Monday, August 27, 2012

Good Riddance, Mr. Ambassador

The United States appears destined by Providence to plague America with miseries in the name of Freedom.” Simon Bolívar.

"Come, then comrades; it would be as well to decide at once to change our ways. We must shake off the heavy darkness in which we were plunged, and leave it behind. The new day which is already at hand must find us firm, prudent, and resolute. We must leave our dreams and abandon our old beliefs and friendships from the time before life began. Let us waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry. Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe. For centuries they have stifled almost the whole of humanity in the name of a so-called spiritual experience. Look at them today swaying between atomic and spiritual disintegration.

We must leave our dreams and abandon our old beliefs and friendships of the time before life began. Let us waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry. Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe. For centuries they have stifled almost the whole of humanity in the name of a so-called spiritual experience.

And yet it may be said that Europe has been successful in as much as everything that she has attempted has succeeded.

Europe undertook the leadership of the world with ardour, cynicism and violence. Look at how the shadow of her palaces stretches out ever farther! Every one of her movements has burst the bounds of space and thought. Europe has declined all humility and all modesty; but she has also set her face against all solicitude and all tenderness.

She has only shown herself parsimonious and niggardly where men are concerned; it is only men that she has killed and devoured.

So, my brothers, how is it that we do not understand that we have better things to do than to follow that same Europe?

When I search for Man in the technique and the style of Europe, I see only a succession of negations of man, and an avalanche of murders.”
“ Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

To those that ask me why I blast the West now and then in my articles, my reply is often that I hardly pay the West a heed.

I try as much as possible to leave the West strictly alone, until and unless some idiot from the West made outrageous comments about our continent which calls for decisive and, very often, harsh response from this True Born African.

I have enough palaver of my own, and the gods know that our beautiful Africa face enough challenges that require all of our energies to solve.

I try to solve my own domestic worries and, in addition, I also try to utilize the little abilities that I have, to make suggestions on how I think we can improve our situations in our continent.

I claim no oracular powers, but I try to share the little knowledge and experience that I have.

What I think and fervently believe is that Africa does not have a problem that Africans cannot solve.

History teaches us that, more often than not, our woes on this continent were compounded by those we deemed as friends, and invited to help solve matters that should be internal to us.

History also attested to the fact that all those foreigners we have invited have turned against us. They have, without exception, betrayed, used and abused us.

No, I do not simplistically blame foreigners for all our woes; but we cannot run away from the fact that foreigners have taken, and continue to take advantage of our trust.

In the colonial conquest of our lands, our grandparents naively allowed themselves to be used against one another.

Today, we, their children, continue to pay the heavy price in the numerous tribal and ethnic wars ravaging our societies.

So, please pardon me if I say that I simply cannot stand to listen to any sanctimonious sermon from Westerners, especially on matters relating to Africa.

I care very little about what mess Westerners have made of their lives in their own countries; that is their business.

What I totally abhor is for ANY Westerner to take it upon himself or herself to come to Africa, become all-important, all-knowing and start to give lectures, most especially unsolicited lectures.

For a people that have so thoroughly messed up their own lives and the lives of those with whom they have come in contact, the arrogance and impetuousness of the average Westerner is truly outstanding and appalling!

With head full of all the nonsense the ideological institutions his society (schools and media) have pumped into his head, the average westerner still goes around the world with the notion that the world revolves around him.

He still believes that we live in the eighteen century when Europeans were the masters of all that they survey.

He still believe, like his grand-parents did, that we live in a 1884-5 world when Europeans still can dictate to people and have their orders carried out like imperial fiats.

The silly westerner still come to Africa and expected to be worshipped and fawned on.

He still believes that it is his right to tell Africans not only what to do but how to do it.

I feel duty-bound to confront any such person with everything at my disposal.

I have the experience of living in a European country, plus the very vast history lessons I have taken, to know that I should never, repeat never, allow any westerner to don the toga of a moral advocate on issue pertaining to Africa.

I lived in Europe long enough to see how intolerant Europeans are of other people’s views, culture and what have you.

I lived there long enough to see European ‘democratic’ government passed legislations to strip non-Europeans of all their humanity in the name of integration.

I told myself that never again will I ever allow a European (read Westerner if you like) to come to any part of Africa and give unsolicited lecture without a response from me.

Not until the hell freezes over.

The wretched history of Europeans in Africa alone disqualified ANY and ALL Westerner from hugging the moral high grounds in African matters.

The racist-inspired American policies towards Africa over the years (including the latest imperial assault via AFRICOM) make Americans eminently unqualified to come to Africa and deliver lectures on anything.

These might explain why my blood boiled over when I read the reports of the outgoing US Ambassador to Ghana giving some stupid unsolicited advice.

According to myjoyonline news: “Outgoing US Ambassador to Ghana, Donald Teitelbaum says the country needs an open respectful dialogue on the issue of gay rights.

