Sebiticals Chapter 25: Eggnomics and the rape of the State

**An excerpt from Sebitically Speaking (2015), by Nana Awere Damoah
 
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Since last week, the sound of goats has trended and even as I write this Sebitical, oh Reader, I smell Joe Louis in my nostrils. Ah, Joe Louis!
 
That was the name of a billy goat the Damoah family owned when I was very little, at Abavanna Down, Kotobabi. Joe was the proud owner of a sparkling white beard with streaks of black. Reminds me of Wofa Kapokyikyi’s proverb: Abodwesɛ tintin na yɛ de yɛ kramo ni a, anka aponkye yɛ mallam, that is, if the only qualification for being a good Moslem was having a long beard, the goat can be a mallam. Joe Louis would have certainly been a scholar! Anyway, Joe could be gone from the house for days providing community services to the area’s nanny goats (see, our family has always been philanthropic) but none of us worried because we knew he would be back. And when he decided to come back home, we could smell him miles away and would go to the main street, ‘flowing’ him ‘fans’ : Jooooe Louis! Joe the Billy Goat had no wife but most of the nanny goats were proud to call him husband. Wofa Kapokyikyi greets you all, with a touch of aponkye flavour.
 
“How much does an egg cost?”
 
That may seem like a simple question but it is quite complex. The answer depends on who is asking: an individual or the State.
 
During the early years in my career, I used to travel across Ghana on trade visits, to customers and markets, to monitor quality in trade and also pick up some market intelligence. Once, we visited this trader in a kiosk in Saltpond. We asked her the prices of the products of my organisation.
 
“It depends,” she replied in Fanti.
 
We probed and she explained that the prices depended on who was asking.
 
“How much will this product be for someone like me?” I asked.
 
Without batting an eye, she responded “Awoa? Enkyɛ me dze bɛ bo wo tirim!”, meaning she would have sold it at an exorbitant price to me, since I was with a Trooper, and well-dressed.
 
So how much an egg costs depends on who is asking. If it is the government, then you know what’s up.
 
One “Ghc2.50″ for your pocket.
 
In 2014, a group of friends, spearheaded by a Facebook group I am part of, decided to renovate a primary school building in Apagya, Ghana, which had had more than half of its roof ripped off during a rainstorm in early 2014. The other classrooms which though had their roof intact experienced leakages when it rained. That initial idea expanded to include repairing the foundation of the building and the floors of the classrooms as well as repainting the entire building. We later painted the adjoining block for the junior secondary school. We raised funds from friends and family via social media (and a group of Apagya citizens in the diaspora) and delivered the project within five months.
 
Fund-raising started in July, actual work began in August, works were completed in November and handed over to the community the same month. In all, the team spent Ghc22,466 out of a total of Ghc23,074 raised. The project also had support from the Apagya community, which provided timber for the works and communal labour, as well as donations in kind of paint and bags of cement from the District Chief Executive and some Apagya citizens. The scope of works comprised removal of existing roofing sheets and carpentry; re-roofing of all six classrooms plus headmaster’s office; installation of fascia boards; masonry works to foundation and floor screeding; installation of doors and windows; and painting of walls, windows and doors.
 
The question has been asked, and quite rightly: how much money would have been needed for this project, had it been done by either the District Assembly or central government? And how long would it have taken? The second question is easier to guess: much, much longer. The situation that needed fixing, at least the roof part, had existed for at least four months until we decided to fix it. Initially, even getting the district engineer to visit the school to assess the damage and give the planning team estimates for the costing proved futile. The District Assembly supported only at the tail end, with forty bags of cement. The first question cannot be answered correctly, but one can guess. It would have taken at least twice the amount we spent.
 
Eggnomics at work. After all, it is aban (government) money.
 
The role that public procurement plays in the rape of our nation’s resources is like the elephant in the room: we all see it but fail to talk about it. A friend once said that when public servants and politicians are excited about a project, one just needs to scratch the surface to realise that what really tickles them is the procurement bit. And the 10%. Only the dumb politician or public official steals all the funds for a project. The smarter ones skim off the project and yet deliver it.
 
The story is told of two classmates, one European and the other African, who finished their studies in Europe and each went back to his country, ending up in politics. After ten years, the European guy (let’s call him John Bull), invited his African friend (let’s call him Yaw Mensah) to his home. John had built a magnificent edifice as his home and Yaw was so impressed.
 
“How did you manage to do this in ten short years?” Yaw asked.
John smiled and led him to the window, pointing through the glass:
“You see the bridge over that river?”
“Yes,” Yaw replied.
“2%” John told him.
“You see that tarred road on the left? 3%. You see that community hall? 2.5%”.
 
Yaw nodded…and returned to his country and continent, promising to return the favour by inviting John one day to visit him.
 
A year later, Yaw did exactly that. When John got to Yaw’s house, he was lost for words!
 
“How did you deliver this in just a year?!”
 
Yaw smiled and repeated the drill.
 
“You see the bridge over that river?” Yaw pointed.
“But there is no bridge!” John replied, puzzled.
“Exactly,” Yaw agreed, “100%!”
 
The Daily Graphic of 18 March, 2015 (page 60), reported that a six-unit classroom block and a teachers’ bungalow had been inaugurated at Agyareago in the Konongo-Odumase Municipality at the cost of Ghc409,000. Funded by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and the District Development Fund respectively, this classroom block included a staff common room, an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centre, a store and a library.
 
In October 2014, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, his wife Mrs Yvonne Nduom and Groupe Nduom (GN) handed over a three-storey ultra-modern dormitory to his alma mater St. Augustine’s College in Cape Coast. The total cost of the project was Ghc500,000 and included the main dormitory (with a capacity to accommodate 150 students), accommodation facilities for teachers, an Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre, study room, library, visitor’s room and a courtyard for recreational activity. This total cost also included mattresses for the dormitory and beds and sitting room furniture for the teachers’ flats. The project was delivered in 12 months.
 
The Headmaster of St. Augustine’s College, Mr. Joseph Connel, remarked: “In fact this dormitory is a dormitory with a difference. Looking at all the ten dormitories we have, this is the only dormitory with a stairs in-built and upgraded with modern facilities and very spacious with staff accommodation attached for housemasters to be able to check on the students.”
 
The question to ask again: for how much would the government agency have delivered this same project?
 
To answer this, let me give you some more instances and reports, using the example of six-unit classroom blocks, consistent with what the Daily Graphic stated earlier. I have used two main sources: the official Government of Ghana news portal whose reports are mostly from the Information Services Department (ISD) and Ghana News Agency (GNA), with respective dates indicated:
 
28 February, 2011 (GNA): Ghc261,000 six-classroom block with office for the Maabeng Senior High Technical School inaugurated by the District Chief Executive.
 
