The unnecessary deaths of seven citizens and over seven hundred injured from the most painful of accidents, burning in a raging gas fire, really got me thinking hard this week, especially on the back of the anniversary death of a classmate, that has come too fast and made a reminder of our vulnerability as people a little more suspicious of the religious fervour that engulfs each one of us from time to time.
Alex AGO Ankrah was a really devout Christian. One of the few I always found would comfortably argue a religious principle with me and concede, if he had to, that Christianity did not have all the answers. We will remember him next weekend even as we mourn for the lives of those taken from us through careless non-supervision by institutions responsible for our townships and residential areas.
Unlike Lawrence Tetteh, the Founder of World Miracle Outreach, who visited the New Juaben municipality in the Eastern Region to exorcise the 'blood red' Nsukwa River of any evil spirits after the water body suddenly changed colour on Saturday, 7 October, who after giving me a resounding talk at the funeral rites of Yaw Adu Larbi, another classmate recently departed, went on to demonise and outpace the river Gods in Koforidua, shaming them, not for the tie and dye waste someone had apparently poured into the river, but the demons causing dissent in Koforidua.
But of course, Lawrence reads his Bible differently from the way I do.
In my knowledge set, the Bible contains much that is 'myth.' An example given is when the Bible says that the Nile River was turned into blood (Exodus 7:14-25). It is claimed that this was merely a case of red-colored 'silt' that churned into the water of the Nile during the flooding season of that river.
There is nothing new about this rationalistic approach to the supernatural events of sacred Scripture. For example one writer says: “Deposits from the Abyssinian lakes often colour the flood waters a dark reddish brown, especially in the Upper Nile. That might well be said to look like 'blood'”
And so my week went, even as I tried to put some sane notes together on MASLOC and a few other “Presidential” institutions, which I only see as scams initiated by politicians to make electioneering, when it comes round, an easier but more dissonant issue.
Then suddenly I was more aware as I read that some demons had inhabited the Nsukwa River in the Eastern Region and turned the water to blood. Remembering the scriptures from days gone, I tried to figure out how many times I have seen the words river and blood paired in the Christian Bible. Quite a lot. But not to be recanted here.
So I brazed a discussion on the Big Issue this week, discussing MASLOC matters. An institution set up by Kufour and taken over by the NDC, same as they did for GYEEDA and suddenly grew it, together Roland Agambire and Siaw Agyapong in RLG and Zoomlion style into a rip off of citizen's monies, depriving us of the seed money we could have used for free SHS and other state-sponsored programs.
But together with Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI fame, we made the points that these presidentially motivated programs are just a route to achieve better means for the politicians.
President Kufuor established Microfinance and Small Loans Centre, as one of those entities to help alleviate poverty, and there have been a number of poverty alleviation programmes which invariably, the stories have been that they never really did the alleviation. In fact, if they alleviate anything at all, it was mismatch, because it was only alleviating the poverty of the people who introduce the programmes. People who shouldn't be actually benefiting from those loans, are the ones who had benefited from the loans. Politicians, celebrated film actors and actresses, Unions and Associations etc.
GPRTU tried to wrestle cars out of the scheme together with tax waivers, cheap insurance and reduced interest rates. Albeit now unsuccessfully.
But the rot continues and we are seeing it so many forms.
Someone, a khebab seller is being blamed for sparking a halo of gas at Atomic Junction and killing a whole load of people and injuring many. In some magical way, he or she, lit his khebab stand near the gas station, started the flame but managed to pack his meat and all his kit and cover his stand with the usual board and a stone, disappeared into thin air and somehow his production stand lived to be filmed the following day with enough evidence to show he existed.
Then after all this mayhem, he toodled off to God knows where and the media is agog with excitement as to who has done it.
And we are asking questions. What are the regulatory authorities doing? How many more have to die? Who is enforcing zonal laws and how come a gas station was sited so close in a residential area? And truth be told, they used to be far out of town. It would seem that the town has caught up with the stations and we just cannot see the proximity to death when these stations are given permits to build. It is after we have such disasters that we start asking “how come?”
And this is what is wrong with us. While the Christians want to steal any event as an opportunity to convince their mass following that they have sinned in the eyes of God and must prepare to receive punishment, either by fasting and praying for days on end, and maybe to an anniversary date, the management at MASLOC believe that if they buy cars for $46k and sell at $36k they can still continue to exist profitably within the bosom of a presidency happy to sponsor a business tainted with tie and dye projections, which can continuously buy votes for their political party.
With regulatory bodies all reporting to political institutions, there is no chance on earth that we will make an impact with all our protestations to Government. They rule, and if we don't like it we can wait to vote them back in, because we have no place to turn and the groups who can make an impact are still learning the art of protest. God bless our Motherland, make our nation tough and resilient for the next phase, while we cherish fearless honesty.
Vodoo stuff; many beginnings and no end, in an apathetic economy full of enough superstition to satisfy the gullible illiterates who can vote just as equally as an opportunistic and educated middle class. We dey for matter.
Ghana. Aha a yƐ dƐ papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come.
By Anamoa Casely-Hayford, [email protected]