Tommy Annan-Forson, Retired Journalist, Prescribes Censorship For Topics He Can’t Comprehend

Tommy Annan-Forson prepares for a live broadcast. Image credit: Joy FM

There isn’t much to me said for the caliber of Ghana’s media landscape or its professionals. With a handful of bright exceptions, journalism in Ghana is a profession overridden by undisciplined individuals who plague the landscape with their amateurish attempts at broadcasting and storytelling. For this persistent and enduring failing, the country has been the butt of jokes all over the continent.

It is rare that a media personality engages his/her subject with thought provoking questions. It is often clear in far too many journalists’ writing how little research has been put into a topic before it goes to print. Curiosity is shelved in pursuit of conventional approaches to any given topic. One can literally pick up a Ghanaian newspaper from 1984 and discover that the subject matter is treated the same way in 2018, the only difference now being a flagrant disregard for the rules of spelling and grammar in the press. However – through it all – there were certain media darlings one could depend upon to bring a refreshing perspective, intelligence and excellence to any fora. Tommy Annan-Forson was one of those people.

Annan-Forson has to his credit over three decades in broadcast journalism. He has trained some of the countries ‘top’ broadcasters. His voice and opinion carry weight, as he is often considered a man who is impartial in his opinions. He frequently takes the media to task for its weakening ethics, including journalists’ habit of forming and disseminating opinions without first engaging in source material. He has been on a crusade to improve journalistic standards in the country for many years.

This is why it came as a shock to many who are familiar with his work and reputation – myself included – to discover that Tommy Annan-Forson made himself guilty of the same sins he’s been decrying in the media for years.

For nearly a week now, there has been a brawl on social media (Facebook, specifically) over the topic of whether all wives should be expected to cook in the home, whether that act constitutes slavery, a woman’s “place” in the home, certificates for washing panties by hand and all the trappings you might expect from such a non-starter discussion. How did it begin? With this post:

Louise Carol, a founding member of Pepper Dem Ministries commented on the subject on her own wall addressing the broader mindset that leads to a man extoling his wife’s strengths by taking pride in her sacrifice for his personal comfort. His reward for her labor is to give her his ATM card, presumably to go get herself something nice, the implications being that he knows so little about his wife’s likes that he can’t even go out and pick up something for her to show his appreciation. That’s a topic for a different day.

In her position on the matter, she wrote [in part]:

If your wife after work still manages to cook for you whiles you fart on the sofa watching football or playing games, that’s your house matter. If some other man is not too bothered about stomach infrastructure and after the hard day’s work tells the wife not to bother or the wife herself chooses not to bother, that is also “somborri’s” house matter not your own. If you want to praise your slaving or hardworking or loving wife, whatever adjective you find suitable, pls go ahead without suggesting that she defines what womanhood totally entails.

All hell broke loose from there. Suddenly, the misinterpretation to “slave over a task” had been championed in popular culture. Learned people, ministers, media personalities and lawyers pounced on the word “slaving”, twisted it to fit their biases and weaponized their intentional mischaracterization of a turn of phrase with the aim of silencing a group of women that Ghana’s heavily patriarchal, repressive and regressive society simply abhor because of their tone.

This would’ve been the media’s opportunity to bring some clarity and sanity to a situation that really ought not be a situation at all. Instead, personalities like Afia Pokuaa, herself a ‘journalist’, seized on the opportunity to create mischief by forming a group called Sugar Dem Ministries (an intentional, unimaginative and lazy play on Pepper Dem Ministries), and organization whose sole aim is to defend men against any woman who would dare to “pepper them”; i.e. call them out on their misogyny and chauvinism. Naturally, part of that defense calls for licking men as well.

Because nothing empowers a man like being licked by a woman!

With all that ails Ghana, from its debt, to crumbling infrastructure, to pollution, to the enduring education crisis…what has captured the minds of the countries self-proclaimed best and brightest is the battle to be cooked for and catered to and how a group of gender activists want to take away that right!

Tommy Annan-Forson ought to have been the voice of reason in this madness, but instead, this was his contribution:

Hitherto, I had found the conversation about cooking absolutely ludicrous. But with Annan-Forson’s submission, I recognized that it had now taken a dangerous turn.

There are many things that put the stability of Ghanaian marriages and homes at risk, beginning with infidelity, lying and financial fragility. There are men who bring diseases into their marital bed and still manage to keep their wives committed to preserving their marriage. But according to Annan-Forson, it is the pointing out that cooking is not central to keeping a home intact that is the threat to the country’s marriages. Anyone who attacks this sacred institution must be stopped and silenced. PDM must be censured.

An ad depicting a broken home, predicated on the idea that a woman’s activism is in direct conflict with maintaining a functioning, happy household. Many Ghanaians proclaim much the same today.

It is obvious that he formed his opinion based on hearsay, and not because he had directly engaged with the source material. We expect this behavior from the gossiping little boys who litter the comments with their text speak and poorly reasoned thoughts, NOT from a media stalwart like Annan-Forson. As someone who’s duty is to the truth, to expose ills and inform the public, who functions at the highest levels of the fourth estate, he demonstrated a gross dereliction of commitment to his mandate.

Ghana is no longer a country where propaganda is the order of the day. We do not remove people from the public discourse simply because we do not like what they have to say or how they say. Ghana – and its media outlets- is no longer under the control of ‘benevolent dictatorships’. The 1992 Constitution freed us from that kind of tyranny. For Tommy Annan-Forson to suggest – and as vehemently as he did – that these women ought to be banned from all broadcasting platforms and for no other reason than his own ignorance is all appalling and repugnant.

We can’t overlook his glaring, distasteful sexism either. It has an age-old tinge to it.

Tagging women who have fought and continue to fight for women’s lib as mentally ill, emotionally disturbed or just plain old “mad” is a tactic that has long been employed to dismiss and discredit the work these women do as well.

Pictured here: Medical practitioners preparing to force feed a detained suffragette diagnosed with ‘hysteria’.

In the early 19th century, these women were imprisoned and treated for ‘hysteria’. That Tommy Annan-Forson would outright imply that the ladies of PDM are insane is not by coincidence.

Women who have fought for equality have been called “ugly”, “bitter” and “mentally unstable” for as long as the fight has gone mainstream. In fact, if you’re an African feminist/gender activist and have not been called ugly or lesbian, I would seriously question the effectiveness of your social impact!

Tommy Annan-Forson and his bootlickers should all be ashamed of themselves for their failure to engage in this conversation with any sense of decorum, propriety or common sense whatsoever. You can’t go around calling people insane based on your pervasive, unyielding, interminable ignorance. We certainly can’t change the rules of media engagement based on the same, either.

Wherever your loyalties lie in this absurd “debate”, we must all agree that censoring conversation based on ignorance and hearsay cannot be tolerated. Not if we are to achieve any development goals and sustain a dynamic culture that our descendants can be proud of. We are better than what Tommy Annan-Forson is proposing…or at least, we ought to try to be.



The Frustration Of Being A Male ‘Authority’ Figure In Ghana

It must be overwhelming to live as a heterosexual male in Ghana. Imagine being told – explicitly or not – that no matter how difficult your life may be, no matter how many disappointments you may suffer, at least you are not a woman.

Women are not “co-equals” to men.

Women have been cursed since Eve.

Whereas it is your place and birthright to dominate, it is a woman’s place to be submissive, humble, silent and if at all possible, invisible.

A woman MUST respect you, because you are a man. Whether you have earned that respect through words, deeds or intentions is irrelevant. So long as a human being is born in possession of a penis, respect from those lacking that particular appendage ought to be automatically imputed.