But Mr. Teitelbaum who was addressing journalists at his final official media interaction yesterday said the country could emulate the example of the US.

“It is not for me to tell Ghanaians how to think or how to act, but what I would say is that I really do believe that Ghanaians, first and foremost, I see it everyday in the way Ghanaians act, Ghanaians accept the idea of respecting people’s fundamental rights, as you threat each other everyday.

“…it is my view, that Ghana properly need to do something like we have done in the United States, and have open respect for dialogue about how you can reconcile your belief and rights, because the Ghanaian constitution, as I understand it, guarantees rights base on citizenship.”

According to Mr Donald Teitelbaum, oppressing people because of their sexual orientation was wrong.

Well said, Mr. Ambassador, when you were quoted as saying: “it is not for me to tell Ghanaians how to think or how to act.”

Yes, it is none of your damned business simply because we do not think you should have the effrontery to tell us how to live our lives.

You talked about RESPECT, Mr. Ambassador.

Ah! But the most basic of respects is never to impose your views and culture on other people, especially on your hosts.

Respect also means that you learn that people are entitled to their views, opinions and choices including the choices they make about their culture.

I guess all these are too difficult to understand to a cultural philistine like yourself!

Damn it, Mr. Ambassador, nothing gives you the right to preach to us.

Just in case you have forgotten, you are simply an envoy of your country.

Your job description does not include evangelizing to us.

Your job does not include foisting on us your cultural, moral, and political or any belief.

Your compatriots will not take kindly to our envoy in your country giving them lectures on how to stop the racism in your country. They will not like to hear from him what we think of your joke of a judicial system. They will be angered if our envoy should tell them that we think it stupid and insane that your government spend more money on building weapons, and spending more money to destroy them, instead of using the money to feed your homeless, or use it to give education to your youth who are hooked on every drug known to chemistry.

Your compatriots will get angry if our envoy should begin to tell them what we think of your dog-eat-dog, man-eat-shit society.

Mr. Ambassador, your countrymen and women will be affronted and they will protest if our envoy in your country should tell them those things.

Why, then, Mr. Ambassador, do you think we should accept unsolicited advice from you?

Or is it because you think that because you are WHITE, you automatically know better than those of us of darker hue?

Don’t forget, Mr. Ambassador, Ghana is not some plantation in the south of your country.

And just in case you have forgotten, Mr. Ambassador, Ghana achieved independence in 1957, which means that we are a sovereign people, with the inalienable sovereign rights to govern ourselves without interference from idiotic busy-bodies like yourself.

You talked about oppressing people, Mr. Ambassador, ah!

I wondered about the type of history education you had.

But if you have read anything more serious than the ‘make-me-happy’ nonsense that goes for historical education in your country, you will know that your country has done very little in its history except to oppress the non-white people of the world.

It might be uncomfortable news to you, but that is just the fact, Mr. Ambassador.

Or do you need me to cite for you some good examples, Mr. Ambassador?

I trust that his not a challenge you’re likely to take up.

Methinks that it is time for African patriots to wake up the courage to tell these interfering foreigners to mind their own bloody business.

A time there was when we look up to Europe and the US for models, for shining examples, but truly those days are long gone. And however much we dream, they are hardly ever going to come back anytime soon, at least not in the lifetime of those of us that draw breadth today.

Sorry, Mr. Ambassador, the US does not represent for us a shining model for which we should strive to emulate. Just in case you have not woken up to smell the coffee, Mr. Ambassador, your country is an imperiled empire.

Apart from bristling with every description of weapons of mass destruction, there is hardly anything today that makes the US relevant.

With your economy in shambles, your politics a big joke and your social fabric in tatters, what ideal does your country, the US, present to us, Monsieur Ambassador?
Rather than give us unsolicited advice, Mr. Ambassador, go home and help organize how your own country can get out of its own gargantuan (yes, that word) mess.

As we say in this part of the word: Charity begins at home.

And I think in your part of the world, there is a saying that physicians should, first of all, heal themselves.

As you sail off our shore, I say bon voyage, Mr. Ambassador and good riddance.

Shove your unsolicited advice up your ass.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Destroying the begging bowl

Have you hear the good news, my friend.

What news, now, my friend? I hope that you’re the bearer of some good tidings, I need some stirrups.

Wow, the president has done it again. Our brand new president has pulled off another nice one. This is simply magnificent.

What are you talking about, what has the new president done this time?

You, sit down there. Where have you been hiding that you didn’t hear the news?

What news. Pray, tell me.

The big news is that Cape Coast, our nation’s first capital, is going to get a stadium. And a very modern stadium, at that – ultra modern, world class stadium we talk about here. Wow! You can hear the joyous ovation of the people!

Oh, that is good news, indeed. Mr. President must be congratulated.

