Category Archives: GH2013

President Mahama Does Not Believe in Ghanaian Excellence, and Neither Does His Cabinet

Caution: Melatonin induced rant.

 

Isn't she glorious?

Isn’t she glorious?

Excellency, honorable, Oga… monikers and attributes that get tossed around our political landscape like parched corn husks after a harvest. They are plentiful and useless, for how many of our parliamentarians can we truly consider to be of the excellent variety? Ursula Owusu readily comes to mind, but women (or men) of Ursula’s character and constancy are few and far between. Is this not evident in the manner in which the country is run?

This week, President Mahama gave the State of Nation Address, where he made more promises when he had just promised two months ago not to make any more promises. He said that moving forward, the nation would not be run as it had in the past, and that he “owed it to Ghanaians” to fix the power crisis. Yes, that is true, Mr. President. Not only do you owe it to us, but it is your JOB. These are the promises you campaigned on (and won) in 2012. You’ve spent enough time sitting in the mirror practicing your Colgate smile for the international cameras. The time to get to work has come and passed!

Can I just say how disappointed I am in John Mahama, his entire appointed cabinet and his party in total? The NDC is the worst thing that could have happened to Ghana and it is imperative that they be relegated to the toothless minority as soon as possible. They certainly must be kept as far away from the nation’s funds as possible. They have placed Ghana in a ruinous state, and the reason is simple: John Mahama and his NDC cohorts do not love Ghana. They are false paramours in this relationship, and they certainly don’t believe in Ghana’s potential.

Throughout any country’s history, there has been a man or woman of the hour. This person later becomes a symbol of the desperate times in that moment in history and a testament to overcoming. When Ghana needed independence, she had Nkrumah to see her through. When the country was mired in coup after bloody coup, JJ Rawlings unleashed a coup to end all coups. To everyone’s shock, he allowed the country to enter into a democratic era. (The IMF may have had something to do with this.) Now Ghana finds itself at a crossroads: do we go back to the dark ages, or do we forge boldly ahead and become the Black Star of the region once again. One could argue that a light shines brightest in darkness, but the depth of the blackness John Mahama and his sycophants have plunged the country in have utterly snuffed out even the faintest glint of light. Bootlickers, the lot of them!

At every opportunity that there is a camera or a reporter present, Ghana’s president admonishes Ghanaian citizens, chiding them into consuming made in Ghana goods. This despite the average citizen is mired in poverty and cannot afford a single ball of kenkey for each member of their family. But you know what these destitute souls can afford? Ramen noodles. Salty Ramen noodles encased with a layer of plastic that slowly poisons the consumer. Is this product made in Ghana? No! It’s made in China. China is force-feeding and strangling Africa with its cheap unhealthy exports, and Ghana is impotent in its presence.

You know what else China and India do? They build our chairs in Parliament…and this doesn’t seem to bother our MPs a bit. If it does, it doesn’t nearly enough. Every MP of good conscious should have refused to sit on chairs made in China during the chamber and made the bold decision to drag in a made in Ghana seat. But no! All these unimaginative, brain dead folks could do was “bemoan” the situation that Deputy Speaker Alfred Kwame Agbesi and the other leadership had placed them in. According this this genius, it would have taken 1-5 years for a local manufacturer to make the chairs and Parliament needed a quick turn around, which was why a delegation was sent to China months before the chairs were to be delivered and hurriedly put in the building. There was no bidding process, no query about how local manufacturers could split the order if needed and deliver on time, because Alfred Agbesi (NDC) DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GHANAIAN INGENUITY! I wonder how much he was able to skim off of the top of that Chinese transaction? A pretty penny, I’m sure. Did I mention the chairs began falling apart a day after they were assembled? A female parliamentarian crashed to the floor in an undignified heap a day after they were set up in the chamber. As is their normal custom, the NDC reps deflected and placed blame on the victim, saying she needed to lose weight. The woman is a size 8-10! Come on, you people!

kantankaOh, but that’s not all. In a stunning move of blatant disregard, Sports Minister Mahama Ayariga confirmed that after placing second at the recent AFCON games, each member of the Black Star football squad was awarded $25,000 in cash and a new Jeep Grand Cherokee which retails at at a cost of $76,000. 30 Jeeps meant a total of $2,280,000 spent…on cars. Now, this wouldn’t be so bad, if Tankanka hadn’t just begun selling made and manufactured cars in Ghana this December. What kind of a symbolic gesture would it have been for the Sports Ministry to decide to invest that $2million back into a Ghanaian company? What kind of signal would that gesture have sent to the nation, to see a Black Star cruising the street in a made in Ghana car? Unfortunately, such a move would have required intelligence, planning and forethought, and the Sports Ministry has this in short supply.

