Category Archives: GH2013

Which One of You Told John Mahama This Is The Season For Halloween?

President Mahama is on the campaign trail like it’s a trick or treat track and I want to know which one of you is responsible.

No.

No!

I know John Dramani Mahama did not contrive with these shenanigans alone. He has co-conspirators. He has collaborators. I want you to show yourselves! I refuse to believe that the Commander in Chief has taken to shopping for his wardrobe at Party City on his own counsel. Someone else is responsible for this travesty and the nation deserves to know who it is so that they can be publicly tarred and feathered. How did your father pay school fees for 18 years for you to give a whole president of the first sub-Saharan nation to receive independence this sort of reckless sartorial advice? I say show yourselves!

Or perhaps… No. It’s too fanciful a thought. It couldn’t be. Perhaps this is a decision my Dead Goat Syndrome suffering president made himself? Perhaps he alone came to the conclusion that dressing up as an Expendables reject was the way forward to winning the hearts and minds of the people of Ghana? I wouldn’t put it past him. I mean, this is a man given to gimmicks rather than implementing real solutions. Remember when the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority were introducing a policy document to declare the first Friday of every month Batakari Day? And then our dear president was trotted out for the cameras in his fugu, grinning from ear to ear like the World Bank had just approved another loan? It was supposed to boost exposure and patronage of Northern culture, but it fell flat for several reasons – reasons/blunders that repetitively manifest themselves in any policy implementation (or the lack of) in Ghana.

Let’s not lose focus here.

I have my own theories about why John Mahama has been treating the campaign trail like it’s perpetually 31st October and I challenge anyone to fight me on this! I believe it all goes back to this image right here:mahama-rawlings

 

You see what former President Rawlings is doing here? You see his body language? You see President Mahama’s facial reactions to what is being said to him? Because pictures are worth thousands of words, I don’t even need to be privy to their conversation to know what was said. This picture is screaming all kinds of things at me, at you, at the world at large.

They call Jerry Rawlings the ‘Benevolent Dictator’, and I can just hear him – benevolently – saying the following:

Rawlings: Nigga, you know you ain’t sh*t.

Mahama: Oh. Massa. Why you for talk so?

Rawlings: See how your Team D ministers are playing you. At least Mills had a Team B string of aides, appointees and paraprofessionals. It’s like you went to the bottom of the sludge pool and found the grimiest barrel, scraped it and voila! Here’s your cabinet.

Mahama: That’s kind of unfair. Some of these people worked in your government too.

Rawlings: Yes! And I kept them in line! Look, we all did corruption…but I only let it go so far. Your guys dierrr. There’s a Ga proverb about hot needles and threads. You should look it up some time.

Mahama: Ok fine. I know what you are saying is true. But what would you have me do?

Rawlings: Look at the shirt you are wearing sef. Sitting up here like a broke down Nelson Mandela. Do you even have your own identity? You are asking me what should you do? Look at me. Look at me, John! What would *EYE* do? You know exactly what it takes…I just don’t think you have what Akyaa Nkrumah calls radical enough balls to do so.

John Mahama sits back, stewing over the quiet tongue lashing given to him by this lion in winter. He despises the erstwhile dictator for telling him the ugly truth about himself, and he knows he has to hit back in the only way he knows how, with the only tool in his arsenal. That’s right: Kumawood gimmicks to the rescue once again.

“What if,” John Mahama thought to himself, “What if I drew on inspiration from my book for this final run for the office of president? My First Coup D’état wasn’t about an actual coup, naturally. But what if I could trick everyone into thinking I had radical enough balls to start a coup if I wanted?”

And that’s how John Mahama’s tough guy persona was born.

See him here preparing to ride his motto like Chuck Norris going to dinner at the Ritz.

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Then here again as Roadblock from G.I. Joe.

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Dude. You couldn’t even get someone to embroider your surname onto the pocket flap?

 

And then if you doubted how bad he could be, here’s our incumbent president dressed up as Idi Amin.

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At least Idi had balls enough to decorate himself with honors and medals he never earned in combat or for valor. There lines involving protocol and the use of military garb and Idi crossed all of them vagrantly. Mahama saw those limitations and settled on caution. Why be cautious now? You outchea looking like a sentinel from The Nutcracker. Go ahead and affix some pins to your uniform! If you gonna do it, DO IT, Mr. Mahama! I once had an acquaintance who decided to quit school and become a stripper in a local Atlanta club. She lived with her grandmother, who had no problem with that decision on one condition. She said, “If you gon’ strip, then you gon be the headliner.”

President Mahama: We’re going to need you to be the headliner if you’re going to dress up in fatigues and ceremonial uniforms from now on. Make us believe you to be the blowman you want the nation to see!

But in your quest to Tough Guy Presidency, you have not forgotten the people. You clearly want the penniless to join in the fun. Here you are, dressed up like Neo from the Matrix pretending to be a Sultan of old passing out “leaflets” to the adoring, desperate masses. See how excited they are to get ahold of those “leaflets”. Far be it from you to hand out money to citizens with no jobs, quality sanitation or public facilities.

 

I took personal umbrage with that assertion. Who do your detractors think you are? The Joker?