21 May, 2012 (GNA): Ghc162,318 six-unit classroom block, store, office and library for the people of Nkyesa and surrounding communities in Asante Akim South district of Ashanti region commissioned and handed over by the MTN Ghana Foundation. An additional Ghc10,000 was provided for procurement of furniture for the classrooms and library.
 
22 February, 2014 (GOG/ISD): “The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Ebo Barton Oduro, yesterday said government was committed to education, and will do everything possible to enhance teaching and learning in schools. Mr. Oduro who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Cape Coast North, said this when he commissioned a three-unit classroom block worth more than Ghc220,000 for the Kakumdo Metropolitan Assembly (M/A) Basic School in Cape Coast.”
 
23 July, 2014 (GOG/ISD): “The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Techiman, Mr. Phillip Oppong Amponsah has inaugurated a six classroom block with ancillary facilities for the Methodist Primary school. The six classroom block has ancillary facilities such as a library, ICT Centre, furniture, two (2) urinals and four (4) seat water closet (WC) toilet facilities as well as a [sic] burglar proof. The project which started in 2009 was funded by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GET Fund) at the cost of Ghc230,000.00.”
 
23 September, 2014: “The Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon. Samuel Sarpong has inaugurated a new six-unit classroom block for Krapa M/A primary school in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality of the Ashanti Region. The project, valued at GH₡450,000 was initiated and funded by GETFUND and would accommodate school children and teachers who for some time now had been studying in temporary structures.”
 
14 November, 2014 (GNA): Ghc 183,000 six-classroom block with ancillary facilities for Roman Catholic Primary School at Wagambu in the Mion District of the Northern region built by the Catholic Diocese of Yendi and handed over to the authorities of the Ghana Education Service.
 
3 March, 2015 (GNA): $61,820 six-classroom block and community toilet facility built by Compassion International Ghana, an NGO, inaugurated and handed over to the chiefs and people of Breman Jamra.
 
11 March, 2015 (GNA): Ghc280,000 six-classroom block, with an office, library and store, built and donated by the children of [the] late Jacob Bonful and spouse Mrs Elizabeth Bonful, built for the Methodist Model school at Sokoban-Ampabame, Kumasi.
Take particular note of the differences in costs when done by a private or corporate entity versus when done by government. The Opposition has had cause to complain about this and we shouldn’t disregard it.
 
We have still not forgotten the hullabaloo that greeted the news that Ridge Hospital was to be rehabilitated and equipped at the cost of of $250 million. The expansion was to provide the Hospital with ultra-modern facilities and a 420-bed capacity. In the heat of the discussion, I could only remember that for $60 million, my organisation in Nigeria had built an ultra-modern 1000-ton per day palm oil refinery, tank farms, packing hall, equipped with about five packing lines, utilities such as sub-stations, boiler house – the entire works.
 
We have only finished the debate on the $29 million rehabilitation works at the Kumasi Airport, taking into consideration that the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise (EAE) is planning to construct three new airports in Ethiopia at an estimated cost of US$ 64.5million.
The official residence of the Head of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), which was previously occupied by her predecessor Justice Francis Emile Short, was being redesigned with several variations and renovated at a cost of Ghc182,000. A critical assessment of what constitutes that cost buildup will be an interesting journey in amazement.
 
We shouldn’t forget so soon, the episode of the former Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes, who illegally took away furnishings from his official residence at the end of his tenure. These items would have been replaced, at cost to the State, with the principle of eggnomics.
 
As the nation seeks to plug holes in its burgeoning expenditure, procurement is a low hanging fruit, easily plucked through inflated project costings, and suppliers’ mark up (to also cushion against late payment from government). We must look at the quality of work and whether we even get value for money. How many times have we not seen road projects deteriorate as quickly as they are completed?
 
I even speak of projects which actually took place. Some projects don’t. But the expenditure takes place.
 
So how much does an egg cost? Tell me when you get to know the answer when government is buying it.
 
Till I come your way with another sebitical, I remain:
 
Sebitically yours,
Kapokyikyiwofaase
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Sebitically Speaking
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​Sebiticals Chapter 42: An Ecclesiastical Paulogue to the Manasonians

In the first year of the reign of Odekuro Odieasem Nana Tutubrofo Dankwawura, there were rumours and reports of malfeasance in the corridors of the temple. When asked for the meaning of the word ‘malfeasance’, the scribes of the land explained that it was the situation where the incense from the burnt offerings had malodor. One of the major scribes, a man from the Manasonians, took upon himself to open the windows into the temple so both Jews and Gentiles alike would sniff the nunu scent and testify.

Meanwhile, many years before Odieasem ascended the throne, there was born a man known as Saul. This Saul later attended the institute of high learning in Rome and was introduced to Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Marx and Socrates. He also learnt the ways of Sulla, Julius Caesar and Marcus Aurelius. Right from the high tower, he took a garment of pure Scottish fabric and, with letters from the bearded philosophers of the land, set off to uphold the virtues of the Universe.
One day, on his way to Okponglomascus, suddenly a voice sounded around him and a light flashed.
The voice called out: “Go ye towards the road to Fanoafa and ye shall be told what to do.”
In Fanoafa lived a disciple of the Brand, a Sammenitan called Hatta. The word came to him: “Go out on the Fanoafa road and ye shall find a young man in Scottish garb, who ye shall take onto thy fold; for he is my chosen instrument to build and sustain the Brand.”
Picking up his rod, the Hatta the Sammeritan went forth by the Way of Avenor and took the long road towards Okponglomascus where he met Saul. Then Hatta, the man of Sammenria, held the hands of Saul and blessed him, saying, “Brother Saul, ye have been found worthy of the Brand and selected by the Voice; the Voice that spoke to you on the Okponglomascus road has directed me to you, so you might be imbued with dumornic fervour to serve the Brand and build it and sustain it, as a standard to all who shall come after thee.” 