That’s not all.

You mean there are more goodies coming to the Cape Coastians?

Cape Coastian, what kind of appellation is that? Anyway, the stadium is not going to cost our nation a single pesewa.

Now you kid me plenty; how do you build a stadium without spending money? Things like iron rods, cement and sand cost money, even if our people donate their labour free of charge. Don’t tell me that Mr. President has become a magician, a conjurer who could conjure a whole stadium from thin air! That would be something.

Ah, you don’t get it, my friend. It is all a gift!

Now you are talking, who is our generous benefactor?

Not so fast, my friend. Were you not among those journalist people who wrote that the president, then vice president, was wasting time and money travelling around the world? You call it useless junketing then, didn’t you?

Yes, I remember writing a thing a thing or two about his constant travelling, what with all those fawning officials who consume per diems like there is no tomorrow.

Maybe there is indeed no tomorrow, and maybe you can now swallow your word as their efforts are now paying off big time.

What do you mean?

Have you not been listening to me?

It is difficult for me to follow your train of thoughts. You started with stadium, a freebie and eating words. Can’t you get straight to the point?

I said that you and your fellow poisoned pens fraternity can now eat your words, as the efforts of the vice president, now president, has resulted in the Chinese offering to build a stadium for us at Cape Coast, absolutely free of charge.

Now, you kid me thoroughly?

And why should I? The president himself announced it and you don’t get more authoritative voice than that, do you?


You and your hmmms! Do I read that to mean that you have swallowed your words, and that you will admit that it pays off for our officials to go around the world?

You can read it whichever way you want, but I still maintain that it is plain wrong for our officials to keep going around the world with begging bowls. It is simply demeaning. I don’t mind their going around the world to get better deals for our raw materials, but they shouldn’t appear to be the world champion beggars. That is not all; you didn’t say why the Chinese decided on giving us a free stadium.

You, do you have to question everything? Do you always have to look at the horse in the mouth?

I like that expression, but, sorry, writers have inquisitive minds.

Are you telling me that you didn’t know that the Chinese built a complete headquarters for our African Union free of charge; and here you are casting aspersions on why they should give us a stadium?

Ah, that is another of our problem.

What do you mean?

I meant that we in African appear to do nothing except to wait for the Americans, the Europeans, the Arabs, the Brazilians and the Chinese to give us freebies, only for us to become giddy with excitement.

You really can insult, can’t you?

So sorry you felt that way. But there is something called shame, and I think that it is time we in Africa develop a little sense of shame. Why are we the world’s perpetual beggars and not givers?

What do you mean?

I think you know perfectly well what I meant. The last time the government of Ghana gave money to Haiti during the earthquake in that country, many of our citizens were up in arms. They questioned why we should donate our meager resources to other people. But we do not see people ask why we receive this or that from country x or y. Today I do not see our people decrying the Chinese gift of a stadium, when only few weeks ago many of our citizens paraded our streets baying for the blood of Chinese traders. How many of us who today dance for joy about a free Chinese stadium come out to defend the Chinese when our own people molested them? We are such a pathetic bunch of selfish and greedy ingrates.

Are you done with your insults?

Call it insult or whatever you will, but hypocrisy in any form or shape makes me sick. We want to eat our cake and have it. We think it right when other people make donations to us – we feel entitled to it; but we cannot stand the sight of other people making it in our country. Actually, that is not my biggest worry. My biggest worry is that we are, as a people, becoming too accustomed to getting freebies that we do not appear to want to wean ourselves off it.

Those are very grave charges!

And I do not make them lightly. I am not against receiving help, per se. The trouble starts when we become accustomed to other people helping us that we have stopped thinking about how to help ourselves. At the same time our president announced the gift of a stadium from the Chinese, he should also have announced what steps he and his government is taking to ensure that in few years, we would have developed the indigenous capacity to build our own stadia. And he should have also announced that in, say, ten or twenty years, Ghana will also be donating free stadium to other needy nations. We need to start building indigenous capacities; that is the only way nations become developed. We gain the respect of the world only by letting others see us doing things for ourselves. I mean we should be seen to be trying to lift ourselves up by our own efforts. Our development should not be anchored on what other people can do for us, but what we can do for ourselves. Other people might chip in to help, but we should be the sole developer and motivator of our development agenda. The science and engineering of building stadium is hardly a mystery. We have about ten public universities across our land; we have numerous architects and builders in the country. We are blessed with plentiful labour force and we have highly qualified Ghanaians scattered around the world. Rather than beg the Chinese to come and help us build a stadium, our brand new president should have appealed to our sense of patriotism and call upon all of us, to chip in our widows’ mite to build a stadium in memory of our departed president. Were that not to be possible, he should have begged of the Chinese to help train enough Ghanaians who, in say five years, would be qualified to build the stadium. After all, it was the Chinese who says that it is better to teach a man how to fish than to give him fish.