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As for me, I believe you to be a hard guy paa. You came to the UN General assembly and gave a rousing speech, imploring the West not to force democracy on African nations. You asked them to give us time to develop our democracies, make our own mistakes and grow at our own pace. I understand why this was a critical point in the speech you made, because just last weekend, Fadi Dabboussi, author, journalist and NPP stalwart was arrested by the BNI for writing “unfavorable and critical things about the president” in his new book. Fadi has been denied access to his lawyers and communication with his family. It’s like we’re living in 1983 all over again. I bet your people are really proud. 80’s fashion is back…why not 80’s fascism?

source: citifm

source: citifm

Yeah… Tough guy democracy. Kw333. That’s why as for me, I will only write favorable things about the you and the NDC on this blog. I wouldn’t want to find myself in a cell playing out some scene from an African horror flick the next time I visit home.

Happy Halloween!

You Okay, Brother Paul?

Dear Brother Paul:

I am compelled to check up on you after that amazing interview with Abyna Ansaa Adjei burst through the airwaves. Not amazing as in “stellar”, mind you. More along the lines of ‘What the heck did I just watch and more importantly, WHY is this happening????’ Have you ever seen a Chinese contortionist gently force a boiled egg into the delicate, hollow space between her legs and then violently push it out, extracting it whole and undamaged from her nether regions with naught but kegel strength. Well I have, Paul, and if you’re sitting there with your jaw slacked and your brow furrowed, bewildered as you imagine an Asian woman squeezing poultry products from her vagina, then you have some sense of what most of us were feeling after the latest edition of Good Evening Ghana aired: befuddlement.

How was this allowed to happen?

I know that this conversation is between you and I, but this is the innanets and people are really nosey. Let me just pause while I give them a quick background on what has disturbed The Force so acutely.

Paul Adom Otchere is the host of Good Evening Ghana, Metro TV’s “award winning, very insightful and probing current affairs program. Featuring high profile personalities, politicians, civil servants, decision makers and all who matter in the socioeconomic growth and development of Ghana.” On Wednesday, Abyna Ansaa Adjei – author and an NPP policy advisor – was invited to give an analysis of the NDC manifesto that was launched last week. If you are not interested in Ghanaian politics, none of this is actually important. But if you are into horror shows, the exchange between Paul and Abyna will be just your cup of tea. It’s 30+ minutes of brazen lunacy, preceded by 6 zany minutes where a “prophet” screams about President John Mahama residing ‘far in the spirit’. No, really. If you enjoy carnage, you have to watch this train slowly pull out of the station of the station, quickly crash into several obstacles and then spontaneously combust without the slightest warning. You don’t need to know what’s going on here to see what’s going on here.

There was no redeeming this segment after the introduction of Ms. Ansaa Adjei.

And Paul. I mean, you tried. When you introduced Abyna, I was ready to thumb my nose at her detractors online; people like Nana Ama Agyemang Asante who said that the NPP needed to take a closer look at those whom they chose to represent them. I mean, here was a woman who as you said is the author of TEN books, was assigned to the ministry of education, served as special assistant to President Kufour and is an alumna of both the prestigious KNUST and the London School of Economics. A woman all Ghanaians should be proud of. I was already brimming with pride. You then promised we your viewers a “surgical exercise” in the analysis of the NDC manifesto.

Chale. Paul. You don’t need me to tell you that what we were treated to instead was a butchering. A graceless, convulsive, tumultuous analytical butchering. Having Abyna Ansaa Adjei on your show was like watching the comments section of Ghanaweb come to life. She was – in that moment – the physical manifestation of the most troubling aspects of the proletariats’ contribution to the Internet. This from a graduate of LSE? They should just come and give her back her money, rescind their degree and spare all parties the embarrassment and awkwardness. Damn that woman. Now once again, I am put in a position to express contrition to Nana Ama for doubting her assessment of an issue/performance.

But back to you, Paul. I had to check up on a brotha to make sure you are okay. I saw you trying to wrangle the proverbial herd of cats. I recognized your desperate attempt to put the caboose back on the rails. I saw the horror and disbelief in your face when this supposed savant shouted “Heeeeyyyy! More vim!” in response to the one commenter who said that you had met your match in Ms. Adjei.

Match how?

Match where???

The exact moment when Paul realized that there actually may be dwarfs responsible for the collapse of the cedi and they may be living in Abyna's house.

The exact moment when Paul realized that there actually may be dwarfs responsible for the collapse of the cedi and they may be living in Abyna’s house.

It’s like saying Trump is a “match” for Hilary, or like Obama Hotel is a match for African Regent, or like I’m a match for Usain Bolt just because we both have two legs. I mean, how? My brodda, I ask again: Are you okay????

photo-php_As for this one, your producer has to be blamed. He/she really needs to invest more time in screening the subjects you have on your award winning show if you want to keep winning awards. Ms. Ansaa Adjei’s performance was like watching an indigent wander off the set of Jerry Springer onto Christiane Amanpour’s show. I can’t help but recall the international disgrace that was Fauster the Fraudster. Remember him? The dude who photoshopped his face into a space helmet and claimed he won a Nobel Prize and could speak like 35 languages when he appeared on Moomen Tonight? Remember that? Don’t ever go down with banku on your face like Moomen did.

For the purpose of flattery or derision, there are some people comparing Abyna Ansaa Adjei to Ursula Owusu, labeling her as either “strong” or “rude”. Ansaa Adjei is no Owusu. Ursula Owusu would have been prepared with an actual message. Ursula would have sat up straight in her chair and actually listened to the question she was being asked. Ursula would have demonstrated cognitive dexterity and decorum. Does she come across as harsh with her facts? Yes…but at least she has facts. Abyna Ansaa Adjei came with a pamphlet, grievances and rhetorical questions like “so we should clap for them?”

