Friday, March 30, 2012

It’s Not Too Much Talking; It’s Too Little Voting

Some people say there is too much talk in Ghana. They reckon more action and less talk is the economic elixir we require. I agree that too many people pretend to be political, economic and social experts in the media (including online social media). I disagree, however, that Ghanaians talk too much. The basic meaning of democracy – as I understand it – is the sounding of all views before choosing the most popular.

If TV, radio, print and online media are filled with the ‘voice of the people’, there is a good chance that decisions would be the choice of the people, and failure would be viewed philosophically and not vi et armis. I shift my position a little. The inexpert experts should hush and let the vox populi be broadcast.

Having said that talk is good, talk is not enough. It would be a catastrophe if we did not talk at all. It would be a shame if we talked and talked and nothing happened. A child in primary school, I read a story of a world of creatures resident in a ball of animal fur or something like that. This world was unseen to the ‘normal’ world and condemned to be destroyed. A campaign team was sent around this tiny world to urge the creatures to make an almighty racket. Maybe it could be saved if they could prove that life existed in the ball of fur. Voice and cymbal, drum and hands – they made the din with anything they found. But the animals were not convinced that life resided in the ball of fur. Things got critical. Then the creatures saw the tiniest of their kind. It was hiding behind a flake of dandruff. It would not join in the noise. It did not believe it could make a difference. At the end, it was convinced to shout at the top of its voice, and the animals heard the din. Their world was saved.

It would be a senseless shame if we all spoke up but failed to do the one most important policy-affecting act. VOTE! And it would be sadder still if one could not vote because they did not register. We all know the shortfall of votes that took Ghana to a second round in the 2008 elections, and the number that made the difference finally. How many did not register? How many did not vote? Could they have made a difference for one party or another? Imagine the cost to you (as a taxpayer) that we had two (some say three) elections, instead of one, to choose a leader!

I will not say that the abstaining wise deserve the rule of the foolish but civic. But what a bummer it would be if two abstainers out of every ten could sway the elections by doing nothing beyond the civic right to speak. Many do not feel too patriotic, and I understand their reasons. But when you vote, you vote, first, for yourself; not for Ghana.

The voters registration is on. It is only of secondary importance that the process is biometric rather than something else. Be responsible for your future (and maybe Ghana’s). If I have convinced you – if I needed to – please go out and register. If I failed, then we will fail.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Five Favourite Forget-Me-Nots

Grandfather's Old Law Book

The ancient, no, Jurassic, Jurisprudence book that belonged to my grandfather. He’d wanted to a lawyer. He abandoned school with eyesight problems and a thirst to enter politics against an evolving dictator at the time. He became a magistrate, but never a lawyer. When I pick that book, he speaks to me. He starts, “Panyin Senior Brother.” That’s what he called me. He's smiling down at me right now.

Varicoloured, Old Bed Sheet

The many-motif strip of cloth my mother gave to me in ’98, when I was going to the university. It saw tears and wet dreams for coquettish college girls and served me well in my law-limited sleep. I keep it as a cover cloth now, and it will never retire from my bed.

Bold, Blue Bath Bucket

Ten-litre pail with a lovely black handle. Faithful companion when the showers turned traitor. Now benched as a laundry boy, it’s still not too little to give me a quick body dousing.

Blue, Plastic-Strap Swatch from Primary School

My first Swatch, and mother of many more. I can’t say it rendered me precise, but it was a long-lasting friendship.

Black, Sleek, Scientific Calculator

Daddy bought this gizmo months after we “broke the neck of this Apartheid” in South Africa. He bought it in Johannesburg. It was seventy-something Rands. A long-distance cousin I only saw once visited for three hours. He must have arrived back in Koforidua with a new toy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cast-Away Hat in the City of Accra

A well-worn, brown hat perched on the bald cusp of the Spintex Road. I saw it just before a trotro cut in, in a half-whisker before me, and bow-legged the hat. I wondered if it sailed off its owner's suddenly-naked head or if, in typical thug-driving, a trotro whisked him from under the suddenly-perchless hat. It looked so lonely among the people and cars.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy 90th Greeting Cards

It simply had to say 'Get well soon'. Not one did. Upside-down, back-to-front, hand-soiled, crumpled cards, the stupid shop didn't have any get-well-soons. It made the pain worse that there was a card for a 90th birthday. Are there more nonagenarians than invalids in the city of Accra?

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Monday, March 5, 2012

Our Kids Are Smart; They Just Have Shitty Teachers

“If you can read this, thank a teacher.” That is my earliest memory of a saying. Well, there are others. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” That one was rubbish in my gangrenous grammar. Were Apple and Day best friends? How could they work together to keep the doctor away? What was the doctor trying to get to? You get the point.

Let them go right ahead. A farming settlement outside Accra with exam-flunking kids snarls at the local teachers. Next, they threaten to lynch them, and issue a worrying writ to quit town. Be my guest. Sink deeper in your educational cesspool right there. At least you had some teachers.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Beneath his starlit eyes
All passions burn so cool
Smiles a lot, slow to speak
Mellow voice, mellifluous
He is a tone of brawn and braw
But he’s naked to the bone
He wins his hearts in serenades
And a smooth je ne sais quoi
Girondin is cast in steel
That no fire can hope to melt
His mystery flows beneath the floe
A halo crowns him like a charm
He stalks the wildest fantasies
And stirs the songbirds to a tune
He’s on, he’s off, he’s flittering
Who can hold bold Girondin?

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I did not know, the time we met
That it would end this way
I'd not have sung this long duet
Or walked to meet halfway

I did not know true love could die
Unlike in fairy tales
I would have sliced mine like a pie
And boxed a piece with nails

I do not know the way from here
Or if I want to go
Today, the sun did not appear
Tomorrow, it will show


It is the music of the trees
In the drone of the balmy breeze
It is the stretching of the hills
And the tears the sky sadly spills

Thunderclap in breaking hearts
The unseen tail of poison darts
It is the picture of the sea
The still before the storm we see

It is the depth of the deep black hole
The massive ice caps in each Pole
It is the cosmic dance of stars
And the sounds of life on Mars

The great allure of muted minds
The need to see behind the blinds
The presence of stark loneliness
The blank before each ‘I confess’.

Friday, March 2, 2012


It rose and then it glowed
Was hot and enragé
Turned cold and blazed again
It grew and flew away

It struck a light and shone
Was swept up in a swirl
Tailspinning in a trice
It mellowed and refined

It set and gave a sigh
Was far from growing old
The time had come to go
It crept away to die.