To those that read and comment on my articles, I say a big thank you.

As a rule, unless the reader requested a reply or directly asked a question, I do not comment on responses to my articles. I believe that people are entitled to their opinions, as I’m to mine.

A lot of efforts go into writing. The writer would hardly be productive if he expends his energies to fight wars with people whose raison d’être is to insult.
To those that passed insulting comments, I say: To insult is quite cheap and easy; thinking is the major challenge.

Below is what I wrote on my blog: ; the same rule applies here.

“You are welcome to my blog; read and enjoy to your heart content. Do, however remember that no matter how strongly you might disagree with the opinions expressed here, they are MY OPINIONS to which I am perfectly entitled.

I shall endeavour not to write anything herein except that which is true, factual and verifiable.

If you find errors, I will appreciate your bringing it to my attention. I shall try and take note and correct them.

If your intention is to bandy insults around, I advise that you set up your own blog.
As my Yoruba people say: "Oju orun teye fo, lai fara gbara."

It means that the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly without touching wings.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A committee for development, please!

But why didn’t you call me?

Call you, why? We saw each other just last week.

You! Apart from you, almost everyone else I knew burnt good copper to call me. And you, you that I consider my best friend refused to call me, ah!

Really, what happened; were you sick?

Me sick? Allah Kiaye. God forbid bad thing!

Why then were people calling you?

Even Abena, my estranged part-time girl-friend, called me.

What happened, does she want reconciliation, a comeback?

You paa! She knows that I have current affairs with whom she cannot compete.

Why then did she call you?

I was on television; my brother I was on television! Didn’t you see me?

You know that I don’t have a television.

You! I forgot. I was on television. My old lady called from Dunkwa-on-offin; she was as excited as a girl on her first date. God, I’m popular, ah!

You on television, how did you manage that?

Now you are talking. The TV cameras captured me during the funeral for our late, great, beloved president.

Don’t tell me that you went to the funeral.

You, what exactly is wrong with you? Why shouldn’t I have gone to pay my last respect to our great beloved man of peace? Or have you join the NPP?

I beg you not to tar me with the label of partisan political party. I just cannot imagine that you couldn’t find better employment for your time that you have to travel all the way from Kasoa to Accra for a funeral.

You, what exactly is wrong with you? People came all the way from Bawku, Tamale, Wa to attend the funeral and you are talking about Kasoa!

And what is that supposed to mean? Because you choose not to does not mean that people should not honour tradition and culture, and pay their respects to departed leaders.

Some tradition and culture we have.

What is that supposed to mean, what exactly do you have against culture?

I have nothing against culture. The honest truth is that I am a very cultured person; one that fervently believe in maintaining our culturally integrity as Africans. It is just some part of the culture that has become very worrisome and befuddling to me.

Which aspects are you talking about?

That part of our culture which makes it appears that we care more for the dead than for the living.

You, do you have to criticize everything?

Not really.

Why are you picking issue with the funeral then? I thought you, like every patriotic citizen, will appreciate the great achievement registered by the funeral committee in pulling off that flawless performance. My friend, let’s learn to give kudos where it is due. Let’s praise our people when we think that they have done a great job. It is OK to criticize, but we should all learn to give praise where and when it is due. Let’s give our people due regard in organizing a great funeral ceremony at very short notice. Do you think that it is easy to organize such gigantic funeral and get all those important visitors, including the US Secretary of State, to drop what they were scheduled to do and come to our shore?

That is exactly what I meant that we appear to care more for the dead than for the living.

What are you talking about?

I am talking about a committee set up to organize a befitting funeral for our departed president which, according to you, delivered a flawless performance. Don’t you think that we ought to ask ourselves some very serious questions?

Such like?

Such like why we do not see our people performing also flawlessly when called upon to perform task that will directly benefit those of us that are still alive. Why do we our people care more for funerals than to take care of the sick? I did not see our people showing any care when the president was alive and was rumoured to be sick. Why do our people find it difficult to help a sick relation when alive but pull all stops to give same person expensive funerals? Why do children allow their parents to die in poverty and go ahead to borrow money to give them expensive funerals? Why do we have people who will not hire a bicycle for their father when alive only to go and hire expensive limousine to transport his corpse to the village? These are some of the things that befuddle me. We have been running our own affairs for close to sixty years, yet we still lack basic amenities that people take for granted in other lands. We still do not have enough electricity and many of our people go through life without tasting potable water. We have set up uncountable committees in this country of ours, but we have never seen any of them directly impacting positively on our lives. Suddenly we cannot come up with enough superlatives to praise a committee that organized a funeral. If we have men and women who have the acumen to organize successful funerals, why can’t we find people to successfully run our electricity and water companies?

Do you have to be such a killjoy?

