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29.03.2007 Feature Article

Ghana in wonderland

“Halt!” she said in a commanding tone
My fingers paused in mid-air as I was about to click away on my keyboard. I looked on the screen and drifted off into wonderland – perhaps let's say 'Esenam in wonderland'.

“You don't want me to write?” I asked as she looked at me quizzically
“Well not exactly, I want you to write…”
“About you” I completed her sentence.
“Yes, yes, about me! You're good; you always seem to read my thoughts”

I sighed. “That wasn't so difficult to predict; I mean you have been the focus of celebration and discussion since the beginning of the year but hey mother I dedicated a whole column to you a few weeks ago! Don't you think that readers will be bored?”

“No, I don't think so, besides my special birthday has proved to me how my children love me. Are you going to give me the space or not?”

My fingers were still poised in the air. “Okay, what is it? Let's roll.”

“Ese, what do you genuinely think about my birthday celebration?”

“It was great, all your kids including visitors were decked in your colours…it was simply amazing! I mean, for a minute I panicked that majority of your people might boycott the whole celebration, considering the poor organization and all…”

“You are right about that one…”
“Every body was in the spirit of jubilating with you… well except the two stubborn sons of course…”

“I know” she sighed “you know something Ese, those two have always been thorns in my flesh; I mean, imagine the fair one boycotting the show and the second one showing up in foreign attire…mind you, not just a suit but a grey suit at that! I was so crest fallen”
“They always manage to ruin an occasion don't they?”
“What will I do with them?”
“I have a good idea”
“I can't wait to hear it”
“Lock them in one room with no one else to speak to…” we both laughed

“Well… seriously Esenam, if you were given the opportunity to change something about the two Johns, what would it be?”
“For Jerry, I would wish he would stop rising to the bait… I mean giving boom speeches and to Kufour, I would wish he will reduce his world tour and concentrate on harnessing local resources for development rather than moving around the world looking for aids and grants that enslaves us economically.

Now let me ask you something mother: do you really think that there is really freedom of expression in this country?”
“Well, it is certainly better than before but I have heard of the underground intimidation and political persecution against anyone who wants to say something against the current government…”

“Don't you believe it? What with revoking people's certificates, some losing their jobs, radio stations going off and all…”

“I have heard those things but I am refusing to believe that at my age, such things are still possible on this land. My children have been at each others throat for so long so much that you cannot help but to politicize every thing…”

“Now mother, that's true…take this issue of Abodakpi, the former minister who was jailed? While some think that it is a political persecution of the opposition party, there are those who maintain that if he robbed the State, then he should face the law…”

“Yes, yes I have heard about that issue; how sad for my own son to have stolen from me and how sad for the ruling government to use the situation to their advantage. In the right context, anybody who breaks my laws should be punished but to politicize every situation makes me mad. You people have a lot to learn Esenam, a lot to learn.”

“So what do you think of our economy for the next ten years of your life mother?”

“The year has barely started and already, you people are running for State visits to your former colonial masters; not even BBC captured that story for more than a few seconds…”
“But he did return with a few more grants and aid” I protested
“My point exactly, more grants and aids! Nothing has really changed about your begging attitude. I mean if you are independent, you shouldn't go begging…”

“Point well taken mother, you seem very worked up about this issue…”
“Why wouldn't I be? Free trade and importation is crippling my local industries and all you people do is move from one white face to the other begging for money; when is this going to stop…yes type that Ese…, type it”

“You see, if only my sons and daughters will listen to me and decide to look at their internal resources for development, all will be well and there will be less trouble on the land. Nonetheless I like the development of roads and the like albeit little but it is a good sign.”

She continued “the biggest problem that is facing this nation is the attitude of the people”
“Lawlessness” I suggested the word
“I dare say majority of Ghanaians are not disciplined right from flouting road regulations to nepotism, timing to airport officials stealing from travelers.”

“Don't forget to add poor customer service in most companies in the country.” I added

“Ese, I'm a little tired now, can we continue some other time?”

“You have no idea how relieved I am”

Esenam Dumenu
Esenam Dumenu, © 2007

This author has authored 18 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: EsenamDumenu

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