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Opinions of Thursday, 25 November 2004

Columnist: Amankwa, Kwame

The 150 Evils confronting Ghana continued

Amanfuo, how is everybody? I hope you are all well. I recently took a break to visit sikaman before the election in December. Amanfuo, Ghana has indeed come of age politically. People from different parties discussing amicably the chances of the various candidates at street corners, in the chop bars, in the offices, in the farms etc. Amanfuo, the only ones fanning trouble are the so-called intellectuals. Amanfuo, these bunch are a waste of space. They mouth at each other over Charlie wote issues whilst the main ones lies unresolved. I should bring you my view of the current situation in my next piece. Anyway, back to the evils confronting the nation.

75. Aboseke, Too Known

Amanfuo, years ago someone was asked to write an essay about the forest. According to legend, this student had only ?chewed? the apo on the rabbit. As soon as the question paper was given out, this person started ?pouring? all that was in the head on to the paper. Initially about the forest, then ?mightily? about the rabbit. What is all this about, Amanfuo?

Amanfuo, I have recently received a mix of emails, but one in particular appears to refer to the rabbit rather than the forest in my articles. I have been around long enough to feel Ghana?s pulse and sense the people?s psyche, except that unlike others I could not bring myself to commit murder or thievery to achieve my life ambition. The nation has deep-seated problems, which needs sorting out big time. We have a whole range of people and professions to confront these evils ? the pastors, priests, mallams, teachers, politicians, members of the security agencies, juju people etc the list is endless. In the grand scheme of things I am a very small fly. Now, the question is should I in my small way flag up the evils which many have failed to spot for reasons known to them, the majority being selfishness, so that those endowed with the gifts of governance can sort them out, or keep quiet or ?rebel? against the system? I am not and have never been keen on politics because l believe it is the only profession with few honest brokers and many money raiders, liars and looters. I tried to join the pastoral fraternity, but booboo, it is increasingly becoming corrupted too, badly smeared, cold and appears to be sharing the same bed with the enemy namely the Judases, dark forces, kalabuleists, pornographers and rapists, thus contaminating God?s work and stealing his money. I have therefore decided to do it part time. I thought, in the absence of not having anything to give to your in-law or protector, one was supposed to walk away with dignity but not turn round and steal from Odumankuma. Amanfuo, people are misusing God?s money in very unconventional ways and that is not good for our salvation.

Amanfuo, how can I even dream of making my contribution to the motherland when custom officers steal the shoes and clothes that I planned to wear for my charitable work, when they frustrate me with 35 signatures, 8 check points at the Tema harbour, 10 precious days to clear a common fridge, 2 weeks to board a Ghana Airways flight booked two months before, when the chief of Ntotoshishibra fraudulently collects my thousands of dollars with the view to selling me land (which is non-existent) meant for the development of educational facilities and the construction of a CD production factory, when customs officers deliberately make the philanthropic medicines donated, computers and vehicles costing millions waste away at the harbour in the name of duties and inspections and the faceless clearing agents charge me millions for no work done, when the STC buses collect my money and leave me in the middle of no where, when the sellers of food and non-food items inflate their prices ten times because they can smell my perfume from abrokyire, when the bank manager asks for a pound of my flesh because I want to cash my abrokyire money, when the awuraba takes my abrokyire sika and vanishes on the day of marriage, when the museums charge me good money but show me empty dungeons, when tailors charge me azaa money and sew me wrong trousers and even nick some of the materials etc. I have tried eighteen times to settle in the motherland without cooperation from osodu nana and if this is not frustrating for any normal human being, then heaven help us. I realised I was losing big money all in the name of nothing. I have at least tried and there is no point ?wasting? my expensive resources again, when I can invest in obroni?s bank to get some good interest. In spite of all that, I remain proud of my Ghanaian heritage. It is the only one that I have ever known and will continue to cherish it. So to some who query why I should be flagging the evils out without seeming to do something about it, I will say ?paepaemu ka ma ahumuka? (at least I get it off my chest and not through the gun ? sorry I don?t have one).

76. Sycophancy or Kawanutumuphobia

This is the fear of upsetting the master even when the truth hurts. There is sycophancy everywhere, but it can be employed sensibly and constructively. The rural folk are not normally good at this, but it is a mastery of the urban elite. They are lawyers, PHD holders, animfu, yet their conscience seems to fail them anytime they come up against the truth. They will sell their ?mothers? and soul for a bowl of nkrakra soup, and our nation is paying a big negative price. Amanfuo, some of the ?clean? shinning leading lights ? the pastors ? will not speak because their words may lead to a drop in the size of their ?collections?. Thanks to the honourable Bishop Kwasi Sarpong (heaven bless his heart) who alone braced the blazing fire during the revolution, in the midst of real danger and in the face of bullets and mowags spoke the truth in it?s entirety.