Sorry that you felt that way. I am just surprised that we do not think of how other people will think of us. While we pat ourselves on the back for organizing a successful funeral, those that come from outside our continent will wonder why we cannot, with the same passion, the same gusto, set up committees to tackle the myriads of development challenges we see around us. They will wonder why we do not concern ourselves with finding solutions to the question of hunger and want in our country. They will want to know why in this century, our farmers still use implements designed thousands of years ago, or why we still allow our farm yields to depend on the vagaries of nature. They will want to find out from us why, with all our plentiful schools, the simple system of irrigating our farms still eludes us. They will want to know why our women still pound fufu just like their great-great-great-great-great-great grand-mothers did several centuries ago. They will want to know why we, as a people, lack scientific curiosity. They will want to know why our lives continue to be ruled by superstitions, and why we give more prominence to pastors than to scientists and engineers. The visitors will wonder why, for example, we cannot organize a committee to tackle the filth in our nation’s capital. The Odaw River in Accra is choked with human excreta; the visitors will see our people defecating in broad daylight in a river that could, very easily, become a mode of transport or even a tourist attraction. The Korle Gonna and the other lakes in Accra have had the lives choked out of them by feces. The visitor will shake his head and wonder what exactly is wrong with us that make us get excited by things like funerals instead of finding answers to lives’ challenges. Apart from the University of Ghana at Legon, Accra boasts of uncountable universities. Even if many of them are one-man, one-bedroom affairs. They all offer what they call Environmental Studies. The question we ought to ask is that why we all go through this filthy environment day in day out with apparently no care. Why are we not shamed to invite guests to come and look at the filthy environment in which we still live in this age and time? Yes, it could be true that the Funeral Committee did a splendid job of pulling off a fantastic funeral in a short time, but why can’t we apply the same seriousness to other issues. Does it have to be only funerals that get us excited? For your information, we have had no light for four days in Kasoa, and no one can tell us why. And here you are telling me about our putting on great funeral celebration to bury a dead leader and you expect me to dance with joy. Sorry, my friend, but I’m not impressed by any funeral our government care to organize so long as I see us underperforming in almost every other sphere of life. Honestly, methinks that so long as we appear to care more for the dead than for the living our conditions will never improve. In the same week that we are beating our chests for organizing befitting funerals, the engineers at NASA landed a one-ton robot on in a crater on Mars. Thinking about the mathematics and the engineering underpinning that feat alone makes my head reel. Whist we danced for joy over a funeral, other people are splitting atoms and discovering the God’s Particle. I say that it is time we get serious in this part of this world.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Power: Its transient nature and the lessons of history.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." - Baron Acton.

The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while.” - Albert Einstein.

The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” - Abraham Lincoln

The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself.” - Winston Churchill

The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while”- Albert Einstein.

Readers of this column will remember our many lamentations that the late Ghanaian President Atta Mills was badly served by those around him. We even once asked him to fire his entire communication team if he knew what was good for him.

Sadly, the late affable leader did not take our advice. Alas, the man passed on to eternity.

I have often wondered why officials in Africa easily turn to demi-gods as soon as they get into position of power and authority.

It is as if there something in our centers of power that makes mere mortal transform themselves into supermen immediately they are elevated into position of power.

I have countless personal experiences with people whom I considered bosom friends but are instantly transformed as soon as they get some post. People with whom I chat on almost hourly basis became instantly inaccessible as soon as they get (mostly schemed their ways) into high office.

We can safely excuse lack of time as we see and hear them spend too many hours babbling inanities on radio and TV stations. The transformation goes into the way they walk and talk.

I hope that I’m not the only one that saw the great transformations that overcame many presidential aides as soon as the death of President Mills was announced.
Did you notice how Mr. Koku Anyidoho has visibly shrunk? Gone were the imperial and arrogant mien and nasty countenance we are used to when the going was good.

Few weeks ago, Mr. Anyidoho was the master of all that he surveyed. He spoke for the president and that was position high enough to make the man believed that he was a cut above the rest of us.

He vainly bestrode the corridors of power like a drunken Colossus.

Whilst President Mills cut the picture of a humble, peaceful man who will not hurt a fly; his men were anything but.

People like Anyidoho, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Ablakwa et all behaved like attack dogs let loose, unpityingly verbally shredding into pieces those they perceived as enemy of their boss.

They reduced the presidency into one huge joke where insults and expletives are substituted for good communications.

Politics became for these uncultured neophytes avenue to abandon culture and respect, as they verbally assaulted people that are old enough to be their parents.

Apparently promoted far beyond their abilities and qualifications, these verbal Rottweilers did not hesitate to abuse people who are not only older than them, but men who are clearly superior to them in any department we care to examine.

When his boss visited England, rather than for the Director of Communications to explain to us as to what steps the president was taking to woo investors and sell the country, Mr. Anyidoho turned his verbal assault rifle on the main opposition leader, Nana Akufo Addo.

