Unpacking Voter Apathy Among Ghana’s Emerging Middle Class

It’s been difficult to feign enthusiasm for the 2016 edition of Ghana’s election process, and with an incumbent government performing so poorly, that should serve as a red alert that something is fundamentally wrong. With all the corruption scandals and improprieties exhibited by the ruling NDC, many more people should be rabidly howling for a conversion in government, but even at this 11th hour “I don’t know who I will vote for, and I may not even vote” is a common refrain.

Why should that be? There should be a clear victor here, if we as a nation have a collective vision concerning our heading.

Speaking in general terms, NDC is corrupt and incompetent. NPP is unpalatable in its arrogance and has spent the first part of its campaign cannibalizing itself. CPP is clueless and Ndoum – who embodies the PPP is proving to be a vindictive shrew. Neither of these parties nor its leadership can be trusted to move the mind of the nation forward. In fact, none of them has the slightest interest in elevating the political discourse, for in doing so it would mean that the citizenry would have the tools to hold the political elite to constitutional account. They are busy pandering to the lowest denominator, 1) because it’s easy and 2) because there is little pressure to perform beyond the minimum from those who occupy that space.  When was the last time you heard a Ghana politician speak passionately in the public sphere about the constitutionally guaranteed rights and role of the citizen, or the part the government plays in ensuring those rights and guiding/enforcing those roles? I can’t think of a single instance this campaign season, and I’d wager that people who are tired of the old way of politics being done in the country have given up hope.

On Nana Ama Agyemang Asante’s podcast ‘Unfiltered’, she has been asking eligible female voters if they will be voting in this election cycle. To her dismay – and mine as well, frankly – many women responded that they would not be voting. Why not?

“I just don’t want to,” they said.

You could hear it in their voices. The pitch and register of their answer is familiar. It’s exasperation. We as women employ this response in our lives every day. “I just don’t want to” is the polite and succinct way of (not) saying ‘Your stroke game SUCKS, you pre-mature ejaculating chimp’ or ‘I could work out, but that’s what society expects of me so I’m just gonna sit on the sofa and eat Pringles and kelewele and watch this The Princess Bride marathon.’ It would take the responder too long to explain why voting is such a chore that it elicits a sullen sigh, rather than a thrilling gasp and a flush of the cheeks. It has everything to do with the way political campaigning is done in Ghana and the Ghanaians’ response to these stimuli.

NDC was run a cruel and negative campaign, at times crossing into the ridiculous. Rather than focusing on the issues, they have spent the majority of the time attacking the main opposition leader, Nana Addo, personally. They have intimated that he is old, frail and therefore physically unfit to lead the nation. Nana Addo is a relic of the past. The latest one compares the relationship between the Ghanaian voter, NDC and NPP to a love triangle. Just watch:

Funny, right? At first blush, it does make you chuckle, but it’s a really troubling ad. Ghana – and its citizenry by extension – is portrayed as a fickle, idle girl who is compelled to depend on men to care for her needs. Despite the fact that Ghanaian women make up more than half of the labor force and are incredibly entrepreneurial, the ‘lazy, gold digging’ trope still exists. And if that weren’t odious enough, the ad makers threw in a dash of colorism, which continues to be a plague on our collective mental health. While “Ghana’s” pursuer (NPP) is a darker skinned male in a polyester shirt, the guy she temporarily dumped (NDC) is light skinned, current and smooth. She realizes she’s made a poor choice and coyly tries to sidle up to her previous partner. All of these play on the Ghanaian’s insecurities at the intersection of ethnicity, gender and color.

NPP’s problems have not been with advertising. Their woes have everything to do with their mouth. John Mahama, his brothers and Anita ‘the dwarfs ate your cedis’ De Sosoo have run the country into the ground, sprinkled lights over the rubber glue monuments they’ve constructed and dubbed them Dubai. It should be easy to defeat this boorish breed, but people aren’t convinced NPP is any better. Mahamudu Bawumia and his wife notwithstanding, both the party leadership and its supporters provoke an ick response in a lot of people.

Clearly, Nana Addo is not interesting in courting new supporters. This is hubris on both his and his supporters’ part. I suppose he can’t see past the crowds of people who show up at rallies and is satisfied that the clamor is enough. He routinely refuses to participate in debates, has not put out a concise, actionable message that the university graduate or young entrepreneur can relate to, and he certainly has not called for his leadership to behave circumspectly. Kennedy Agyapong and George ‘Show me your wife’ Andah threaten and disrespect women with abandon, and those who cry foul are silenced and made to feel shame. This tyranny goes right down to the Ghanaweb comments section, for what is name-calling and cyber bullying compared to a bus branding scandal? Vote for change! Is this alternative truly any better? Is it more tolerable to live in a country where people fear to express their thoughts and ideas than it is to live in a dumsor republic? Are we not simply trading one form of darkness for another?