Immediately, Saul started speaking in slangs and praising the Voice, rejoicing that he had been counted worthy of the working for the Brand. When the power of the Voice had descended on him, the Sammeritan blessed him and said, “Henceforth, you shall be called Paul Grace, for upon this foundation I will build the Brand.”
The Voice was with Paul and worked mighty and great deeds through him. And the Brand grew and many were added to their numbers. Among the deeds wrought through Paul and the servants of the Brand included a one-on-one with Junior Jesus, after his second coming and when he had visited the temple to cast lots. This feat was unprecedented and the fame of the Brand soared and soared. The philosophers of the land saw all that Paul had done and were pleased and honoured with a coat of many colours.
In the church at Fanoafa were many teachers and prophets: Rekced who was also called Sonny, Romud from the house of Oheb, Neerod who was one of the mighty women who had served right from the beginning of the church and Paul. As the Brand grew and grew, one day, as the servants of the Brand were meditating on the Way, the Voice spoke and said, “Set apart for me Paul Grace and Hatta the Sammenitan, for they have more work to do in unearthing and nurturing more disciplines to serve in more churches modeled after Fanoafa.”
So it came to pass that after the disciples had fasted and prayed, they sent them forth as apostles of the Voice. The two of them, sent on their way by the Voice, went down via the Appian Way and turned towards the place called The Blood Is A Crowd and over the Bridge towards the Road of Liberation, proclaiming the Way of The Voice wherever they went, doing good and making disciples of all men. 
The first church they planted was at the centre of The City, where Paul found and converted a young man known as Elva, who was full of grace and power. Elva was beloved of Paul.
Sometime later, Paul said to Hatta, “Let’s go back and visit the brethren between Fanoafa and here and see how they are faring.” Paul wanted to take Elva with him, but the older apostle from Sammenria wanted to keep Elva at The City. The two apostles had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Elva remained at The City but didn’t lose his relationship with Paul. Paul loved Elva with all his heart. Paul set forth and went through Ganaria and Sankaria, eventually pitching his ministry at Labonicia, from where he continued to speak to the churches, including the church at Manasonia.
And it was at Labonica that Wofa Kapokyikyi met Paul Grace and fell in love with his sermons from the Mount every evening. Wofa wasn’t along: people from far and near would come and drink deep as the Apostle Paul taught and instructed and also brought philosophers to espouse on Plutonian and Aristocratic ideas as well as those for the down-trodden.
With the passage of time, the Brand continued to grow and expand and more where added to their numbers, including a man called Azur, from Manasonia who came wailing and sniffing and looking under the eyes of corpses. In the meantime, there arose in the land a leader of the scribes called Yennom son of Frail. He was learned, both in letters worked for and those acquired. 
In the eighth month of the first year of Odekuro Odieasem Nana Tutubrofo Dankwawura, Azur went looking into coffins in the house of Paul of Jos. Some of the coffins had been closed and sealed and locked in the vault. Not only did Azur open these caskets, but he did them in the open, just outside the temple gates. The harmattan winds carried the nunu scent into the corridors of the temple and permeated everywhere. 
The ‘shenanigans’ of Azur, with the support of the Brand, didn’t go down well with the retired priests and servants of the temple. And some of the scribes, who began releasing epistles upon epistles cautioning against exorcism. Azur retorted that exorcism wasn’t banned under the Torah.  
Things came to a head when the major Scribe, Yennom bar-Frail, released his epistle, directed towards no-one but targeted towards the discerning. 
There was uproar in the land, from both Jews and Gentiles and from the Sadducees and Pharisees. Counter epistles were written and posted on the city gates and on the walls of the land. One epistle was jointly written by the Watchmen. One of the signatories was a Nyarkonite, who was a retired opener of caskets.
That is when Paul gave his seminal ecclesiastical paulogue to Azur, reminding him of the tenets of the Brand and admonishing him not to dilute the Way of the Voice, keeping it holy and sacrosanct. The Sermon covered over forty scrolls, according to the scribes whose duty it is to record the annals of the land. The Sermon chronicled the history of the church of the Brand and the canons of the Way. Paul spoke with spiritual vehemence, saying “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” 
And being in anguish, he spoke more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
After the Sermon, there was uproar in the land, with the Watchmen saying perhaps the apostle had been affected by his association with the house of Jos. And when the Nyarkonite, who was used as an example of how not to behave in the Way, came to affirm the methods of Azur the Manasonian, the people of the land looked up to the heavens, for a word from the Voice.

In the meantime, the people reached out for their favourite book in such moments: the book of Nahum. Even Wofa Kapokyikyi, who is not usually bereft of words, is reading Nahum.

Hmmm

As for Yennom bar-Frail, he won’t be forgetting his epistle in a hurry, as we await the casting of lots soon. Will it be the one epistle that determines how he gets to manage the letters after his name, either procured or awarded?
Till I come your way another day with another sebitical, I remain:
Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Sebiticals Chapter 41: Have You Seen the Gyata You Reared?

lion cage

There is a popular cartoon that has been making the rounds for years.

 

Let me describe the progression in the scene for you.

 

The scene opens with actor standing in front of the cage with the lion locked behind it. The director briefs the actor that when the ‘action’ cue was given, the actor is to open the cage and free the lion. The lion will chase the actor around as the actor acts scared and distressed. The director then assured the actor that he shouldn’t worry about the lion harming him.

 

“Don’t worry,’ the director said, ‘the lion would eat you. It is written here in the script.”

 

“All well and good,’ the actor replied, “you might have written the script, but the question is, ‘Has the lion read the script too?'”

 

In the run-up to the 2016 Elections in Sikaman, the current governing party trained some gyatas and got some actors to go to town with those gyatas. It is clearer by the day that not everyone read the script.

 

Sebitically speaking, the NPP is reaping the results of its militarization in the run-up to the last elections. I pray that what is happening with the Delta, Invisible Forces, Azorka Boys, Kandahar Boys and associated vigilante lions, which have grown from cubs, will be a lesson for the future.

 

As I reflected on the journey to this place of violence, I realised that it is only the unobservant who would say where we are is as a result of magic. There was a build-up, gradually. At least, I saw it. And going through my previous posts on social media, I found quite a number of signposts.

 

In May, 2015, I had a short exchange on a friend’s page who called foot-soldiers of NDC the “most useless” she had ever known. I retorted that all political foot-soldiers in Ghana are useless, including those of the NPP. The propensity for foot-soldier nonsense is no respecter of party colours.

 

I asked her not to worry if she disagreed with me on my assertion as I didn’t intend to convince her. You see, one doesn’t need to use words to convince anyone about the characteristics or potential shenanigans of foot-soldiers; the foot-soldiers themselves will, by their deeds and utterances.

 

So after that, we entered the season of the foot-soldiers as the parties started their primaries. My friend was soon impressed.

 

In the run-up to the last elections, I made a statement on my Facebook wall that ruffled not a few feathers. On 25 March 2016, I wrote:

 

“I have observed a trend over the past few years. The NPP is trying very hard to shed off its middle-class, book-long tag and to show that it can also talk rubbish and meet the NDC boot-for-boot. Gloves are off. The NDC is trying very hard to remove the rural, mass, rough and violence-inclined tag and appeal more to the middle. Gradually, the NPP is resembling the NDC of old and the NDC is resembling the NPP of old.”

 

I leave you to judge how this has played out. You be the judge.

 

My only comment is that the gloves were never put back on. The vigilantes are knocking their masters with ungloved fists. And in the gut too.