And then started clapping.

Merciful God.

Dude, look. I’ve never seen your show before. Wednesday’s edition was my first introduction to both you and your platform. I like you and for some reason, I feel very protective of you. The cold-as-ice demeanor you demonstrate while talking about politics reminds me of a friend I lost a few years ago. Like, you can smell the BS, but you’re going to let the person who brought it keep carrying it around until they eventually get tired and drop it. Don’t ever change, Paul. Okay? Don’t you ever change!

Yours now and until you screw up,

Malaka

 

 

You NPP reading this: You really have to chose your representatives better. I appreciate that you want to empower women, but you sent a girl to do a woman’s job. Seriously. I’ve seen JSS 1 students explain the nuances of photosynthesis better Ansaa Adjei explained her party’s position. You guys have billed and marketed yourselves as “intellectuals”, as refined yet relatable. You’ve been marketing yourself as the party with a clear difference… and yet you unleashed this female Ayariga to speak on your behalf. Don’t make that mistake ever again. Live up to the measure and standard you’ve set. And remember: the incumbent doesn’t lose elections…it’s down to the opposition to win them. In other words, JDM/NDC just needs to do nothing to retain power unless you up your game.

Franklin Cudjoe Doesn’t Need to Know a Woman to Know That She’s a Hoe!

Franklin Cudjoe is founding President and CEO of IMANI Center for Policy and Education. IMANI’s mission is to “subject any government policy that is likely to have systematic implications for development” to scrutiny and analysis and then actively engage in public advocacy to publicize the results. It’s a noble cause that is spearheaded by a man who also happens to be a closeted pervert.

That’s a mischaracterization. Franklin Cudjoe is an overt pervert.

Franklin Cudjoe. Image source: Atlas Network

Franklin Cudjoe. Image source: Atlas Network

Social media is a magnificent tool. It has the power to resurrect dreams and careers from dust, or reduce either to cinders. Social media is a double-edged sword. It gives people a false sense of security – the virtual anonymity that so many people assume that they can hide behind, while emboldening others who think that they can use their titles, degrees, government positions, verified accounts or the number of followers they have on their pages as clout; as a shield. Clearly Franklin Cudjoe – and his buddy, Evron Hughes– falls in the latter group. It was on Evron’s Facebook page that a sordid drama unfolded and confirmed this suspicion that many have long held.

Franklin Cudjoe (and the sort of men that function in similar frat ‘boys-boys’ cliques he belongs to) frequently makes repulsive comments about women publicly. Some are mild, and others downright revolting. Here is his latest offering.

This post caught so much flack that it was deleted from FB by the owner. But the innanets is forever, as are screen shots.

This post caught so much flack that it was deleted from FB by the owner. But the innanets is forever, as are screen shots.

 

Overused. And. Smelly.

I’m not going to keep you long, because the crass behavior exhibited here is rife among men of society’s upper strata and is certainly nothing new. It’s something we’re all familiar with and next week another man will say something equally stupid. He may even eclipse the foolishness of this statement. Once upon a time, however, this obtuse and gross behavior (and the conversations that accompanied it) was sequestered to smoking rooms, pool halls or toilet stalls in the back of greasy bars. Men in positions of power have long found comfort in targeting women’s bodies for ridicule, either for sport, spite or as sheer reflex. Every week we are presented with yet another example of men confidently vocalizing their warped perceptions about female genitalia and how where and how frequently it is engaged in sex. These delusions are shouted as fact, and when the targets of those utterances rightly express their outrage and point to these utterances as evidence of their unconscious bias, a Franklin Cudjoe will invariably attempt to placate them by asserting that these crude comments were made in jest.

“Lighten up! It was just a joke!”

This bull stopped being funny a long time ago.

What I find irritating is that Franklin Cudjoe and his ilk refuse to grasp that gravity of their sins and how their attitudes and words have far reaching effects and consequences. One day you’re joking about how a ladies’ faction of a political organization is populated by “overused and smelly” women (a clear reference to the condition of their vaginas), and then the next you’re making a case for putting attractive women with stellar academic track records through additional screening during the hiring process because the credentials of a beautiful lady are “suspect”. This is the advice that Kofi Amoabeng, the founder of UT Holdings unashamedly admitted giving his underlings during a recent interview. He intimates is that good-looking women use sex appeal and/or sex to get better grades (grades presumably given by men) and therefore can’t be as good in their job as their certificate/marks would indicate. Now, “without warning”, that joke…that perception…is now policy.

My ire is further enflamed when you consider that these men see other men – poor men, uneducated men, NDC footsoldiers – as the problem. The other guy is the threat and obstacle to female success in Ghana, not them! But you know what? When the truth always comes out in the wash, and the same fellows who were bellowing about the release of the Montie 3 – a group of men who notoriously threatened to rape a Supreme Court judge – have the unmitigated gall to pass disgusting comments about women every day. Just because those comments are not on the radio and rather made on the presumed safety of your personal Facebook page doesn’t make them any less insidious or appalling.

A handful of people have had their say about what Evron Hughes and Franklin Cudjoe, two men who have jockeyed for political relevance using the reality that is the abysmal state of Ghana’s socio-political landscape to further that end, in lengthy published pieces online. Their offence is all the more repulsive because they have voluntarily and intentionally placed themselves in positions to judge the misdeeds of their political adversaries… and to profit from it. These are supposed to be men of some sort of elevated moral standard, men you expect to demonstrate a level of couth and consideration because of the sort of advocacy they profess to be all about. But what does it say when one guy posts an image of two women at an about-face posture asks another to “quantify” what he’s looking at? Are these women’s bodies tomatoes or other commodities to be sold on the stock exchange? How is this behavior any different from the pimp selling women on an e-auction block, a horrible reality that countless women and girls who are trafficked for sex endure every day?