You grow up believing these things about you. You’ve been indoctrinated. All the social cues you’ve received your entire life support these beliefs. Your religion demands it. Your community supports it. Your homeboys quote it like propaganda. Eventually, you accept the notion that your masculinity – exclusively – makes you a superior being. That awareness… that delusion…colors the way you see the world and yourself in it. Ghanaian men are no exception. This is how the Ghanaian male is programmed.

This is why Bukom Banku feels at liberty to rape and bludgeon his way through his community with impunity.

This is why three male radio hosts can threaten to rape a Supreme Court Judge, on air, and come back to their jobs because they said “sorry”.

This is why a bishop can kick a pregnant woman on camera and never be made to face the law.

This is why men can barge into a courtroom and beat up a judge and go scot-free.

This is why a security guard dressed in plain clothes can threaten to assault a Ghanaian citizen to the thunderous applause, cheers and tacit approval of an overwhelmingly majority of men online.

In today’s Ghana, violence – not intellect – is synonymous with strength. If a woman wants to be treated as an “equal” to men, she must be prepared to settle things the way men do. Not by addressing the issue, but by punching one another into submission.

You’ve been told your entire life that men are more ‘logical’ than women. That women, as a function of their biological make up, let their emotions get the better of them. This is something you’ve often repeated to anyone who will listen. Yet when faced with a situation where you feel your masculinity and all the authority invested in you is threatened, you back pedal by saying that men and women do not communicate the same way. Women use their words and men resolve conflict with brute physical violence. How disorienting this must be for you.

Your male cohorts buttress this opinion by suggesting that anyone woman who speaks out of turn should be recalibrated with the forced administration of dick. Because there is no more logical an act than raping someone with whom you have come to an intellectual impasse.

The world simply doesn’t work that way anymore. Women can work. Women can earn property. Women can drive AND have children outside of the confines of marriage if they so choose. When your masculinity is so inextricably linked to the subjugation of a member of a different sex, it must be frustrating to be confronted with the idea that you – as a man – may in fact not be the infallible center of the universe. That a woman’s existence and prosperity are possible without the benefit of your male existence.

And when may conducts himself like “a woman”, you see homosexuality as the ultimate betrayal and threat to your manhood. Could those visceral feelings be linked back to some jealously that you feel? Are you angry that your toxic definitions of masculinity do not permit you to explore and live your fullest life? That you have to balance your unquechiable desire to embrace your femininity by juxtaposing it with an assault rifle? How frustrated you must feel!

Image source: Facebook

Yesterday, a man dressed in plain-clothes brandishing a walkie-talkie and claiming to be a security guard assaulted Lydia Forson. The assault happened while filming on location for an upcoming feature. The film industry in Ghana is not one that enjoys injections of cash or support from the government. Most Ghanaian films that make it to the screen are passion projects. Actors often style themselves from their own wardrobes. They are paid a pittance for their work. There is no streamlined method for obtaining permits to film in public. In short, the whole industry is a clusterfuck and these producers and actresses are literally spinning gold from hay. For their efforts, they are scornfully referred to as ‘so-called celebrities’, when the reality is they are simply citizens and creative trying to make great art. Their on screen/on air visibility is what has earned them this peculiar form of contempt. And in Ghana, there is no one more contemptuous than women who make their living being loud, visible and strong. These are male traits. Women are supposed to be submissive, humble and visible only when it’s absolutely necessary.

Christopher Kpeli is a proud member of Ghana’s police force. He is a man whose livelihood is financed by the public purse. He is a tribalist and a misogynist. He’s a disgrace to the uniform. And his views are not uncommon. 

That Lydia Forson – a woman who cuts a “controversial” figure precisely because she speaks passionately and regularly for human rights and against violence against woman – has become a target of contempt for publishing a video in the aftermath of her attempt to defend a female member of her film crew has not happened in a vacuum. Ghana is a place where violence against women and girls is not treated with the seriousness it deserves. Teenaged students are punished for their sexual assault when it results in pregnancy while their male assailants are merely reassigned to hunt in new pastures. Married women in Ghana are at the greatest risk for new HIV infections because their husbands are not held to the same ethical standards in marriage as they. In fact, a woman is expected to give up her right to her body in marriage. It’s a cardinal sin to deny one’s husband sex, no matter where he’s been sticking his penis.

These are “rules” accepted by greater society. So when a woman speaks up for herself, demands that her humanity be recognized and refuses to allow her rights as a citizen of a sovereign nation to be trampled on by men who proclaim that they “can beat you and there’s nothing you can do about it”, I imagine that it must be frustrating for your run of the mill Ghana Man. Something unseen inside him wants to gear up for battle against this unholy foe: A woman who chooses valiance over compliance in the face of injustice. Indeed, there is nothing more dangerous, more threatening to a cowardly man than an informed, uncompromising woman. And everywhere you look, Ghana Man, they abound.

How awful it must be to be you in this new century. How painful it must be to live with the prospect of true equality. How terrified you must feel, knowing that women will one day gain the exclusive power you’ve been accustomed to and may return your coin in kind.


*Screenshots are pulled from comments on Lydia Forson’s page following her detailed account of the events that transpired. These abhorrent comments should surprise no one who has been listening.  You can read the full account here.


Lecherous Lecturers: Preparing Your Student For the Lion’s Den

It’s not the kind of message I was expecting to receive to early in the morning, particularly not from the individual in question. He is a casual (and one of my more pleasant) acquaintances on social media. Our conversation has run the gamut from history, to music, to women’s issues…but never this.

“A friend of mine was sexually harassed by a lecturer at Legon and didn’t know who to speak to and she spoke to me. She wants to be discreet about it…”

Sexual assault on campuses is a global problem.

My heart immediately broke for this unknown girl. Her distress is not unfamiliar to me. Although I have never suffered the lamentable circumstance of being assaulted by my instructor(s), I know many women and girls who have. We were in grade 6 when the English teacher at my elementary school, Soul Clinic, closed all the windows and doors and shut my classmate in the room with him during break time, forbidding us from coming in during that half hour with a strict warning. I still remember how stricken with grief she looked when she finally emerged from captivity. She never was quite the same after that.

A new school year already well underway, and most of us who find ourselves in the noble position of parent/guardian have parted with our hard earned money to purchase books and supplies for our charges, further equipping them with the same advice that was handed down to us during our formative years.

“Focus on your books.”

“Don’t have too many friends, and make sure to pick the right ones.”

“Don’t eat everything in your chop box the first week. You don’t know when we will visit again!”

For all of our preparation, some of us will be marching our children and wards right into the waiting arms of sexual predators – men and women of depraved minds who will fondle, slobber and lash them with all gladness. It is afterward that the victim will have to make the impossible choice of speaking up and reporting a teacher with tenure or maintaining silence in hopes of passing their course. Either way, the child’s life is forever marked by the event. How can you prepare your child to face something like that when many of us don’t even entertain the occurrence as a possibility? Things like this don’t happen in our communities – good communities. They certainly wouldn’t happen to your well-raised child at a school as reputable as Legon.

And yet.

There is an almost willful ignorance about sexual the levels of sexual, verbal and physical abuse that pockmark our educational landscape. The façade of peace and perfection is more important than its pursuit, explaining why so woeful little has been done to protect students who have their education held for ransom by teachers and professors who feel entitled to their bodies. As a nation, we’ve been indoctrinated with this belief: You cannot challenge authority and hope to get any redress. Even though I felt a duty to try to help this young woman with any information I could find, I felt defeated from the onset. One after another, the responses to my query were met with scoffs, confirming that instinct.