I can’t even say John Mahama has failed to inspire his leadership to believe in Ghana, because he hasn’t even been inspired himself. Oh, but Malaka! He wears Horseman Shoes, which are made in Ghana! Oh, but Reader! He just spent millions of dollars to vacation in Dubai instead of one of Ghana’s numerous – and beautiful – beach resorts. Why? Because the man DOES NOT LOVE or have pride in his country. These are but a handful of examples of how he and the NDC have shown their contempt for Ghanaians. Let’s not even start on how we went from being debt-free to puckering up and rimming the IMF for loans in less than a decade.

Time is progressing. Technology is only going to get smarter. People are working more efficiently. It’s time we had a man – or a woman – in office who is fit for the task of leading the country into the challenges of the new millennium. All Mahama and his cohorts have managed to do is re-introduce the country to the horrors of the 19th century. If Ghana were coasting, we could allow a handsome guy with speeches on fleek to carry us through, but we need a president who has the strength to lead the nation in this uphill battle. It’s time for John Mahama to resign. There is no shame in confessing you are not good enough for the job. You just look desperate and pathetic when you hang on for too long.

Open Letter to OccupyGhana and Other “Progressive” Ghanaians

This open letter was written at Kwabena Amporful’s request. Please direct all your vitriol to him in Facebook. I believe he is on Twirra as well. Don’t trouble me in my comments section. I would rather spend my Saturday blogging about the virtues of cornbread, but Mr. Amporful was insistent.

 

Dear Occupy and Other Progressive Ghanaians:

Let me put it to you plainly. You can’t win.

There, I’ve said it. Who am I? I am the spirit that rules this land you call Ghana. I am the menace that governs the actions of the nation. I am the shadow that follows and will eventually overtake you. I am Abonsam Moja – Satan’s Blood – and I cover every endeavor you mortals who call yourselves Ghanaians engage in.

I am the spirit who causes you to roll up your windows when beggars approach you at the traffic light. I am the voice that prohibits you from offering the lowly a kind word or an encouraging smile, even if you cannot give 20 pesewsas for ice water.

I am the ghoul who lives in the pastor who strikes the swollen bellies of expectant mothers, or convinces women their lives are meaningless unless they can cook jollof rice, and declares vehemently that God will not bless them unless they willfully place themselves in subjugation to a man…even if he is not worth the 9 months and 36 hours in labor his mother expended to bring him into this world. I, Abonsam Moja have even infiltrated your houses of worship! If your pastors, preachers and bishops truly believed in Christ’s power and blood, would they conduct themselves in the manner in which they do? Would they dare to spew false prophecy with the frequency in which they do? Hahahaaa!!! Yet they have blinded you all. They have told you that the more education you strive for, the less close to God you will find yourselves. They have told you men of science cannot be men of faith. As for women? They have told you it is better you learn how to cook than to go to school anyway. No wonder you dense lot haven’t created a fufu pounding machine yet. You are happy in your listless, mindless toil.

I am Abonsam Moja – the Blood of Satan – and you cannot defeat me!

I am the creator of the endemic condition you have termed “corruption”. Where you try to fight against me, I will adapt, morph and recreate myself. I am a virus. There is no curing me. No amount of street marches labelled as “registers of displeasure” will cause my existence to cease. I inhabit the souls of ministers who stand on the 5th floor of Flagstaff House, take pictures of you from the window and mock you on Twitter as you as you mill about with your placards and slogans and your recycled jama. How cute you look to me, OccupyGhanaians. You have the appearance of ants hit by unexpected torrential rains, and my sides split with laughter when I think about how I will cause you to scatter when the next set of economic and soul crushing programs I have in mind are manifested. Your demonstrations are little more than white noise to me. What, really, has any of these street protests changed?

Do you really think I am moved by any of these displays? I am ALL powerful. I am your government. And by government, I mean just that. I rule your passport and drivers’ licensing offices. I am the reason a CHRAJ boss can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to refit a palatial home while her offices don’t even have paper to print with. I am the reason the media can/has/shall drag rape victims through the mud and expose them to harm and ridicule without a twinge of guilt. I can do all this while you sit in your churches and mosques, singing meaningless hymns, doing salat and paying tithes and offerings as though you can buy your way into heaven. You call on my enemy, the Almighty God, but He cannot reach you because you are literally soaked in the Blood of Satan. How stupid you must look to the gods you think you serve. You serve ME, and you serve me willingly.

