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Opinions of Saturday, 18 January 2014

Columnist: Mensema, Akadu Ntiriwa

Woyome is Free Enjoying his Loot

*By Akadu Ntiriwa Mensema, Ph. D.

“A police investigator handling the Woyome case, Mr. Odame Okyere on Tuesday in an Accra Fast Track High Court insisted that some five institutions failed to conduct due diligence before sanctioning the payment of Ghc51.2 million to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome in 2010. He cited the Attorney-General’s office, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of CAN 2008 and Building Industry Consultants (BIC) and then Ministry of Education Youth and Sports. The case has been adjourned to January 22. Mr. Woyome’s sympathizers majority of whom were women from Nima stormed the courtroom in solidarity” (Ghanweb January 14, 2014)

The big wo/man syndrome of our corrupted elites who feed off the benighted masses makes them think that they are above criticism and that all public opinions should strike a grandiose tone on their behalf. No we shall frame their corruption in savage parody: that is the war of the pen. That tyranny of orthodoxy that existed in 1979 and 1981-2 which pushed critical voices and interventionist forces in contradictory directions is long dead. We have access to social media worldwide and will continue to write about the killers of our collective progress who are bent on harvesting wealth and fame from our traumatic history. Some of us will continue to unpack their corruption and moral decay. Those who have nothing to say, but keep on questioning our academic credentials must be told in no uncertain terms that what we know and how we know are intellectual questions, but what we do with what we know entails moral and ethical responsibilities.

Mahama, where is Woyome
Woyome is as free as wind
Free as wind over Korle Lagoon
Blowing with pride of decay
Mahama time to clear the putrid air
Time to clear Woyome’s putrid air

Woyome is as free as Korle Lagoon’s wind: his loot remains putrid and overwhelming. Our postcolonial federated chaos goes on with its Africanization of mediocrity. As time lapses, Woyome is getting away with Ghc51.2 million at a time in Ghana when electricity and water are in intermittent supply, when children go to school under trees, and when roads and bridges are in a state of disrepair. The state of affairs is so bad that doctors have to use flashlights and “sachet water” to assist women to give birth in our regional hospitals. Not surprisingly women are dying during child birth in our dilapidated hospitals that have become mortuary sites where people go to die. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia summed up our state of morbidity in a speech he gave to NPP-USA in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA: “Parents are having a hard time with school fees. A large number can’t pay; Workers’ salaries are in large arrears; the DACF, GETFUND and NHIS are in arrears; Hospital fees have just been increased by 200%; the cedi is falling like a brick against the major currencies; families and firms are struggling with high utility bills… ‘The Free maternal care, school feeding and national health insurance programs to protect the poor and vulnerable inherited by the NDC government are having major challenges… Teacher trainee allowances have been stopped; Allowances for Nursing and Midwifery trainees have been stopped; Dumsor Dumsor is apparently not over; Credit Rating Agencies such as Moodys and Standard And Poors have downgraded Ghana’s sovereign credit rating from B+ to B with a negative outlook’” (Ghanaweb January 13, 2014).

Yesterday and Today
Woyome is free
Attending state functions
Junketing around
Meeting the big wo/men
Enjoying his loot
Popping champagne

Woyome will be freed
Free like all pen-armed robbers
Roaming free
Adored by all
Revered by all
Worshipped by all
Waiting for a state burial

These political thieves and court clowns in suits and colonial cloaks and gowns, even as they enjoy their stolen wealth and putative fame, have the audacity to preach social justice, probity, accountability. Ghana is a place where the benighted and impoverished masses are paradoxically willing to defend the very postcolonial imperialist elites – pen-armed robbers - because of natal kinship, regionalism, and ethnocentrism or “tribalism.” And it is a place where well-educated people who have sold their conscience also rise to occasion with murderous anvils to defend political parties because their position and sources of wealth come from party affiliations.

Our Ghanaian cultural grip
Our cultural neuroses
Of adoring thieves
Of worshipping thieves
Of revering thieves
Of venerating thieves
Our triumphal narratives
Of defending
Those who kill us
Those who shame us
Those who impoverish us
Those who marginalize us
Oh! Our collective fidelity to theft

These pen-armed robbers
One has been summoned to court
Alfred Agbesi Woyome
To honorable mention
Illustrious son
Anointed by Ewe kin-groups
Escorted to the precipice
In full Castle regalia
But fell off the precipice
Like a migrating sparrow
He hit the wall in full grace

These armed robbers
One recalled herself
Molding inchoate rage
Betty Mould Iddrisu
Molded the precipice
Cascading stairs
Like a stone on a precipice
She fell headlong into disgrace
She is enjoying her loot

Meanwhile, Woyome and his accomplices are free like Korle Lagoon wind, enjoying their putrid loot. The occasional court circus that ferries Woyome to court in his Mercedes Benz motorcade does not cut it. But that is Ghana for you. It is a place where the disease of short memory allows pen-armed robbers, who have murdered our aspirations for a better society to enjoy their loot.
These pen-armed robbers

Woyome’s accomplices are free
Enjoying their loot
1. Barton-Oduro
Enjoying his share of the loot
2. Henry Martey
Enjoying his share of the loot
3. Mr. & Mrs. Nerquaye-Tetteh
They are enjoying their share of the loot
These celebrated pen-armed robbers
On the precipice
Of shame
Of collusion
Of incompetence
Of pen armed robbery
Of influence peddling
Of Gargantuan criminality
Oh! Our collective fidelity to theft

Tomorrow and tomorrow
Woyome will be freed
Free like all pen robbers
Roaming free
Waiting for a state burial
Our cultural homogeneity
Our triumphal narratives
Of worshipping thieves
Of adoring thieves
Of revering thieves
Of venerating thieves
Those who kill us
Those who shame us
Those who impoverish us
Those who marginalize us
Oh! Our collective fidelity to theft

*Akadu Ntiriwa Mensema, Ph. D., is a nationalist Denkyira beauty. She is a trained oral historian cum sociologist and Professor in the USA. She lives in Pennsylvania with her great mentor and teaches Africa-area studies at a college in Maryland. In her pastime, she writes what critics have called “populist hyperbolic, satirical” poetry. She can be reached at My poems and essays on Ghanaweb and elsewhere must not be reproduced in full or in part for any academic or scholarly work without my written permission.