“Here, in Ghana? Please.”

“You are lucky if you graduate from a Ghanaian institution without suffering some form of harassment or assault. Even the boys aren’t spared.”

“You can report it if you like, but the administration will always take the side of faculty.”

“My professor offered me a lift back to campus, drove me to a remote corner, pulled out his penis and demanded I give him a blow job. I screamed and insulted him, which caught him off guard. When I reported it to the head of the department, I was advised to let it go because, ‘My insult seemed to scare him enough’.”

Everyone was apologetic, but the fact was that this young woman would have to take her lumps with the rest of the culture. Could it be that this was really the case? Could it be that in 2017 – the year of the super computer and concept self-driving cars and all the other shiny technological advancements that we on the Continent have embraced – that there are no mechanisms for students to report improprieties meted against them?

My stubbornness wouldn’t allow me to believe it. Fate, who disguised herself as Dr. Akyana Britwum, rewarded my pigheadedness with an introduction to his mother, Dr. Akua Opokua Britwum, Professor at the University of Cape Coast. Her research and publications cover sexual harassment, the economics of violence against women, gender mainstreaming in Ghanaian Universities, gender and land rights, gender and leadership in trade unions, organizing informal economy workers as well as trade union participation and representation.

Dr. Akua Britwum. Source: UCC

We spoke briefly about the incident that was brought to my attention. This is a condensed version of our conversation:

“ Sexual harassment from unwanted contact through assault and rape is prevalent in our educational institutions in Ghana. The experience is widespread; deriving from our (mis)understanding of sexual harassment; for a number unwanted touching patting no the backside, sexual jokes, exposure to pornography are just jokes any not harassment.

Some universities cover sexual harassment during orientation for freshers; but our experience at University of Cape Coast (UCC) shows that the space is small and students hardly hear or able to understand fully what has been said. We are therefore working towards providing a dedicated space of about 2 hours for training on healthy sexual relations for students. It’s a system that was piloted this year.

A number of facilities (to report abuse) are available at various levels.  In our basic schools Girls Education Unit’s school-based facilitators and guidance and counseling coordinators (GCC). All second cycle schools have GCCs. The question is how effective such systems are for dealing with sexual abuse and harassment. The officers’ lack the needed training and gender political skills to deal with the issues that come before them. However as you guessed rightly, funding and staffing remain real challenges.

Victim blaming/slut shaming is a big challenge especially around what is called ‘provocative/decent dressing’. And you find ‘prominent persons’ and politicians pandering to this discourse. Some men even claim to harass women because they have been ‘harassed’ by the way they dress. But women cannot lay claim to same; that they have been harassed by men’s dressing so they harassed the men in retaliation.   So, a girl gets raped and she is blamed for being in the wrong place with the wrong persons, in the wrong dress. She should have known better; if she decided to spend time in bad boys’ company then she deserves the rape they met out to her. She is in short, a deserving victim.

The boys or men are absolved of any responsibility whatsoever for their criminal actions. Worst of all they do not carry any stigma for having raped a girl. She is the one whose dignity is soiled for ever. The situation gets more complicated if the harasser has some level of social standing. The poor girls are made to feel guilty for bringing harm to such men and their dependents. The choice that is forced on them; either they choose to live with their sense of defilement, loss of dignity. Or report and carry a burden of guilt for making their harassers suffer the consequences of their actions: Jobs loss, jail term, etc.

In fact, we find slut shaming or victim blaming is one reason why most girls will not seek redress in situations where they have been assaulted or harassed. Worst of all some even believe they asked for it.

And among those who do find the courage to report, a number just drop the case. They come under such intense pressure that few have the courage to pursue their case to conclusion.

As a caring society and ordinary citizens there’s a lot we can do:

We have to begin by reconstructing masculinities in Ghana:

Let’s teach young men that:

  1. They are responsible for their actions
  2. Just as they can control all other actions they have full power to control they sexual desires;
  3. That it is stigma to be a rapist
  4. Rape or sexual assault survivors are not morally weak;
  5. Women should be assertive and not a threat to men.

Let us teach young women that:

  1. No man has a right to her body;
  2. They have a right to say no to sexual advances no matter who it making the ventures;
  3. They can withdraw their consent to sex any time they feel it is not right;
  4. Single women who have never married are not failures

Every one should:

  1. Stop blaming the way girls dress as a cause of sexual harassment;
  2. Support girls who are harassed to seek redress;
  3. Criminalize men who sexually harass no matter their social standing.

She left off with this bit of encouragement:

Be heartened that now something happens and those assaulted or harassed can seek and obtain redress on university campuses in Ghana. In fact, everyone going through harassment should see it as their duty to report and ensure they follow through the process for redress.

Image Source: Unicef

We teach our kids to call 911/999 in the case of an emergency. We tell them to stop drop and roll if they are ever caught on fire. We better prepare young girls/women for every other eventuality than the ones they will most likely face: street, workplace or classroom harassment. As we’ve just celebrated the International Day of the Girl, let’s rejoice in how far women’s rights have come, but be realistic about how much further we have to go. Arm your girl(s) with the right information. If you are in Ghana and have been the victim of harassment or assault on campus, contact CEGANSA at 0246219788 and speak with an activist/counselor.

If you live outside of Ghana, I implore you to look up resources in your community as well. Let’s work to make classroom and workplace sexual assault a thing of the past.


I Support Africa’s Supreme Court Judges’ Right to Wear Those Ridiculous Robes

There was an article making the rounds on social media last week querying why African judges still wear wigs 50 years after the end of colonization. The question remains a post-colonial conundrum: What is so appealing about the trappings of a judicial system that robbed an entire continent of its freedoms and imposed foreign laws and mores? Surely, it can’t be the horsehair wigs and the Santa-esque cloaks…so what could it be?

The answer is: We may never know. All we know is that yesterday’s colonial subjects and today’s adjudicators are vehemently opposed to anyone snatching their wigs, end of discussion!

In the same article, a prominent Ghanaian lawyer, Augustine Niber, was cited as saying that removing wigs would reduce the “intimidation and fear that often characterize our courtrooms.” Kenya’s new chief justice, David Maraga indicated that he wants to revert to the colonial traditions. He wants to take the country back to the “old days”.

These are the sentiments of people who romanticize the period of brutal colonization, when men enslaved on rubber plantations were forced to watch as their children’s limbs were hacked off for failing to haul in the day’s quota; when retired African soldiers in the Queen’s service could be fired upon for demanding their pensions; when empires were carved up and families were forever separated by borders and boundaries created for the benefit of the invader. There is absolutely no good reason that an African judge in pursuit of truth, justice and fairness would willingly adorn themselves in the garb of a parasite that represented the very opposite of those ideals during its presence on the Continent. But it is Lawyer Niber who gives us the best insight into why those ridiculous red robes and horrendous wigs are embraced by her colleagues: African courtrooms must be places of intimidation, not impartiality. They ought to be nondiscriminatory, instead from the clerk all the way up to the presiding judge often serve as an extension of the oppressive behavior that operates against the poor, disenfranchised and (relatively) powerless. It should shame any practitioner of the law to boast in their contribution to creating an intimidating and terrifying environment for any person(s) seeking a fair adjudication of their case!

Sorry. You ain’t intimidating nobody dressed up like the extras on the set of the Griswalds.