If you call out these transgressions, then you MUST be an NDC supporter. NPP sympathizers have been nasty, illogical and downright insufferable over the previous 12 months, so much so that people want them to lose this election just to shut them up. Lydia Forson wrote an objective, thought-provoking piece detailing why NPP could fail to grasp power this season, and like the hit dogs they are, the violent canines did holler. She has been subjected to the worst sort of personal attacks – online and off – that have been seen in recent history.

Ghanaians have the gall to ask why more women don’t participate in the political process, musing over why we don’t have our versions of a Michelle Obama, or Hillary Clinton, or Sheryl Sandberg to boast of, conveniently forgetting how men threaten to release nudes in response to political analysis or reflexively default to reducing a woman to her looks if she is considered ungovernable. Even the EC Chair, Charlotte Osei , has not been immune to ad hominem attacks. While not having executed her first election cycle with the perfection that she required of the presidential candidates, she does not deserve to have that failure reduced to it being a consequence of giving a woman so much power. Naturally, there are death threats predicated on her presumed partiality to the party who appointed her.


As if this series of fiascos weren’t were not bad enough, Joyce Amankwaa ,the Assin North municipal assistant civic education officer of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has urged the wives of the Ghana police service to “satisfy their husbands very well in bed to enable them work effectively during the upcoming elections”. Once gain ladies, the fate and the stability of the nation rests your vagina. But don’t get too cocky! That you have a vagina also makes you inferior and weak. Always remember that the man is the head of he household and your natural leader.

Let’s not even get into the IGP who cannot decide if he wants to block social media or Election Day or conduct himself as though he’s living in a modern democracy where the citizens have rights and can be trusted to employ reason.

The whole thing is a charade and a circus, and little wonder so many people just can’t muster the passion to stand in the sun and be a part of the sideshow. For many people, Ghana’s politics do no reflect their values, nor is it representative of something to aspire to. It is considered retrogressive for reasons that are far too lengthy to list in one blog post. No wonder so many people find themselves apathetic!

Now, there are people for whom none of this matters. They are the party faithful at both ends of the economic spectrum. The wealthy are those whose fortunes are inextricably linked to the umbrella or elephant in office, and the poor simply want the satisfaction of knowing their team won. Ghanaian politics is FIFA’s sickly step-brother; but if we’re all lucky, we’ll avoid the melee at the end. But for those in the middle, the now despised neutrals who cannot bring themselves to hold their noses and pick a side, there is no clear choice here. A win for either party is merely a win for the party, not the country as a whole.

It’s time for Ghana politics to grow up. It’s time to transform the election process into a cerebral exercise, rather than an emotionally reactive one. We’ve been choosing the lesser of two evils for so long that it’s gotten us back to HIPC and disenfranchised our brightest minds. I always say that if you have a choice, choose greatness. Why settle for mediocrity and mendacity? We must all demand more of ourselves, and especially those who presume to lead us.

I’ll end with Kinna Likimani’s apt thoughts on the politician’s failure to woe undecided voters. She says:


Mourning the Nameless Adinkra Symbol

A blogging buddy of mine, whom I very much admire, redesigned her website a few months ago with stunning results. She is an essayist, and her posts are heavy on written content. Her redesign changed the way her readers interact with her words, employing color contrasts, a pleasing font and a bright white background that keeps the mind engaged. The human attention span has been shortened to an estimated 8 seconds due to our engagement with digital technology; however though her written posts are lengthy, requiring 5-7 minutes to complete, the reading experience is so pleasant that the time seems to fly by.

Part of that redesign included the creation of a custom logo as part of her branding. She wanted something that incorporated Sankofa, and worked with a graphic designer to create a striking logo around this Adinkra symbol.



When I saw it – and the explanation behind the design – I confess I had a visceral reaction. It’s not that I was/am unfamiliar with this symbol. It’s on gates and walls all over the country. The apoplectic response I was experiencing was due to nothing more than dissonance. These two ancient symbols cannot  possibly exist with the same meaning at the same time. Or could they?

Many people, myself included, do not associate this Adinkra symbol with Sankofa. The word “Sankofa” (translated as ‘go back and get it’) generally brings to mind a bird looking back at its tail. It’s an admonishment to look back to the past for wisdom and applying it to the present in order to positively affect the future. (Or, at least that’s what they told me in my 6th grade African studies class.) So what is the literal meaning behind this other symbol? Would the men/women responsible for their creation say affirmatively that there is no differentiating between the two (in meaning, translation or inspiration), beside their physical attributes?