 

The previous year, on 15 May 2015, I had this from an excursion in my mind:

 

“What do the teeming semi-literate, usually unemployable and mostly irrational foot-soldiers of our political parties want from their inordinate support for their parties? And from the victories of their parties? The answer to that should lead you some sober reflections. That has a great impact on the quality of the output from our political leadership. And on what we achieve as a nation between election campaigns.”

 

A few days later, on 21 May 2015, I wrote: “The foot-soldier nonsense has started in the NPP.

 

On 7 November 2015, I quoted the Communications Director of the NPP in a post as follows:

 

“’We haven’t done a good job of teaching party supporters tolerance…’ Nana Akomea. Very poignant. This phenomenon of party foot-soldiers. It will bring us some big wahala one of these days. Soon.”

 

Party foot-soldiers have seized toilets, seized constituency party offices, seized party officers, seized national party offices, burnt party offices, chased district chief executives out of their offices, stormed court premises, turned into pseudo-armies and continue to enjoy political support.

 

On 7 February 2016, I wrote on my #QuotesbyNAD page: “This foot-soldiers-going-on-rampage-at-will nonsense must be stopped. One day they will have nothing else to vandalise but their leaders who fail to call them to order today.”

 

That day is precariously close.

 

One day soon, these same party foot-soldiers will seize the Flagstaff House and seize the

President.

 

We have already seen the back-and-forth with the court case involving the Delta Forces 1 & 2 teams.

 

In Arrow of God, Chinua Achebe wrote that the man who brings home ant infested firewood should not complain when lizards start to visit. According to Nana Ampadu, in his song “Woyoo woyoo”, a leopard who goes on a pilgrimage to Mecca doesn’t turn into a vegetarian. Even if he becomes head of a masalachi.

 

What we are experiencing with the vigilante groups in the NPP follows the principles of the Newton’s First Law of motion which states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. When a car is in motion, the occupants travel at the speed at which the car is moving. When the car stops, the objects in the car (including the occupants) still travel at pre-stop speed of the car. Unless an external force changes their state, and restraints them. Like a seat belt.

 

The vigilante groups are still travelling at pre-elections and pre-inauguration speed. The governing party, their party, needs to find restraints to keep them in check and change their state. As quickly as possible.

 

This gyata who has even seen the Promise Land is asking for barbecued officials for dinner. With a serving of sobolo.

 

The feeding of foot-soldiers has emboldened them to go out to hunt for themselves. Soon, if unchecked, this reared gyata will break loose and start chewing live meat.

 

Till I come your way with another sebitical, I remain:

 

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Sebiticals Chapter 40: Sikamaliamentary Palava

I bring you very foamy greetings from the shed of Akwasi Sorfree, the best palm wine tapper in Wasaman, where, departing from his regular practice, Wofa Kapokyikyi is having a calabash of palm wine. He told me that from time to time, even Memuna gets tired of fula. No Liberty Fun Club visits today.
Wofa was quite pensive today. Me, I just sat and enjoyed the conversations around the benches under the shed.
“A fool in a pensive mood is not making any judicious plans; he is still a buffoon,” Wofa whispered, almost to himself.
“Ei, Wofa Kapokyikyi! Please explain.” I had no incline what he meant by that.
“My son, a rich man who becomes poor is still better than a poor man who is trying to become rich.”
“Ei! As for today, you are really swimming in parables.”
Wofa was not finished. “A mad man who gets cured still have some tricks with which to frighten children. And a fool who is assumed wise only has to open his mouth to clear any doubts.”

I had to get closer to Wofa Kapokyikyi to confirm whether he was in the spirit. He wasn’t. He was very sober, which was even more dangerous. For what a man says when drunk, he thought about whilst sober, and Wofa’s thoughts, when being cooked in his fertile mind, were caustic.
Oh yes, I bring you greetings from Wofa Kapokyikyi, who told me that Kotei the jack-of-all-trades, who recently graduated from village electrician to cable TV fixer, has finally come to install the apotowiwa on top of his roof so that his television set can now receive images from the capital.
Wofa says he has been following the proceedings, news, discussions, accusations, fights and all the drama from the House of State this year, and his mind was still trying to manage all the twists and turns.
“I love the state of our Parliament now. For every story, there are about four versions of the near-truth. And then the truth. I love it more when each storyteller calls the other a liar. Makes it even more colourful when the lied to is not believed, when he states his version of the truth which cannot be distinguished from the lies which the liar tries to discount.”
“Ei, Wofa, son of Premang Ntow and grand nephew of Bassanyin!” That was all I could say. I started to think that the palm wine wasn’t getting on well with the physiological mechanisms of my Wofa’s metabolism.
It is getting tangled and mangled and appearing far from simple eh? It is sounding convoluted and you are getting discombobulated eh?
Exactly! That’s the idea, to make you appreciate my confusion with the train of thoughts that Wofa was peregrinating today.
“You see, my wofaase, our big men in the House of State have given onto themselves the ‘Insult Privilege’. They have arrogated to themselves alone the power to disrespect MPs. To insult MPs. To fight MPs. They say to the ordinary people, ‘You have no right to disrespect us or to speak ill about us. We don’t need your help. We can do it ourselves. To one another.’ Who am I to disagree?”
Wofa paused and took a sip from his calabash. The foam formed a white line above his upper lip. I wondered how that line would have formed if Wofa had an Andamic moustache. He didn’t give me much time to wonder.
“You remember the accusations and counter accusations about the black polythene courier bags? You remember the naadoli-cowric statement that was covered with a polythene sheet? Did you see the fight that brought us good memories of the zoom-zoom days?”
I nodded. I did remember all of them, I answered.
I asked Wofa if the continuous use of the Insult Privilege wouldn’t dent the image of Parliament. 
He chuckled.
“How can you dent further a milk tin that has been used for various rounds of chaskele?” He said this slowly, nodding slowly.
He was done with his palm wine. Just one calabash. He stood up and held one of the bamboo pillars holding the roof of the shed in place.
Amakye the town crier who was sitting across us and had his transistor radio glued to his ears just increased the volume as we heard the latest news from the House of State. The voice within the radio said some of the big men of the house had used their special nkrataa to take some people across the cornfields and left them there. The radio voice said the man making the accusation was called Jon. Not John o, not any of the former Odikros.
We all said “Hmmmm”. Except Wofa, who said “Oyiwa!”
“Did you notice that in the visa matter of Jon vs the MP4 (apologies to Efo Kofi Gbedemah),” Wofa asked, beginning to walk towards the police station junction, at which we would turn left towards home, “ that only ‘nieces’ and ’wives’ were carried along, and not nephews or brothers?”
I followed him down the road, with my mind made up on one thing: palm wine is not good for my Wofa Kapokyikyi.
Till I come your way again, hopefully when Wofa Kapokyikyi reverts to sampling the normal spirits at the Liberty Fun Club, I remain:
Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Sebiticals Chapter 39: Once Upon A Post So High

Once upon a time, in the land of KwaMan, the natives of the Bibiman forest decided to hold a drinking and thinking bout with their counterparts in the forest across the Talantic river, called Bronikrom . After all, didn’t the elders say that yɛ nom nsa, na yɛ fa adwen? Truly, as we drink, we think at the same time.

