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06.02.2009 Feature Article

Opinion: 'Dem be jabbing Mills for fun!'

Opinion: 'Dem be jabbing Mills for fun!'

Do your children read the newspapers, Jomo? When it comes to the Graphic, warn them to consume old Uncle George's prose these days with a generous pinch of dawadawa magi-cube from UNILEVER. Assure them, though, that Old George is right on the ball and in hot and unrelenting pursuit of the writer's devil, who sometimes renders George's pieces injurious to children's grammar.

Tell them when Old George catches up with the elusive mischief maker of the print media, Old George will wrestle him to the ground with a mighty roar and flog him mercilessly into humble submission to the rules of good grammar, oh yes, Old George will, so help me Lord!

Thereafter, Jomo, the grammar of adults and children alike shall be eternally safe from wanton media-generated pollution.

All clowning aside, my embarrassingly ungrammatical reference to "a paparazzi" in the very first paragraph of this column last week when the appropriate reference should have been to "a paparazzo", was most appalling, don't you think?

The mysterious about it all is this: Whenever I make an error like that in written text, a realisation of the fact suddenly hits me right out of the blue and for no apparent reason, long after I have banded in my manuscript to editors and forgotten all about it.

I write up a more than 140-word manuscript.
It is very late on the day of printing. I am in an eatery, a pub, the car or the bath. Suddenly and without any prompting whatsoever, I recall that a three-letter word out of the whole sea of text, had been wrongly spelt or some oher error of fact or language usage had occurred in the text.

If I knew the right thing why had I not done it while writing? How come I make a mistake, and then without anyone drawing my attention to it, I suddenly realise it myself? A very complex if also most mischievous super computer, the human brain, but never mind.

Some lobby groups have been filing up to the presidency this week, handing the President lists of names of people the groups say should be given appointments to important public positions in the new administration. Mills promised them appointment quotas, they insist.

What psychiatric diagnosis shall we make of this brand of political madness, Jomo? Should there not be at least a measure of decency and finesse to political lobby which says lobby by all means but do it discreetly and only within the corridors of power?

Making such demands in the public and media domains the way they have been made, makes it all look opportunistic, downright mercenary and close to blackmail, don't you think?

Lobbying state authority for representation in political administrations is neither new nor irregular, but hey, where in this vast universe have lobbyists gone to the extent of handing heads of state, lists of people and asking that they be given political appointments all in the name of holding a President to campaign promises?

There is such a thing as 'unanticipated circumstances'. If Professor Mills made any promises in good faith and within the context of a generality, why should anyone be breathing down his neck, brandishing such lists and demanding that all promises be fulfilled to the letter?

This is my considered verdict on the matter, Jomo: Mills needs to reach into his bag of promises of fair representation in his administration, fish out those promises that are being used to blackmail him and break them. Break his promises? Yes, sir. Break them to pieces one by one.

To make and wilfully break a promise is dishonourable, to say the least, and smacks of a lack of personal integrity, but Mills could plead mitigating circumstances where justifiable and appropriate. How about that for a spirited, sycophantic defence of those in power, Jomo? It is a new Third World media fad in full bloom so just take it easy, man. Relax.

There was this fellow who was against everything without exception whatsoever, see? He was against all who, like himself, happened to be against everything, which by logical extension meant he was against even himself. That made Dr A. E. (Against Everything) very dangerous, don't you think?

Maybe that is a cynic's exaggerated evaluation of the unrelenting critic, but at least it illustrates the point: A new government has just replaced the previous one. Folks should be saying, "Look, we cannot continue with this strange game called 'against everything' which has proven injurious to the nation's progress.

"Let us give the new administration the support it needs to implement its manifesto and should the new government in due course betray our sense of patriotism and our trust, the Lord help them."

Instead, what do we see, Jomo? The critics are playing Dr A. E. claiming the new administration is breaking the constitution and doing everything wrong.

Mills promised to do this and that in the first 100 days so his political opponents say they are counting the ticking of the wall clock, tick," tack," tick, tack and waiting for last tick of the hundredth day, and then they will be all over him regarding any unfulfilled promises.

Said someone of the avalanche of criticism of the less than two months old administration, in a rather unfamiliar version of pidgin which is neither Nigerian nor Ghanaian in origin: “Dem be jabbing Mills for fun!"

There is in the meantime a scapegoat hunt going on in the New Patriotic Party to identify those 'responsible' for the party's electoral defeat. This hunt denies the NDC deserving credit for grass-roots mobilization and sheer hard work, don't you think?

It seems to suggest that the NDC won not because it deserved to win but because of mistakes some people in the NPP made.

Yet if there is indeed blame for the NPP's electoral defeat to dispense to party rank and file, there will certainly be enough of it to get around. Hefty chunks would probably go to many who wounded voter sensibilities through actions, inaction, comportment and utterances in the media and public spheres, without knowing it.

A fair share would probably go to former President JAK himself, who spent his term of office perpetually airborne and bobbing about merrily in the clouds.

Credit: George Sidney Abugri, Daily Graphic

MyjoyOnline, © 2009

This author has authored 338 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: myjoyonline

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