories sideways, I am also wondering what Uncle Tarkwa-Atta is likely to see in the mirror confronted with the magical story of South Korea’s Mr. Ling Cho.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “The Obama Serenades” (, 2011). E-mail: