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Opinions of Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Columnist: Tetteh J. Zutah

2016: The fierce paradox of dogs and goats

By Tetteh J. Zutah

Ever since our people took over the hunt from western predators, goats, dogs, crustaceans and cats have tussled for the seat of lords for two major factions. While dogs have always massively belonged with the Rain-blockers, goats have found identity with the faction of the Ground-shakers.

Be that as it may, one would still find free-spirited dogs or goats on either side of the hunting divide. We all thanked the maker, when a hybrid feline returned peaceful hunt to our people some decades ago. Our people were tired of the turmoil and the panic that struck the land when hunting season began.

And so, for two hunting seasons, we kept the feline---a charismatic lord from the Rain-blockers faction. When the reign of the feline was over, our people wanted a change. So we turned to the Ground-shakers for a caprine.

Then again, hunting was good. But, as predictable as we were, we grew tired of the goat too and turned back to the Rain-blockers. This time around, they gave us a crab, a humble crustacean and former helper of the feline lord. Sadly, it was stricken by ailment; and when every healer failed to nurse it to recovery, we lost our lord. That was the first time our people had lost a reigning hunts-lord.

Against expectations, a dog was sworn to the hunts-seat. Many had thought of dogs as good helpers, but little had they thought them capable of mounting the hunts-seat. When another hunting season came, we chose to keep the dog. Whether impelled by sympathy or merit, we decided.

Dogs have always come through, be it a rain-blocker or ground-shaker, in the revolutionary hunt of our people. In fact, stories have been told that the seed of our hunt was nursed at the very foot of their kernel. Perhaps, it is their numbers, unity, and humility that makes them so useful to us, but never have we really vouched for them for lords of the hunt, except for helpers of the lords.

Of course, we have had one or two of our canine friends for hunts-lord, but perhaps those were special times. Maybe time is changing, or maybe time is not. Indeed, our people could not do without dogs, but our canine friends can also be mischievous. Their audacious barking, explosive demeanour and voracious hunting prowess have often inspired fear and unrest---some are ruthless, overly spirited and dangerously daring. Unfortunately, it has fiercely been argued that goats and dogs do not agree, and this appears to threaten the peace and unity of our people.

While some leaders of the caprine family find this speculation ridiculous and capricious, many dogs continue to report being ridiculed by goats. Our history has celebrated many goats, and a few have mounted the seat of lords.

Goats are famed for their counting skills and adored for their stewardship---they certainly know how to lead the hunt. They like to trade and have allies in every burrow. Most importantly, they know how to preserve the catch. With these qualities, our people find the caprine family dependable.

But the goats too are not flawless. One can almost swear that a goat would do anything to preserve its pride. They are perceived by some as glorified bigots.

But when dogs and goats have gone to rest, and when hunting season is over, one thing that we are most certain of is what good or bad catch the hunt brought to our people. When the sun goes down, it is the safety and future of our folks that we think upon and not the kin from whom one descends. When life kicks us awake by morning, it is food we crave and not boiled faction colours.

Today, we stand at the brink of another hunting season. With the stakes so high and the odds so wide, we are called to choose another hunts-lord. But most importantly, we are called to decide on our own future. With the battle lines drawn again, would it be about dogs and goats, shall we let levity decide, or shall we take a deeper look into our tomorrow?