Considering that it has been long decided that alternating venues was a good idea, the leaders of both forests decided to hold the drink-think session in Bronikrom. Also, due to the long distance between the two forests, the herdmen of each Bibiman tribe was selected to go on this journey.

However, there arose from the tribe of Bongo a man crying in the wilderness, questioning and lamenting. The Man from Zeh family of the tribe of Bongo wondered whether the food in Bibiman was not enough to feed the herdmen from the two forests, whether the hamlets of Bibiman were not worthy enough to house the Bronikromers and whether enough Bibimanian houses and donkeys could not be marshalled to take the natives of Bronikrom around during the drinking and thinking festival.

“Is this rocket science or common sense? Or something I am missing?” the man from theZeh family of the tribe of Bongo concluded.

All of Bibiman listened and nodded and wondered, not for the first time, where the Zeh man got his wisdom from. Efo Dogbevi was the first to respond: that the love of borborbor precipitated such wisdom from the innermost parts of a man. Teacher Johnson added that it could be the Zeh man’s love for nsempiisms. Obaapanyin Potisaa said it was rather the nectar from the serwaanic well that was making the Zeh man so bold, especially in the year when the entire universe was singing ‘Be Bold!’.

As the Bibiman still reflected in silence, a loud voice, with a high pitch, rose from the heart of the forest. Eyes and heads turned. Few ears could recognise this voice and not many eyes could recollect this face. But his words were to enter the book of legends.

Wofa Kapokyikyi was one of the few who indicated that they knew the owner of the voice and told me that the man was from the Kwa family of the tribe of Meh, from an old family of high priest.

The Kwa man delivered his high words and also wondered why after many years of waiting with serwaanic patience, the Zeh man didn’t hold his return to Bongo to receive the daughter of his father-in-law and swim in the Tonga river of Bongo. The Kwa man wondered whether the kofi brokeman along the banks of River Bongo were not fit for the guests at his nuptial festival and whether the canoes on River Bongo were not deemed worthy to cater to the transport needs of his guests.

“Is this rocket science or common sense? Or something I am missing?” the man from the Kwa family of the tribe of Meh concluded.

Again, all of Bibiman heard and nodded, and wondered whether the men of the Kwa family were related to the Zoom-Zoom.

But as Bibiman reflected in silence, a chemical reaction was slowly taking place. It turned out that according to the laws of manasematics, a punch delivered on social media in the presence of trolls and enabled by the magic of screenshots underwent a chain reaction into a high post.

This was a very high post, which flew high and was shared by many high people who were either high on admiration or on payback vim. My friend Jeffrey Tong put it more sebitically, stating that the post “flew high with the banner of nsempiism across the Talantic oceans and beyond”. Which is true, because when the goat was using its backside to spread semi-solid effluent on the walls of the village’s house, its posterior was also getting painted. In this high post-erio-painting, the nsempiic cover of the nkrataa that Kapokyikyiwofaase penned was an unintended beneficiary.

Many years ago, on the hills of Menya Mewu, a boy who had just arrived in the school that Osagyefo built was asked what his favourite food was. He hadn’t been around too long to know that the delicacies from his village didn’t sound too well in the city and needed some brofolisation when being mentioned. Same reason why Nii Okaitey responded to the same question by saying that his favourite food was corn balls in tweed jacket on a plate of calamari with ogyemma sauce and a guard of honour of sliced shallots. This other boy wasn’t that suave yet. He said his favourite meal was brɔdze dwow (what the Fantis call roasted unripe plantain). His friends started calling him Brɔdze Dwow. But this boy was a fast learner. He decided not to protest the name and fight the teasing. With time, his nickname was upgraded to Brɔdze J and by the time he got to the senior stage of his education, everyone was calling him Senior BJ.

It was on the Menya Mewu Hills that Kapokyikyiwofaase discovered that a tease should expect to be teased. Learning to manage your period under teasing fire was part of the game of learning teasing ropes. To ride the crest and manage the trough and glide the waves.

But this strategy was not employed by the Zeh man who decided to shot from the trough. And the Kwa man countered again.

The KwaMan trajectory then went through block factories, radio studios, Zuckerberg deactivations, back alleys and front alleys. Until the next big thing happened in Sikaman when, as usual, the KwaMan saga was thrown under the conveyor belt that brought the next saga.

Oseeey, Sikaman!

Meanwhile, somewhere in Sikaman, a manager of a celeb is planning to rent a Nana Kwame to deliver a high comment so the celeb can block to follow a KwaMan trajectory. Not a bad idea but this is what Wofa Kapokyikyi says: not all animals can run and not be classified as crazy. Indeed, not all celebs who bring their hands close to their heads are called Abodam.

Wofa Kapokyikyi is also drinking and thinking; after all, he is also a person! As for me, I know no rocket science and I am still searching for common sense.

But the Kwa man’s response to the second epistle of the Zeh man had me muddled. He wrote, thus: “Your response fit (sic) into fundamentalist theories of epistemic justification”.

Eish!

So let me ask a common man’s question o. What is the best way to understand this second response: rocket science or common sense? Or something I am missing?

Till I come your way again with another sebitical, I remain:

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Sebiticals Chapter 38: The Tale of Two Mmmms

In the first year after Odekuro Obenfo Yohani Atta Nikanika died, there arose a new Odekuro named Odekuro Okasafo Yohani Mahani Nikaboka, son of Dramaha, who also was a scribe, an Otwerefuo. Odekuro Nikaboka was said to have a friend from the land beyond the cornfields who was as wise as Solomon.

One day, a messenger went crying in the wilderness, proclaiming this special friendship of the mighty one with the wise one and the magicians of the land and all the citizens rose up with one voice asking to know if this friendship was real or that it existed only in the fertile mind of Amakye the towncrier. When Agari the chief of the Ahenfie scribes was asked to speak to the citizens on behalf of Odekuro on the said matter, Agari decided to speak to the citizens on behalf of Odekuro before speaking to Odekuro to find out what he should say on Odekuro’s behalf.

It came to pass when Agari had spoken to deny any knowledge of Odekuro about the existence even of the temple Solomon built, let alone its builder, there was night and then the day followed.