And furthermore to have that query met with the response: Overused and smelly.

This is where I get raw with you guys, and feel free to check out here if you need to.

Overused:

A woman whose body is being traded for the sexual gratification of men can expect to have 1-3 penetrative encounters a day in order to make her quota. That’s on the “reasonable” end of the spectrum. A 12-year-old girl who was recently rescued from the trade in Atlanta said that her pimp (her mother’s boyfriend) would force her to have 5-6 encounters (oral sodomy, vaginal and/or anal penetrative sex) A DAY. Those were acts that were against her will. She was a “whore” by every social scientific definition of the word. Currency passed hands for the use of her body. Hundreds of thousands of girls and women face this trauma globally.

So to make a “joke” about the presumed overuse of a woman’s private parts is in fact to call her a whore. The query about quantifying it is to ask how much you (Evron) think she’s worth.

Smelly:

When you’re a whore, you don’t usually get to take long leisurely showers between clients. Clients like Franklin Cudjoe, who are intimate with the odor that accompanies frequent sexual encounters and less frequent encounters with soap and water.

The after shocks from having sex do not always end with a “glow” for women. Sometimes sex results in bruising, pain and yes, discharge.

“Sex trafficking victims are particularly susceptible to sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, syphilis, urinary tract infections, and pubic lice. Human immunodeficiency virus/ AIDS infection is known to be prevalent. They may experience pelvic pain, vaginal/anal tearing, rectal trauma, and/or urinary difficulties as a result of commercial sex work. Sex trafficking victims are often physically abused and tortured.” – Source, NCBI

You think that sort of trauma isn’t going to produce a smell?

In Ghana, today, in 2016, there are villages populated by women with fistula, shunned because they emit an odor so foul that they are driven from their homes in shame because they don’t have access to decent obstetrical care. Yeast infections aside, if a woman’s vagina is “smelly”, it’s usually because it has come into contact with some ridiculous bloke’s penis.

That Franklin Cudjoe could look at a picture of two faceless women and immediately determine what sexual and hygienic habits they employ speaks volumes about him. It speaks volumes about what sort of men Ghanaian society is propping up. Those who come to his aid and claim that we should all “move on” are the fuel that keeps this forest fire burning. Look at this (non)apology:

 

*Eye roll* Of all the retarded mea culpas that ever were...

*Eye roll* Of all the retarded mea culpas that ever were…

Feminists and anthropologists have been telling us about how racism and sexism are cut from the same cloth…how they are opposite sides of the same coin. Franklin Cudjoe’s quip about having NPP women as friends is as stomach turning as George Zimmerman pointing to his work with one Black kid he big brothered in 4H as evidence of his ally ship with the Black community.

That this would happen on the waning days of Women’s Month shows how far we have to go with a nation. In the mind of our most elite men, every woman is a hoe. Is that what it all boils down to? Lydia Forson is a hoe because she has an opinion. Yvonne Nelson is a hoe because she led Dumsor Must Stop. Sandra Ankobiah is sho nuff a hoe, because she’s always on vacation. How are women supposed to feel safe, included and have their cerebral contributions taken seriously in spheres run by chauvinists like Cudjoe and Amoabeng and Agyapong, and Dela Coffie, and Ampaw and, and, and…

 

To quote your uncle, are we safe?

 

 

Awkward Open Letter of Commiseration to President John Mahama

I can’t believe I’m about to write this…but what they hey. Carpe dat diem.

 

My Dearest Excellency JDM| President of the Fourth Republic| Father of a disputed number of children| Dead Goat | “You Mean As a Human Being?” Asker| Charmer of panties off Real Housewives of Atlanta.

I greet you.

I know I haven’t hollered at you in a while, but when NDC foot soldiers threaten your family, it kinda makes you sit back and reevaluate all the things you once believe about Ghanaian decency and integrity…and intelligence, quite frankly. But whatevs. I’ve got some stuff I have to say – some stuff you koraaa, you know in your own heart yourself.

Before we get into any heavy lifting, I want to offer you my condolences for the loss of your mother. I know that the bond between mother and son is one of the strongest known to man, and I’m sure she was very proud to see her baby boy rise to the highest position in the land. I was really happy to see that the opposition allowed you to mourn in peace without resorting to barbaric tactics like making wild accusations that you killed your mother ahead of the elections to garner the sympathy vote. With how crass politicians of all stripes are in Ghana, I wouldn’t have put it past them. In terms of conduct, the run of the mill Ghanaian politician circa 2016 has the appeal of the underbelly of a sewer serpent a quality that serves the nation poorly. I hope in your next term as president, you will call for more circumspection among your ministers.

Oh? You’re surprised to hear me admit AND congratulate you for winning the 2016 election? Why should you be? We all know that your party will win…not that y’all deserve to. It’s not fair, but it’s life. At 2pm today, there is a woman in Asia today that’s going to abort her female fetus because she just got paid and girl children are “useless” in provinces all over Asia. That girl fetus ain’t deserve to die, but it powerless to stop it, isn’t it? You are the Asian mother and the Ghanaian public are the fetus. There’s nothing we can do but wait and see if the abortionists – in this case, a metaphor for your cabinet – are going to destroy us with forceps or fire. We live to see.

