...'Afe yi ye yen afe' also affected It first started as a rumour, that the NPP was attempting to stop the NDC from taking propaganda advantage of the two musical 'hit tunes of the moment', Sydney Oppong Ofori's "Scent No" and Seth Frimpong's "Mehuri So", featuring the ever popular "Afe yi ye yen afe".
On Monday March 15, 2004, rumour became fact. One Magnus Opare-Asamoah of House No. 2 Akosombo Junction, Off Madina New Road and P. O. Box CT 3269, Cantonments, Accra, took out two separate advertisements in the 'Daily Graphic' of that day.
The 'Notice of Transfer of Copyright' at page 16 stated as follows: "the copyright and any other rights of the hit song "Scent No" written, composed, sung and owned by Sydney Oppong Ofori of H/No. B1 Orgle Road, North Kaneshie, P. O. Box 388, Accra and released under the SIKADWA record label titled "Mind da Gab" has been transferred to Magnus Opare-Asamoah" and proceeds to give the transferee's particulars.
The advertisement continues that "the agreement precludes any other person or entity from using this song for any political or any other purpose within the stipulated period of 4 years commencing 6th February 2004 without the consent of [Magnus Opare-Asamoah]".
The advertisement concludes that "any such use without my consent or authorisation would constitute an infringement under the Copyright Law and will attract the necessary civil and criminal sanctions".
On page 18 of the same paper, a similar transfer and a similar restriction is placed on "the hit song " Mehuri so" written, composed, sung and owned by Seth Frimpong of H/No. B260, Tankrono Estate, Kumasi".
Ghana Palaver has information that Magnus Opare-Asamoah is a dyed-in-the-wool NPP sycophant who has obviously been put up as a front by the NPP in their usual legalistic way to try to stop the playing and enjoyment of the two songs, which cannot be banned by all the laws under the sun.
It all started in Takoradi about four months ago during the burial and final funeral rites for the late Felix Archibold Kwame Asamoah, former Western Regional Chairman of the NDC.
A noisy NPP group from the Ablekuma South constituency in the Greater Accra Region led by the MP for the constituency, "OB" Theresa Amerley Tagoe, ostensibly to mourn with 'Cactus' Asamoah, a brother of the deceased who is also the NPP Chairman for one of the wards in the Ablekuma South constituency, attempted to take over the funeral and turn it into an NPP event.
The NDC "old ladies" of Takoradi would have none of that, and as the NPP group from Accra opened up with their NPP songs, the Takoradi NDC old ladies group countered with "Scent no-o-o-o-o-o???Agye Babiaa-a-a-a-a-a".
Holding their noses and blowing it as if blowing away the "foul" smell of the NPP, the old ladies marched in front of the Theresa Tagoe crowd and danced to the tune of the song, danced, wriggled their old waists and continued to figuratively blow away the "foul" smell of the NPP, to the tune of the same song but with the words changed to the Fante version of "Corruption scent no-o-o-o-o??Agye Babiaa-a-a-a-a-a.
That was too much for Amerley Tagoe and her gang to take. Their 'kete' music stopped, their noise making abated, and they left the funeral grounds.
But the scandal of the "scent no-o-o-o-o-o" would not leave and so the NPP propaganda machinery went to work. Determined to turn the song in their favour, the NPP spin-doctors began to attempt to use the song in a positive manner. So at the NPP's Cape Coast Congress in December 2003, one could hear National Organiser Lord Commey intone, "Kufuor scent no-o-o-o-o-o". And the refrain, "Agye babiaa-a-a-a-a-a". And again, "HIPC scent no-o-o-o-o-o??Agye babiaa-a-a-a-a-a".
But there was a problem. Sydney's "scent" as used in the song is a reference to "smelly" scents, not fragrance. It connotes body odour, putrefaction, decay, foul smell, such as the unwashed teeth of an early morning akpeteshie drunkard, the smelly socks of an 'Honourable' freshly removed upon his return from work, flatulence among a group of friends in an air-conditioned room, the smell "down there", and so on.
To insert "Kufuor" and "HIPC" into such foul smelling company was to admit that Kufuor smells and that HIPC smells. And the NDC propagandists grabbed at it. In the rural areas, their message was that the NPP was admitting that there had been so much money chopping and corruption in the disbursement of the HIPC funds that it had become very smelly like the "scents" in Sydney's song.
But that was not before the NPP had made one last desperate attempt at turning the song to its advantage. That was at the session of the 'State of the Nation' Address delivered by President Kufuor. In moving to thank the President for his speech, Majority Leader Felix Owusu-Agyapong chanted "Kufuor scent no-o-o-o-o-o. And in response, the Minority Group shouted back exceptionally, "Agye Babiaa-a-a-a-a-a", blowing their noses the way the Takoradi old ladies had done to depict the putrefaction in the air.
That must have been the point when the NPP propagandists decided that they could not win the propaganda game with the song, and must have decided to go the copyright route.
As for 'Afe yi ye yen afe' contained on the album "Mehuri so", it became the instant unofficial anthem of the NDC as soon as it was released. At Professor Mills' "Public Forum" held recently, it was sung to such rapturous melody that the NPP must have decided there and then to appropriate the copyright lest it did more damage than it had already done.
But can the NPP really achieve what it has set out to achieve? Can it ban the NDC from singing those hit tunes? Can it stop any ten thousand people gathered anywhere from singing those songs? Will the Party sue them? Will the Party have them arrested and taken to court? Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, we reproduce below, at no cost, the two desperate advertisements in the 'Daily Graphic' of Monday March 15, 2004, that seek to ban the public from singing two of the most popular hit tunes produced in recent times.