As each day brings its own wahala, so the next day reveal a new tale from a different tail. Agari the Chief Scribe, having spoken with Odekuro to now ask him what should be said to the magicians and citizens on Odekuro’s behalf on the matter, came back to the market square to deliver another version of the tale of the day before, shifting the direction of the story from north to south.

It was then that Wofa Kapokyikyi said his famous words, that whatever Agari said must be allowed to cook for one day and one night.

Time passed and Odekuro the son of Dramaha continued to rule and Agari continued to grow. Soon, the citizens of Sikaman grew weary of the ways of the son of Dramaha and asked him to go tend to his farms and enjoy his days in the arms of the wife of his youth. In his stead, they anointed and installed Odekuro Odieasem Nana Tutubrofo Dankwawura. There was evening and the morning, a new day.

In the morning of the new day, Odekuro Tutubrofo went out hunting for sub-chiefs and deputies and came back with smaller stools to share amongst the chosen few. As per the practice of the traditional council, the names of the called were submitted for consideration by the sub-council appointed by Abrewa to probe the backgrounds and characters of Odekuro’s called. The vetting council sat day and night to decide which of the called would be chosen, for had it not been said that many would be called but few would be chosen?

Wofa Kapokyikyi had told me years ago that the way from the called to the chosen was through a narrow gate and, sometimes, the called tried to lubricate the narrow gates.

So when yesi-yesi started filtering that Egya Gyarko, son of Boakye (who had been called by Odekuro to man the power house to support the nika-nika of Sikama) had supplied judicious helping of lubricating oil to ease the joints of the members of the vetting sub-council, all ears were itching for the filla. But it turned out that filla no get legs, na Agari dey carry am.

Wofa sent me out to get him the full rundown and I did that with alacrity. I didn’t have to go far. I met Ziboyo behind the Ahenfie and he told me that the summary of the matter is this:

Agari said Munchinga said yesi JoeWise says yesi Egya Gyarko gave JoeWise the lubricating oil to give to Munchinga to give to Agari and his friends so they could keep wide open the narrow gates so Egya Gyarko could pass on to the glory of the chosen few.

A good case study of Yesi-Yesi?

When I told Wofa Kapokyikyi, he repeated that if Agari was involved, then thawing was required. There was evening and the morning, a new day.

In the morning of the new day, JoeWise went shouting from the rooftops that he didn’t give any lubricating oil to Munchinga. The entire village was confused.

When Agari was asked whether he was sure it wasn’t JayWise he was referring to, instead of JoeWise, he clarified that he didn’t deal with JoeWise or JayWise, but rather with Munchinga and that only Munchinga could tell who was the source of the lubricating oil. The chorus was unanimous: “We want Munchinga! We want Munchinga!”

When Munchinga, who had just woken up from a deep sleep and was rushing to a funeral at Ankosia, was asked whether he had received any lubricating oil from JoeWise, he said ‘Walahi-talahi!’ and swore by Allah the Magnificent that he hadn’t even seen lubricating oil in his entire life. The confusion became basaaa!

When Odekuro was informed about the basaacious commotion that was brewing in the Sikamanian pot, he went into a conclave with Abrewa and the Tufuhene. The steaming pots that were brought to the entrance of the Ahenfie, just before the three – Odekuro, Abrewa and Tufuhene – exited from the inner chamber, gave an hint of the decision that had been taken. The Tufuhene confirmed it a few minutes later: a ko-num-tee was set up to drink some tea and deliberate on the palaver.

More thawing time. There were many evenings and many mornings. And market days came and went.

The morning of the new day after many evenings, the verdict of the ko-num-tee was declared to the entire village by Amakye the towncrier, as follows:

The metemetemism of a rumour does not metamorphose a rumour into fact.

The ko-num-tee said Agari had indulged in yesiyesimisms and found him guilty of ko-num-tempt. When I asked Wofa Kapokyikyi what that meant, he said it meant Agari attempted to drink some of the tea from the chambers of the ko-num-tee. I was even more confused.

But just as I tried to seek clarification, Efo Dogbevi, the letter-writer who lives at Anloga, who was passing by, overheard our conversation and asked Wofa Kapokyikyi a question, as follows: “Wofa, if a cat steals fish, another cat accuses him of that act and the accused cat denies it, leading to a committee of fish-loving cats being set up to investigate…do you expect the committee of cats to publish a report that confirms that cats love fish?”

I don’t remember what Wofa Kapokyikyi said in response. What I remember was only that Wofa asked me, when Efo had left, whether Efo was also part of the catholics.
I could only turn to my favourite book: the Book of Nahum. And say hmmm.

Till I come your way again, with some chinginga to soothe my confusion, I remain:

 

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Sebiticals Chapter 38: A Quiver Full of Deputies

 

In the school that Osagyefo built, up the Menya Mewu Hill, we had an electrician who was quite difficult to get to undertake maintenance work, especially to replace burnt out fluorescent tubes. One of the popular stories was that he was afraid of heights. This story was most prominent when there was the need to replace the fluorescent light on the wall of the Junior Block that faced the Administration Block. That fluorescent light suffered downtime mostly because it provided illumination to the most popular ‘tapping site’ on campus, tapping well defined by one of the old girls of Ghanacoll, Nana Shirely, in an interview with Abeiku Santana (a product of Menya Mewu, himself) on Okay FM, as “an intimate communication process”. Tapping usually happened between the end of supper and the start of evening preps and said intimate communication was best done in dum.

 

However, it was soon discovered that one of the quickest ways to get the electrician to respond to maintenance requests was to call him ‘Electrical Engineer’. Just say ‘Oh Engineer, we need so and so to be fixed or replaced’ and he treated the request with dispatch.

 

Wofa Kapokyikyi brought this story to mind this week when I went to his house to discuss the latest Sikaman festival of deputies and how Odekuro had just returned to the Ahenfie with a quiver of ministerial arrows. Wofa told me that even Odekuro Kantinka was said to have stated that a messenger in the house of a sitting Odekuro was better than a sub-chief in the house of a former Odekuro whose sun has set, no one wanted to be called a messenger. A minister sounded much better.

 

I bring you greetings from Wofa Kapokyikyi, from a Sikaman which is cruising into the future at a speed of 110km/hour, which my friend Kofi Yankey says is the required speed for anyone who wishes to be in a comfortable lead.

 

So it came to pass that when the deputies in Odekuro’s quiver were counted, they, together with the senior arrows, amounted to five score and ten. Odekuro Odieasem Nana Tutubrofo Dankwawura, the first Odekuro under the fourth Empire of the State with a compound name, had blessed us with a compound full of sub-chiefs and deputies. Wofa says the main lesson learnt is this: don’t install an Odekuro with a double-barrelled name. Like Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu.

