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Opinion | Feb 7, 2019

Djokoto’s Diary: So little time and so much to do.

Djokoto’s Diary: So little time and so much to do.

Bonding with my fellow constituents:
The weekend often gives me the chance to interact with residents, petty traders and hawkers in Airport Residential. In fact, I’ve taken this approach a step further this time. To bond with my fellow constituents, I’ve decided to volunteer at decent small-scale enterprises.

Last weekend, I served as an orange vendor. I admit it wasn’t at all intellectually stimulating, to state the obvious, and it was bloody boring! But I did learn about what needs to be done to improve the quality of life in our Republic in one hour, within the company of 10 or so petty traders, than I did after working at the Judicial Service of Ghana, as a clerk, for almost a year.

I listened with rapt attention as the vendors, one of which was my boss for the day, spoke eloquently about the bread and butter problems of our time and the constant threat of a social revolution which they appeared excited, yet jolly cautious about. One thing is frightfully clear from our discourse: Ghanaian democracy is much more fragile than it appears to be!

Getting on with the job:
“Letsa, you’re here earlier than usual,” said the janitor at the Class Media Group (CMG) as I handed her a copy of the Enjoy magazine, so she could glance through my column, at 5.00am last Thursday morning. “So little time and so much to do,” I replied smiling. Her two-worded response was straightforward and affecting: “Keep going!”.

I’ve been racing against myself, yet I am still a couple of steps behind. Last month I hosted about 27 meetings, attended several more and drafted about 12 long-worded opinion-editorials. Add to that I’ve had daily lunch-time sessions with the massed ranks of the media and evening meetings with photographers, anthropologists, bankers, social activists and traditional leaders whom are all deeply disturbed about the Republic’s leadership crisis.

I’ve also discovered that my interactions with taxi drivers, during the short ride between Airport and the headquarters of the CMG office at Roman Ridge, often provides credible solutions to the myriad of complex current affairs issues that we analyze on the Class 91.3 FM Executive Breakfast Show.

The whole morning discussion with the cab driver had left me disillusioned about our entire political structure. His contention that the status quo is above transformation is indicative of the short-sightedness of both the political elite and their blind-partisan following. My judgment may be shot full of holes, but I am convinced that an alternative political movement could take the Republic by surprise.

The common position by many Ghanaians today is that there is no credible third force, as it stands, capable of overcoming the colossal political establishment yet. At least not before the 2020 elections. But how true is this? Is it just a way of suppressing our generational aspirations and extending the decades-long rule of the old guard?

Jean Mensa Took us by surprise:
Sitting in the studio sometimes involves hours of listening to opinions with which you profoundly disagree. And as a radio panellist, there is only one thing worse than being livid - and that is being livid and not getting enough airtime to free your mind. I scribbled across the page of my carefully crafted and premeditated “speech” before crumpling it in frustration. But I eventually spotted a fine opportunity during a heated debate about the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election and prepared to struck my argument about a post-partisan political culture home! Interrupting Kareem during one of his lengthy, intellectual and precise submissions to Benjamin Akakpo, I heard myself clamouring from within “hush up, you dim-bulb, it’s my turn!”

And just when I began firing on all cylinders, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana walks into the studio!

There is one job that is, without the slightest doubt, the worst in public service: Chairperson of the Electoral Commission. The unfortunate chairperson is always admonished by the press, politicians and the general public for being either impartial, incompetent or a puppet civil servant. The current occupant of the post from hell is Jean Mensa, formerly the Executive Director for the Institute of Economic Affairs and Co-ordinator of the Political Parties Programme.

She has also been made responsible for the increasingly vicious political atmosphere set by the National Democratic Congress and the National Patriotic Party.

Jean catches us all off-guard and it is her first ever in-studio interview since her appointment. I’m utterly perplexed as to why she’s here, of all times, while there was an ongoing election happening. But I was delighted to see her nonetheless. The entire crew was starstruck, or should I say, seduced by her presence - all eyes on Mrs. Mensa as she allayed the fears of the public concerning the by-election violence that had been occurring during the by-election that morning.

Vincent Letsa Kobla Djokoto
Vincent Letsa Kobla Djokoto, © 2019

This author has authored 80 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: VincentLetsaDjokoto

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