Bawumia: Praising The Wrong People
Heavy traffic, nauseating dirt and noxiously polluted air are among the reasons I try to avoid going to Accra. But it had been a long while since I last met the comrades, and I dearly needed to catch up with the happenings on the Pan-African Front. I reasoned that Sunday might be a good day to meet up and talk, learn a few new things and solidarize.
I was wrong, dead wrong. We ran into impossibly heavy traffic as soon as we crested the hill to enter La Paz. Rather than sit in the Trotro and breathe in the foul air, I decided to put my legs in motion walk the rest of my journey. It was still some way to my destination, but with the traffic as it was, I figured I surely would be better off walking.
A heavy din of uncoordinated music assaulted my ear drums as soon as I alighted from the vehicle. As it was a Sunday and most of the traders were off the street, I was intrigued as to the origin of the clangorous merry-making.
I soon ran into a large crowd of singers, drummers and dancers who had taken over the highway and were swinging it out with loud music supplied by traditional beats mixed with a brass band. Obviously happy people were dancing themselves silly as they pantomimed different styles of dances. A very beautiful woman with a Northern Ghana face peeled herself away from the group and pirouetted to where I was standing, mesmerized by the dancing. She shook heavy buttocks in my face. I was impressed; I beamed to her. She showed me her wonderful ivories. Nice!
“What is the occasion, Northern Star?” I wanted to know.
She showed me her wonderful ivories once again and said, “Wow, my brother, we are happy, very happy.”
I smiled back.
‘I can see that, Beautiful One. What are you guys celebrating?”
“We are coming from the church,” she proudly announced, then executed some fanciful dancing steps. I loved it.
I looked at the half-hijab on her head. “Are you a Christian?” I asked curiously.
She beamed another knockout smile in my direction; wonderful dental works. She replied, “No, I am a Muslim. But today is inter-demoni…, ah, ah, ha. I cannot even pronounce the word. It is too long. But it is a church service.”
“Inter-denomination service,” I helped her. Sometimes, I am a nice guy.
“Yes, thank you.” She showed her appreciation with another beautiful smile. I ogled as she shook her heavy bosom in my face with some dexterity. She turned around and deftly jiggled her curvaceous, industrial-sized ass sensuously. Nasty thoughts assailed my consciousness.
Wow. Wow. The Lord is good.
“What is the occasion, Beautiful One?”
“Ha, you paaaaaaaaaaaa!” I love the way she stretched word. “We are thanking God for the safe return of our vice-president from his medical treatment abroad.”
“Yes, why do you look so surprised?”
She executed another sensuous dance move and beamed at me. “We have to thank God for saving his life, don’t you think?”
“Don’t you think that you are thanking your god at the wrong place?”
“Wrong place? What do you mean? Where should be thanking him, then?”
“From what I read, when the VP fell ill, he was not rushed to a church but to a medical center. From there they rushed him to the UK where he was successfully treated by a team of doctors, not priests. So, why are you people going to a church to listen to a priest’s vapid sermon and come out to dance to a god? Should you people not be at the hospital to thank the doctors who saved his life?”
She suspended her dancing and regarded me like a chemist studying a difficult compound. She told me, “Please, I don’t understand the question.”
I very gently told her, “Oh, it is quite simple. I did not read in any of the published reports that the VP was rushed to a church; he was rushed to a hospital. My question is why thank pastors and gods instead of thanking the good doctors who did the job of saving his life.
“We are not thanking gods, we are thanking the Almighty God.”
“Whatever. What role did the Almighty God play in saving the VP’s life?”
“You! Are you NDC?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“It looks like you don’t like our organizing thanksgiving for the VP’s return.”
“No, no, no. I have nothing against your people organizing thanksgiving or whatever. I’m saying that the thanks are being given to the wrong person. Go to the hospital and thank the doctors. That is all I am saying.”
“Are you a Muslim?”
“No. Why do you ask?
“Maybe you have something against our mixing with the Christians.”
“No, I am not a Muslim and I honestly do not care with whom you decided to mix. That is none of my palaver. I just find it incredibly irksome how we go about things in this society.”
“What do you mean?”
“It looks to me that we continuously allow ourselves to be bamboozled by inanities and utter stupidity. We preoccupy ourselves with frivolities. Whoever organized this stupid jamboree knows that it is incredibly foolish. But the person obviously understood our psychology very well. He knew that we are simple folks to whom the simplest of critical thinking is a major encumbrance. Before you decided to join this charade, did you ponder or ask yourself what would have happened had the VP been rushed to a church instead of a hospital? Did you ask yourself if all the prayers in the world could have saved his life if he had not been sent to receive medical attention abroad? No, you didn’t ask. Here you are, occupying a major highway and dancing yourself silly in order to praise a god that did nothing when the man fell ill.”
“How did you know that God did nothing?’
“What did he do?”
“God works in mysterious ways.”
“Really? We are in deep trouble in this country when we have so many citizens with obvious logical and cognitive disabilities.”
“Are you insulting me?”
“Oh, no, Northern Sunshine, I am not insulting you. Please, do not personalize the issue. You obviously did not organize this hopeless jamboree. We have a country where most people refuse to do elementary reasoning or interrogate their brains to see if their actions accord with elementary logic. What do you think the hard-working doctors will feel when useless charlatans in priestly garb are being celebrated for doing nothing and taking all the credit from the doctors who did all the grunt work?”
“I don’t think that they would mind.”
“You thought wrong. They are human beings and they must have feelings. But that is not even the issue.”
“What is the issue, then?’
“The main issue is how we as a people continue to allow our misrulers to mislead us. We have a country where a modern hospital built with borrowed money is rotting away because officials decided to bicker instead of putting it to good use. We have a country where those we elected to run our affairs run everything aground, and run abroad when they needed the services they should be providing here. For over sixty years of our so-called independence should conscience alone not have made our officials plan on how to build modern medical facilities here so that they stop putting us to shame by rushing abroad every time they fall ill? But rather than bemoan our ill-fate, we sing their praises when they sanctimoniously ask us to entreat the almighties for services they get paid to deliver. If we have any brains, we should be tossing serious questions into their shameless faces. Do you remember what the American President Trump said about Africa and Haiti?”
“Of course, I do. But what has that got to do with our giving thanks to God for saving our Vee-pee’s life? Anyway, we all know that Trump is a racist motherfucker, pardon my scatological term.”
“Never mind your scatological term, try to focus on the message instead of trying to kill the messenger.”
“Hey, wait a sec. Don’t tell me that you agree with that bloody racist!”
“For a Good Christian, you certainly know how to mix the nasty lingos.”
“I am not a Christian, and never mind my nasty lingos. The man insulted the whole of Africa, and you are standing here defending that unabashed White Supremacist.”
“Whatever gave you that impression? I only urge that you listen more to the message and pay less attention to the deliverer.”
“So, you believe him.”
“I don’t believe him. I am not in the business of believing.”
“So, what exactly are you driving at?”
“If only you will simmer down enough to let me explain. You are all agitated like an excited Ayatollah.”
“I am listening.”
“I don’t need a Trump to tell me that many places in Africa are veritable shitholes. A recent study by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (presented in Accra on Wednesday, February 14, 2018) found that there are 265 slums in our capital, Accra, a city of 2.27 million people. That is a very serious indictment. A shithole, to me, is a society, any society, where the leaders shamelessly rush abroad to receive services they fail to provide to their citizens at home.”
About the Author
Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and ModernGhana, and Correspondent for the New African magazine, Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.
Femi is the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.
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