This is exactly how British courts operated on the Continent: to create a perception that each colonized subject of the Crown was inferior and not an equal citizen before the law. This modus operandi replicated itself all over the British colonies, from India to the Americas, right down to the southern tip of Africa. The brilliance wasn’t so much in the formula, but in the British government’s steadfast ability to repudiate any alterations to that formula. That resoluteness paid off again and again with stunning –and more importantly – predictable results. That result was absolute power in the form of control of the people’s minds. Often, people with an unquenchable thirst for power will emulate the behaviors of those that they recognize as having attained that power, even if it was used at one point to dominate them. In common parlance, “it is my to chop.”

So yes: As a group that has yet to break free from the mental shackles colonialism, I think that it is absolutely fine –if not fitting – that African judges continue to wear their Christmas carol robes and Scrooge McDuck wigs. It’s a reflection of the stagnation of the culture, and we have no business misrepresenting ourselves as more advanced that we truly are.

The webpage for the UK Courts and Tribunals Judiciary provides a brief but interesting history on the fashion evolution of England’s courts. Prior to the seventeenth century, lawyers were expected to appear in court with clean, short hair and beards. The wig was not adopted until the reign of Charles II, when all of polite society was expected to embrace and wear them. In short, African judges and their surrogates have a conjugal relationship with the sartorial choices of a long dead balding English monarch who attended to his royal duties dressed as Liberace. But like culottes and fanny packs, there are some things you will never (ever) be able to convince some people to let go of, no matter how much it dates them or how ridiculous it makes them look.

The overseers of Britain’s judiciary system saw to it that their attire changed to reflect the times and/or changes in court structure:

When county courts were created in 1846 the black gown was also worn. However, in 1915 Judge Woodfall suggested that a new robe – similar to those worn by High Court judges – be introduced.

A violet robe was chosen, faced – to distinguish it from the violet High Court robe – in lilac or mauve taffeta. A lilac tippet and black girdle also formed part of the costume, which due to wartime conditions did not become compulsory until 1919.

When the conditions of war precluded the use of taffeta and violet dye, the court managed to pivot and make allowances for it until it became more feasible. I would think in countries where the GDP is nothing to crow about, an expenditure of $6,500 per wig ought to make their use untenable. It is a misuse of resources, and the funds for purchase are not reinvested into local economies. To their credit, some African lawyers have boldly suggested that the attire be altered to reflect a new mindset, use material more conducive to life in hot, tropical climates and just…contemporary. However, it is no easy feat trying to convince people in power to attempt anything new…or anything that is going to make their lives easier. My local police station in South Africa still has a drawer labeled “printed emails to file.”

I don’t like the robes that our African judges wear. I think the wigs are silly and far from “intimidating”. These men and women look like toddlers dressing up in great-grandpa’s clothes. But that’s why I support their use. It reminds me that at the end of the day, even our most formidable citizens can be very much like our favorite cartoon characters.

Edem Kumodzi is the Hero We All Need

If you’ve ever been stopped by a member of the traffic division of Ghana’s police force, you know you’re in for a loss. You will lose precious time and you will likely lose more than a few cedis in the wake of the encounter. The police delight in harassing particular motorists; taxi drivers, women and soft-spoiled looking men – easy targets who would rather shoo away an officer with a quick bribe than to go through the tangled, malignant process that is Ghana’s judiciary.

The police know this. The courts know it. It’s how the force and the courts supplement their paltry incomes. Bribery is the norm in Ghana.

Well, Mr. Edem Kumodzi, web developer, online entrepreneur, Father of Dragons and Holder of all Doors and no Dambs was having none of that. This is the simple story of how one man took on corruption and triumphed by obeying the rules and thrusting them right back into the oppressor’s face. Edem, in his own words, ladies and gentlemen:



This is the month of August, the days wherein hold Ghana’s “Day of Destiny”. *eye roll*. While a certain political party is sitting somewhere trying to revise Ghana’s history, the party and its supporters would do well to recognize the achievements of the country’s real heroes: Men and women like Edem Kumodzi whose souls are not for sale to  neither commerce nor corruption. Join me comrades. Join me as we anoint August 3rd as Automobile Owners Autonomy Day! Hail the victorious vehicularist!

Thank you for standing tall(ish), Edem. You have done the nation and all who will follow your example proud!

Intrigued? Confounded? Amused? You can follow Edem at @edemkumodzi and check out his e-commerce site (where you will find fabulous offerings, including copies of all my books) at

Someone Show Swagger Mama Otiko This Chart

You ever get tired of repeating yourself? You ever just get bone weary of saying the same thing over, and over and over again? You ever wish that you could find the words to make the carrousel of madness come to a grinding halt? That must be it; maybe it’s the way we’ve been saying it. All us feminists, and human rights activists and people with common sense and decency…perhaps our semantics just don’t connect or compute with the rest of them. And by ‘them’, I mean Otiko Afisa Djaba and her merry band of patriarchal, rape culture supporters attempting to defend the woman’s most recent contribution to the debasement of the Ghanaian mind.

Otiko Djaba is a Ghanaian politician and minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection. Speaking at the 90th anniversary and Speech and Prize giving Day of the Krobo Girls Presbyterian Senior High School in the Eastern region, she concluded her soliloquy with the following admonishment for the impressionable students, saying:

“In conclusion, I want to say to you, be bold, be confident, be respectful. If you wear a short dress, it’s fashionable but know that it can attract somebody who would want to rape or defile you. You must be responsible for the choices you make”.

These are the words of the minister for social protection.

I can’t spend too much time on this, because everything that has been said on the matter on the supposed (bogus) relationship between rape and sartorial choices has been said an infinite number of times before. If you’ve read a book, read the news, watched Lifetime for any significant period of time – or hell – watched National Geographic, you will walk away with the understanding that the only responsible party in the act of rape is the person(s) perpetuating the crime. The rapist. Not the victim…the rapist.

otikoWomen like Mrs. Djaba are particularly dangerous in an environment governed by rape culture. She is a traitor to justice, although she probably believes her admonishments will positive long-term consequences. Quite the contrary. In putting the blame on girls who wear short skirts for their violent sexual assault, she gives would be rapists a free pass to use what they consider “provocative dress” as an excuse for their vile actions. Over the course of the 20th century, we saw and heard horror stories about women who were made to relive the incident of their attack on the witness stand.

“What were you wearing?”

“How much did you have to drink?”

“Were you flirting with him?”

“What did you think would happen if you were working at those late hours of the night?”

The treatment rape victims are subject has contributed to the dismal numbers of reported rape. Adding to how few convictions follow a trial, there is a sense among survivors that the follow up trauma is just not worth it. Otiko ‘Swagger Mama’ Djaba’s advice only adds rocket fuel to a freight train that’s long been running over rape survivor’s lives and teaches women and girls to blame themselves before such a possible attack happens.

Her statement, aside from being absolutely ludicrous, is completely false. Hemlines are not a factor in the propagating of sexual assault. If that were the case, there would be no cis/hetero male victims of rape…and yet the CDC reports that 1 in 71 men are the victims of rape. (I searched for statistics on male victims of rape in Ghana and found none.) What length were the skirts these male victims were wearing at the time of their assault? And what about the women who rape men? It would shock her and her supporters to know that this is a real phenomenon that stretches back centuries. I don’t blame her for her ignorance. Patriarchal systems have made it almost impossible to have a real conversation about sexual assaults on male bodies. Some aid organizations in Africa won’t even give funding to help victims of sexual assault if the reported statistics include men. Men in these situations are punished twice. Furthermore, it perpetuates a culture of silence that can only lead to greater frequency of rape, molestation and assault.