 

As Wofa Kapokyikyi discussed this matter behind Auntie Esi’s chop bar, Teacher Johnson joined us on his way home from school. As usual, his mind was in that acrobatic mode where numbers and figures did akoni aba like the flies behind the Zongo meat market. Teacher Johnson submited that Odekuro Tutubrofo had multiplied his percentage in the elections by two, added the number of his attempts at the annexing the throne, and rounded it down to the nearest whole number to arrive at the number of ministers and deputies in his quiver. Typical of Teacher Johnson, he just said this with the attitude of someone who wanted to offload the output of his mental excursions. As he left Wofa and me to continue our deliberations, he muttered that Odekuro had kept his best promise from Sikaman as to the intent of his reign going forward: one district, one minister.

 

Wofa was emphatic: the traditional council of chiefs and sub-chief is just too large. He wondered if there was any law barring the Odekuro from appointing two or more deputy Krontihene as well?

 

Wofa added: “My nephew, let me remind you that one of Odekuro’s main plans is to create new subdivisions in Sikaman. So assuming y is the number of subdivisions to be created, we can expect an additional number of sub-chiefs and deputies, mathematically expressed as 2y”.

 

Ei, Wofa, I remarked. He just smiled and told me that one cannot walk daily with the billy goat without acquiring some nunu scent; and that surely his association with Teacher Johnson has taught him to also appreciate equations, mathematically speaking.

 

Wofa also asked me if I had ever seen a lean elephant, even one that has been chased into the bush and returned after eight market days. I had no answer.

 

The next day after the sighting of the quiver full of deputies, Amakye the town crier was heard in the village square with a message from Odekuro. The message was to the point: the village was so dirty, the streets so cracked, the farms so weedy and the barns so empty that Odekuro needed many hands to rebuild as quickly as possible. Amakye didn’t say anything about how these workers were to be fed, seeing that the barns were so empty.

 

As I listened, I was reminded of another story, this time told me by Obaapanyin Potisaa.

 

A boy fell into a well with weak walls. The men of the village gathered around and debated now to rescue him. Kofi Antobam gave the best suggestion: “The walls are so weak but the rescue is so urgent that we need ten men to descend into the well to rescue the little boy”.

 

But who is to understand the ways of the royals who get to occupy the Ahenfie? It has been said that electoral campaigns are done in poetry and governance conducted with prose. How true. I am not disappointed at the predictability of these royals. Tells me my healthy suspicion of political talk and gymnastics is still relevant.

 

I can only speak from the point of view of the farmer that I am. If I have my farm and I am able to harvest my cocoa with twenty ‘by-day’ (pronounced baa-day) workers for a period of time, my peers would wonder at me if I suddenly increased the number to thirty but argue that you should judge me by how much I produce for the period. Without necessary having planted more trees over the previous year. My friend Mike Tyson (not the boxer) would scream overheads, and labour efficiency. Input is important per benchmark or trends over the years.

 

But Odekuro says the cocoa trees need more hands as they have grown taller and the farms have become more weedy than in the previous years. So we can only give him the benefit of the doubt. He says he wants Sikaman to become kra bɛ hwɛ so we should allow him some painters and designers as well. But we cannot ignore this, that one of the problems we have is the power of our parties over Ahenfie policy and resourcing, and its way of deriving political payment after election of the Odekuro. This garguantuan size of the traditional council cannot be said not to have been influenced by this consideration.

 

The debate continues in Sikaman, under the trees where dami is played, in Liberty Club where Wofa’s favourite is swallowed (and not drank), in the market place where the value of the cowries is still doing see-saw, and on the benches as the citizens sip Auntie Memuna’s kooko in the mornings. Some have said the end justifies the means whilst others say the means should have consideration of the size and state of the purse which is said to be the reason why we need to move fast, to restore to vitality. As the elders say, we use money to get money. Or do we, in this case?

 

One bright spot in this saga, however. How quickly Odekuro himself hit the village square with his explanation behind his quiver of deputies. Eish, brofo paa!

 

My friend Maame Ekua Boakye said it best: “Brofo, brofo saaaa na ya forgeti numbers no!”

 

Till I come your way again with another sebitical, I remain:

 

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Sebiticals Chapter 37: Your State of Being is Another’s Dream

I bring you greetings from Wofa Kapokyikyi who, finding me in a low mood over the past weekend, downloaded one of his choice proverbs. Me nya wo aye, eye musoo, he told me, meaning that it may be wahala trying to become like someone else. He told me that in life we all have our races to run, and different roles to play. And for the first time ever, Wofa Kapokyikyi gave me a non-Sikaman quote, using the words of Alexandre Dumas, that “there is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state to another, another more.” I was surprised and I told him, that I didn’t know he read many books. He smiled and told me small boys are young.

I thank you, Wofa.

I spent the weekend of 5 and 6 March 2011 dabbling in two of my delights: spending time with the youth in Cape Coast and ministering with Joyful Way Incorporated in Takoradi, now christened Oil City or OilKrom.

I was privileged to be invited by Nana Ama Ghansah and her Nhyira Foundation to speak at the Gathering of Visioneers Conference in Cape Coast, bringing together pupils and students from Junior High and Senior High Schools in and around Cape Coast.

It was not all talk, though. We had some good music. On the bill was Michael Oware Sakyi, aka OJ. I had heard a couple of his soings but had neither seen nor heard him live. Two of his popular songs are Obi Nya W’aye and Koso Na Koso, which he released in 2003. I was impressed with him.

Before singing his last song for the afternoon, OJ shared with us his story, where he had come from, how far God had brought him, how his experiences and desires combined to make him who he had become, and provoked our thoughts that God had made each one of us unique. Then he sang Obi Nya W’aye, loosely translated from Akan as ‘someone wishes he/she was like you’. He asked us to sit quietly and listen to the lyrics. It was good advice.

The story is told of a man, let’s call him Kwame Nkrabia, who was so frustrated with life, his lack of success,and the non-achievement of his dreams that he decided to end it all. He was broke, in debt, with no hope of recovery. After begging for a few months, he felt he didn’t even have the strength to go on begging. One day, he left town, to hang himself.

Finding a forest area, Nkrabia selected a tree whose branches were strong enough to ensure the rope held. To delay any chances of his body being found, he decided to remove his clothes, leaving only his underpants. As he tied the noose, he detected some human activity in the undergrowth. With amazement, he saw a man kneeling by his discarded, tattered clothes, carefully folding them, whilst muttering a prayer for a good find. Nkrabea aborted his suicide mission.

Someone gave a testimony of expressing gratitude and appreciating that his lack of shoes was not that bleak, considering some had no feet. In secondary school, any time I was broke with no food in the chop box, I could thank God that I was able to eat in the dining hall, fresh food, not like the sopi boys who came from the nearby villages to help in the pantry so they could go home with the leftover food, what we discarded – actually not much so the sopi boys had to sweep the tables to take the crumbs and spills from our plates, literally.

