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Opinions of Thursday, 1 September 2005

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Embracing Some Aspects Of Our Culture, "Nana Antoa Nyamaa" ...

To Solving Corruption In Ghana

Cry my beloved country".

Ghana by the actions and or inactions of her children has been forced onto her knees, with tears trickling down her dehydrated bony cheeks into her mouth and onto her chest, yet, with no one to dabble off the dripping tears, or console her. Ghana along with her sister Africa countries has been derogatorily by our conscious design, become the scar on the integrity of God and Creation, humanity and the world. This has all been possible because of a missing or a broken link with our own culture. No nation built not on a strong cultural foundation as their pivotal cornerstone, on which their socio-politico-economic emancipation evolves, can withstand the ruffle of the waters when tested. This is the exact case of Ghana. As "a chain is as strong as its weakest link", so is a nation's developmental strength as strong as how far her culture is weak foundationally. Ghanaians, by fear of imagination and or actual feeling of inferiority complex, characterisation with negativities, have become illusive about their own cultural values and the effective role the cultures can play in our search for human dignity. We have come to believe in the import of foreign cultures, their superiority to our own, despite the difficulty of adopting and adapting to them in the most positive way, to realising the anticipated concomitant goals. Ghanaians prefer whatever is from the Whiteman to that of their own resultant ingenuity.

There is a unique solution, capable of solving most of Ghana's problems, the head cause of which is CORRUPTION. Should we ever be able to bring this contagious cancerous bane, a thorn in the flesh, a slur on our intelligence and self-esteem under control, I bet over my life that Ghana and Ghanaians shall be laughing all the way to greatness. "Where there is a will, there is always a way". Our collective selfless efforts geared towards solving this very demise with or without compulsion unduly exerted on any individual, will surely lead to the materialisation of our dreamed corrupt-free, but prosperous and vibrant Ghana, bring joy and smile back to the sullen face of Mother Ghana. The stagnation or retrogression of Ghana can principally be blamed on corruption, the adorable strange bedfellow of most Ghanaians especially, those entrusted with power of government.

I believe the hyperbolic belief of superiority, priority and preference the Ghanaian accord foreign cultures to that of their own will not cloud their judicious mental judgment when it comes to appreciating and analysing my prescribed solution, to arresting the canker once for all. Every country has their own set of beliefs, traditions and superstitions. The prosperous ones have worked on, modified and embraced through incorporation into their institutions some aspects of these traditions to attain them their current state of greatness, the envy of the struggling countries of which Ghana is typical. The inherent emulative worthiness in the success cultures of the Whites magnetises the Ghanaian to the point of rubbishing whatever is Ghanaian, our way of communicating, dressing, eating, doing politics and a host of others one can reasonably think of.

I strongly advise that we go back to the drawing board to appreciate the role our traditional religion had played to keep people honest, until the advent of the Whiteman's religion to cast doubt and shadow over the credibility of our own, leading to its near total annihilation." Though certain aspects of our culture and tradition as "panyarring"(human sacrifice) were evil, good for discard; the near total neglect of all was, and is bad. I don't have enough time to discuss all the merits of our tradition but the little I can say is, in those days of tradition eminence, people lived longer and feared to do evil because they would be cursed if sinned against a neighbour. Do we see those things as fear of gods or God actually in place among people now? No. We don't, hence evil things like corruption, theft and a host of bad things prevalent in our Ghanaian society nowadays.

NANA ANTOA NYAMAA" Shrine can help deter our politicians and many others from their corrupt tendencies, a detriment to the resuscitation and thrust of our economy. Let Ghanaians be truthful to themselves for once, without trying to dodge the reality by coming up with crap explanations as to why we should not resort to "Nana Antoa Nyamaa" or an equally other powerful fetish. Be it as evil as it may sound in some ears, especially those of our obvious modern day mushrooming "Kalabule Asofo", then, they need to find us alternative reliable solution to our problems than always looking up to the Whites for directions and help, as inhibited persons devoid of brains and common sense, all because of the reaving havoc brought to bear, by corrupt acts of our leaders.