I dwell within many of you, and even if I have not managed to completely capture your imagination and your soul, you are not untainted by my influence. I am the spirit who begs the Ghanaian abroad – yea even shames him – into returning home to serve the country rather than “sitting on the sidelines” and then frustrates the earnest returnee until he is nearly driven mad. (S)he knows that with a few simple measures, the chaos at the harbor can be solved, the forests can be replanted and architecture can be revamped so that buildings run more efficiently. But you will label him/her too known and tell this person to return to America…or if they like, apply for a job as your subordinate. And when the professional Ghanaian chooses to return abroad where their skills will be optimized to their best potential, you shame them for not seeing the course through and staying at home to develop the nation.

Hahahahaa! It’s beautiful! I have created a craptastic human masterpiece, and my medium of choise is the toil, sweat and tears of the everyday Ghanaian!

I am the specter who would rather you all dwell in darkness, both physical and proverbial, than to see you prosper. Your doom enriches my sincerest servants. Dumsor could have been solved 30 years ago by the likes of Benjamin Dedjoe, Senior Electrical Engineer at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Arsenal division. But I do not want dumsor to end. What other campaign promises can my servants run on? This is why I have and WILL reject any Ghanaian’s offer to solve the electricity and human waste problems, even if those services are to be rendered gratis. We would rather kowtow to Germans than to solve Ghana’s problems with Ghanaian know-how.

Rejection Letter MOPE

You will not win this fight, so-called Progressive Ghanaians. You are too weak. Be honest, you have resigned yourself to the fact that it will always be this way, haven’t you?

Did I mention that I am also the patron spirit over football, the opium for the masses? You silly Progressive Ghanaians forget all your woes, as long as there is electricity for football. Oh, you say you are not among those, eh? Your progressivism is “different,” right? The Ghanaian who would label him/herself “progressive” is not of one sort or the other. That is the beauty of my plan. I have confused you all! A progressive Ghanaian is one who calls himself a women’s rights advocate while saying it is impossible to rape a Ghanaian woman because she is “cheap” by nature. A progressive Ghanaian is one who mandates monthly clean up exercises but does not provide the tools or instructions to do so. A progressive Ghanaian tells you to defecate in the sea so fish can eat your poo, rather than in facilities you must pay for. Every 4 years, dozens of “progressive Ghanaians” crisscross the country with loud speakers and flashy cars, promising free uniform shirts for students while their parents lose their jobs at factories or entire livelihoods because the cedi has fallen.

Speaking of the cedi, it didn’t rise when it was commanded, did it? Ask yourself why. >>>Abonsam Moja was covering that thang!<<<

You silly cartoons. I really do enjoy watching you. Until you learn to speak the language of the imbecile, you will never transform this country. And to do that, you must become imbeciles yourselves. There is no way out of this. Ghana will never work again. Not in 50 years, and not in 500 when the Chinese invasion is complete. Get comfortable in your mediocrity. Your demise is nigh.

Sincerely,

The Devil

 

Open Letter to Kathleen Addy

You this Kathleen Addy woman. You asked for it…now come and receive it!

Dear Kathleen Addy:

When I accepted your friend request on Facebook a little over a month ago, I did it with blind faith. We share some similar “friends”, and I thought we could be cool. I can now see that nothing could be further from the truth, and I am writing today to give it to you. I shall not hold back!

You see, Kathleen, I have evolved. I am not that idealistic woman you met online in December of 2014. I have taken off my Polly Anna rose colored glasses and MOVED on. I have outgrown the things that concern you…those things in particular being your thoughts about how Ghana should look/act/operate. You are just going to frustrate yourself, because quite frankly, you are frustrating me. When you grow, you will eventually reach my levels.

There are so many things I want to say, but for the sake of brevity I will attempt to keep this to under 1500 words. Let’s just start with your political stand.

You don’t behave like a Ghanaian where politics is concerned, and this is appalling. You engage in civil debate. Your tone is always measured. Your comments, on any topic, are concise. You refuse to bloviate. You steer clear of hyperbole. You always have examples to back up your claims. And furthermore, you give people the latitude to be a part of and support whatever political party they choose and WILL NOT deride them for it. This is not the way a Ghanaian should behave when it comes to politics, and I wish there was a word in English to express the disgust I feel on that score. Let’s just settle for ‘tweeeaaa’, for now.