It is good to compare yourself to your peers, to calibrate, so as to encourage yourself to do more. But we should always remember that our paths in life are different. Even twins don’t have the same characteristics, a friend reminded me at work this week. Even Siamese twins disagree on what to do from time to time.

As my friend Dr Bisi Onoviran said, “you shouldn’t compare yourself to others – they are more screwed up than you think.”

There is always someone who will admire something in you, wishing to be you. Who you are today is someone’s dream.

But that is not to say you have to remain at this point. You can only become better from today, as you keep on. But the journey forward is enhanced with a positive appreciation of the path you have trodden, lessons learnt and gratitude of the present. It is only then that you can practise what Eugene V Debs called ‘intelligent discontent’ which he stated “is the mainspring of civilization”. That discontent which says “I am grateful for what I am, but I can be more”.

What is eating you up? Could it have been worse? Reflect and take action to improve, to go ahead, to be better.

Till I come your way again with another sebitical, I remain:

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Sebiticals Chapter 36: Coming In From the Cold

Dear Wofa Kapokyikyi:

I bring you warm buharattan greetings from Amalaman where we are on auto-pilot, if you were to believe what the papa deceive pikin people are saying. Well, to be fair, they are not the only ones saying that. The Rock of Aso neighbours are also saying same. Oga Kpatakpata has been visiting herbalists in the land beyond the cornfields and has gone beyond his originally advertised return date. There are many stories making the rounds, Wofa. Some say the herbs that are needed to be put in the pot to be cooked for him to inhale, he sitting on a stool with the hot steaming herb-infused, pot in front of him and layers of blankets covering him, those herbs, they say the herbs are a bit scarce now due to climate change and how much the snow has fallen this year. Some people also say that the herbalists are as slow as a wounded snail so their journey to the land of herbs is taking a bit long. Others also say the Oga is just tayaaed, and need rest, insisting that it is only the infirmed tortoise who feels the cold and blames it on the weather. In the meantime, Wofa, we wait as the country drives itself. So they say. Ei, these yesi-yesi people.

I have been watching events in Sikaman from afar and wanted to share a few thoughts with you, Wofa. On 5th February 2014, I wrote on my Facebook wall:

“Forget AFAG. Forget CJA. Forget footsoldiers. This is a year of citizen demos. Small small ones. They will start with roads and unfulfilled promises and upgrade. I can hear the sounds of a toad which is getting to the limit of intake of water.”

Later that year, on the 1st of July, a motley collection of mostly professionals, who are usually classified as the “middle class”, stepped off their social media accounts, went beyond their online rants and demonstrated with their feet, waking to the Flagstaff House to occupy.

That was the beginning of hitherto unconcerned Ghanaians, who had learnt to create their private solutions to public problems, wearing their voices and coming in from the cold. That simmer swelled and gained momentum and found expression in the massive defeat of the ruling party in the 2016 elections.

Legend has it that the tipping point of the struggle for Ghana’s independence started after the return to the then-Gold Coast of Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, Private Odartey Lamptey and their comrades who, as members of the Gold Coast Regiment, went to Burma to fight in World War II. The story goes that having fought alongside other nationalities and having calibrated their skills against same, they were imbued with the awareness of the fact that they were equally capable and wondered why they couldn’t be in charge of their own destinies. Well, the trigger point was the non-payment of their due pension and provision of promised jobs, but that awareness from the mountain top experience, where they viewed across the terrain and found their voices, counted and culminated in the 28 February Christiansborg Crossroad shooting.

A people who gather momentum from the freedom of finding their voices hardly go quiet again. From 2014, many a Ghanaian started on a journey of shedding her cloak of silence and picked up an armour of citizenship that had a breast-plate to repel insults.

Insults! The tool used by the Sikaman politician and his cohorts to frighten ordinary citizens from commenting on issues. Usually when loses the capacity to argue intellectually (or perhaps lacked the capability in the first place), the person descends to the level of using insults. I remember a story of one musician being asked how many times he smoked weed, Wofa.

“Once in a blue moon,” he responded.

The interviewer probed further, asking “How often does the blue moon appear?”

“Everyday,” the musician answered, not missing a beat.

The use of insults happened every blue moon day, and sadly continues. So with time, citizens resorted to playing safe and wearing clocks of silence that had been sewn under the culture of silence, when the former Odekuro, whose lineage transcends the cornfields, reigned.

But Sikamanians shed those cloaks! They found their voices and these voices, having found the harmony of singing a war song that could drive a party out of power, will not go silent as the new Ahenfie inhabitants settle in and attempt to maintain the status quo. These voices will not go back into the cold.

None of the parties in Sikaman have enough card-bearing numbers or staunch supporters to win elections on their own. None of them. From previous election trends, it is clear that the most the parties can pull on the strength of these dedicated numbers is about 45% of the total vote cast. To cross the 50%, parties need the swing voters, the so-called neutrals (which is really a misnomer, in my view, as no one who votes is a neutral!). The problem with these swinging safari folks is that they are too-known! They speak their minds with their thumbs, which have attributes of the pendulum.

I dare say, Wofa Kapokyikyi, that if one drew two circles representing these swinging safaris and those who wore their voices from 2014, the two circles will overlap very nicely and the intersection would contain a good number. A very good number. Voices that have come out of the cold.

Already Odekuro Odieasem Nana Tutubrofo Dankwawura and his sub-chiefs are feeling the new Sikamanian. The momentum built by the Sikamanian from the near-occupation of the Ahenfie meant that even though the new Odekuro and his men and women hit the cornfields running, the pace of Sikaman was faster, and is also fueled by impatience.

The issues that sent the former Odekuro out of the Ahenfie will not be changed overnight, but the environment that nurtured the issues and gave them life must change. Odekuro better note that. And he must note also that a key component of the past few years has been that culture of talking plenty that doesn’t cook yam. There is much work to be done, and it is the time for business un-usual. Sikamanians have had enough feeding of propaganda to last them decades so we want a different menu.

Long may the voices find expression in keeping Odekuro and his men alert, Wofa. May these voices not lose the audacity to question. Every Sikamanian has the right of exercising the “effrontery” to ask questions. The day we lose our appetite to question is the day we die as a country.

Till I come your way with another sebitical missive from Amalaman, I remain, as always:

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase


End Notes

AFAG: Alliance for Accountable Governance

CJA: Committee for Joint Action

Tayaaed: Adulterated form of the word ‘tired’, pidgin

Amalaman: Nigeria

Sikaman: Ghana

Sikamanian: Ghanaian

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