So, about your ministers. Dude. You GOTS to call these people to order!

I once said that like George Bush, yours is the public face of private failures. Did George Bush ruin America in a vacuum? All by his little self? Absolutely not. There were all kinds of departments and agencies and individuals behind the scenes responsible for the messes that were made of American lives. Likewise, every time the lights go off, or a child dies in a hospital that has no beds or the stench of a rotting lagoon washes over the population, we blame John Mahama. Not John D. Mahama the man, per se, but what he represents…which is failure, incompetence, and corruption. But you know what? I’m about to admit something that I never thought I would…or could.

Maybe, Mr. Mahama, MAYBE none of this is your fault. Maybe the people who you’ve surrounded yourself with won’t LET you be great. Maybe you’re not strong enough to buck against the political machine that has ruled and ruined Ghana since we became a democracy.

This notion was confirmed when I – nay the WORLD- saw the top brass in the NDC signing a petition to compel you to invoke article 72 and press for the release of 3 radio presenters who threatened to rape, murder and maim our nation’s Supreme Court Justices. However, I first realized it when Hannah Tetteh inadvertently revealed that she don’t know what’s going on in the presidency and vice versa.

Remember the early days of #BringBackOurGirls? Remember how distraught many Ghanaians were that you – our nation’s leader – had not reached out to Nigerians to commiserate with them and share in their heartbreak? Hannah told us on twitter that it didn’t work that way…that the president couldn’t just release public statements like this and that you MIGHT in due time. But then, what did we see a few days later? I’ll tell you what! It was an article on Ghanaweb that announced that you in fact ALREADY had written a letter of condolence and support to Nigeria’s president, and showed us that it was dated in early May 2014. It was then that I knew that your ministers don’t know what you’re up to and you’re just as blind to their activities.

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Like no. Look at the Oye Lithurs. You got Tony up in your office telling you NOT to jeopardize your legacy, the perception that Ghana is indeed a place that operates under the rule of law and the integrity of the presidency by invoking Article 72 for the benefit of three radio hoodlums. Right? And then what is his wife busy doing? Signing petitions to compel you to do that very thing! What madness is this? I wonder how dinner went at their house that night…

 

“Nana! You’re tripping! Have you taken leave of your senses? Have you forgotten your duty to uphold the law?”

“Tony! You’ve got to understand! It’s just ONE woman’s sexual assault we’re talking about. We have to think of the PARTY first!”

“My God, woman. What is wrong with you?”

“I’m feeling good. AND, I’ll have you know I lost an additional 10 lbs on the SlimFast plan today. You wanna have sex?”

“Well…yeah. I guess. Since you’re looking all good…”

And then Tony Oye Lithur puts his Lithurlettes in Nana Oye Lithur…or he puts them in a bag. I don’t know how old folks handle their contraceptive business. All I DO KNOW for sure is that you, my president, are left holding that bag. That’s right. Tony and Nana (and Valerie and Hannah) get to get off, skeet their perverse pleasure and you have a slippery, gushy mess on your literal and figurative hands.

 

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Your ministers don’t respect you. They never should have put you in this position. Just like dumsor. I’m now certain that you gave a bunch of money and power to someone who was supposed to fix this crisis, someone who you trusted to deliver on time and who in turn promised you they would, and summarily failed. And why weren’t they scared to fail? Because it’s not their face and legacy on the line. It’s John D. Mahama’s. History will judge you, not them.

Sir, I went to Ghana International School, so I know a little bit about sabotage. Them kids are ruthless and will not hesitate to destroy your reputation through words and deeds. I see it from where I sit, and so should you: There should be no doubt in your mind that you are surrounded by people who do not have your best interest at heart. You know whose interest they are looking after? NDC foot soldiers.

Foot soldiers bring crowds.

Foot soldiers make noise.

Foot soldiers are propagandists.

Propagandists, in a country where education is crap and theory of knowledge is a luxury, bring votes.

And who gets those votes? Your ministers…who have the gall to sit at Flag Staff house and mock the citizenry who protest for clean water, a living wage (or wages in arrears) and employment.

They get to retire in cozy, off the grid houses in the Volta region, while history will have written down as a clueless buffoon who couldn’t solution his way out of a polythene bag.

I had so much hope for you, John. I remember when you were VP and were featured in a documentary about plastic and its negative impact on our environment. I said “Here’s a man that gets it! If he were ever president, he’d FIX this.” Instead? Ghana’s environmental issues got worse and is now labeled as the 7th most polluted country in the world.

Your MPs should be shielding you from harm, not driving the bus that is going to roll over you. You need to have a come to Jesus and the ancestors meeting with them. I want you to succeed, because I want GHANA to succeed. NDC ideology doesn’t mean jack spit in a nation where folks can’t afford 3 meals a day and kids are graduating high school reading at a second grade level. Where politicians can’t reason and have to resort to violence to settle scores and differences. Where is the reason in pressuring the president to pardon three anarchists because 3 months in jail is “too harsh”? Could that perception of harshness have anything to do with the fact that Ghana’s prisons are squalid hellscapes that violate human rights provisions? Did you see Seth Kwame Boateng’s “Left to Rot?” I know you have a lot on your plate, but it’s worth knowing that this is the sort of cancer your government is presiding over.

Anyway, I gotta run now. They are reading the results of SA elections and it looks like the DA is taking over, much to the ANC’s chagrin.