Secondly, you want too much too soon. You want transparency. You want honesty and integrity. You want clean air and efficiency. Damnit, Kathleen, WE ARE AFRICANS! We don’t do any of these things, got it? Remember the story you told about your (former) house help’s father coming to gift you plantain…and his 10 year old daughter? Your response was to lecture him on the dangers of child trafficking and to warn him about the types of people who could (and will) sexually abuse his daughter if he does not guard her welfare more closely. I could not believe what I was reading. What kind of a response was this from an African woman? The correct response was to take the child, force her to sleep on the kitchen floor like a dog, compel her to wake at dawn daily to scrub your home and slumber only after YOUR lights and the lights of YOUR children had gone off. You were to treat he like the Black slave that most Ghanaians look at children as. Do you honestly think that the country’s political, religious and social elite are not exploiting the poor and young to their advantage, paying them a pittance if anything at all? Again, you failed in your duty and to that I say tweaaa!

Now let’s get to the matter that inspired this communique: Your recent moaning over Ghana’s plans to use coal to generate power to augment the current energy capacity. We’ve already discussed this, but since this is an open letter and your Facebook page is not, I will reiterate my ire with your kvetching here. As I have already explained, we are talking about GHANA. We have to go backwards to feel like we’re making progress so that when we finally end up back at our starting point, we can pat ourselves on the back for how far we’ve come. It’s called ‘expectation management’, and I wish you’d get yourself a slice. Never mind that this is a temporary solution and that if adopted for the long term, Ghana will find itself importing coal to keep this scheme afloat. The point is not to make it work, or even to find a long term solution: the point is about winning the next election. If the ruling party can provide consistent electricity for just 30 straight days around the Xmas, Ghanaians will be so elated that they will forget the hardship and horror they’ve been living under for the past 3 and vote these geniuses back into power. Why are you trying to mess with the plan? Do Ghanaians ever actually plan, unless that plan is a plan to fail?

gallery1These your contrary ideals are contrary to the trajectory that Ghana has been on for the last 40 years, okay? Ghana is great at this ONE thing, and you and your ilk want to rob the country of that. Ghana excels at sucking, okay? When it comes to FUBARing a perfectly good country with a model citizenry, there are nations in the world who can do it with as much efficiency as the good ol’ GH. We went from HIPC status, to debt forgiveness, and are now gleefully hurtling towards HIPC status again with the vim of a mad man intent on pouring his excrement on a passing vehicle in Osu traffic. Speaking of excrement, you are aware that the capital and its environs are mired in it, aren’t you? I heard you and that rebel Akyaa I-clean-beaches-for-fun Nkrumah are hatching schemes to do something about that. Who told you Ghanaians want clean air, water, roads and beaches? Huh?!? Don’t you know we have the most polluted place on the planet in our midst? Agbogbloshie is literally THE NASTIEST place on planet Earth. We are number one! If you take that from us with your radical ideas, forcing people to question and challenge the status quo, real change may actually come. And then what will happen to our precious number one status?

Ghana’s penchant for sucking is so well-known that Hollywood is even considering doing a movie about it. Remember the $3M that our Black Stars were owed that needed air lifting? If our officials weren’t so abysmally inefficient in their duties, would Hollywood come a-knocking to put us on a global cinematic stage? To borrow a phrase from Delay why are you trying to “sit up” on Ghana’s fame?

In this environment of yentie obiaa (we can’t hear you) and fa ma Nyame (leave it to God), rebels like you cannot be tolerated. People like you give Ghana and Ghanaians hope, and hope in these times is very dangerous. We can’t have people thinking that things will or might change. We can’t have women thinking they are a capable as men, and we certainly can’t have women thinking they are worthy of their respect. We can’t have folks thinking they deserve a responsible media corps. We certainly be expecting political leaders (mayors, MPs, deputies, council/assembly men and women) showing up on time for work and focused on carrying out their responsibilities. We should expect doctors and nurses to work for free. We should expect to be harassed by the police. We should expect Ghana to fail at anything that does not involve a sheet of paper. And we better start learning Chinese, as our new masters will expect us all to be proficient in their language. Well, really I should say YOU. Like I said before, I have left Ghana to its own devices.

Just leave Ghana, okay, Kathleen? Ghana doesn’t want deep thinkers or positive change. Ghana wants shysters, swindlers, cowards and failures at the helm. How many of your elders have approached you and advised you to abandon this course you’ve purposely put yourself on? Haven’t you already been warned that you will be punished by some version of Mahama’s Gestapo if you keep speaking out in the manner in which you do? Is that what you want? Are you not afraid? Or do you (and those your friends) really think you can turn things around and force the country to live up to its potential?

Girl please.

Floyd Mayweather stands a better chance reading War and Peace cover to cover.

In conclusion, I am sick of you and people like you…but I am mostly sick of YOU. You need to just give up and stop trying so hard all the daggum time.

