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06.10.2005 Feature Article

The Pains of Positive Change (Vol. I)

The Pains of Positive Change (Vol. I)
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“Wo Nkye Ndzi Brass Band?” I am amazed at the furore being raised at the news that MPs are going to benefit, nay, are to be bequeathed, nearly 25,000 United States Dollars to buy themselves a nice metallic something, hereinafter referred to as “asetena pa”, otherwise known as a car!

The air is thick with the storm of dust kicked up both in celebration and in protest. Haven't you heard the news! Well, if you just woke up from a coma, let me refresh your memory.

Whilst you were in your beauty sleep, a new government took over the reigns of power in 2001. We were promised Positive Change. The whole environment was full of optimism. Optimism on the wings of positive change. What else could one ask for? Finally, we were going to have people in government who identified with us, the 'mmobrowa'. Yes, whilst you were asleep, they looked into the storeroom and recoiled in shock. Ye wu! There was nothing in there! This was the time when the previous people in government had taken beautiful and heavy-laden cargoes at 'donkomi' rates. Another uproar! The present people-in-government had (or so they said) no option but to learn to love Oburoni's World Bank. We were told that we had to make a statutory declaration to change our name. We were told that if we wanted more money when we owed up to our necks, then we had to shout from the mountain tops that we were broke. We must add a name to the one we have or we starve to death! Enter HIPC!

So whilst you were beautifully semi-dead, we voluntarily described ourselves, without fear or favour, as highly indebted and poor. We had tightened our belts aaa for the past 'kojohoho' years and the waist was thinner that a pencil. Another tightening? We all agreed that (or so we were? /have been made to believe) all claims legitimate or otherwise, should be put on hold to give our new people in government time enough to settle down and tackle our problems. All for the sake of Ama Ghana!

So all the noise you hear today is not kwaa oo. Omanba has just been informed, (or so we hear) that some of the people in government have, with alacrity and without recourse to past statements, decided that each one of them was entitled to … and this is what I love about it… about 25,000 United States Dollars! Ha ba, where was Dr. Acquah, the Head of State of the Bank of Ghana? Haven't his people put up that notice everyone from the Oga kwatakwata down to the dog-chain seller ignores? I mean the 'thou shall not deal in the dollar' commandment! Have you listened to radio lately? Brilliant arguments by the people in government. Rare occasion to savor bipartisanship on an issue as critical as… cars! Check this out… the only time we see bipartisanship at work is not for the sake of Ama Ghana, but when them brethren and 'sisthren' needed 'asetena pa'!!! Hear them: 'don't you know we need to get in touch with our constituents. Eh, how can I go to my village, to my own constituency to perform the task you have assigned me if you don't give me a car (ei, did I say a car?) nay, an air-conditioned car (oh no! haa, not only that). As a matter of fact, I need, want, desire, wish, command, should and will get a four-wheeler. That is the only way I can adequately serve my country. After all, I never dreamt …'.

Where's my MP? Has any one sat down to ask what tools paa our people in government need to perform their functions? In these HIPC times! I was disappointed that Efo 'Kwabena Dwemoh' would get them there for questioning and expect them to say…'fa ma nyame! 'Massa, eye wo aa, nka wo be ka sen? Ei, sika oooo sika! So they argued for their toys! But they forgot that in insisting that they needed that type of ride, they were fundamentally undermining the oga of the Company. Does he also need a fine piece of metal in order to do his job? Spare a thought for the oga kwata wae! The big man has been travelling the world in passenger planes. In these days when a 'panfool' can use his mother's bread knife to hijack a plane and send it tumbling into someone's bedroom, do you think its safe for the oga kwata kwata to sit on a passenger plane like that? Imagine what we would be going through if the Oga had entered a Tube Station and boarded some train bound for King's Cross when he went to UK for the G-8 Summit recently. Tofiakwa! I hear you say! Walahi, if some small fishes need those metals, then the oga deserves better treatment.

Why is anyone surprised that a man will fight for a car so passionately when he doesn't have a meeting place or an office or research assistants? Hey, atongo, I can work better in space! Why not get them all up there so they can work closer to heaven? Is it a matter of seek ye first the car?

But amanfo, as Antie Efua of 'Peace Emfem' would ask, 'mo haw ne sen? All the noise would end up as nothing. The cars will be bought and the loans taken. At the end of four years, the only people entitled to ESBs in this land will try to … pay? 'My friend, take it. Don't you know that it is written at the end of four years, all shall pass… for free?'. Are we a nation they just recycles people who play tunes according to their stations in life? The people shouting no, no, no will do the same when they get to 'Heaven'.

