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.
“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.
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!
Furthermore 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!