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Opinions of Thursday, 1 April 2004

Columnist: Akosah-Sarpong, Kofi

The Politics Of Juju And Development

The long-running description of Ghana?s as the Black Star of Africa is not for nothing, at least developmentally. As Africa?s development moves on, as is the mission of the Black Star symbol, it is becoming increasing clear that Ghana is the light of Africa in the continent?s development drive. Ottawa?s Ghanaian-Canadian immigration lawyer, Seth Awuku, describes Ghana as the ?conscience of Africa.? A description indicative of Ghana engineering Africa?s developmental drive via the nation gaining the first self-rule from the colonialists.

In Ghana, and to a large extent Africa, the continent is coming with grips with the development process by looking at the whole process holistically. Not only is the implications of colonialism, the economy, the environment, personalities, health issues on the development process table but also the implications of the culture in the whole development process. When a few years ago the Ghanaian media exposed the horrendous practice of ?tyokosi? in the Volta Region and force the government to enact a legislation to ban the long-running cultural practice, it was a boost to the country?s development process. And so is the increased campaigns continent-wide against female genital mutilation.

Ghana?s main opposition National Democratic Party (NDA) long list of accusations against the ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) for dabbling in high level juju-marabou rituals for political expediency reveals the increasing attention being given to the implications of culture in Ghana?s development process, a welcome development for development experts who have warned of the implications of juju-marabou in poverty- alleviation and democratization. In terms of Ghana?s political process, this is the first time juju-marabou and other such practices have come to the center of political discourse in the development process. While the NDC revelations that President Kufuor intend to ?consult oracles with Ya-Naa?s head and to direct Ghanaians with Ya-Naa?s hand? and the allegation that President Kufuor needed ?women?s wombs to make himself popular hence the serial killings that preceded his election as President? and ?President Kufuor intended using parts of ex-president JJ Rawlings human parts for rituals aimed at making him President Kufuor intended u sing parts of ex-President JJ Rawlings human parts for rituals aimed at making him, President Kufuor popular like his predecessor? are titillating reading, in a serious note, it shows some aspects of the Ghanaian culture, positive or negative, in the nation?s developmental match.

As part of brightening Ghana?s development path the NPP should not be shocked to submission by NDC?s propagandistic tirades, it should mount a counter-attack against the juju-marabou dabbling of top NDC functionaries?Rawlings, Mills, Tsikata, Asamoah, for instance, will be exciting. Still, the NPP could explain to Ghanaians why President Kufour don?t want to reside at the Osu Castle as is the tradition with all Ghanaian Heads of State. The small political parties should also move in with their investigators and roast the ?Big Men? of the two main political parties for their alleged juju-marabou dabblings?rituals murders, burying virgins alive with juju-marabou potions, bathing with terrible concoctions, and killing juju-marabou mediums after they have finished their ritual for the ?Big Men.? By doing this all the political parties will help brighten up the development process and inform Ghanaians about how over the years juju-marabou and other such practices have undermined their development: cause wars in places like Sierra Leone and Liberia, make the Big Men restless, weak, infantile, stupid, liars, gullible, irrational, live an unpleasant and suspicious lives, and unrealistic. The juju-marabou dabbler has low self-esteem and weak dignity, and if the individual is a Big Man, as most are, transmit such traits into the larger society?hence West Africa?s pathetic state. The way our Big Men think is explained by their dabbling in the irrational juju-marabou. Big Men stooping so low into ?dark? practices that it left them mentally ?dark? and paranoid and childish. Juju-marabou dabbling makes the dabbler wicked, kill the dabblers? empathy, love and concern. What you see in Ghana and West Africa is what flows from the mind and heart of the Big Men. The more juju-marabou dabbling the Big Men, the more confused their respective societies.

The Ghanaian media, which have been doing a great job over the years, in helping the opening up of Ghana?s culture for progress, should aggressively weigh in and investigate the spiritual lives of Ghana?s Big Men and its implications in national development. The media could investigate the connection between the numerous coup detats and juju-marabou, drawing cases from other parts of West Africa, a region which leads continental Africa in juju-marabou crafts, hence it despicable state. The Ghanaian media could draw inspiration from Liberia where last week hundreds of women took to the streets of Monrovia to protest against the mounting wave of ritual murders of children, whose body organs are cut off, and used as juju-marabou properties. Like Ghana, Liberian Big Men, ever juju-marabou drunk a la Gen. Samuel Doe, directed by juju-marabou mediums, are believed to pay for the murders to increase their chances of good fortune. If this good fortune crap is true why is Liberia in such a terrible mess, you have to be juju-marabou dabbler to believe otherwise. Let not only Liberia women demonstrate against the juju-marabou-directed murder of their children or Ghanaian women rest until the ritualistic killers of their folks are found or juju-marabou mediums aiding coup makers and armed robbers or the Big Men weakened and made infantile by juju-marabou dabblings or the media look other way in their sacred mission to help the helpless Ghanaians and West Africans from the Big Men juju-marabou dabblers, until Ghanaians and West Africans have devised ways to minimize the influence of the despicable juju-marabou practices in their developmental journey.