Have a great weekend and have that talk with your people before the elections, wai? Don’t let them treat you like Nigerian jollof. You are GHANA jollof, demmit. No one deserves to be treated this way.

Yours truly,

Malaka

Pictures of Muhammed Ali For You From My Dad

The Greatest, the Prettiest, the Butterfly AND the Bee. There was no one – no one! – like Muhammed Ali.

The world lost yet another icon this week. Muhammed Ali, born Cassius Clay, died at age 74 surrounded by family and friends in a circle of love. His daughter Leila said that his wouldn’t stop beating for 30 minutes after all his organs failed. Doctors had never seen anything like it. He died like he lived: full of surprises, showboating and awe-inspiring.

Physically, Ali cut an imposing figure and was as lightening quick with his tongue as he was with his jab. I never knew much about Ali, except that my dad and everyone my dad knew loved him. That means I too loved him by proxy. However, I never studied him as a historical figure or researched facts about his life. I don’t have any fond memories about what Muhammed Ali meant or affected me personally. It would be disingenuous for me to say that he inspired me personally, though I know he inspired millions. I desperately wish that that was my testimony. The more a read of him, the more of a loss – a retroactive missing out – I feel.

At least I have the memory of certain Ali-isms being quoted with regularity in our home…or at least, one phrase in particular was: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. (The phrase once uttered obliged the speaker to skit and shadowbox in the moment.)

I grew up with these pictures of Muhammed Ali in an album that my father kept proudly stashed on a bookshelf in our home. I vaguely remember friends of his dropping by the house and exclaiming “Ei! Kwasi! Where did you take these pictures?” My dad would smile mischievously in response and tell the query-maker not to worry about it.

That long forgotten and oft repeated moments didn’t mean until just now when he Whatsapp’d me and asked me to share these rare photos with my friends and readers. I asked him how he procured the shots. The answer shocked me. This my father! And here I was thinking I was wild in my youth. This rogue old man was even more the rogue in his 20’s.

You also want to know how he got these pictures, eh?

Don’t worry about it.

What you are looking at are pictures of Muhammed Ali during his visit to Ghana in 1964. He met with President Nkrumah and Asantehene Prempeh in Accra and Kumasi. I once read that he wore kente cloth wherever he went and insisted on being addressed by his given Akan name whilst in the country.

What a class act.

Please peruse and feel free to share these pictures on all your social networks in celebration of a true son of Africa. If someone out there can digitally clean them up, don’t forget to redirect back here so we can all see!

 

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How Far: M3NSA Asks The Question Every Ghanaian Should Be Asking Themselves

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Where dey the savior we dey look for? E be some guy inside the sky or e be me den you?

 

This is the rhetorical question that forms the opening lines to ‘How Far’, the Afro-electronic anthem that the ancestors and 36 unidentified deities delivered through M3NSA last year. We’re here today to discuss the video that was quietly released on March 24th. I tweeted that I it was my opinion that this is M3NSA’s best work to date, and that’s no meager acknowledgement. M3NSA – who simultaneously occupies space as the other half of both the FOKN Bois and RedRed – has a long and impressive body of work to his credit. However, ‘How Far’ distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack.

To put it into context for those who are unfamiliar with either the artist or his work, Mathematically, M3NSA’s ‘How Far’ is proportional to Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ under the category of Kendrick’s Grammy performance. No, really. It’s just that dope.

In the coming days, there will be many think pieces written about the video and the symbolism RedRed employed to interrogate the question of how far has Ghana really come after “independence” and/or how far is the citizenry going to let things deteriorate before we decide we’ve hit critical mass.

M3NSA has never shied away from uncomfortable conversations in his music. Typically employing humor and mockery as tools, he and Wanlov (his partner in FOKN crime) hold up a mirror to society, demand that we look at our blemished reflection and hold ourselves accountable. ‘How Far’ transcends that approach. Ghanaians have gotten comfortable with the reflection of a country swimming in filth, feces and corruption. We’ve ‘given it to God’ and explained our proclivities away by saying ‘this is Ghana’. So instead of taking us to the reflecting pool in order to gaze at our countenance, M3NSA drowned us in its waters, submerging himself in the process.

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In the video, he assumes several different identities of the ubiquitous Ghanaian citizen: The syto schooler who’s only aspiration is to chew and pour information presented to him in the classroom, rather than to think critically. The profusely sweating police officer stationed at his post looking busy but doing nothing, really. The dissatisfied nurse who will have to go on strike just to receive her salary. The street hawker dashing through the roads in search of a customer – any customer. The preacher warning his congregation of some doom to come if they don’t change their ways. These – not mud huts or roaming lions – are iconic images of Ghana, and Accra in particular.

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Directed by Jarreth Merz, I believe the use of Jamestown as the main backdrop for the video was absolutely intentional and unquestionably brilliant. Jamestown is one of the oldest districts in Accra. It served as the nerve center for commerce and governance on the Gold Coast. The lighthouse that M3NSA stood atop guided European ships into port and would’ve been one of the last things African slaves leaving the coast would have seen as they were being ferried away to a life of perpetual misery. Jamestown in its heyday was probably cosmopolitan and glorious. Had it been preserved, modern day Ghanaians might have found a way long ago to reap pecuniary benefits for themselves after the departure of the British (the recently created Chale Wote festival notwithstanding). Instead, the entire area has fallen into disrepair and decay – like most of Ghana. Jamestown in the ‘How Far’ video thus becomes a metaphor for the condition of the rest of the country; and not just in infrastructure, but in mentality as well. Twin images of bright eyed children and snowy egrets playing and feasting in filth represent the dual realities of an existence that is both beauteousness and grotesqueness.