 

With all the revulsion I can muster without puking,

Malaka

 

 

NB: For those reading, I beg you oooo. This is all tongue-in-cheek. I don’t actually feel this way about Kathleen!

A Vision for a Black Star: Ghana’s Hopes for the year 2020

Even though I don’t live in the country, Ghana is never far from my mind. The proximity of the state of the country to my consciousness has everything to do with remittances, relaxation and eventual retirement. Although I do not call the country my permanent home, I have invested a lot in its development indirectly, as have thousands of Ghanaians who live abroad. The Kufuor administration even went so far as to name remittances from the Ghanaian diaspora as a major contributor to GDP growth and encouraged the Diaspora to send even more money back home for the cause of development. These claims and calls did not come without controversy, however.

Like any “investor”, I have been doing a great deal of thinking about the impact of my money and what kind of return I can expect. Hitherto I had thought of myself and any other working Ghanaian as a cabal of Angel Investors, whose sole function is to blindly (albeit sometimes grudgingly) provide funds and resources to our dependents on the continent without expecting anything in return. It turns out I was wrong. We were ALL wrong! In 1996, the ruling government DID promise us something in return…they just never talked about it much. There was indeed a vision laid out for the running of the country, however I’m sure they hoped we would all forget if they kept mum on the matter.

When I was in college back in the 90’s, I heard some talking head mention something about Vision 2020 and development goals. Ghana was supposed to be on par with the Asian Tigers – or whoever the competition du jour was – according to the man speaking. I filed that information. Fast-forward nearly 20 years later and there is unrest everywhere, from nursing protests, TUC strikes and the Occupy Ghana demonstrations. The concerns are valid and they are very real.

In conversation, the phrase “Ghana is hard ooo”, followed by the forlorn sucking of teeth is uttered from perspiring, hardworking people every day. All these people want is the Better Ghana they were promised. But what does that look like? For some, it’s just a chance to garner and complete a quality education. They can take it from there. For others, it is food security and a life without fear of where one’s next meal will come from. For another it’s a thriving business in an environment where people are empowered to patronize said business. Others still just hope to have their own home one day. Ghanaians want what anyone else in the world wants. Stability, health and happiness. This is what Vision 2020 was supposed to give every Ghanaian citizen.

I came across a document online that outlines what was supposed to have been achieved in Ghana over the course of 25 years, from 1996-2020. I was compelled to search for it, because I have yet to hear any politician from NDC or NPP talk about a real plan for how to move the country to middle income, and more importantly, self-reliant status. The only things Ghanaians get on a consistent basis from either party are platitudes and finger pointing. Sometimes that finger comes right back to the citizen with leaders demanding that citizens do their share. Well, sir (and it’s always a sir), where is the reciprocity? Everyday Ghanaian life is naught but a series of sacrifices. Our children die in hospitals where there is no water and electricity. There are only 4 oncologists in the whole nation, operating in only TWO cancer centers (Accra and Kumasi). People have no choice but to defecate in the open because each successive government has failed to provide the amenities that would give these folks basic human dignity. What, I ask again, is left for them to give?

The poorly written document that contains the Vision 2020 goals can be found HERE It reads like a wish list and has no concrete plans to guide it, and though riddled with fluff and thoroughly banal in its execution, it makes a fascinating read. I mean, someone actually took the time to put a dream on paper…and that dream would have been glorious if only we have the leadership to execute it. It talks of abolishing customs that hinder the advancement of women; about using science and technology to solve socio-economic problems; and about providing power to the entire nation using the most modern methods available. There’s even a Green agenda in there as well, with talk of reducing pressure on forests for wood fuels and setting up models for biogas use in villages. By the year 2020, Ghana was to have been a utopia. But what do we have instead?

GalamseyNow we have entire woodlands destroyed as people desperate for a living hacked down trees and gutted whole forests in search of gold. The toll ‘galamsey’ (informal mining) has had on the environment has been catastrophic. Ghana was once a global provider of timber…now the country imports it. If your child is lucky enough to go to school, he/she will have to sit in shadow or risk being feasted on my mosquitoes as they do their homework under streetlamps or at banks. One of the most dangerous things a woman can do in many parts of Ghana is get pregnant, as maternal health is so abysmal that a sub-chief who had previously worked abroad as a veterinarian visiting KATH said that he wouldn’t let his dog give birth there. And as far as women’s rights…well, you know about my good friend Nelson Baani and the non-apology he has offered in conjunction with an absence of any sort of reprimand from his bosses.