I bear witness to the fatal punishments inflicted on some people who lied, or failed in their acts according as sworn on the name of the fetish, "Nana Antoa Nyamaa". What are our reservations, about employing or falling on certain practical aspects of our tradition that can get rid of a major evil demeaning the citizens of an entire nation? We should bear in mind that "we at times resort to evil means to solve our evil problems". Literal example is the venom of snakes used in vaccines for snake bite or a bewitched person, taken before the witchdoctor to gain their freedom. These two are just a child's way of explaining things to carry home the greater meaning of what I purport carrying across to the public. One could read from both examples that the cause is evil, but the course is excellent. Analogically, people have come to believe that our tradition of fetishism is evil which I was myself of the same opinion, but seeing and hearing what the mentioned fetish does, it will be good to seek its help in curbing corruption, the master evil in Ghana.

Here is what the fetish has done of which I bear witness:

I am citing these instances from my own town, of which I am not ashamed to tell and mention. That goes to tell how I mean business, mean what am writing about and the seriousness and importance thereby attached, irrespective of people's opinions to be later expressed to the contrary. Many are surely the hypocrite ones that will come along castigating me for being uncivilized, washing my dirty linen in public by revealing my identity, mentioning my town, associating it with evil, the eyesore of modern civilization. Is kowtowing to the Whites and going on our knees every now and then begging for alms, the civilization the Ghanaian prides himself in? Then to me, get lost. It is time to face the truth, facts, accept our failings and embrace realistic solutions in case we will be able to extricate ourselves from the self- inflicted, disgraceful relegation to sub humanity.

1) One Yaw Berko of Kumawu in around 1975-1976, broke into my aunt's onion store room to steal bagfuls without she knowing whom. She called on the name of "Nana Antoa Nyamaa" to curse whoever the perpetrator of the theft was. Less than two weeks later, the mentioned guy fell seriously ill and started barking like a dog, confessing that he stole my aunt's onions and asked to be carried to her to beg for forgiveness. It was too late for him to be saved though he was as well taken before the Shrine. He passed away, a stout strong giant of seven foot, capable of dealing a deadly blow to anyone attempting to take him on in a duel, of course.

2) One lady from Kumawu Apebiakyere died on one scorching midday to the utter bewilderment of all and sundry that heard about her untimely death. She made a very stupid statement when calling on the name of "Nana Antoa Nyamaa" to curse the lovers of her womaniser husband. Her husband lived and still lives in Kumasi. In her incantation, pouring water calling on the fetish, she said, "any woman that sleeps with my husband, (mentioning his name) and accepts money from him when offered should die". Unfortunately for her but fortunately for the others, she never excluded herself in her generalisation of "any woman". It all happened that her husband who often proceeded for weekends came, and as married couple, slept together. When he was living for Kumasi on Sunday night, he parted with what we normally call "chop money" (upkeep expenses), to the wife. That was the cause of her death on the following Tuesday. Surely, the husband had sexual intercourse with her, no doubt about that, and she accepting money without having explicitly stated otherwise in her curse, exempting herself, became the first casualty. It was in her throes of death that she mentioned the curse but it was too late to save her.

3) One Mr. Num, my in-law, of blessed memory died having vowed on the name of "Nana Antoa Nyamaa" fetish never to speak or mention the name of his elder sister Yaa.In default, he should be killed by the fetish, he had said. He was since not on speaking terms with the sister. Three years later, his niece proceeded home from France. The niece as demanded by custom went to greet Mr. Num.When he returned the next day to welcome the niece back home at her mum's house thus, the elder sister of Mr. Num, the niece said to both that she would never come back to Ghana again once she returned abroad as long as they were at loggerheads. She pointed out to them that she felt uncomfortable seeing them bitter enemies, can hardly relate to anyone of them without the other. At the mention of this, Mr.Num went straight to his sister, embraced her, mentioned her name saying," Yaa, there is no longer any enmity between us, for the sake of Adwoa". He had not instantly realised the need for visiting the Shrine to remove the curse dating since three years. About two weeks later, he started swelling up at the feet, stomach etc. When they became aware of the existence of the curse, it was too late for him to be saved though; he was taken before the Shrine.