It might behoove Mrs. Djaba to take some extended courses in gender studies if this is the ministry she means to lead. Rape is a scourge on the Ghanaian populace, and it cuts across age and social status. Rapists are found in the slums of Agbogbloshie as well as the highest and most prestigious positions in the land. There is no way to “spot a rapist”. They are teachers, pastors, husbands, fathers, brothers and neighbors. They are not boogey men lurking in the dark. Most rape survivors are attacked by people they know, trust and/or are familiar with. That information needs to be a part of the national conversation and any ‘advice’ well-meaning but ill-informed people need to give. The circumstances under which people find themselves victims of rape are varied and complex, nevertheless they all have one thing in common: The motives and the intent of the rapist, those being to exert dominance, power and to fulfill a selfish and perverse sexual desire.

But lets talk about the boogey man, and what so many people think he/she looks like or where he lurks:


Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 12.02.18 PM
Image source:

An Iraqi refugee who raped a 10-year-old boy at a swimming pool has had his conviction overturned because a court didn’t prove he realized the boy was saying no.

The rapist, identified as Amir A, 20, violently sexually assaulted the boy in the changing room of Theresienbad pool in Austria claiming it was a ‘sexual emergency’ because he had not had sex for four months. This kid was swimming at the pool – a supposedly safe space – and had his body invaded in the most cruel and vile manner because this 20 year old man could not control his urges.


While on Hajj, my friend’s cousin was walking back to her camp after completing her prayers. A man was following her, which was not out of the ordinary. There were thousands of people there and there is rarely an opportunity for privacy.

When they reached an alleyway the unknown man grabbed her, pulled her into the darkness, forced her face against the wall of a building and began to rub himself against her backside, stopping only until he had ejaculated through his clothing and onto her prayer clothes. He ran off immediately afterward. She was also in a supposed “safe space”: a pilgrimage to Mecca, where you would think that everyone’s mind was on Allah and dutifully fulfilling a pillar of faith. How could she know – or even fathom – that her fellow Muslim brother would have such vile thoughts on his mind at such a sacred time?


I myself have written about my molestation at the hands of my now deceased uncle. I was 8 years old, barely pre-pubescent with a dry jheri curl. At the time he cornered me I had gone to my room to go and get a toy with my sister. After he stuck his tongue in my mouth, he turned to my sister to perform the same lewd act on her. Fortunately, my sister’s flight instincts have also been keen and on point. After she witnessed what he did to me, she ran out of the room. I on the other hand had not been so fortunate. I ‘let’ him do it, because it had already been drilled into me that adults were right and you always obey your elders. My reward for that obedience was enduring a sick feeling any time his name was mentioned and footing the bill for his funeral. Is the boogey man supposed to be your father’s blood brother? Convention says no.

At what point do we begin to counsel men and women about self control, rather than legislating bans on miniskirts, or forcing girls to cut their hair so as not to appear so ‘grown’, or ironing breasts of pre-teen girls in the hopes that a flat, disfigured chest will deter any unwanted attention? When will girls have the opportunity to experience the same freedom in their bodies that boys do?


The irony of Otiko placing the blame for sexual assault on victims is not lost on many. This is a woman who sports a half shaven head, and who had to endure all kinds of denigration during her vetting process because of it. People said she did not represent Ghanaian culture, that she looked like a hooligan and loose woman who didn’t have common sense or morals. Those of us who defended her did so because we know that it’s not what’s on a woman’s head that makes her effective at her duties; it’s what’s in it. She was a symbol of the new, liberated Ghanaian woman who could defy convention and STILL earn the respect of the office she inhabited. These young, hopeful girls nicknamed her ‘Swagger Mama’, a moniker she apparently takes great delight in. She was cool, funky and confident and many high school age girls looked up to her. They still do.

So for her – Otiko Djaba in particular – to champion the most baseless tenant of rape culture and all its hypocrisy is not just shocking: it’s disappointing. And until Otiko does an about face on this issue, the woman herself will wind down the same path as her predecessor…as an utter disappointment herself.

But as always, I’m here with solutions. Perhaps this chart will help all involved and clear up any confusion.


It ought to be clear, but today is Sunday and I know that in a Church Near You, a ‘man of God’ is preaching about how provocative dress makes men rape, so we’ll have to have this same conversation in the near future.*Blank stare*

Heaven save my son and brothers from such men who would instill and nurture such a demonic and weak spirit in them.

It Is Important That We Not Treat President Akufo Addo The Same Way That We Treated Former President Mahama

It appears that Melania Trump and Nana Akufo Addo completed the same course in Plagiarism at Trump University, the only difference being that Melania actually took credit for her “work”, saying with pride that she wrote her speech with very little help. Nana Addo has left his speechwriter to take the fall for his inaugural faux pas, which leaves many people (myself included) feeling some kind of way. All that NPP talk about personal accountability rings sort of hollow in the wake of this unofficial response to what is now an internationally recognized blunder. It’s one thing for the condescending Western media to carry a story…it’s a different beast entirely when Al Jazeera turns your error into headline. That’s how you know you’ve really FUBAR’d your job.

We can’t really feign shock at President Akufo Addo’s (or his aide’s) propensity for passing someone else’s work off as his own, can we? First of all, the New Patriotic Party has such an extensive and enduring hard on for being associated with the Republican Party – going as far as boasting about their twin elephant mascots and the coincidence of their parallel tenures in power – that they will do anything to imitate big brother…including, but not limited to pilfering intellectual property from Democrats politicians.

And let’s not act like NPP hasn’t been here before. The party that was supposed to represent a “change” in Ghanaian thinking and attitudes exhibited the same cultural proclivities for taking creative/intellectual property and passing it off as their own on several occasions. It is almost a year to the day that Kow Essuman – self-professed personal aide to then candidate Nana Addo – said that he would send back any invoice requesting payment for the unauthorized use of intellectual property by his party with a “NONSENSE” stamped on it.

We don't pay people and we don't attribute sources, either!!!!
We don’t pay people and we don’t attribute sources, either!!!!

It is now obvious that Nana Addo’s campaign team learned nothing from the experience. After all, since at the time they were only taking advantage of a lowly Ghanaian visual artist, their arrogance was warranted. It turns out that behavior was just a dress rehearsal for something much grander! On Inauguration Day, author Nana Awere Damoah playfully asked if those who had access to the brochure could spot any typos, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Brochuregate that dogged and embarrassed the country during the 2016 Independence celebrations. In a bid to outdo that gaffe, NPP saved the sweetest pepper for the proverbial waakye for the last. The PRESIDENT was going to parrot your favorite philanderer and warmonger and mine in 3-2-1…!

What a wow.

In an August 2016 interview with NTV, Hugh Masekela called Africans ‘bad imitations of those who oppressed us’. He intimated that Westerners don’t come to Africa to see Africans. They come to see the animals and the natural wonders, but don’t come to see US. Why? Because we are slowly, steadily, progressively losing our heritage and cultural identities in all spheres, politics and diplomatic relations most of all. Someone made the very poignantly observed hat in the history of all the brilliant and globally recognized thinkers that Nana Addo (or his aide) could have plagiarized, not ONE was an African. They had their pick from Patrice Loch Otieno Lumumba, Nelson Mandela to Ghana’s own Kofi Anan to draw “inspiration” from, but it appears these Black men weren’t good enough. Instead, they opted to cull from the inaugural speeches of Bill Clinton, JFK and George Bush, the lattermost whose excerpt was originally quoted by Woodrow Wilson, America’s 28th president who believed that Jim Crow and segregation was a benefit for Negroes. 