This is what I wrote in: “Kofi Anyidoho should resign,”: “Speaking on Focus FM in London, the president's spokesman was at his nastiest. Listen to him: “Let Akufo-Addo…if he says he is a man, a true man from Akyem because he claims God gave all us two balls each unless his is three. Maybe, his is three but if he thinks his is three and for that matter he is man enough than all of us in this country, he should dare make a wrong move.

“I am saying it today that Akufu-Addo should dare. I know Gabby (Otchere Darko) is in London and listening. Gabby you are my friend and I'm telling you that you and that your Akufo-Addo. If you claim to be men, make… this country and you will see where power lies. We are waiting for them since they say “all die be die'.

“They should be careful they would not be the first to go visit their ancestry; Akufo-Addo, Jake and Mac Manu should be very careful they would not be the first to visit their ancestry because we will not just sit down in laxity and watch Akufo Addo use patapaa, huhuhuhu and kekeke to destroy this country… Ghana is not Akufo-Addo's property. It does not belong to him; it belongs to all of us” and for that matter, Akufo-Addo should stop throwing his weight about as though the country belonged to him.”

In vain we waited for the president to fire Mr. Anyidoho from his post for such crass mis-behaviour.

Was this not the same Mr. Anyidoho who breached all protocols and etiquette and announced to the world incomplete report of an ongoing investigation into a cocaine case?

Again, listen to him: “Today Asem Dake is in custody and ...I can promise you, President Mills is going to go to the bottom of this matter. Nobody, be it a former president, be it a sitting president, be it an erstwhile president, anybody who is involved in this cocaine matter..., you can be sure that President Mills will let the people of Ghana stand and point fingers at those who were involved in this dastardly trade.”

This was the president spokesman speaking on a very sensitive case that was still ongoing.

It appears however that Mr. Anyidoho overreached himself when on the night of June 3, 2012 when the nation was embarrassed by a light off at the Baba Yaara stadium at Kumasi, he announced the sacking of the Kumasi director of the Electricity Company of Ghana.

Bellowing at top voice, Mr. Anyidoho told us that “The president is angry, very angry. Heads will roll.” He then announced the sacking of the Director of the ECG at Kumasi.

It has since turned out that Mr. Anyidoho was simply telling lies; the president gave no such directive.

Caught in the web of his inaccuracies, he claimed that some faceless “Senior officials' took the decision.

How pathetic!”

Few days after his disastrous gaffe, the President’s Chief of Staff announced that his office has become the clearing house for information, thus effectively discarding with the service of the garrulous and unnecessarily pugnacious Mr. Anyidoho.

The depth to which president Mills staff hold their man in contempt became apparent evident just two days after his death when one of his aides, Nii Lante Vanderpuye (nebulously describe as Director of Operations at the castle), came out to tell us that he once organized an attack on the Presidential Convoy!

No, he was not kidding!

Here is how myjoyonline captured the story: “A Presidential Aide to the late President Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, has stated that at one time, he organized an attack on the Presidential Convoy!

According to him, he organized a community to put up a barrier of stones, blocks, clubs and other implements to block the presidential convoy when the convoy was on its way back to Accra with a tired President!

Speaking on ‘Talking Point’, a political talk show program on GTV on Sunday evening, Nii Lantey, as he is popularly known, stated that he was responsible for inciting a community to erect barriers to block the presidential convoy in order to force the late President Atta Mills to come out of his vehicle to speak to a crowd of villagers, even though he knew that the President was tired and wanted to come back to Accra.

“I knew the people wanted to see the President. When I got there they told me they wanted to see the President…we had already concluded our schedule but these were people who wanted to see the President, so, as the man in the lead car, I told them to put up a barrier, to put stones and sticks and blocks on the road so that when the convoy gets there they would be forced to stop.

After I told them to erect the barrier, I took off! So when they (presidential convoy) got there they stopped and the President got down to talk to them. The President immediately realized that I was the one responsible so he called me on the network to speak to me but I refused to pick the call. I ignored him, but later, when we arrived, he pulled me into an office and warned me that I should never do that again,” Nii Lantey said.

He was giving a testimony as to the very ‘forgiving’ nature of the late President John Evans Atta Mills and used the rather shocking and macabre recitations above to demonstrate why the late President would forgive his associates any kind of crime.”

What type of an aide would organise an attack on a, take a deep breath, a presidential convoy?

President Mills was undoubtedly a very decent man. But as I argued in one piece on his style of leadership, leadership, especially at the presidential level calls for more than mere decency.

It is hard to imagine an aide to JJ Rawlings or President Kufuor behaving the way Nii Lante did and live to boast about it.

It is equally difficult to imagine either of the two leaders countenancing an aide that so badly behaved as to refuse to pick their calls?