I pity the oga kwata kwata. How can one bring positive change, (hereinafter referred to as PC)? Now lets talk TOOLS! If we talk tools, Oga will need more fleets of Wabenzis. Oga would need a ship, nay, a submarine. Yea, I like that. A submarine for the Oga! Lets get it for him. You see, he may have to move from Aflao to Axim, calling on all the chiefs along the shores. Oga would need the plane(s) now. He has to go visit our cousins in America, 'Gyaman', Japan, Singapore, Libya, Tamale and yes …Yendi! He may even need to attend an independence bash in Sydney with lost brethren. You see Oga needs so many tools ooo! But ask yourself, has he demanded them? If Oga himself has found the political waters not calm enough to demand all the toys that he needs to properly serve his people, then why can't others realize that it may be a political faux-pas, to come out at this time, to argue so strongly, so passionately for a twenty- five thousand united states dollar ride! No one should belabour the point that the MPs need cars. Oh yes, they do! But you and I need one too! Tools? Remember the doctor in the North who is crying for a 100-dollar equipment in order to save lives? How he has to forgo that tool which is an 'essenco'. Remember the illustrious sons of the land who recently lost their lives as they all crammed into one vehicle and did not insist on different big rides for each of them or even plane tickets? Remember how we introduce our children into Ogyakrom. If you are lucky, you get to sleep on the floor of the maternity ward of Korle-Bu' on your first day in this world!!!

So why are you mad? I am smiling all the way home, chuckling to myself! Democracy is good! Pluralism is good! Open/free media is good! Open government is good! In fact PC is the best thing to happen down south since 'ebunebun and nwa'.

Want to know the PC in this wahala? Gradually our people will get to know, that the only way to get out of these situations when omanba feels a deep sense of … oh come on, admit it .…'skin pain' is that, collectively as a nation, we'd decide to get out of the mess we are in. Believe me, the 'hullaboutwho' is because we know (or so we have been told) that there is nothing in our coffers. And that explains why the poor worker who needs tools to perform has decided not to demand his pound of … tools!. Imagine the chaos if the TUC also says the workers' tools are the better pay and the ESB. “Without that, we cannot perform”. What a Ghana that will be! So amanfo, take my advice and don't get worked up too much on this. In fact, listening to Prof. Akosa, you may be harming your already weak body getting worked up unless one of the metallic stuff is ending your way. Just make sure you place yourself in a position to get there too, because until we ain't HIPC'd, this is a ritual we'd perform every four years. Newsflash! Now even land is to be added!!!!

So MPs, buy your cars. I beg, get the four-wheelers, eh! The big ones! After all what! In fact your job demands that you get the best cars! If there is no money, you obviously wouldn't ask for the new toy! There's money”! As for HIPC, it's all in the mind! Where there's a will, there is a way!. If you doubted the will of MPs to get the car, it surely should wilt when you hear bipartisan arguments on the issue of cars. But after you get it, just brace yourself. Because if you don't…. Well, I think you know but you don't give a damn! “Oman no enye obiara dia! Pandora's Box? We live to see! All shall come and All shall not be prepared to listen to all that jabass about HIPC, no money, twen kakra etc.

In the mean, 'akpe' for showing that in the midst of HIPC, we are strong enough to get these fine beauties for you guys. I leave for home, humming coolly to myself. Thanks for a welcome diversion from the Osama and al-qaeda nonsense bombs!

Hei, keep the faith! PC is here to stay! The longer we do this, the better we would all be in the years to come. Tighten the belt and keep praying that either you or a close relative becomes an MP soon. The beautiful ones are not yet born! Good times are yet to come. Who knows, next time we may be doling out private jets. Have you so soon forgotten that 'ade pa nyinaa hye….aseeho?

Me ma mo akwaaba! Welcome to the real world.


This piece was written in the wake of the news that cars were to be bought for the MPs but was not published due to other engagements. The archives were searched and the piece resurrected after I encountered two recent events: watching on TV, Ghana conducting an induction ceremony for new-born babies through the floor of the Korle Bu Maternity wards and listening to another consensus developing on radio in respecting of Ghana's land and money which is to be offered to….yea, you guessed right! Politricians!!!. This is published for what's its worth!

I have since heard some say they would not vote again. Ha ba, this small thing! This is the beauty of PC. Right now the PC is our ability to mouth our protestations. As we keep developing, the PC will be our MPs and other politicians prepared to sacrifice small bii for the sake of mother Ghana. Why do we always have to fill our belly before we can show our patriotism? I would rest easy only when the national coffers are so full that when we hear such news, we can ask, 'aaa, na ketewa wei nkoa na omu tumi di ma won? Yen fa epo nso nka won ho!!!!

PC is real! There is so much to say. But there just ain't enough to get one's thought on paper. Like Okomfo, the rap singer in his hit Kwadee, 'mer toa so!

Joe Aboagye Debrah Esq. Legal Practitioner Accra Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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