If you had asked me even just a few weeks ago, I’d defer to Google and would have most likely accepted the conventional idea that these are both versions of Sankofa. However, since I’ve been giving so much thought to syntax and the evolution of language, I have my doubts. I recently wrote about the diluting of our local languages, which has resulted in the extinction of some words and the proliferation of others. Anglophiles have influenced and altered much of our language. We’ve seen it not just with conversational language, but with naming as well.

A post I came across a few years ago was written by someone who described how his/her family got their surname. Their ancestor, a man by the name of Dua, went to England as part of a delegation from Ghana. When he was asked about his name, he replied in English that his name was “calling wood” in an attempt to translate the meaning of his name. Dua is the Twi word for “wood”. I’m willing to bet that Mr. Dua translated his response directly from Twi to English, and so instead of saying “It means wood”, he responded “It is calling (misappropriation of ‘called’) wood”. In either event, the English then took to referring to him as Mr. Callingwood and eventually, the family named morphed into a more modern version spelling: ‘Collinwood’. Another friend of mine shared how her Fante family ended up with a very English sounding name, but she’s threatened to kill me if I should ever disclose the evolutionary process of how her very posh English surname. I like life, so I won’t. Just know that every Ghanaian with a British surname does not necessarily derive from British ancestry.

So what about this alternate Adinkra symbol? I believe this symbol has suffered from a similar fate; i.e. it’s origin and appellation has been attenuated. The two symbols – the bird looking back and coiled lines facing inward – are stark in their differences. The budding anthropologist in me cannot reconcile that they mean the exact same thing, and I think it would be culturally slothful of us to insist that it is. Just about every response I’ve received on what this symbol means and its actual designation has been “a variation of sankofa”. But then that’s about as accurate as saying my son is a variation of my daughter because they are both products of my uterus. Stone is Stone, and Aya is Aya. Surely each symbol is in possession of its own distinct, unique name.

I think about words a lot, and I have to wonder what the originators of Adinkra had in mind when they created the bird and the touching coils if indeed they have similar meanings. What necessitated the redundancy? When you consider any word – let’s take “hot”, for instance – does it have the power to completely convey the intensity behind that heat? Does it paint a perfect picture in the mind’s eye? Hardly; which is why the words “smoldering”, “molten”, etc. were invented. What idea do the two “birds” facing inward convey to a deeper level that the crane with an arched neck – or vice versa – fails to? And more importantly, what is its actual designation? Surely its proper name isn’t Variation or Alternative of Sankofa.


My father’s last surviving ‘grandmother’ (she was actually a great aunt) just died at 105 years old. Perhaps she or one of her few remaining peers could give some insight into the depth of the matter…but you know how we treat our old folk. We venerate them in word only. There is something that a woman who’s lived to the age of 105 can teach us about health and lifestyle, but we’d rather ignore her and confine her to a seat in the family courtyard than invite her on TV or radio. Such a woman can hardly be considered relevant (or interesting) to audiences between the ages of 18-45, could she? As a result, Anglophiles, elites and cultural hijackers continue to set the agenda and another piece of our history is lost to memory and antiquity. And you know what? I’m pretty emotional about what we’re losing in this steady cultural erosion. How reliable is what we know?


Do you have any clues about the name and meaning behind this symbol? Do you think my doubts are justified? I’d love to hear what you think before the comments close in 24 hours!

Let Your Feet Do the Talking with Daavi’s Connexions


Any footwear enthusiast is sure to agree with this statement, both because of its hilarity and for its inherent truth. The apparel we purchase for our feet has the power to provide the sort of gratification that extends long past the exchange at the check out counter. For an uncountable number of men and women all over the world, shoes serve as a medium of self-expression. Shoes have a peculiar way of telling you more about a person than any soliloquy ever could. Shoes have the power to give you access… or doom you to exclusion.

There’s just something about shoes…

As someone who’s spent nine years working retail in the footwear industry, I’ve seen the transformative power and affect that shoes can have on a person. A tired mom puts on a pair of sparkly heels and for a moment, she connects with the coy vixen she’s hidden under sweats and sneakers for years. I’ve seen college grads come in and try on pairs of classic Kenneth Coles, then outlandish Stacy Adams, before making the “sensible” decision to purchase a pair of black Nunn Bush loafers that will offer more mileage. They stand a little straighter – visibly more confident while picturing themselves tackling that new job or internship.

