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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Columnist: Abugri, George Sydney

Why Ananse goes on sick leave

Why Ananse goes on sick leave: A notebook thesis on our woes

When Captain Truth rides into town or so the saying goes, his enemies get very, very angry and upset and Kweku Ananse in particular, is often wont to stay in bed muttering inaudible complaints about an excruciating toothache trying to kill him.

That won’t stop the truth being told: Ours is a most amazing country, Jomo. Absolutely amazing. Sometimes the conduct of our affairs is so weird and wacky:

This week, a machine at the Weija Water Treatment Plant which supplies water to the capital of our almighty republic malfunctioned. The water company and the authorities searched the entire landscape of the country and could not find a single engineer able to fix the machine.

Off to South Africa they went in search of a magician to come around and fix the rogue contraption refusing to pump water. In the meantime, residents to the East of the capital wracked by thirst and uncomfortable under sweaty skin poured out into the open spaces in desperate search of the precious fluid of life: Water from the plant had dropped from more than 55 million gallons a day to slightly more then ten million gallons.

Worse is most likely to come and it wont have anything to do with defective engine parts and local engineers who lost their technical manuals and training notes. It will be our Nemesis for transgression against the environment over the centuries.

The warning signs came on strong at the end of last year but we were too consumed as usual with the sensational, the mundane and political propaganda to notice.

It makes neither geographical, meteorological nor scientific sense for a whole season to vanish. Ask any Ghanaian octogenarian if you find one: The north easterlies have always blown right on time from across the Sahel every December without fail. Now, come the year 2009 AD, and there is no harmattan at all! Instead searing atmospheric heat has threatened to roast the nation. Take it from a real old-time native of the Savanna:

The harmattan has sometimes been so severe, that regular acquaintances have met without recognizing each other, because of the effect of the moisture-sapped, extremely dry and wind-swept dust on the physical appearance of people.

Most of our non-literate compatriots who must have wondered with amusement what all the jazz and fuzz about a place with an outlandish name like Copenhagen and global warming were all about, must have noticed the strange phenomenon.

See? The vanishing harmattan provided a very ideal opportunity for environmentalists to conduct public education on global warming in matter that would have a profound effect on public understanding of the effect of global warming, don’t you think?

Anyhow, I was telling you about the malfunctioning water machine and our search outside Ghana for a magician-engineer to fix it wasn’t I?

We gathered that a malfunctioning machine part caused water to flow into the water plant’s computerized control panel. It could well be that in characteristic keeping with our legendary penchant for bungling everything related to our development, we imported the machines without accompanying technical manuals.

It is probably a providential reminder of the need to seen to the development of an industrially and technologically more skilled human resource base for our development. A common complaint is that we glorify mediocrity and accord the least effort and anything resembling a modest achievement noble laureate status.

A creeping culture of living the big, fat lie and putting up appearances threatens to saddle our mighty nation with future generations of popcorn personalities pretending to be what they are not.

In the mean time, other nations are always setting the highest standards in enterprise and nursing minds for the express purpose of continually breaking new grounds in discovery, invention and profound, original thought, and staying light-years ahead of us all the time:

A fellow materializes out of nowhere in hideous clerical robes of indeterminate origin, wearing a big crucifix around his neck, brandishing a bible and dispensing miracles. He says he is a bishop and everyone calls him that. Even the press refers to him as a bishop:

The next thing you know, the press comes up with headlines about him such: “Bishop rapes house help.” Imagine a society where a pervert is recognized as a bishop.

Another fellow goes to the Tema Port, buys himself a metal shipping container, paints it up in fancy colours, writes international trading Company limited, stocks it with a few cans of pomade and bars of chocolate and suddenly he is a CEO or Managing Director with glossy business card to prove it.

From Academia, Professor Kwatriot Yankah recently sounded a warning against the fraudulent use of academic titles by Ghanaians who have not earned any such titles.

It sometimes does appear that every joker in town is a Dr. So-and-so. Folks who think the long and rigorous academic pathway to the award of a doctorate degree is a joke, may try a certificate course at Cambridge first! On second thought why should they bother when anyone can buy a degree these days with hard cash?

A bachelors degree, masters degree and doctorate degree from Ashwood University sell at US$479, US$ 555 and US$599 respectively..!

The producers and distributors of electricity preformed their annual ritual this week, beginning as usual with a press statement warning of a looming electricity supply crisis.

This as usual, was followed by a statement to the effect that to be able to improve their infrastructure and service capacity, consumers need to pay higher traffics.

The producers and distributors of electricity do need money to be able to operate profitably while meeting the needs of consumers. The problem is this: They have demanded and obtained tariff increases again and again in the past without improving their services to consumers.

Me thinks consumers should go on a protest march across the country, demanding an end to the brazen theft of public money and a discontinuation of all multi-million dollar prestige projects. There should be drastic cuts in unnecessary public spending and the use of the money saved, in the development of a reliable sources of national electricity supply.

Consumers should also begin using the demand for a reliable source of national electricity supply a bargaining chip during elections, don’t you think?

There was some public and media discussion this week about the perceived need to introduce electronic voting in Ghana beginning from the next election.

Electronic voting is much faster than manual voting and so is the tabulation of results. There is greater accuracy in tabulation and a lower risk of human and mechanical errors.

Now, here is the rub: Whereas most of the easy ways to cheat during and after manual voting are obvious and can be prevented, it is not easy to detect cheating in electronic voting where the computers can be programmed to facilitate cheating! Hallo!

http://times.fienipa.com/content/why-ananse-goes-sick-leave

George Sydney Abugri is a prolific, multi-award winning, Ghanaian newspaper journalist. Read more of his articles at http://sydneyabugri.com/ or email him at georgeabu@hotmail.com