But you see, we cannot drag President Akufo Addo in the way that that they deserved, and certainly not in the way that their social media foot soldiers spent months dragging now Ex-President Mahama, because it’s Nana Akufo Addo and NPP at the helm, and both he and his party are purrrrfect. Did they not assure us on the campaign trail that the battle is Lord’s? Surely as its victors, Nana Addo is God’s anointed and appointed president and therefore impervious to imperfections? Major Prophet Sekou Nkrumah told us as much when he published this (misleading) meme of his father and a bespectacled boy on his personal Facebook page a few weeks ago.

Sekou wanted us to believe that this was a picture of his late father and Nana Addo as a boy. Turns out this was a kid from the South...of America.
Sekou wanted us to believe that this was a picture of his late father and Nana Addo as a boy. Turns out this was a kid from the South…of America.

Oh yeah. The party faithful loved that. Drank it up like Kalypo. The prophesy had come to pass!

As already mentioned, we cannot treat President Akufo Addo the same way Ghanaians treated John Mahama. Because reasons. And it is for those reasons that I posit the following questions as though there were being asked of Dramani Mahama and not his successor.


Wow. So are really supposed to believe that after fighting for this position for 28+ years, you Mr. President didn’t have some exclusive, personal thoughts on what you wanted to say to the Ghanaian people? You haven’t been working on an inaugural speech since the 90’s? You didn’t have enough time to craft your own notables and quotables? Because I know if I had been rejected as many times for the office of the president as you have, I’d have some things I’d want to get off my chest. I’d have some things that needed saying, and I certainly ain’t pulling the words of Clinton and Wilson to reflect my mood. Is this what the words “I am a Ghanaian” represent now? Red, white, blue and Bush?

When I published my first book and had my first launch, I knew exactly what I was going to say and how I was going to say it. I may have run my ideas by a few people, but those were MY words. And when I drew inspiration from other authors, I certainly gave them credit because I know how long and arduous it is to think and write something memorable. Did your speechwriters run the inaugural address by you first and vice-versa? Did you approve it? Because if you did, it means you hired incompetent, unscrupulous speechwriters. How are the Ghanaian people supposed to have the confidence that you will hire competent, honest ministers, engineers and the like to steer the country towards much needed change? Why are you surrounding yourself with people who don’t even have the foresight to bring you water on a Harmattan day? Incompetence!

Furthermore, I knew exactly what I was going to wear.

And who decided for you to wear that kente? (The colors and theme of which I loved, by the way.) But WHO? Eh? It’s admirable that you harbor such body positive feelings about yourself and all, but don’t you think it was a little too early to introduce your mitties (man titties) to the nation? Every time you adjusted that massive cloth, we saw belly and moobies. Was there no ntama available? What about modesty? What about this generation that is looking up to you for guidance? Do you want big-breasted boys and girls to also be flashing their flesh for the public? I guess when you’ve made it to the top, you can bare it all, our sensory receptors and nightmares be damned.

Honestly, I’m glad the inauguration address was hampered by such and epic mess. I don’t know what Ghana would do if the office of the presidency weren’t a constant embarrassment to the nation, which is why I am grateful to the sitting leader of the nation.

What a way to launch.

You had ONE job, and all the slangs in the world can’t cover the fact that far too much of your speech was a sad carbon copy of white male thought and therefore, subversively, spoke to the white supremacist that is latent in every Ghanaian. How are we supposed to fight it when our leadership keeps nourishing it? You admit that our challenges are fearsome while quoting verbatim the words of an American. Chai!


But we must never challenge or  ask these questions of a purrrrfect president who represents a puuuurfect party. Nana Addo and his team would never be guilty of such laziness and pathetic faux pas. They assured us as much while they were trolling their opposition and trolled their way to victory. Only John Mahama and NDC would do such a thing. This is why I have taken the liberty of introducing you to your new Commander in Chief, Nana Dramani Mahamaddo.



Because NPP is perfect and because change as come.





No. SHUT UP over there! Don’t tell me to chill. Do you know what it’s like to be waken from sleep with alerts from your Nigerian friends laughing at you? And to watch people you’re supposed to respect working over time to defend the sort of nonsense they devoted a years to decrying. YOU shut up!



Jerry John Rawlings Just Shaded Alfred Oko Vanderpuije To Hell

Former President JJ Rawlings is a man of many talents and titles, including but not limited to:

  • Coup Maker
  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Boom Speech Giver
  • Democracy Re-Introducer
  • Doctorate Holder
  • Peace Negotiator

Now, he can add a new title to his already impressive litany of appellations: Shaolin Monk. And not just any Shaolin Monk… One who has mastered all 36th chambers of stylistic combat. Because it is only someone who has been tested and weathered by time, intensity and adversity that could wordlessly quash the ambitions of a social climber such the Bearded One. Did you see this?



It was the block felt around the Continent. From Cape Town to Cairo, people are empathetically wincing from the ultimate shading that Accra Mayor Vanderpujie found himself subject to and eclipsed by. Did you see the way he fell aaaaall the way back? Oko is a man who lived through the 70s, and he knew exactly what time it was. When Shaft gives you that stare, you don’t talk back. You know a roundhouse kick to the head is coming so you take your cue stick and leave the bar if you don’t want trouble. Rawlings is Shaft and Vanderpujie is That Other Guy.

What did this man think was going to happen in the wake of these shenanigans? You just don’t run up on another Black man on the red carpet, like some star struck groupie, and expect to get a lollipop in return. What do you think this is? Carnival? Jerry ‘One Man, One Toilet’ Rawlings didn’t even have to say a word – didn’t even have to look the dude in the eye – before Oko Vanderpujie found his lane and obsequiously stuck to it.

That’s power. With a mere hand gesture, a grown man who has spent his entire career terrorizing Accra’s civilian population and throwing his clout around like an elephant marking its territory was disciplined like a class 6 pupil who dared to speak during the headmaster’s address at assembly.

The universe is full of visual wonders, and not all of us will be blessed to see them in our lifetimes. Aurora Borealis, a full Blood Moon, a volcanic eruption that gives birth to a new land mass are among these wonders. So too is Jerry Rawlings’ snub of Alfred Vanderpujie listed among those impressive natural phenomena. It was a display so dazzling that the ancestors stood and took notice. I can see Dr. Rawlings’ Scottish forefathers – Braveheart included- standing and applauding their son. His name will be mentioned in the halls of Valhalla with awe and trembling, and it is for this reason that for the remainder of our time here, we shall refer to him by his super-villain code name: Dr. Boom.

Some people have expressed their disdain for Dr. Boom’s behavior towards Oko. They say that he should have modeled his behavior after Barack Obama, who although having endured unpardonable insults from Trump and the GOP at large, was able to sit down and speak with either party, as a statesman ought. Barack Obama repeatedly displays magnanimity, they say. Obviously, I haven’t crept into Dr. Boom’s secret lair for his reaction to this criticism, but I would imagine his response to his detractors would go something like this:

Will you kip kwah-yet?!? Will you just sharrap over there? Ok3 mini? Barack Obama is what. Let me ask you a question: Is Barack Obama ME? I have toenails that have seen more adversity than Barack Hussein Obama has. I appreciate that the brother has had a hard time in the White House, but real talk, I’ve taken dumps that have endured more pressure than he has. You know why? Because African politics; that’s why. Obama only has a passing familiarity with the way this continent works. In his 50 years living on the planet he’s been here, what, 5 times? And then has the gall to tell us about how we need to run things. Lemme tell you something: I LIVE here. Do you know what kind of SHYTE I have to listen to from my co-leaders in ECOWAS alone? These people are not serious. But because everyone has an ego, tempered only by an army corps that they have to keep satisfied, there is a way we have to relate to each other. You can’t show fear. You can’t have shook feet. You can’t be too accommodating. Everyone is ready to show that he’s harder than the next guy. So when a nigga like The Bearded One steps outta line, it is incumbent upon me – nay, imperative – to remind him what zone he belongs to. There are levels to this. In the political atmosphere, there are levels, I said! Oko occupies the troposphere. I’m outchea in the thermosphere. Above me are God and the ancestors. So naturally, I reached deep into my spirit man and Mortal Kombatted him with my chakra.