It’s therefore no wonder that Daavi’s Connexions has adopted the phrase “let your feet do the talking” to describe the mission of the company’s brand. Someone once famously said, “The eyes may be the windows to your soul, but your shoes tell us everything else!”

Seyram Atukpa, founder of Daavi's Connexions
Seyram Atukpa, founder of Daavi’s Connexions

Seyram Atukpa is the brain behind the brand that is synonymous with comfort and style. The 28-year-old entrepreneur credits her mother with the inspiration to go into business for herself. Although her mother worked full time in a traditional work environment, she also designed, sewed and sold her creations on the side. After graduating from university, it would take a year before Seyram found work as an account manager in a corporate environment. However, she didn’t rest on her laurels during her unemployment. An avid footwear devotee, she worked with a local craftsman to make custom sandals and handbags that she sold to friends and colleagues. It was in that time that she underwent a personal transformation as well. She cut off all her hair and went natural in a style popularly known as ‘Daavi’. With her new look and distinctive accessories for sale, her co-workers would playfully ask what she had come into work to ‘connect’ them with for the day.

It was in then that the name – and brand – Daavi’s Connexions was born.


Today, Seyram works fulltime as an Account Manager at Storefoundry.com, where she also uses the platform to sell well-recognized brands. For now, Daavi’s Connexions exclusively sells casual menswear featuring brands like Chucks, Toms Espadrille, Sebago Docksides and Loafers. Although her roots are in selling women’s footwear and accessories, she recognized an underserved market and seized on the opportunity.

“We believe everyone needs to make a statement with their footwear, be it a formal or a casual wear so Daavi’s Connexions is all about helping people make a statement with their footwear hence our slogan, ‘Let Your Feet Do The Talking.’”

Eventually, Daavi’s Connexions will expand its offering to include shoes for women, youth and toddlers. Seyram’s vision is to get to the point that when you hear the name Daavi’s Connexions, what comes to mind is quality, affordable footwear for everyone.

So, what’s next for the future?

“Plans are underway to collaborate with Chucks for our own co-branded and customized shoes. When people want Chucks, I want them to think of us first. In terms of reach, we are acting locally and thinking globally. Storefoundry offers worldwide delivery. If you have a mailing address, we can get your shoes to you anywhere in the world!”

Step your footwear game up this season and see what’s new at daavisconnexions.com. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for discounts and sales. The only thing better than new shoes is getting new kicks on a deal!

Daavi’s Connexxions is on WhatsApp (+233 246514924), Facebook, Twitter (@daavisconnexion) and Instagram (@daavisconnexions).


Were you inspired by Daavi’s Connexions story? Don’t hold this good feeling to yourself. Share it with your loved ones, frenemies and friends!


Can We All Talk About Charlotte Osei For A Minute?

The world has been focused on the lunacy that has become the US presidential race circa 2016 that it may have overlooked that Ghana – the land of my birth – is also going through a period of election madness. You may not think so, but the West African nation of 27 million citizens provides vital services that make life so comfy in the west. Every time you bite into a Snickers bar or purchase a new piece of furniture, chances are you’re eating a bit of cocoa from Ghana’s plantations or resting your tush on timber from our forests.

You’re welcome.

We have not gathered here to talk about the raw materials and agricultural bounty that feeds voracious American and European factories and industry. You and I are going to have a seat at this table and sip some hot tea on this auspicious Day of the Girl to discuss woman, the legend, the maverick, Charlotte Osei.


If you’ve been repelled and appalled by Donald Trump’s utterances about women, you will find yourself in familiar territory where Ghana’s presidential race is concerned. It has been a cesspool of misogyny, underachievement, callousness, feeblemindedness, insolence and male chauvinism, all wrapped in an inflated sense of self-importance by many of those running with a sprinkling of patriarchy on top. NOTHING gets done in Ghana without a dash of good ol’ patriarchy. You would do well to remember that.

It is amid this backdrop that Charlotte Osei, Chairperson for the Electoral Commission, had the unenviable job of weeding out the unfit, incompetent and undesirable from the running for the very important job of leading Ghana and its citizenry in the function of the highest position of the land. In all, 16 political parties filed paperwork to participate in the general election. Of that number, only 4 (NDC, the incumbent; NPP, the main opposition; CPP, the party of Nkrumah and some dude running independently) qualified to participate in the general elections.

It’s like watching the always-dismal WEAC exam results being broadcast, only this time it’s our political leadership on critical display. Likening this ragtag bunch of political hacks to a secondary school, only 25% of the class took the time to read, study and properly fill in the answers correctly. Honestly: If you can’t even properly fill out the paperwork to contest for the election, why should you have a shot on the ballot at all?