In short, we’ve had an opportunity to see how far we could take Ghana and squandered it.

Source: How Far

Source: How Far

It was M3NSA’s emphatic, repeated refrain of “God bless our homeland Ghana” (the title of our national anthem), that was most remarkable to me. M3NSA unquestionably shuns religion and I’ve never heard him speak of a belief in any deity, only a belief in self. One only has to circle back to the opening lines of the song for evidence of this. Yet in crying out for God to bless our homeland Ghana, he creates a fascinating juxtaposition that the listener has to grapple with. Are we going to wait for a Man in the sky to fix this mess that we’ve created or does the savior we look for lie within me and you? Maybe the answer is somewhere in between. How far are we willing to go get solutions?

I dunno.

Like M3NSA said after that beat drops, this thing is tricky.

 

M3NSA and ELO source: Accra dot Alt

M3NSA and ELO
source: Accra dot Alt

 

PS: And Imma need someone to analyze that beat. That thang was a monster! Did you hear that? That was some Mozart level work right there! Well done, ELO. Come claim your shine some.

A Maid, A Clothesline and a Mob: Normalized Abuse in an African Country

My grandmother used to live in a flat at Asylum Down in the early 80s. The building was dark with shallow stairs made of brittle concrete that produced the sensation of walking on sandpaper as you ascended them. Having been most likely constructed during the colonial era, there was no indoor plumbing. It was therefore incumbent upon my grandmother to give my sister and I a bath in her metal basin in the flat’s corridor and after we’d eased ourselves in a chamber pot, to dump our waste into a pit latrine that sat about 30 yards away from the apartment building.

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I felt this was a terrible inconvenience for my attentive grandmother whom I loved dearly, so one day I decided I would be a “big girl” and use the toilet at the latrine as I’d seen her do before. I was shocked by my encounter with wood, stone and excrement. The stench of ten thousand rectal evacuations hit me with the strength of a provoked bull as I opened the door. I was scared. It also didn’t help to have a team of Asylum Down area boys were hooting outside of the latrine as I tried in vain to take a dump. I thought maybe if I stayed in there long enough, they would lose interest and go away? But boys are such a tenacious species. When I couldn’t stand the olfactory assault any longer,  I threw the wooden door open and sprinted past my tormentors. My buttocks itched something fierce because I’d neglected to bring toilet paper to wipe with and foolishly sat on the seat with no barrier. Needless to say, I’ve never been to a latrine since.

Still, I loved that flat. It never occurred to me that the inhabitants of Asylum Down were “poor”. In my juvenile mind, they had all the creature comforts to make life a delight. There was a kenkey seller who patrolled the neighborhood every morning at dawn; down the road there was a salon painted with magical powder-blue paint where women sat and laughed and gossiped; the kids never had to go to school and spent their days kicking around a grimy brown football or playing high jump with a structure made of palm tree branches. How could life be better? The crown jewel of this splendor was the massive iron gate that separated my uncle Kwaku Banker’s two-story home from the humble dwelling places of the rest of the area’s common folk.

Though we were only at Asylum Down for a short while, a number of events I experienced in those few months left an indelible impression on me as a girl: As a Ghanaian girl, specifically. It was in those months that I witnessed my first and only killer bee attack. A swarm had flown into the city, stinging terrified inhabitants with abandon. From her bedroom window, my grandmother watched men and women scream and scurry through the streets with an almost amused look on her face. I begged her to bring her head into the window and shut it, lest she be stung and die, but she ignored me. In a cruel twist of irony, a rogue bee flew through the window and stung me on my belly. Grandma expertly removed the stinger and I sat in the corner afterward and left that old magical, untouchable woman to her own devices until the swarm disappeared and the commotion dissipated.

A few weeks later, I was standing on the balcony looking at the kids playing in the dirt when I heard a thunderous shout… like a crowd roaring at a soccer match. All the boys went running in the direction of the noise and then disappeared into a throng of Asylum Down residents who were responsible for the noise. In the center of this mass of black humanity was a man who was ducking and trying to cover his face. His eyes were swollen and blood seeped from his forehead.

I asked my grandmother if I could go down and see what had happened.

“No,” she said sternly.

My grandmother was never stern with me, so her tone took me aback. I ignored my injured feelings and watched stone-faced as the young man was continuously beaten by the furious crowd and eventually saved by a passing police officer with a rifle who locked him in a vulcanizer’s shed for his own safety until a car could come and take him away. A neighbor came to report what happened to my grandmother, who mmmm’d and aaahhh’d with understanding as the story unfolded.

“What happened, Grandma?”

“The man was a thief,” she replied simply.

“What did he steal?”

She pointed to the web of line that the community used throughout the week. “He took someone’s shirt from the clothesline.”

She didn’t seem bothered at all. Why wasn’t she bothered? It was just a shirt; a ratty old shirt! What was it with Ghanaians that made them want to hit people so much? How was this “justice”? This was a part of my culture that caused me great anxiety and anger, frankly. (I had recently become acquainted with the cane.) Nevertheless, the dark side of my young self hoped that one person in particular would find herself on the receiving end of this brand of justice – and she lived behind Uncle Kwaku Banker’s iron gate.