That’s not to paint a completely bleak picture though. There are some very nice restaurants, a new highway the leads to the Western Region and of course, the Accra Mall – the city’s jewel – a jewel mired with snarling traffic and accessible by a labyrinth of roads that look like they were designed by a lunatic schizophrenic. There is development in Ghana, but it is nowhere near the level we were (secretly) promised or what the architects intended. These are mere trinkets when we were pledged a crown glittering with jewels.

2020viz

This is what makes scandals like GYEEDA, SADA, the CHRAJ spending scandal and a litany of other incidences wherein thievery and corruption are the hallmarks. These monies were to be used to make Ghana great. It was for the citizens and generations to come. Vision 2020 promised that all Ghanaians would be free from crushing, abject poverty by the time my children came of age. Whoever takes control of power in 2016 will then have 4 years to make it happen. But the reality is, I don’t think most political or civic leaders are even aware of this document’s existence, let alone the plans it contains within. One of our complaints as Ghanaians is that we have visionless leaders. That’s not true. Rawling’s NDC took the time to create a vision and it was his party – if none other – that should have endeavored to make that vision a tangible reality. What we have is a group of gluttonous sloths, wholly and solely committed to engorging themselves on the suffering of the people, but they are not ‘visionless’.

That much, we can all see.

The Diplomatic Importance of General Mosquito’s Faux Fox Coat

There has been much ado made about Asiedu Nketia’s donning of a knee-length tan shearling coat in Germany for the last few days. The NDC General Secretary has been mocked mercilessly by Ghanaians of social media and on local radio. Even BBC for Africa joined in the fray, noting how the Secretary admitted that he had borrowed his wife’s coat to protect him from the biting chill of a German winter. Like President Mahama’s village boy in the city pose in front of the CNN Center post interview, the NDC cadre has declared that General Mosquito (Mr. Nketia’s nickname) in drag is no big deal.

asiedu

“I went to Germany for brain work, not [a] fashion show,” Asiedu Nketia declared. He went on to add that he chose to wear his wife’s coat because he “did not want to use state funds to buy a coat” and that he “borrows his wife’s clothes all the time.”

“In fact, anytime my wife comes down, she borrows my clothes as well,” General Mosquito announced on public radio.

As a married woman, I get this. I sometimes borrow my husband’s underwear as well. There is tons of room in both the crotch and backside. They are also made of the finest cotton. I can slip in and of them without getting my short and curlies snagged in the fabric, which always makes for a pleasant trip to the bathroom. But does Marshall wear my underwear? That, my friends, you will never know…because Marshall is a strong Black man who would rather eat his own knee caps than admit that he and his wife swapped clothes. Marshall is not a pimp, and as Slick Back will tell you, pimpin’ aint easy.

Eish! I'm sure the president is pleased! Got muh pointy shoes, sheepish grin AND dis dead buffalo on my back! Coon crown, here I come!

Eish! I’m sure the president is pleased! Got muh pointy shoes, sheepish grin AND dis dead buffalo on my back! Coon crown, here I come!

It takes a certain amount of disregard for your dignity to don women’s clothing in public. About 89% of pimp garb is comprised of feminine silhouettes, fabrics and accessories. Despite the absence of masculinity in their attire, there is usually no one more ferocious and dominating on the block than the neighborhood pimp. Such a man must be completely confident in his testicular fortitude. Prince – with his spiked heels and lace blouses – has been doing it for decades, and has not come out worse for the wear. In fact, he set trends for a particular segment of pop culture in the 80’s. Similarly, Secretary Asiedu has pronounced that he has also served as a trend setter by making it okay for African men to wear copious levels of fur in colder climates. Only the most confident human beings know what kind of self-assurance it takes to don the skin of a ferocious dead animal, and although General Mosquito’s was cut for the Queen, the simplicity of it still screamed “don’t screw with me! I’ll cut!”

What most people have failed to grasp is that Asiedu Nketia has actually done the nation a great service. He accompanied the President’s delegation to Germany to ask the world’s best engineers to solve our electricity problem. Hannah Tetteh, who cuts an imposing figure was draped in a structured black overcoat, back erect and face set like a flint. She looked too much like a strong African woman. Who then was to play the part of the helpless African child? Bravely, Asiedu Nketia took up the post, and we should all be grateful. Shame on you know-it-alls who have been deriding him for this choice! He did this for you!