Some of the errors boggle the mind. For instance, Akua Donkor is said to have listed 1998 as the year of birth on her submitted nomination form. Now I know Madam Donkor has famously rebuffed the use of English as her mode of communication, but 1998 is the same in Twi, English, French or Zulu, and it ain’t the year when her momma dropped that enormous head into this physical realm.

You're only as old as you feel. Heeyyy!
You’re only as old as you feel. I feel like a 90’s baby. Heeyyy!

Other errors and inconsistencies in applications included fraudulent signatures from surrogates signing for more than one party (read fraud) and a whole host of things that will come to light in the coming days.

Over the past few months, Charlotte Osei has weathered wuthering personal attacks from petulant men who are unaccustomed to women in such firm control of their collective destinies. In June of this year, Ken Agyapong, MP and NPP financier alleged that she had risen to her position only as a result of providing sexual favors to influential men. He says he’ll never apologize for his outlandish words. Prophet Isaac Owusu Bempah prophesied doom for the Chairwoman, saying she would ‘die’ if she calluded to rig the election in favor of the NDC. Following his disqualification to contest for the presidency on December 7th, Hassan Ayariga, standard-bearer for All People’s Congress (APC) called the EC boss “stupid”, “foolish” and wondered aloud who the f— she thought she was. Akane Adams, PNC National Treasurer attempted to trash Ms. Osei’s competence in her job for failing to instruct her subordinates to point out the errors on the submitted forms and giving the contestants the opportunity fix them. Presidential hopeful Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has threatened to “spill the beans” about Ms. Osei if she doesn’t reverse the disqualification decision.

"Look. What I'm trying to say is...Ion even care. Until you do right by yourself, everything you even think about is gonna fail."
“Look. What I’m trying to say is…Ion even care. Until you do right by yourself, everything you even think about is gonna fail.”

These people are all jokers. Again, if you can’t fill out a simple form, how can we expect your team to negotiate and read complex documents, trade deals and documents that affect the lives and livelihood of millions of Ghanaians? The answer is, we can’t. As usual, a fairly large swathe of Ghanaians have expressed their displeasure at the EC’s decision to hold these people accountable for this failure to perform this basic task. There is something about Ghanaians that is allergic to excellence where the powerful are concerned. We expect students to get top marks. We expect waakye sellers to get their recipe right every day, day after day. But expecting political leaders to fill out a simple form or following simple instructions? (The instructions from the EC were to pay the filing fees by bank deposit, and one political party actually showed up with a vinyl bag full of money!) No, no. We must show leniency and give them a do over. There are no do overs at this level! You think this is a game?

But let’s talk about Charlotte Osei. She has emerged as the real heroine in all this. Who the f— does she think she is? I’m so glad Ayariga asked! She has a Master’s of Law from Queen’s University. She has an MBL from the University of South Africa. She has served as the Chairperson for National Commission for Civic Education and NOW she is the Chairperson for the Electoral Commission and DAT CHICK who told you that your submitted application is bumbaclot. In short, she has treated you with the contempt that you deserve. No one cares if Afari Gyan – Ms. Osei’s predecessor – expended the energy to accommodate your mediocrity. How do you think the Company of Nine would feel if Frodo had asked for a do destroy the Ring of Power? Are you mad? It’s a new day, and Miss Charlotte is having none of it. You hear? NONE! Come correct or you will be sent home!

There is a new sheriff in town, and her name is Charlotte Teflon Osei. She’s above your petty reproach. She’s Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes. She’s Morgan Freeman as God. She’s Jean Grey as Phoenix. Your tantrums are mere noise and foolishness!

Will you SHUT UP and pay attention to what you are writing on this form?!?
Will you SHUT UP and pay attention to what you are writing on this form?!?

All of this (and future) embarrassment could have been avoided if everyone would just take a page from Ama One-T Ata Aidoo’s page and hold themselves and others to a higher standard. It’s time political aspirants (and the ruling political elite, for that matter) to start paying attention to the details. Minutia is important. You are not butchering meat outchea. You’re supposed to be trying to run a country.

Charlotte Osei, ayekoo. You’ve done well.









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.



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.



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

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.


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?


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,




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.


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.


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.


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.



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,


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!


IMG_4456 IMG_4457 IMG_4458 IMG_4459 IMG_4460 IMG_4461 IMG_4462 IMG_4463 IMG_4464 IMG_4465 IMG_4466 IMG_4467

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

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 8.37.34 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 8.55.48 AM

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
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.