Amanfuo, I have in the last thirty years spoken to or written to three very high profile persons in Ghana, man to man. The ones who listened to me are still alive, those who refused have perished under mysterious or nasty circumstances. SOMETIME IN 1964, I WROTE A SMALL LETTER TO Osagyefo outlining my fears about the ?hangers on? in his government and how their collective wayward behaviours could bring down the government one day. They were advising the old man the wrong way ? the detention without trial of political opponents, the forming of the brigades, pioneers, the expansion of the security spy network, the intensification of the socialist indoctrination etc. As a result of that, the more Nkrumah was criticised, the more he became deadly, intolerant, vicious, uncompromising, and dictatorial. But as they say in Oseikrom, ehuru a ebe dwo (you can heat water to the highest boiling point ever. In the end if it does not cool and condense, it will evaporate). This letter brought a lot of condemnation from the ?hangers on?, especially from those who felt threatened by my expose, as they are doing now. Amanfuo, on the eve of 15th March 1966, things were looking bad. The old man was not himself; his ?hangers on? had enriched themselves to breaking point. Some even created weird stories about the big one stashing money in Egypt, Guinea etc. They had secretly deserted him, with some even joining the plotters. Amanfuo, Okatakyie, Kotoka (you see in those days there was a very strong meyonko relations between the Akans and Ewes ? they did not have different aspirations or political affiliations, to the extent that an airport was named after Kotoka by the Afrifa ? led junta) started their planned journey all the way from Kumasi. So if all the security people, young pioneers etc did not know or see the convoy heading for Accra for this illegal mission, then we have several unanswered questions. We all saw what happened after.

Anyway, people are fusing about the name of the nations international airport, but if you were there that day when the big one was overthrown, you would have asked for the whole of Ghana to be called Kotoka. Amanfuo, there were wild spread jubilation as I wrote in my last article. People called the ?respectable one?, thief, ojuloo and all sorts of vulgar names. The myths surrounding Nkrumah, which was created in part by these sycophants, had within the twinkle of an eye been shattered. So to all those who claim to have been beaten after the overthrow of the great one, I say to you, tell the nation what exactly went on, what you also did to others etc to make the stories more balanced.

Anyway, one fine afternoon in 1978, I met Okatakyie at a popular nsaafuo spot. He had just come back from a NO - Unigov campaign trek. I did not sycophantically support his ambitions because se wu mre so a ko (when your sweet days are over please go!). I asked him to give up his political ambitions and enjoy his pension quietly because some of the people who were after his life after the 1969 handover were still planning for his ?elimination?. He ignored my ?prophesy? and wise words and the rest is history. The other friend used to be a big time boxer, whom I advised to hang his boxing gloves at the pinnacle of his days. This gentleman listened and the rest is good news.

Amanfuo, the painful thing is that sometimes these sycophants come in all forms ? wives, daughters, uncles, nieces, friends, secretaries etc. The dangerous ones are the wives. When they start asking for the head of medusa, then you know the nation and it?s people are in trouble. Amanfuo, it is not impossible for some wives or girlfriends to use their ?thing? to ?command? a full military giant to go and kill in the name of power, money, influence etc. The book long attaches are even worst. They can read the economic situation, they understand the concept of human rights, the know the rules governing competition, they are best placed to foretell the consequences of loose and inflammatory talk, yet choose to indulge, rather than advise or restrain their masters.

If the nation Ghana is to move forward, our leaders in society will have to learn how to logically, morally, and sensibly evaluate the views from their ?hangers on? before acting on them, because what ends up as joy for one person, may become pain, sorrow, suicidal for another. Many have lost loved ones through this. A word to the nyansa ni is not far.

77. Party functionaries turned preachers

Amanfuo, God is kind, great and all ? forgiving. He specifically calls some people to become Pastors or Imams to do his work. The ones that doubtfully claim God?s calling and go out of their own way to do his ?bidding? are what I call ?party machinery parts? or protagonists. Amanfuo, is it true that the Ghanaian leopard can change its skin? Show me the zoo where I can find one. The person is an adult like Adjei Boadi, senses intact, knows evil from good, pain from joy, blood from water. Person goes out to commit the most gruesome of all deadly acts. Even has the nerve to ask soldiers not to waste bullets shooting into the sky, but to aim at people so that they can be killed, and may have killed himself.

Amanfuo, I have seen serious action before, but when I recently saw the insurgents in Bagdad kidnap and behead their captives, film and play the tapes on TV, I could not bring myself to watch it twice. I thought this could only happen in a foreign country. Can man, created in the image of God, do such painful and dastardly act to his fellow human beings in the name of what? Money, power, wealth, religion etc that will one day rot away. Amanfuo, former US president Reagan in his last days could not remember he had ever been president. God, if you are up there reading my article, touch the hearts of all those with evils thoughts, for you have showed us time and time again that nothing compares with the precious lives and joy you give us.

Amanfuo, in Ghana, such barbaric actions were video-taped, depicting suffering soldiers and civilians etc being brutalised, sliced, electrocuted, maimed, tortured, shot, slaughtered. These apparently were being used for interrogation purposes. Whatever happened to the loving Ghanaian spirit? Anyway, when I hear such perpetrators do a 360 degrees after they have come to the end of their bloodthirsty journeys, to claim divine calling, it sends my stomach churning and ulcerating. The reasons behind such conversions and the purpose it is meant to achieve is never been clear to me. If such people are truly sorry for their deeds, they should meet each one of their victims, apologise for the distress, harm, deprivation etc caused and initiate measures to compensate them, because some of these deadly actions have a burdened generational effect attached to them. Let them go and farm and leave us alone. We do not need their equivocally framed ntuatua and twisted anansesem.