All of my father’s close relations and friends bore appellations that were related to their profession or occupation. “Uncle Kwaku Banker” was obviously a banker. Likewise “Uncle Lawyer” was a lawyer (I didn’t discover his real name until I was 16), and so on. Kwaku Banker lived a good life by anyone’s standards and was always giggling. I found his presence comforting, but I never got the sense that his wife appreciated him half as much as the rest of us did. I suppose that’s why she tried to poison him with the help of her son in 2002. Uncle Kwaku’s wife – Mary – was a yellow woman with a yellow jehri curl. She was fat and short and looked like a butterball; but unlike butter, she was bitter and she was mean. My God, was she mean.

The couple had two sons, one in diapers and the other barely out of his toddler years. Auntie Mary (and I hated to call her “aunt”) insisted that I play with them when I came over to visit. But there are only so many blocks and games of ring-around-the-rosy a 7 year-old girl can play before she gets bored. Fortunately, Uncle Kwaku Banker and Auntie Mary had a girl living with them who was just about my age. I asked if I could play with her.

“No,” she said frostily. “You can play with my children.”

I just stared at her. Sensing that she had caused some offense, she immediately turned to sugar and asked if I wanted something to drink.

“Do you want some mineral?”

My eyes lit up and I nodded enthusiastically. I had just been introduced to Muscatella and was hoping they had some in the fridge.

Auntie Mary shouted for the girl to bring me a drink, which she quickly did…on a tray with a glass covered in white lace. To have someone my own age serving me made me really uncomfortable.

Soon, Mary announced she had to leave but that I was welcome to stay and walk across the street back to my grandmother when I was ready. She gave some instructions to the girl, gathered her bag, and roared out of the gate in her car.

Finally! The shrew was gone and I could play with someone my own age.

I asked the girl if she wanted to play. She explained in halting English that she couldn’t play because she had to work. Well, I understood that. It was like at home: you can’t go outside until you clean up your room, right? It only made sense that I help my new friend with her chores so that we could get on with the business of play. So I helped her dust, sweep (and horribly I confess, because I couldn’t work those peculiar Ghana brooms) and clean the kitchen. I was scraping a pot of something white – perhaps burnt banku, I don’t recall – and regaling her with a story about my life in America when we heard the gate open and Mary’s car pull in. A look of terror clouded the girl’s face. And suddenly, Mary’s fat frame filled the kitchen doorway. For some reason, she did not like what she saw.

She began screeching in vernacular. The young girl’s voice turned into a high-pitched whine. I was bewildered. What was going on?

Finally, Mary told me I had to leave. I objected, telling her that I was trying to help the girl with her work so we play and we weren’t done yet. I could see the rage simmering beneath her yellow skin. It was turning her face red. My new friend quietly walked me to the gate, where I cheerily informed her that I’d see her later so that we could play. She shut the gate without a word and padded back into the house where she was met with slaps.

You could hear her screams from the road. They echoed off the walls in that massive house. They pierced the air. They went on for an eternity.

And yet, none of the passersby on the road hearing them seemed bothered at all. Why weren’t they bothered by the sound of a little girl shrieking in anguish? Was this not the same group of people who flocked together to thrash a man for stealing a shirt? Was a little girl’s life therefore worth less than a secondhand clothing item? In my part of Africa, it would seem so.

That was over 30 years ago and in that time, our attitudes towards the worth of the life of Ghanaian women and girls have shifted very little. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 women experience physical abuse at the hands of their partners according to one study. This study does not include the results of the thousands of domestic workers who are routinely raped, sexually molested and physically assaulted by both male and female employers in the name of “discipline”. I wonder, how does inserting raw pepper into a 12-year-old girl’s vagina correct behavior, or slapping an employee with hot pizza increase employee productivity? These are just a few of the sick ways Ghanaian women’s bodies are maligned day after day.

source: ghanaian times

source: ghanaian times

As I write this, local boxing champion Braimah Isaac Kamoko (Bukom Banku) is reported to have offered his niece 400 cedis (about $103) to have sex with him. She refused 1) because it’s her right to and 2) because that’s her uncle. His response for being rebuffed was to punch her in the face repeatedly and to throw feces at her house. When her friend intervened, he beat her up to. Mr. Kamoko then dared her to go to the police, stating that it would come to nothing. Allegedly, he’s been physically and sexually abusing boys and girls in his community with impunity for years. He is now walking free, not even brought in for questioning. This fact is just as much a judgment against him as it is against those who profess to be upholders of the law. Where are the police in this matter, and can they be bought as Kamoko alleges?

We often assume that the perpetrators of abuse are illiterate boogeymen who operate in the shadows, skillfully avoiding the law. That’s the percevied “face” of an abuser. Nothing could be further from the truth. The worst perpetrators of abuse in the country operate in full view of the public. They are often respected members of our society and protected by power and privilege, and they exercise their sense of entitlement by preying on the weak and unworthy… who are more often than not women and girls.

It is this attitude that allows men like Bukom Banku and Peterpan CEO Young Gyu Lee to have the confidence to violate women without a second thought. Similarly, former MP Nelson Baani exhibited no perplexity when he proposed that women who cheat on their husbands be stoned or hanged for the act. It is this attitude that assured Mary  – and the uncountable women of privilege like her – that she was justified in what I am sure was continued abuse of my once young friend.

After all, it’s not like it we’re talking about shirt from a clothesline, right? It’s just a replaceable girl.

Image source: Fox/

Image source: Fox/

I implore you: if you see abuse, don’t turn a blind eye to it. Don’t be culpable. Speak up and save a life.