Mr. Zormelo And The Patriotism Mystery

Feature Article Mr. Zormelo And The Patriotism Mystery

I recently met a mentee of mine ─ Sheila ─ after a long time of not seeing each other. For a while now, I knew she had been job hunting. It had not been easy for her. At the least opportunity, I would encourage her not to give up. When she told me she had finally landed a job when I met her, you can imagine how excited I was. My tons of motivation had not gone to waste after all.

Sheila was, however, not as excited as I was. She knew what I stood for. She blurted, “There is a little problem. I had to give something to get the job, Kobina.” My heart skipped a beat. My puzzling look was almost asking her, “I hope it is not what I am thinking of.” Before I could say anything further, she explained that she had to sleep her way through… even though it was a thing she had never dreamt of doing. I screamed!

Sheila is not alone. Sadly, she had to, like many others, finally give in after years of fruitless search for a job. She had to succumb to the wishes of an opportunist who could give her a job without necessarily demanding something in return.

When I was writing my latest musical play, In The Pants Of A Woman, I had people like Sheila in mind. I always wonder how safe they are. In this world of ours where there is never a free lunch, I wonder if people like Sheila are already not someone’s lunch. The current wave of heightened unemployment makes the Sheilas even more vulnerable in our corporate spaces.

I have a sister. I do not have a daughter yet but I may someday. The safety of such has always been my concern in a world where some men will unleash their libido on anyone in a skirt. Writing and staging the play was an effort to uncover the rot that many young women have to unwillingly endure just to be able to feed home.

In The Pants Of A Woman is an original musical that delves into the rot that takes place at a media house, Akasanoma Radio, orchestrated by its head ─ Mr. Zormelo. It is a gripping story that mirrors our current society in so many ways. Even though the topical theme of the play is rape, it touches on many other sub-themes. The big question our audiences walk away with is the resounding question, “How safe are our (wo)men in spaces where there are the likes of Mr. Zormelo?”

Let me paint a picture of the uncanny Mr. Zormelo. He looks like a patriot in the eyes of the public. He looks like a cheerful giver but there is nothing cheerful about the salaries of his workers. He is rich and influential ─ very much connected to the powers that be. His media house, from afar, fights for the poor. He loves Ghana when all eyes are on him. In his closet, however, his actions and inactions do not suggest so. Above everything, he is a skilled sexual predator!

There are a lot of sexual predators lurking around in our homes, schools, and churches. They are everywhere. You know them. We all know them. We admire them. They are people of influence. With just a call, they can turn one’s life around for good or bad. They may have opportunities but, trust me, those opportunities are for sale. They are sold to their prey!

People like Zormelo are the nightmare of our society ─ the nightmare of many young (wo)men. It is hard to perceive their danger because of their facade of patriotism. One would likely gloss over their antics but they are ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are the woes of many young people. They have shredded into pieces their sense of worth.

The Zormelo character is a symbol of the perpetrator of the sufferings of our young (wo)men in our corporate spaces. He is a symbol of men and women out there who continuously put their selfish desires above humanity. These are people who frustrate the efforts of young (wo)men who badly want to fend for themselves and their families, baiting them with opportunities they deserve.

There are many young (wo)men out there who are victims of the Zormelos in their offices. These Zormelos could have easily helped them but they tied that helping hand to a sexual favor. Daily, these poor young (wo)men have to keep compromising to keep what they compromised to get. Their Zormelos abuse them because they know they have nowhere to turn to. After all, finding a job in this country is like looking for the living among the dead!

Characters like Zormelo use their power to bully their victims into silence. Until they have had their way with you, they will create hell on earth for you. On TV and in their churches, they look like role models but their victims are the only ones who know they are the devil's senior cousin. They are the reason many young people have lost any iota of love for this country.

Why should a (wo)man sleep with a Zormelo to get a job? Why should promotion be a sexual transaction? Why should people like Zormelo abuse (wo)men sexually and walk away with it because they are connected?

It is very inhumane to take advantage of others because jobs are non-existent in this country. We cannot blame others for the poor state of this nation when in our corners, we are worse than what we publicly condemn. You should bow your head in shame if you are a Zormelo. You should be ashamed of yourself if you are selling opportunities on the bed of immorality.

The Ghana we desire will not be built by angels. It will be built by Ghanaians. It will be built by people like you and me. If every Ghanaian were like your kind, would our dream nation ever be built? Ask yourself. Answer yourself.

Kobina Ansah is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (, an Accra-based writing firm.