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18.09.2003 Feature Article

A Telephone Call from Ghana: kafo Didi and March for Survival

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I am sure you will recollect the telephone conversation between Koo Twumasi, and myself, which you over-heard the last time. Koo called again and came up with more apor from home which I would like to share again. The match for survival and kafo didi came and passed. I reserved my comments, just as perhaps many others. In the beginning, I was skeptical about the democratic maturity of the NDC to conduct a civil and matured demonstration, so-termed a peaceful demonstration. My skepticism proved wrong. In the end, the organizers, led by the former vice-president and the party's candidate for the 2004 presidential elections, John Attah-Mills, received a congratulatory message from the IGP for the peaceful and matured manner the march was conducted. The demos were controversial and solely political. Their main purpose, to someone like me who do not wish the NDC a comeback any time soon, was for the party to test its street popularity after losing 6 consecutive bye-elections to the ruling NPP. Whatever be the case, the demos gave a boost to the country's image as a democratic one.

Koo has not as yet received the mobile phone he requested for in our first conversation. This means he still has to receive the call at the same Nso Nyame Ye communication centre that he dislikes and will avoid. Oh, poor Koo. As common with dialling to Ghana, I started pressing and after some 32 minutes I went through. I asked, please can I speak to Koo? A lady receptionist (perhaps the one Koo hates) asked me to wait a minute. She shouted for Koo to go to boot # 1 for his call. Hello bla, said Koo. Hello, ete sen? I asked. Eye bla, answered Koo. Bla, Koo continued, I was almost going back home after staying here for 20 minutes. Really, I asked? Yes, responded Koo. Well, it is not my fault to keep you waiting for that long. It is difficult to get through whenever calling Ghana, I explained. Bla that is true and we are even lucky to have been linked to the national telephone grid, said Koo. That sounds right but I think the Ghana Telecom and government need to work much harder, I said and we ended that topic.

This time, as always, I asked him to tell me about the political situation in the country. I only called to listen to his political views. I believe that Koo knows better than I do since he lives in Ghana and talk directly to others living there. Koo started, bla I wonder why you did not call when Wulensi and other areas fell to the NPP. The NDC was thrashed, warned and humbled. So far the scoreboard is showing 6-0 in favour of the ruling NPP. Eh, when I received the message that you were on the phone, it occurred in my mind that it is because of "politis". Eh bla "pe politis papa", said Koo. We both laughed. Not that, I think you should instead say bra "do oman yi papa" - (loves the country).

Sure, I follow events on the Internet, I said. What did people say when Wulensi and others fell in connection with expectations for 2004 general elections, I enquired. Bla, the conclusions were obvious, that it epitomizes what is at stake for the NDC in 2004. The enviable record still stands that the NPP has won all bye-elections since the party mounted leadership in this country. This dominating record also remains a headache to Mills-led NDC 2004. What do you mean by "misled NDC 2004". No, I mean Attah Mills led NDC. Hahahahahahaha, we both laughed it out. What a coincidence, Koo pointed out. Bla, NDC is still trying to mislead people that they now know best and can deliver when giving the chance, Koo continued. I wish it would take them over 20 years in the political wilderness, revealed Koo. We still remember what took place and know what to expect if these people get a second chance, Koo concluded this topic.

Aha, bla let me tell you about some interesting demonstrations organized by the NDC, said Koo. Yes, you mean the "march for survival" and "kafo didi". I have read a lot about these NDC political demonstrations through Ghanaweb.com and other Ghanaian websites, I said. My overall impression was that the demos were well organized, well attended and, overall, successful, I argued. According to sources, attendance was impressive and this served a moral boost to Attah Mills who lost to President J A. Kufuor in the 2000 presidential elections. Bla, that is true but the demos made little sense to many people in Ghana. This is because they are simply blind copying of what NPP did when in opposition. What the NDC don't know is that the policies of today reflect what happened during their notorious 20-year rule. For many of us, the demos gave some sound credits to the ruling NPP government. To many Ghanaians, the successful outcomes are a reflection of the freedom we ar e enjoying in this country under the NPP government. During the NDC days, such mass anti-government demos usually ended up with ruthless attacks and deaths meted out by security forces and government thugs. Koo, I think you are making a lot of sense here, I praised. Bla, this has been the common belief of many on-looking Ghanaians.

Bla, as for home, there is nothing new or special. The only thing is that what auntie Nyarko said when NPP won the elections in 2000 and we were jubilating is exactly what we are witnessing. Koo, what did auntie say? I don't remember what she said, I said. Oh, bla, that whether NPP or whatever, we still have to struggle to put food on the family dinning table. This is true, Koo, and valid everywhere in the world. A winning political party never puts food on the family table; I tested the waters with this point. Bla, it is true but in some countries they can and do cushion the efforts leading to what comes on the family table. In short, they create the right environment for prosperity. I agree, Koo. Bla, honestly speaking we are not seeing top koraa. Meanwhile, the government top-cats are getting higher and higher. There is a lot of suspicion in the system, the same suspicion among majority of us that government officials were doing much better than they shoul d under the NDC, Koo means serious. Did you hear that the speaker of the Assembly's holiday cost the nation almost 200 million cedis? Koo, I read it but thought it was one of those propaganda to soil the achievements of the present government by its opponents, I said. "Hw3", said Koo, "tena hc" (you just deceive yourself). Bla what annoyed many Ghanaians is the attempt by the finance minister to justify this unjustifiable use of our resources, Koo meant serious. Koo, perhaps we must learn to live with such things because they have once told us that democracy is expensive, I consoled. Yes, bla, it's true but things must be rationalized and cognizance must be taken of the plight of majority of us experiencing hell on earth. It is in our name that they receive so much financial and other support from overseas. Right, I agreed.

Bla, lest I forget, did you hear dispute over one akrantie was almost turning our lovely Bechem into an inferno? Well tell me more, a friend here called to brief me on the phone. Bla, koti be koti and they never reform. What happened? The kotiman shot someone simply because the hunter refused to sell the poor rodent to him. Bla, that day an angry mob had wanted to burn the police station. That was sad and we are all curious to see what happens to the policeman behind this senseless use of his official gun.

Well, bla before we conclude I would like to discuss some connection with you. Connection? I asked. Yes bla, in Ghana connection still rules. They talk of change of govt, zero tolerance and accountability but connection is still the order of the day and supreme. Bla, it is not easy to control connection in this country o. Well, tell me your connection, I said. Bla, you know I am getting older and older and I now want to marry Nana Ama. Nana who? I asked. Bla, sorry that I have not directly informed you about her. Mama and the rest of the family are aware of the relationship. I have now realized that she is a nice girl who has respect. I now want us to get married so I will like you to help us wed. Wed? Yes, bla, that is what is common these days. Do you know how much it will cost? I can write later to give you the estimates, said Koo. There is time on our side; we are planning to wed next year. That's fine for me. Any deaths? Yes, as usual.... Puupuupuupuupuu - contact lost. Peter Ohemeng (Norway) Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Peter Ohemeng
Peter Ohemeng, © 2003

The author has 12 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: PeterOhemeng

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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