I don't know who ever introduced the rather bizarre verbal expression of “rubbish,” as in to “rubbish the dignity of another,” into our mainstream Ghanaian lexicon, though one can readily guess with near-certainty that this crude expression is a bona fide importation from Ghana's Anglophone giant neighbor to the East.
And here, the reader may do well to note the fact that this writer has politely balked at alluding specifically to any Anglophone Ghanaian neighbor to the East of anywhere. Not that there is any iota of timidity on this writer's part, but wholly because such nominal specificity is highly uncalled for, particularly amidst a heated discourse between kinsfolk and fellow citizens.
In any case, the story regarding how the common noun of “rubbish” moved from its original part of speech, of being a noun, to also becoming a verb may definitely make for a very interesting and quite refreshing reading.
At its most basic lexical entry, “rubbish” simply means “garbage,” the kind of extraneous material produced by most Ghanaian homes that is regularly consigned permanently to a place called a “Garbage Dump” or the “Incineration Grounds,” or “Boola-So,” as was the apt Akan designation while I was growing up. And so, in essence, when someone accuses another of “rubbishing” the Central Region of Ghana, as the perennially abortive presidential candidate of Ghana's so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) was recently reported to have done, it simply means that Professor John Evans Atta Mills would politically have nothing to do with the very province in which the former Law teacher of the University of Ghana was reportedly born.
Not so, claim Messrs. Abeiku Aggrey and Emmanuel Ricketts, signatories to a November 10, 2006 article which was posted to the website of the Accra Daily Mail. The preceding gentlemen also identified themselves, presumably respectively (for it was not quite clear), as Chair and Secretary of the Central Regional Branch of the so-called National Democratic Congress – the party of genetic and cultural mulattoes and, it is pertinent to add, here, also that some have cynically characterized the P/NDC as the party of the “Dzelukope-Anlo Mafia.”
What is also fascinating about the aforementioned article is the patently and flagrantly and ethnocentrically chauvinistic accusation by Messrs. Ricketts and Aggrey that, somehow, the editor-publisher of the Accra Daily Mail, Mr. A. R. Harruna-Atta, had singularly caused the horrific regicide of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani. And the reason for such lame accusation? Well, according to Messrs. Aggrey and Ricketts, it is merely because, supposedly, the primary role of Ghanaian journalists, newspaper editors and publishers is to magically whip their newsprints and editorials into AK-47s and armored vehicles, to speak much less of Apache Helicopters, and put an immediate halt to ethnic conflicts of the kind witnessed in the northern Ghanaian royal city of Yendi some five years ago. And quite interestingly, the only reason for their invidious blaming of the Yendi regicidal tragedy on the editor-publisher of the Accra Daily Mail, appears to be the purely accidental fact of Mr. Harruna-Atta's Dagomba ethnic extraction.
But the madness of Messrs. Aggrey and Ricketts does not end with the preceding. For further, these “gentlemen” allege that: “The people of [the] Central Region are now weary about [sic] the NPP because all the promises of President Kufuor's Government for [sic] the Central Region have become an April fool [sic] message.”
At this juncture, even anybody with the woefully stunted memory capacity of a guinea-fowl must be wondering: “Whatever happened to the twenty years of NDC promises to the good people of the Central Region of Ghana?” And just why did the good people of the Central Region vote the so-called National Democratic Congress out of their neighborhood and out of the Osu Castle? And just why would any citizen of the Central Region, of sound mind, want to return to power the very people who for twenty years created the very mess which Messrs. Aggrey and Ricketts claim has been as far-reaching, damaging and near-indelible as to make the good people of the Central Region become weary of President Kufuor's Government, as the NDC mess has shown itself to be almost incapable of salutary clearance?
The chutzpah here, however, lies in the brazen call of Messrs. Abeiku Aggrey and Emmanuel Ricketts' on Mr. A. R. Harruna-Atta to apologize for, supposedly, “hitting well below the belt,” whatever that means, after having invidiously used Mr. Harruna-Atta's Dagomba ethnicity to accuse the Daily Mail's editor-publisher of having, singularly, caused the murder of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani. Any talk of libel here?
Maybe somebody ought to define the noun “apology” for Messrs. Aggrey and Ricketts [a bad case of having eaten too much un-enriched rice?] who, going by the spelling and sound of their names may, on first blush, not appear to need anybody to define “apology” for them.
Not that an apology would be enough to remedy twenty years of untold atrocities against Ghanaians by the rank-and-file membership of the Provisional National Democratic Congress (P/NDC). Still, we must delightfully observe: the “Provisionality” of the so-called National Democratic Congress on the postcolonial Ghanaian political landscape was never, once, in doubt!
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., teaches English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City.