Call me when Barack Obama has flown a fight jet between a 10-foot space and lived to tell the tale. Then we will all have something to vibe about. I’ve set up an entire village for Liberian refuges. Dude can’t even get his government to talk about letting Syrians into the country beyond saying ‘no’. But you want ME to act like OBAMA?

indexBe like Barack Obama indeed. If this were a movie – say “Tropic Thunder’ – I’d be Kirk Lazarus. Obama would be Kenvin Sandusky… really smart, with just enough talent to pass for a decent character actor and grateful for the opportunity. Oko is Jeff Portnoy: just here for his farts. So no…I did not let him walk with me on the red carpet uninvited. If I executed the snub correctly, he should be hearing Ludacris’ Move B*tch from now until 2018.



I mean seriously. I don’t think Alfred Oko Vaderpujie understood what mindset Dr. Boom had to be in at that moment. The man was there to listen to the final eulogy for the party he founded and has guided for the past 30+ years, and Oko popped out of thin air and into his personal space like Jar Jar Binks at Buckingham Palace at teatime. Why???

Did you call me to come here? No? Well here I am!!!
Did you call me to come here? No? Well here I am!!!

The State of the Nation Address had to be a sobering moment for the former president. The demise of the NDC, for the next 12 years at least, is inevitable. Because if Mahamudu Bawumia decides to run in 2020 and proves himself to be true to who he was on the campaign trail, NPP will be undefeatable. The NDC is going to have to raise up a political rock star of Freddie Mercury proportions to even have a shot at the presidency in the shirt term. Does the NDC have a Queen front man waiting in the wings that we don’t know about? Doubtful. All of this must have been weighing heavily on Dr. Boom’s mind when this jester in a Hawaiian button-down shirt interrupted his thoughts and tried to keep step with him. If you were at a function to bury your vision, wouldn’t you have shut down the miscreant who has dedicated a portion of his energy to making sure that vision met an undignified end? Of course you would. Hence: BLOCKDT.


May the enemies of your progress be blocked with the strength of the Rawlings Shade-Step-Windmill combo. If you employ this maneuver, your obstacles will have no choice but to fall. Watchaaa now!

Oooooooooh Johnny Mahama. Ah!

Dear Soon-To-Be-Formerly-Known-As- President Mahama:

I trust you are well. Me? Oh…I’m all right. I just returned from an arduous (but fruitful) trek to Cape Town and I’m resting up. I had limited access to Wi-Fi during my road trip, but I caught bits and snippets of the news where I could. As you may well imagine, I caught wind of your intended (now cancelled) ‘Farewell Tour’ that you were planning on embarking on in advance of Inauguration Day.

Image source: The Lead
Image source: The Lead

Sir. Sir! I cannot tell you how much it grieves me to be writing yet another letter to you for the very same faux pas you and I (Okay, fine. I) have been dissecting for the previous 3+ years . My last letter to you concerning such matters was meant to be just that: My last letter. But, here we are again…

My dear Brodda Johnny. Ah! Who do you have advising you? Is it the Oye Lithurs? Sack them ooo. Sack them! They are costing your legacy dear with these amateurish predilections. Farewell Tour for what? It’s like all the talking that pundits and lay people alike have done these 24 months has fallen on deaf ears. Certain Ghanaians are not happy, and announcing half-baked ventures like final self-congratulatory laps around the country on the government dime only plays into their hands. You said you would leave it to history to judge your accomplishments, but you are a media man. You were once known as a communications guru. Don’t let your present title lull you into a false sense of security. Know your audience! They are going to crucify you with every keystroke, every chance they get. Who is ‘they’, you ask? The Douchebags Once Merely Known as the Elite: the NPP and their affiliates who care more about perceptions about the country than the actual advancement of the country.

You may have caught that ridiculous hashtag #CNNGetItRight last week? Yeah. I saw that ish too. What a joke. #CNNGetItRight, but pregnant women are still sharing hospital beds and Ghana is still the world’s 7th dirtiest country. You should have seen them congratulating themselves over controlling/changing the narrative in the international media. “Hoorah! We got CNN to issue an apology! Now no one will ever truly know how polluted our rivers are or that we give our celebrity rapists the honor due a prophet!”

It was laughable.

And pathetic.

Yet these are the people you are trusting to write objectively about your single term as president of the Fourth Republic? My advice to you is to get working on your memoires quick as you can, get on the offensive and dispel all myths before they have a chance to germinate. Why? Because other than hateful redneck Republicans post-Trump victory, I have never seen a more miserable group of people than NPP supporters and party members. They have won the prize and yet can’t bring themselves to enjoy it without utterly denigrating the opposition in the process. You should see the way they talk about you on my newsfeed. You’d think you had spent your 6 years in the function of the president performing botched abortions and selling harvested fetuses to the Chinese at Kotoka for juju. Mind you, these are the same people who will descend you on like a hoard of blood-sucking bedbugs if you say pi about their precious Nana.

The behavior is stomach turning on its own merits, but considering these Notoriously Pompous Piss-takers (save a handful who have demonstrated laudable decorum) paraded themselves as the more refined – and therefore morally superior – alternative to NDC’s kubolor bend, it makes their actions even more insufferable. I am already looking forward to the end of the NPP regime.

This is where you come in, Dramani. Please listen carefully.

NPP is already setting itself up to stay in power forever. They’ve got charlatans out here ‘prophesying’ that the party will rule Ghana for the next 40 years. My guess is that this 40-year time frame is supposed to inspire awe in the mind and spirit of the hearer as it happens to be the exact number of years the children of Israel spent wandering in the wilderness. 40 is a divine number, abi? My Father. It’s so easy to see through these smoke and mirror “men of God”.

That’s not the point.

The point IS none of this is good for Ghana’s democracy. Your political rivals are going to paint NDC as perpetually and patently unfit to govern the nation and will do everything they can to discredit you personally and your party as a whole. If you truly love Ghana and you truly believe in the ideals of democracy, do all you can to stop this from happening. Don’t allow them to plant this root in the minds of the citizenry. The days of a one-party state are over for us. The idea may have served its purpose at a time, but no longer.

Here’s the rub. You can’t be announcing ‘Farewell Tours’ to tout your success for one reason only: Although some people benefitted from your policies and infrastructure implementations, the right people didn’t benefit. Those people are the middle class at large. See how nobody was minding you until the cedi fell sharply against the dollar? Nothing provokes the merchant class’ dander like messing with their money. Not street kids washing windshields for a few pesewas; not the choked drains in front of their palatial houses; not even the fact that the price of kenkey is 20 times more expensive today than it was in 1993. Nah. You mess with that foreign exchange, and you’ve got a real problem on your hands. Now suddenly everyone wants to Occupy Something. Have you ever seen the middle class organize themselves to demand federal funding into SITO schools on behalf of the poor?