Everyone knows white people are far more comfortable in the presence of Black men when they don’t look so…well…Black. For centuries, Black men who have voluntarily eviscerated their own masculinity have been well rewarded for their efforts. White people don’t like thugs, but boy, do they love a Black man in drag! Flip Wilson, Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence and most recently, Tyler Perry, are all Black men who have played some version of the Mammie figure, putting on wigs, dresses and hints of poorly matched rouge, flapping, screeching and squawking for cameras for white laughs. In return, they get loads money and live fabulously, while your bus driving, minimum wage-making, masculinity-still-in-tact husband entreats you to “rely on God” and promises you it will “be okay after a while.” Nonsense! Don’t you also like diamonds? Oh that would all Black men just put their pride aside for the advancement for the race!

Similarly, whites only help Africans when they look poor and witless…and Asiedu Nketia played that part convincingly. You think I’m lying? When was the last time you saw a foreign aid commercial featuring African children who were fully clothed, well-fed and living in a sturdy looking home? Who helps people who look like they have it all together? Such children do exist, and they do need aid; however that image does not tug on the heartstrings of white guilt. Asiedu Nketia, a whooooole government official shivering against the cold in his wife’s coat, however, does. The German’s felt guilty, benevolent, patronizing and compassionate. They did not feel like they were in the presence of equals, and this perception is vital if Africans are to receive the technological know-how from the West and Asia if we are to survive. Lord knows it is impossible to conceive of the idea that African governments should think to recruit the veritable thousands of MIT, Harvard or Morehouse graduates to come back home and use their knowledge to develop the nation. Why should President Mahama recruit and court Ghanaians in the diaspora who have worked and led in the fields of physics, CIT and agriculture? Nah dawg! Instead, he would rather let Asiedu Nketia pose for the German camera’s looking like a rack and the Goodwill on Crenshaw.

And God bless him for it.

I can see the scene before the President’s entourage went out to meet Merkel n dems.

“Hannah,” said JDM, entreating the statuesque Minister of Foreign affairs. “Hannah, we need someone to play the poor, stupid African. Can you put on these flip flops with your suit and go and meet the German chancellor? This is the last 15 minutes in the game, and we need a closer!”

Hannah Tetteh gives him that cold, unwavering side-eye she’s known for and offers the president a frosty, curt “no.” But it was okay. Asiedu Nketia slid onto the field and came to the President’s aid, like Asamoah Gyan in the last few critical minutes of a match, ready to defend Ghana’s honor.

“It’s okay, Mr. President!” he cried gleefully. “I have here with me my wife’s winter coat. The world won’t know what hit it!”

Humph. Malaria doesn’t have the power to keep a Mosquito down. What a goal!

Remember: Asiedu General Mosquito Nketia has said that he did not want to use state funds to buy a coat when his wife’s would do. Now, isn’t the General a public servant? Is his salary not provided by the state? Don’t these delegations get a substantial per diem when they travel abroad? Surely, he could have parted with 100 cedis to purchase himself some dignity? What is all this talk of not embezzling funds? Why would you need to? You could afford it on your own!

The only logical conclusion we can draw is that Mr. Asiedu made this breach of protocol on purpose, and in doing so, he has saved Ghana. The Germans will some, and they will end dumsor (rolling power outages) in six months. How could they not? The man can’t even dress himself for an official presentation. How can anyone expect this cabal of “great thinkers” to solve the power crisis? Of course the Germans will come to Ghana’s rescue!

asmFurthermore and in conclusion, Asiedu Nketia and choice of gender bending garb have (probably) ushered in a new era of acceptance in Ghanaian politics, and this is a good thing. This will be an era when Ghanaian men are not so beholden to traditional norms, built on machismo that have held the nation back. You see this man? Behold, and keep beholding! This is the future. I can support someone like this. This is the image of the better Ghana agenda at work!

Wiyaala to drop new single for Peace and Unity in Africa

Wiyaala press

Wiyaala drops her new single “Africa” on the 29th September. The song was debuted live at “A Night of 1018 Laughs” to a wildly enthusiastic crowd in a performance described by critics as “immense”, “awesome” and “the Angelique Kidjo of our time”.

Following her knock-about antics in the hit songs, “Rock My Body” and “Go Go Black Stars”, Wiyaala turns her attention to more serious issues:

“I was partly inspired to write ‘Africa’ by Sherifa Gunu, who helped me during some difficult times. Like my dear sister, I want to send out a message for peace. Africa is blessed with huge natural and human resources, yet we refuse to live in harmony? I’m not just talking about wars and terrorism, I’m also talking about hatred and jealousy on a personal level where we fight as individuals, bear false witness and create enmity between ourselves.”

“Africa” is the first single to be released from the self-titled album “Wiyaala” due out in November. The song, on which the singer plays the acoustic guitar live, was produced and recorded by Jurgen Von Wechmar at Sunset Recording Studios in Stellenbosch, South Africa. A video for “Africa” is expected soon.