78. Nkosuohene, what Nkosuohene

I was told that before the advent of the transatlantic slave trade, obroni ?bought? the allegiance and friendship of some Nananom with bottles of gin, ogogolo, broni wawu etc. For this they were allowed unlimited access to our precious natural resources. They then named the land Goldcoast, why?. So that the land could easily be located on the map as the place where one can find free gold, diamonds etc. Amanfuo, during this time, land ownership in obroni?s krom was not free. There was the feudal system in most parts, where the poor had to tend the land for their masters. Africa was just one of the places where foreigners could own precious land without any fear or inhibition. Amanfuo, this led to the looting of our wealth in a filthy, greedy and heartless way. Thanks to Odumankuma, he gave us a protector in the name of wofa mosquito to fight our battles. Amanfuo, sometimes we should be thankful to agya mosquito for the assistance given us during our ?first race war?. Agya mosquito has gotten nasty lately, which is regrettable, because after the war we reneged on our promises to pay them decent pension, housing and security. We left agya and his family in the gutters, latrines, and other inhospitable places, which is not a bad thing because we could then easily destroy agya and his family at anytime of our choosing. Sadly, we can?t even do that.

Amanfuo, what do you do to your friend who later chooses to become your enemy? You could adopt one of many options ? jail them until they are blind and dump them somewhere up north for them to make their wretched journey home, kill them because they want to kill you, send them into exile in say the UK or USA, or put them in a sensitive public position where they are likely to mess themselves such as stealing public money, impregnating innocent school girls (as the news media will publish this) or give them foreign cash to pay the Ghanaian national badminton team in Tokyo, tempt them by not securing the suit case containing the money so that they can do a ?Judas? in the middle of night or better still convince them to rejoin you.

Amanfuo, history is repeating itself in a very bad but big way. Many nonentities posing as tourists and do-gooders are massing around our villages where vulnerability is cognitively entrenched, showering what I call ?small change? on our village folks and receiving in return precious titles and favours way beyond their dreams. The title ? Nkosuohene- is becoming ever popular in Ghana among the tourists. I am at a loss as to the true meaning, legitimacy and responsibilities of the title. Amanfuo, Mohammed Alfaed, the owner of one of the largest retail stores in the world and owner of Fulham FC, employs about 6000 people, pays big taxes and lives in the UK. Yet no one has dreamt of giving him the title ?Nkosuohene?. That is how difficult it is to become one in abrokyiremanmu. I read with sadness sometime ago when a filthy, unkempt and classless obroni who was unemployed on social security visited Ghana and was made Nkosuohene because he donated 10 bags of cement, a telescope, and a pair of sunglasses and 20 kg of sugar to the people of Onibiee village. He later boasted in the national newspapers that he was entitled to 10 wives and that he could order the village to do whatever he liked. A sad reflection on our so-called sense of liberation, independence, freedom and all the ntoa toa.

Now I cannot blame the village elders for bestowing such honours on foreigners who make significant or little changes to their lives. If our systems were functioning properly, we wouldn?t have this situation. In abrokyire, a teacher or tourist cannot use the pretext of buying koko, chocolate, nsisawa, education, photographs or amaani to lure a teenage girl for sex. The various departments and agencies will make sure the individual is sorted big time and their names placed on a child molesters register. What are we in sikaman doing, allowing a tourist to come into the country on several trips, with heavy recording equipment, to photograph young girls in a degrading, offensive ways. The cheek of it all is the allegation that this filthy bugger slept with about 50 nice, ugly, succulent girls. In as much as I envy his luck, I am appalled that this free ? for ? the ? tourists syndrome is allowed to fester in our society. Worst of all, this man is claiming to be innocent because, guess ? he?s been made an Nkosuohene of a village. Amanfuo, my anger is even elevated when you consider the fact that my small camera was nearly seized recently at our port of entry, yet this piece of Sh?.. was able to bring a van full load of pornographic material for the wholesale exploitation of our beautiful and precious girls. And who were the accomplices ? the parents of the children, the hotel staff who gave him the room, the ?hangers on? who procured the girls for him and worked with him. God save our dear nation from the limitations of our democratic experiment. This certainly could not have happened during JJ?s time.

Amanfuo, naturally I shouldn?t poke my flat nose into such sordid businesses. But how can I when our innocent ones are being defiled centre, left, and right. My advice to the government is to prohibit all sorts of Nkosuohene titles bestowed on any foreigner in any shape or form. If any outsider wants recognition, it should come from the state not the elders in the villages for we risk the danger of repeating all the evils which agya mosquito helped us to fight.

Like I always say, God bless Oman Ghana, the most peaceful place on earth and its people. May the Almighty protect both past and current leaders. May the spirit of unity, patriotism and truth be bestowed on the nation.

I hope to continue next time. Bye.


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