Who born dog, indeed!

It is therefore gratifying to see that new president appear to instill some fear of god in the men around him.

It is like a refreshing fresh air is breezing around the presidency when we see the Eastern Regional Minister, Victor Smith, rendering an unqualified apology to the President for his uncouth comments following the nomination of Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur as the Vice President.

We would never know what happened that made the minister made his hasty apology, but it show that we could expect things to be done differently this time around.

In his letter of apology, Mr. Smith wrote: “I wish to render unqualified apology to the President, HE John Dramani Mahama, Vice-President Nominee Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur and all others who have been aggrieved by my comments.”

“On the issue of the Vice Presidential nominee; I granted a number of interviews intending to clarify that the president’s nominee was not necessarily his Running Mate for the 2012 election. The import of my comment has been misconstrued.“

“I don’t have any ill feeling against Mr Amissah-Arthur. He is a loyal member of the NDC and I have no question about his credentials to occupy the office for which the President has nominated him.”

This is good as I cannot remember the late president Mills receiving any apology from any of the loud-mouthed braggarts that surrounded him. His so-called Director of Communications, Koku Anyidoho, embarrassed the late leader on more than two occasions; yet one never heard of him apologizing for his many mistakes

For long we have watched helplessly as government appointees leave their offices to become serial callers and useless debaters on radio and TV. This should stop.

A minister should have better employment for his time than engage in political debates 24/7.

Honestly, I believe that the president should have fired Mr. Smith the way President Rawlings did.

To begin with, it was not the business of regional ministers to tell the president whom to appoint to what position.

It shows gross disrespect when subordinates start to question the appointments made by their boss.

Let us hope that this is the beginning of the end of officials (elected and appointed) running riot with their mouths.

It is said that those that failed to learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat it. Let’s hope that the new courtiers at the palace will learn from the follies of their predecessors.

That life is ephemeral is a lesson we all we do well to learn and remember. Power is sweet but it is fleeting. Those that believe themselves Alph and Omega need only visit the morgue to realize the futility of all egos.

As we journey through the mystery that is life, we should learn to understand that nothing, absolutely nothing, last forever. One moment we are here, crowned in all the glories, the next moment we are gone inert and devoid of LIFE. As we lie naked in morgue, only the good things we manage to do in this life remain etched in the memories of those that had contact with us.

It is these memories that really matter as they are the only things that we will be remembered by. The fond memories of those with whom we came in contact are all that really matters when all is said and done and we journey to the land of the ancestors.

Power is not alluring to pure minds.” - Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dissing our own heroes

If you can control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.” - Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro

The oppressor has always indoctrinated the weak with his interpretation of the crimes of the strong.” - Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro

It is one thing for someone to insult your mother; it is another thing for someone to teach you to insult your mother.” Professor John Henrik Clarke.

Last week it dawned on me that the depth of inferiority complex and self-hatred Africans suffer from is truly outstanding.

Despite the best efforts of some of us, many of our African people continue to indulge in the most pathological of self-hatred.

I try to mind my business and practice a philosophy of live and let live. I write and express my opinions, rather sharply one might say, but I never try to evangelise.

On personal level, I do not preach to people, simply because I hated to be preached to. If at over fifty years, I do not know what is good for me, I think I can forget ever learning it.

Imagine my shock when last week a gentleman, let’s not call him a friend, made it his business to tell me what type of button I should wear on my dress. And he in the process, he exposed an ignorance that is simply outstanding in its vastness.

The encounter was at offices of the MultiTV at Kokomlemle in Accra where I had gone to transact some video related business.

I was in my Tie and Dye Dashiki and had pinned the button of Pa Robert Mugabe, the only president in Africa I respect, on my dress and, for unfathomable reasons, this had offended the gentleman.

“So, now you are admiring a dictator.” A guy with whom I was barely acquainted said to me.

“Excuse you?”

When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.” ― Carter G. Woodson, The MIS-Education of the Negro

“Or is that not Mugabe?” The man sneered with silly smiles pasted over his acned face.

I saw my host frantically signally him to leave this True Born African alone. But like the dog that will get, he failed to listen to the hunter’s whistle.

“And what has President Mugabe done to wrong you?

“Ha,” he continued to sneer and laugh foolishly. “That old fool who took over other people’s land and impoverished his people.”

“Oh!” I exclaimed, trying to get him to rope himself well in.

My host continued to give subtle hints for him to stop but like the fly with no advisor that followed the corpse to the tomb, he refused to take note.

“Ha,” he bellowed with contempt, “I don’t understand why Africans continue to worship their dictators. Why don’t you choose a better African leader as your hero?”

“Like whom?” I wanted to know.

He laughed heartily and appeared to enjoy the hilarity of his stupid commentaries, “So you meant to tell me that of all the leaders that we have in Africa you cannot choose a better president than Mugabe?”