 

Leave your comments about how giddy with excitement you are about this here. I’ll lead you.

Sun & Moon: Wiyaala’s Lesson on Tolerance

One of the hallmarks of what makes an artist great is the subject matter they choose to address through their craft. Indeed, the idea and the messages that an artist adopts as their core mission will determine whether he or she will be remembered and revered in the annals of music history, or will fade from memory like a dying star. This is why Bob Marley is an icon, and Buju Banton’s music was something we boggled to for a few years in the 90’s and haven’t brought up since. Marley’s music had – and still has – a timeless, relevant message about poverty, love and pride; and since “boom bye-bye in a batty boy head” is considered hate speech… well, you get the picture.

Consumer appetite for music is ever changing. There was a time when “message music” was the order of the day until record executives decided that people no longer wanted to be preached to. Somewhere between the late 70’s and early 80’s, you begin to see a shift in themes covered in popular Top 40 songs, most centering around partying, every so often around romance, and eventually exclusively around sex.

I don’t know if we’re better off for it, but that’s the state of things.

For those of us who grew up on and in love with Bob Marley, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye and others who occupied space in the musical vanguard, there has been an unfillable void in contemporary music in this area. It’s the reason we clutch so dearly to John Legend, Janelle Monae and the High Priestess of Musical Mind-bending – Erykah Badu. Instead of relying on tired, 10 for a dollar, sexually explicit matter like many of their contemporaries, these artists express a range in the themes they cover: sometimes sensual, often political, always relevant.

In my opinion, Noella Wiyaala absolutely belongs in this rank.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting my fair share of Ghanaian artists; some because we shared the same social circles or educational opportunities, and others by happy accident… but I am hard pressed to think of any who is as generous and genuine as Wiyaala.

She recent shared her single Sun & Moon with me, which will be on her album coming out in November (*gleeful shriek!*). I played the song for my children, and we shared similar reactions.

“It’s so peaceful,” my second born remarked with a sigh. “But I don’t understand what she’s saying…”

“It doesn’t matter. It just matters how it makes you feel.”

Wiyaala sings the song in Sissala and it is based around a traditional folk song sung from the villages of the Upper West. The Sissala have earned a reputation for being needlessly aggressive and war-hungry, which makes the story around the song and the song itself reason to pause and consider it more deeply.

The song is about a group of villagers who are sat round discussing life (in the days before TV) and chatting. The elder poses the question:

“Who amongst us doesn’t have issues?”

After much debate, the conclusion was that everyone – no matter their background – has concern and problems. The elder who posed the question then goes on to suggest that everyone in the village pause, reflect on their actions before making rash decisions and exercise patience since “whatever our issues, the sun will give way to the moon and in its turn the moon will give way to the sun.”

 

 

The stars are out

They shine so bright

Sun and Moon 

Anxiously wait their turn

But who can tell what

Judgement day will bring?

 

 

If you happened to catch the Tamale Summit online, you may recall Wiyaala talking about the global marketability of Northern culture and language, and the huge opportunities that are being missed.

Her assertion is that songs/rap from Northern region are just as palatable as hip-life done in Akan/Twi, however many potential artists from other disenfranchised parts of the country are led to believe that their mother-tongue is not marketable. However, the brilliance of King Ayisoba – who hails from the North and is making inroads on the path to international acclaim – dispels this myth. Unfortunately (and shamefully), one is more likely to hear Ayisoba on German radio than to hear him in Accra at drive time. It is another case of Ghanaians not valuing our culture and its purveyors at home.

Image from ghanajist

Image from ghanagist

Wiyaala is the most generous musical artist in Ghana in my estimation because she looks at fame beyond herself and does it so effortlessly and unconsciously. During the Tamale Summit, she mentioned plans to build a stage in her hometown where young men and women can come and practice singing and stage presence. While other musicians’ goal is to “put Ghana on the map” through their personal rise to fame, she seeks to empower others and provide tangible structures to enable them to do so. This is what cements a woman’s honored place in history: to be remembered as someone who lifted and encouraged others to go beyond the heights even she has achieved.

Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t allow me to share mp3s on the site, otherwise I’d happily order you to click ‘Play’ and prepare yourself for auditory pleasure. The song is a lesson about tolerance, about preferring others above oneself, and about patience. In the end, everyone gets their turn, as no state of existence is forever, is it? I guess we’ll all have to wait until November when the album drops to have this conversation again!

 

2 hours later:

Oh look what I have for you! Click ‘Play’ :)