I get so frustrated with you sometimes, because you conduct yourself like you don’t know whom you are dealing with! I mean, this is a cabal of super villains masquerading as the Avengers led by that lamb from Zootopia. These are the very same people who held the country hostage after the 2012 elections because they felt they had a right to the presidency. They threw a massive hissy fit, the consequence of which was stymied investment into the country. Bruh, you were there! Instead of commissioning factories every second week, what you ought to have done was hold a series of open forums to explain your vision for the nation, for that current year and beyond, while also detailing how those first two years of the NPP’s veritable coup d’état interfered with your timeline and set in motion a series of setbacks leading to hurried social works projects. What happens when you hire someone to do something at the last minute? You have to pay a premium. We all know this, but it was down to you to put it into words that the people could understand and that the opposition could not deny.

I know these people are your friends, but bruh…they ain’t treating you like a friend. They will eat fufu with you behind closed doors and treat you like a leper on the playground. Playing nice with these folks is like punching yourself in your own face.

Here’s my advice.

After everything is settled and Nana Addo has gotten comfortable and well acquainted with the A/C units at Flagstaff House, you embark on a series of tours around the country. Go to the places that politicians rarely go to, beyond Cape Coast and Akosombo and the like. I mean deep into the hinterland where no one knows your face. Listen to the people…I mean truly listen. Take some rising stars within the NDC with you; men and women with passion and talent who have new ideas and are not afraid of doing the gritty work required of civic duty. Don’t take Stan Dogbe with you. Ask the people what plans they have for their future and what kind of Ghana they want to live in. Ask them how government and/or private institutions can partner with them to make those goals a reality. Spend a year or more in true dialogue with the people. You will find that the goals of the city-dwelling Ghanaian usually differ sharply provincial counterparts. Use that.

Take that information and build a Dream Team of political activists of good character. Groom them to think before they speak, so that they won’t make threats and use idle words like “I will release your nude pictures”, “Ghanaian women are cheap,” “Lydia Forson is a voice from the brothel” and “Show us your wife” when they are presented with a political challenge. Create a new culture in Ghana politics and elevate the discourse. Document everything, bruh. As in put it on film, hire a professional editor and commission screenings around the country when that dialogue complete. Call the documentary something snazzy like Whispers from Ghana’s Heartland… or something. You ain’t hired me to be coming up with docu titles.


You’ve got 4 years to re-brand the NDC. Make sure your ministers show up for work and go over each piece of legislation with a fine toothed comb before it passes. It’s important that they are present and can hold the ruling party accountable. I don’t tell you any of this because I like your party. I really don’t…but I recognize that having a strong opposition is integral to a healthy political environment and critical to a functioning democracy. Unless some other third party springs up out of the woodwork in 2018, you guys are it. Just because you are not in majority rule does not mean that Ghana does not depend upon you.

All right, dude. I just needed to get that off my chest. I don’t want to hear about you making these sloppy political mistakes again, okay? Merry Christmas and fire those who have been giving you bad advice.

With someway love bi,



Dear Mzbel, No One Else Will Say It, So I Will: I’m So Sorry


I am not one of your fans. I can’t name a single song you’ve performed and up until yesterday I have been mispronouncing your name, referring to you as “Mmm-zee-bell” instead of “Mizz Bell”. I only have a passing familiarity with your person and your brand.

I only mention all this to let you know that what I am about to write does not come from a place of bias or fealty, but from compassion as a woman and fellow Ghanaian. And because I am a woman and a Ghanaian, I hurt for you. As a mother of 4 myself, I hurt WITH you. What I’ve seen you endure these previous days has been unconscionable. It is beneath the dignity of our humanity and every Ghanaian who condones this behavior must hang their head in shame and ask whatever deity they serve to cleanse and forgive them.

A friend sent me the audio clip of an interview you did after a mob showed up at your house and camped out for one hour, shouting for you to come out. It immediately triggered images of the Ku Klux Klan assembling outside of the homes and businesses of their quarry, hell-bent on a lynching that evening. I imagine the very “tough” men who stood outside of your wall would have been proud and satisfied with their display of ruthless violence. Like Klanners who collected bones and body parts of the lynched as trophies, they too will surely sit around with their friends over beers and gleefully admit that they too were there.

“I went to Mzbel’s house and shook her! Hahahahaa! God is good.”

Fine group of men. What valor they displayed. Surely their ancestors and all of Heaven are clapping for them for this display. Surely the people who have maligned you online for showing vulnerability in the face of this intimidation are equally proud of their viciousness.

The people responsible for these atrocities will never say it, so it’s left to me to stand in the gap: I am sorry. I am so sorry that you had to go through such terrifying intimidation and that your children were present as it happened. That your precious kids had to witness this beastly behavior in their countrymen, to whom they are supposed to show respect and deference after this.

I’m sorry that the voices of women’s groups and advocates are eerily silent in the face of this assault. One can only guess why the women who were scrambling behind the scenes formulating hashtags like #TheyThreatenedRapeAndMurder to defend one women are quiet when a woman who was actually sexually assaulted and robbed finds herself barricaded behind her doors years later. The cynic in me believes that this is their partisan bias fueling their silence, and my inner cynic is rarely wrong.

I’m sorry that we both come from a country where some women’s lives and right to safety are worth more than others because of age, political affiliation, class and ethnicity…

I’m sorry we come from a country where women are not believed about their assaults unless they are the perfect victim. Why would anyone believe YOU, Mzbel? You’re brash, sexually liberated and an unwed mother. You are not worthy in the eyes of our average pious citizen.

I’m sorry that your chosen profession – an entertainer – automatically makes you a celebrity, and therefore precludes you from participating in the political process by campaigning for the candidate you believed in.

I’m sorry scientists are not considered celebrities in Ghana and that the burden to excite the populace about the political engagement falls on artists alone.

I’m sorry Ghanaians in opposition are not mature enough to allow you the freedom to campaign for a candidate you believe(d) in without threatening physical harm in the wake of their fresh victory.


I’m sorry that Ghanaian politics is so immature that you felt like you had to say and do the things you said in order to connect with the voting population.

I’m sorry you didn’t feel like you could elevate the discourse and still be heard, because honestly, our people’s frequency isn’t tuned into Reason, and the only pitch they seem to understand is Insults. If we are not shouting at, insulting and now assaulting each other, our voices are deemed to somehow lack strength. And as MPs and pastors show us every day, there is no better way to demonstrate your strength than my intimidating, denigrating and beating women.

I’m sorry that the same party that ousted the one you support – who called NDC hooligans and thugs – have exhibited the same hooliganism and thuggery both online and off. I’m sickened by their hypocrisy.

I’m sorry our people have lost compassion and decency. I don’t know how a person could listen to your narration and still find it within their spirit to call you an ashawo who deserves everything she’s getting because you made a parody of their preferred candidate.

I’m sorry Ghanaians are not mature enough to understand the use of parody.

I’m sorry Ghanaians can’t discern between fake news and real media outlets, and that real media outlets accept soli and end up distributing fake news. I hear some factions are expelling you to Burkina Faso based on a satirical fabrication.

I’m sorry satire – indigestible by our poorly educated population – has poisoned reason and killed the ability to engage in discourse.

But most of all, I’m sorry that in this new era, we are not Ghanaians first. That as this new dawn rises, it becomes clearer that Ghana is for some and not for all.

I’m sorry you had to find out this way.