Why do Ghanaians underestimate this powerful source likely to help in our desperate fight against official corruption and thievery? The medication to the ailment is right under our nose yet, we are looking for it miles away. What an outrageous situation, better expressed in the phrase,"Oh, poor boy", as often said by Mr. Kwabena Antwi of London, my late father's nephew, when he sights one fumbling with what may be an easy situation needing no or less effort to deal with. We must grow up, cease ridiculing ourselves always running to the Whites to be told what to do, how to solve our minor and major problems as novice, naive Black people. Corruption, embezzlement and broad day thievery by our politicians and leaders, have done us more harm than good and they must be stopped in all their ways without mercy. This means of correcting the wrongdoing in the Ghanaian society must be written into our Constitution. There is no need for our Constitutional lawyers coming up with any argument, regarding the difficulty of proving the capability of the fetish scientifically, for Ghanaians have nothing like science to prove anything to start with, and even oath is already taken in Court and libations poured at State functions. But because we have not vested proper power through strong wording into it, people just make mockery of our tradition, with impunity. When adopted as suggested, there should be a wording frame to bar people from getting away with committing corruption. There should not be a loophole in the wording as it was in the case of "not even God is ripe enough to catch a woman in love's story". In this story, a woman having an affair though married got away with punishment, cleverly playing nasty tricks, putting the fetish in a difficult passive state. When being taken before the fetish to deny on oath she was having an affair when the husband suspected her, in which case she was to die had it be confirmed, she insisted riding on a horse or else, she would not go. There was only one man in the village having a horse, the very man she was having the affair with. On the set date, she never wore underwear, but a skirt and a piece of cloth around the waist down. She was on the horse with the horse rider, her lover, while the husband walked beside them. Half way through, the horse stumbled on the pull of the cords, according as pre-arranged between the guilty lovers; the woman fell off with the loose cloth flying metres away. There she lay on the floor naked in the presence of the husband and her lover. They both helped her to her feet in her utter nudity all according to plan as agreed between the lover and her. At the Shrine, her words were, "if anyone had seen me in my nudity apart from my husband and the horse rider, the stone of the shrine should fall and crush me to death. Now ask Nana Kwame Ampadu, the renowned Ghana artist, for the continuation of the story, as he has sung it in his music. No way, for the sort of any clever escape when it comes to letting "Nana Antoa Nyamaa" deal with the perpetrators of this official corruption.

Do we all agree that corruption is evil? Do we all agree that it has to be stamped out of Ghana? Do we agree that it is becoming near institutionalised to the detriment of the majority in the country? Do we know that Ghana and the entire Africa is dying because of corruption? Do we accept that an effective solution is found? Then let us go for as suggested in the absence of en masse revolution to butcher most of the masterminds of corruption, official thievery and other crimes asphyxiating Ghana.

"The evil that men do lives after them" and "the thief dies by his acts". Our present President, Government Ministers and their deputies, MPs, Principal Secretaries, Principals and Headmasters of schools, accepting bribes before admitting students, Directors and managers of public Corporations, etc. should all either be taken before the Shrine to take an oath not to misuse their positions for unlawful gains of whatever, for themselves, their friends, relatives, or outsiders, failure to abide as sworn should culminate in their death, a week within defaulting. Once the mentioned people can't steal or misuse their offices for selfish gain, they will make sure the lower rank below them neither profit resulting to illegal means hence, helping bring about sanity, honesty, into the system.

I appeal to all Ghanaians to give it a thought. We need to make use of the good things in our tradition to emerge prosperous. Once accepted, we can help join the powerful fetishes known to deal drastically with people as "Nana Antoa Nyamaa" does, by helping removing any hurdles in their way as traditionally demanded to give them free territorial access nationwide to execute their charged duty without fear or hindrance. The Whites have their own superstitious cultures if that is how we prefer calling them. They work for them. I shall elaborate on this in the second part of the article. Why do they baptise all their marine ships by throwing a bottle of champagne on the bow? It is to bless the ship and all the sailors in her, to put all the demons away for God to protect the ship, according to a given explanation by the Whites. When the bottle smashes, it is a sign of good luck for the ship and the sailors. When it doesn't, it is a bad luck. They really happen as believed. Why the Stonehenge in the UK? What about Japan and China? They believe in their traditions. They are developed and strong. Why not Ghana?

"For lack of knowledge, my people perish". I appeal to all serious nation-loving Ghanaians to help make this a reality. Don't let us be fooled by the messages of the Preachers of Doom, who are corrupt and big time thieves as is obvious in. Ghana and Africa have fooled themselves for far too long being negatively passive, treated less respectable than sorry to say, the trained, tamed Whiteman's dog. We are the only ones capable of ridding ourselves of the negativities associated with the black skin by doing the right things, standing up, and be counted.

I am a Christian but I want us to face facts than continue deceiving ourselves believing in the fall of manna from Heaven in this day and age. No miraculous help will come from above, as to God; the brains given us if exploited wisely should set us free. For how long are we going to deceive ourselves remaining stupid, chasing other cultures letting our government, and those trusted with power fool us ,whereas the very cure we seek lies in ours, though neglected?

Rockson (London)

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