“Since you appear to be expert in such matters, I asked you to tell me whom to choose.”

“There are many good leaders in Africa.” He was becoming defensive, but he still refused to notice the frantic efforts to get him to stop.

“Like whom?” I repeated my question.

“We have Madam Sirleaf in Liberia. We have the new woman in Malawi. We have president Boni in Benin and we have Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria”

“So, in your estimation, the presidents of Liberia, Malawi and Nigeria are better president than Pa Mugabe…”

“By far better, Tcheew!”

“And what benchmark are we using?”

As another has well said, to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching.” ― Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro

By now the voice is rising, he was prepared to do battle. “By every benchmark you can think of.”

“Let’s not get into abstractions, give me just one reason the presidents you mentioned are better than Pa Mugabe.”

“You paa! We are talking about presidents who are democratically elected and periodically hold election.”

“What election did Madam Joyce Banda win in Malawi?”

“She was the vice president.”

“And got into the presidency by default.”

More raised voice: “But he was a vice president.”

“I did not dispute your assertion. But you started with people winning election and that sort of things. And there is no need to raise your voice”

“I am not raising my voice. She was part of the team that won elections. She was democratically elected.”

“Vice Presidents are not voted into office. She was part of a team from which she became estranged. She has been expelled from the team and only the circumstance of death pushed her into the presidency.”

“So are you also disputing that Presidents Boni and Goodluck won elections or was Mrs Sirleaf also pushed into it by death?”

“I am actually not in dispute with you. I just pointed to an inerrancy in your assertion.”

“There was no inerrancy. Both Presidents Boni, Goodluck Jonathan and Sirleaf were democratically elected.”

“I am sure many Nigerians will disagree with you that Goodluck Jonathan won any elections. But let’s not get into that. So, because these presidents won elections, you believe that they are better materials than Pa Mugabe?”

“By far, by far. The worst democrats are infinitely better than the best dictators.”

“Says who?”

“Ah, what type of question is that? The international community agreed that democracy is the way to go. Why do you think that they imposed sanctions on him?
“Sanctions are imposed by the powerful for host of reasons. And democratic elections are far low on the reasons why sanctions were imposed on Pa Mugabe.”

“I think that people like you are the reasons we keep on having problems in Africa. You are always defending the dictators and those mis-ruling our continent.”

“Ah, those are rather grave charges…”

“Not any graver than the support you give to Africa’s dictators.”

History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.” ― Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro

“No. I think you and people like you are a bigger problem to our continent than all the dictators we have in Africa. Here you are, seating in a jacket and tie in this tropical heat, sweating like a pig. You are so thoroughly chloroformed by all the propaganda western ideological institutions dished out that you cannot even begin to think, straight or crooked. You don’t even have the brain to ask yourself who appointed the members of your so-called international community. You sit here and stupidly tell me that the West imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe because of lack of democratic elections. When was the last time the authorities in Saudi Arabia held elections? I ask you who is the biggest supporter of the Sheikhs of Qatar, Bahrain and apartheid Israel? It is really sad that in this age, we still have complete morons like yourself, a complete disgrace to their race and the education they claim to have had, coming out to diss people we all should be eulogizing. So, I should pin on my chest a Goodluck Jonathan who cannot get electricity or water for his people. I should celebrate a man who has five planes in his presidential fleet when his nation’s airline cannot boast of a single plane. I should go around and salute a man that voted close to one billion naira for his food in a country where people eat from garbage dumb? It is really sad when we in Africa get bamboozled with all the western impositions in our land. You say that Pa Mugabe took over land and impoverished his people. I will only advice you to look further than the CNN and the BBC for your sources of information. I would rather celebrate the African leader that use the wealth of his nation for the benefit of his people like Pa Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe. While you sit down here enjoying your so called democracy, Pa Mugabe is very visibly empowering his people economically. His indigenization policy ensures that Zimbabweans are in control of the commanding height of the economy. Whilst Ghana get between 3 to 6 % for her gold and about 10% for her oil, Zimbabwe gets over fifty percent from her mineral resources. Whilst we celebrate our sham independence and allow foreigners to control our mineral wealth, Mugabe is visibly empowering his people to control their god-given mineral resources. Mining communities in Zimbabwe are being transformed into paradise whilst those in Ghana are receding into destitution. Pa Mugabe’s land reform has benefited 60,000 black farmers who now enjoyed income of around US$5000. No, don’t take my word for it, look here:

Philosophers have long conceded, however, that every man has two educators: 'that which is given to him, and the other that which he gives himself. Of the two kinds the latter is by far the more desirable. Indeed all that is most worthy in man he must work out and conquer for himself. It is that which constitutes our real and best nourishment. What we are merely taught seldom nourishes the mind like that which we teach ourselves.” - Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro

Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb