Monday, December 15, 2008

Merry "election-mas" and a happy new president!

It’s been quite a short and an interesting year for me and the crew at NewsAfrican and the Gazette in Accra. The year has been fraught with interesting issues and events. Reeling the past 11months with a retrospective look will bring smiles and pain to many. Everything has happened so fast to my admiration and at the same time to my disappointed because I couldn’t hit my targets for year ’08. Must have to do better or perhaps strive hard to overcome my challenges next year. Agreed! It’s non-negotiable.

Generally there have been issues in mainland Ghana and issues of global concerns. It’s been a mixed bag of apples and oranges; as a matter of fact one cannot always expect to have a good taste of the old lady’s soup. I’ll attempt to go through some events that I deem to be significant and also share a few thoughts.

CAN 2008
The First thing that pops out is CAN 2008 which we hosted and could not win. It was such an emotional disappointment to Ghanaians considering the calibre of players that made up the BLACK STARS. Looking back, I strongly believe that we missed an opportunity that was clearly ours; we should’ve won. I cannot also forget the disaster that was made out of the accreditation process for journalists.

The artificial shortage of tickets for matches that involved team Ghana and the realisation that the Ohene Djan stadium was not filled to capacity anytime the Stars played. “So where were the tickets?” ask again my brother. Ha! The match against Naija (Nigeria) was a well-deserved victory for Ghanaians, the final before the final. We could’ve lost to any team but not to the Super Eagles, on the day they were like chickens before us; they simply could not soar. Yeah, it was a good tournament that exceeded its expectation, superb goals and good performances from 16teams that featured. An Impressive tournament it was, it will be remembered in the annals of African soccer.

world food crisis
Then the world was faced with food crisis; Ghana was not left out of the trouble, there was a rising cost of foodstuffs as fuel prices persistently increased on the world market. This phenomenon was oft-attributed to the war in Iraq. And as usual the margin of increase was quickly added on to transportation fares; but today we are witnessing an all-time incessant fall of fuel prices on the same world market.

Then again we remember the famous presidential economic intervention that was announced to mitigate the crisis here. Unfortunately elsewhere, the multinational neo-con capitalists decided to use thousands of acres of food land to grow ethanol, absurd huh? They say it’s a free world; hence the free market ideology rules. In the West, it takes $2 to feed a full cow whilst majority of Africans live on less than $1 per day. That’s some food for thought for you.

credit crunch
The credit crunch has been described by Moneyfacts (UK based financial analysts) as a ‘snowball effect’ that financial institutions are currently experiencing due to a lack of available money across the market.

The recession that has presently gripped the United States has been so close to the average American. It has been said that 760,000 jobs has disappeared over just the past nine months in addition to the loss of sub prime mortgaged properties being held by under and middle class Americans through no fault of theirs. Liquidity has dried up and the banks are no more in a position to lend to each other creating a freeze up in the global economy. This has led to stock markets becoming so unstable and people’s credit lifestyle has come to a halt. It’s so strange that Corporate America could call for insolvency after paying huge bonuses to management and over-investing in unprofitable stakes.

At this stage the same taxpayers’ money of $700b would have to be used to bail them out. It’s so unbelievable that this is happening in free market America, where market forces are supposed to be left to determine and to decide. Now public monies are being diverted to save private businesses without any compensation to the family that lost its property through this organised corporate fraud. Away in Europe, Russia has gone to the rescue of 11 Icelandic banks.

This is unprecedented and it is even more shocking that Gordon Brown went looking for money from the Saudis to prop up the British economy. We are living in interesting times, but for continent like Africa that is hugely dependent on foreign-aids, grants, loans and remittances from relatives abroad, we’re likely to be hit too. I can conjecture a fall in the stipend our governments receive. We’re all going to feel the pinch, first world, developing world and everyone in between.

The chairman of the African Union (AU) and President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, has already urged donor countries now going through this stiff credit crunch not to cut aid to Africa as the global financial crisis deepens. In fact experiences from earlier crises show his concerns are well founded.


Obama
Barack Obama’s famous presidential campaign on the DP (Democratic Party) ticket and the subsequent victory and the frenzy that has caught up with the globe and especially in Africa can also not be side stepped. An African-American has been elected as president of the USA since slavery was abolished 201years ago and 400 years after the first black slave set foot on the American soil. He has undoubtedly brought hope to many Blacks with his “Yes we can” refrain. History found no other person than Obama, to smile upon.

The struggle for Black civil rights and liberty has been long in coming since the days of Jim Crow through to the turbulent 60’s when the movements were at their peak, some how some where, Obama was born within this period to a Kenyan Lou dad and a white American mom. In his father’s land today, babies are been named after him to signify this historic feat in our lifetime.

Many stayed up all night watching CNN announce the November 4, poll results and the declaration of Obama as winner of the mother of all elections. In the morning the jubilations in the streets were ecstatic. We saw the victory coming after Hilary Clinton was made toast. McCain was just a formality, a loose string. Indeed, this is a time to be proud being Black.

the speaker and the finance minister
We cannot also forget the deaths of the former speaker of parliament, Peter Ala Adjetey and the finance minister, Kwadjo Baah-Wiredu, who saw the end of the road in far away South Africa.

The former speaker of parliament was a venerated fount of wisdom during his period of office from 2001-2004. The old man had been taken ill for sometime, only to pass away a few moments upon reaching the hospital. He spoke with so much confidence and power anytime he called for “order” on the floor of the house and very much respected by both the opposing minority and ruling majority party. It is so sad that Ghana has lost such an experienced mind.

The meek and gentle finance minister bowed out a couple of months ago too when he had gone for a medical examination in SA. Unlike Peter, nobody knew that Baah-Wiredu was getting frail and nearing his end. The announcement of his death was undeniably a real shocker to everyone. The local airwaves were filled with condolences and tributes from people of diverse persuasions. He was also loved by all. Posthumously he was awarded for being the best finance minister in Africa for his reforms and the stabilisation of the Ghanaian economy.

May their souls and others’ who have passed away rest in peace.

run-off

Now I wonder why we chose to organise this so called universal adult suffrage in December every four years without regard to its implication on business and festive activities during this period. When we must be winding down the tension we’ve been through during the year and getting refreshed to start another year with vigour.

Christmas is here with us and all we can afford to do is to celebrate an “election-mas.” Ouch! You have to paint a finger more during the run-off. The election has been keenly contested by the big boys leaving the small boys to fall side. Now the small boys’ matter so much that they have to be wooed like ladies before the Rubicon is crossed by whoever is holding the umbrella or dancing the kangaroo.

As a commoner, I do not envy them at all. One can imagine the level of their pulse, being old boys as they are. Even I, my heart skip anytime I get to watch an episode of Prison Break and 24. In fact you need your own heart and a standby life-support gadget to withstand the pressure. How tiring it was staying up all night listening to the boring song of numbers being sung by correspondents and reporters through the wire. Unfortunately we have to do it again.

In the up coming run-off, the contenders have so much to gain and perhaps too much to loose. It’s a win-or-go-into-retirement affair.

Ghanaians would have to put every jolly activity on hold as they prepare to elect a new leader on the 28th of Dec. They are also key stakeholders in this game. The message has been clearly sent out to Santa on behalf of the young ones, “please postpone your visit for now, our thumbs are busy.” The cookies, chicken, drinks and everything can wait; they can make up for the after party. But mind you, it’s likely you’ll not recover from the shock until March in case your man looses steam to get to the new presidential palace.

For me these are interesting and boring times. My ears are tired of hearing words being used repeatedly on local television and radio. There they’ll go again,
electorates, constituencies, recounting, polling stations, polling agents, returning officers, collation centres, rejected ballots and them terminologies but the phrase I cannot hate which has also become rife is “the sophistication of the Ghanaian voter”.

Whatever that means I can’t clearly tell, I’ve been hearing it since last week being used by political analysts and I think I love it somehow, anyways it’s supposed to describe voting pattern in the December 7 election. But I’m also exhausted of our version of Rovian Politics (courtesy the GOP-Republican Party) of smearing negative propaganda and vile invectives against political opponents. The “cockerel man” says he is worried too. I do hope that gradually our politics would be devoid of foul-language and name-calling.

The campaign for peace during the last few weeks has almost paid off and there’s another line to cross. I believe civil societies can also do same for a clean and healthy politics in Ghana. Metropolitan television has been magnanimous to the two contending parties in the run-off, a whopping GHC250, 000 of free airtime has been allocated for their access. Whatever they plan doing with it, I say, “issues and nothing else.” Thumbs up to Metropolitan TV, this is an example of corporate social responsibility (CSR). But hey! Let’s face it, they’ve made enough of the “big six” notes prior to the main election on December 7th.

I’m planning of starting a campaign on clean politics, when I do please be the first to join. I believe in people’s power, there’s nothing you can’t do with it. Yes, we have the power and we must call them to order.

Let me leave you with this latest gag from Yankee; Michelle Obama has been going through Barack Obama’s nomination list for his administration and she’s worried about the same crew from the Clinton administration. She couldn’t help but to storm into her husband and President-elect’s office to seek explanation.

Well, she left the office with a simple and an almost threatening advice to Mr. Obama, “please be careful you don’t bring Monica Lewinsky back into the Whitehouse”. Oops! Imagine the expression on Obama’s face.

Just like Barack Obama, Ghana’s new President-to be carries the hope of the masses who will vote him into power. He shouldn’t be too happy with himself; he should be worried about our welfare. To whom much 50%+1 vote is given, much more economic prosperity for all and not corruption is required.

No matter what happens or wherever the pendulum sways in the next fortnight, we must still chart and sustain this peaceful trajectory we have exhibited so far, on behalf of the entire team at Newsafrican and the Gazette, we wish you a merry "election-mas" and a happy new president!

Monday, November 24, 2008

OJ’S WEDDING FORMULA


The wedding bells rang over the weekend and Jeffrey softly exchanged nuptial vows with Josephine at the ever-magnificent LCI (light House Chapel International) edifice with the exotic QODESH tag of touch and style. I was there; go check the qodesh out one of these days at North Kay and you’ll be impressed by its architecture. No doubt I’ve labelled it as “a-one-stop-all-you-need-in-the-ministry-church”. Excuse my ignorance! that building is likely to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Elmina Castle! Take a full tour and you wouldn’t be out in 1hour. The contrast is just to help you dig up a mental appreciation of the building. You dig?

The groom, Jeffrey Ocran (OJ) my basic and junior high school colleague, who later became my brother when we were on the campus together at one of the world’s rare ocean-view universities, the University of Cape Coast, got married to Josephine Boahen, also my one-time course mate on the same campus. If you care to know, both the groom and bride undertook the same degree programme, (Bsc.) Biological Science, not that alone, these folks were also fasting and praying together as members of the LCI campus ministry. The best man couldn’t have conjectured a better biblical parody to express on the occasion, “Jeffrey was watching and praying”.-the formula revealed.

I’ll rewind quickly to mine first year-first semester days on campus. I had registered to read “Slave Trade and Colonialism” as my compulsory African Studies course for the 1st semester, interestingly enough in the 2nd Sem as if it was premeditated, Jeffrey, Josephine and Julius (as am popularly known) happened to enlist for the same African Studies course, this time it was “Comparative Analysis of Economic Development in Africa & the Caribbean”.

In fact, as of the time, a lot of students chose these two courses because it was widely believed that it was easier for one to make an “A” in both. For the first time, I met Josephine at about the third lecture or so of the “Slave Trade” course. I was late for the lecture that day. Beautiful and cute Josephine was sitting behind, guessed she was late too, so I chose to slide up next to her on the same bench. Those days it was my ritual to strike acquaintances by introducing myself to anybody I found myself sitting next to.

I asked for her name after I had been generous to say mine, she wasn’t amused at all upon hearing it, she might have said in her mind, “Julius! and so what?” But her reply came, it shocked and embarrassed me (I didn’t show it), it was the famous line of ladies on campus, “why do you want know, please you’re disturbing me” (the lecture was in progress all this while). I didn’t give up there because it wasn’t strong enough to put me off. Apparently, I was interested in dubbing her notes, the part which I missed for turning up late. I made a few remarks to her regarding explanations by the lecturer; this was just to draw her response. She wouldn’t budge, after all she was right, and I was disturbing her by being garrulous. The lecture ended and before I could say, “jack”, she had packed and was long gone.

During that same week, providence made sure our paths crossed again “vis-a vis” at another location on campus, she was heading towards me from the opposite end of the street. When she came within close range, I quickly made an overture to apologise for the other day. Here again, she wasn’t ready to exchange pleasantries. As if that wasn’t enough; I had decided to pass by OJ’s hostel that weekend, we were living a few metres apart in the “Diaspora” (a term used to describe the surrounding environs of the university) and I wanted to grab something to eat at his end. We did that quite often.

Here was Josephine again! She had also come to pay OJ a visit too. “So all this while we were connected and we all did not know”, that was the first thing I said after OJ had done the introduction, but she was also quick to report me to OJ, “your friend has been worrying me-oo, please warn him”.

“Don’t mind Julie, that’s the way he is, always getting on people’s nerves” OJ responded to calm her. Now she was beaming with smiles and excitement to hear that a guy could be called by a lady’s name. “Julie! How come?” she remarked with alacrity to know how I became knighted by that name. This name had been conferred on me long ago at the Basic school where OJ and I had known each other, apparently my colleagues had decided to shorten “JULIUS” to “JULIE”, for them it was easier and funny for a smallish boy. I’ve never objected to it even till this day, it has come to stay.

One time Eric Sackey came over apparently to look for me at home, my mother attended to him at the door, and he went like, “please am looking for Julie”, Eric was in a state of oblivion, he quickly regain his consciousness in split seconds to rephrase, “eh sorry Julius”. Mummy couldn’t help bursting out with laughter; she was hearing it too for the first time and actually, up till now she’s remained a fan of the name too.

I realised she wasn’t the kind of lady one could joke with. You see, she’s a straight forward and a very principled person. Trust me; she’s capable of taking control over matters and getting things done the right way. Inward, she’s a nice person to be with, if you get closer. I would never forget how she once asked OJ to bring me along to her room at “ADEHYE HALL” (a campus residence for ladies) to take some soup. I had been sick; lost appetite and looking pale. It was her attempt to get me up and going. Indeed she kept her word with a nice treat, occasionally within the 4yrs on the campus; I had the opportunity to taste more delicacies she prepared for OJ. On some occasions the food was brought to my room and I dictated the pace. I recall OJ’s own bad attempt at cooking, in many instances the all-tin tomato gravy, sometimes resembling a soup, got burnt. As for the rice, its destiny was to get burnt always; this was because the landlady of the hostel had banned the use of rice cookers to avoid high electricity bills.

When I was cash strapped he was there like George Bush to bail me out and I did same for him as a brother when I was also in the position to. We shared some secrets too, like my interest in Priscilla, the lady who gave the vote of thanks at the wedding refreshment. He always vouched for her as a suitable partner for me whenever the issue of pairing me up was raised. He noticed that my gnashing situation was just too much. He was kind enough to make some recommendations and introductions. Unfortunately, I failed to pursue the struggle.

All in all I can confidently say that this union is a good one for him, and I’m most optimistic that his beloved is going to keep the family together as they prepare to go and sojourn in The Gambia. Yep! That’s the destination for Pastor Jeffrey’s missions, he’s been away a couple of months ago already, but this time the Pastor is going back with his newly wedded wife to prop him up. Beautiful beginnings!

He has the honour of being the very first guy to get married out of his junior high school mates, many of them have stayed by him through out all these years. They were around to see their friend and brother become a man. I tried to sample a couple of views at the wedding ceremony from them. I did that because the attendance was very youthful and I wanted to find out whether getting married was a difficult decision to take being young men and ladies. All they did was to throw that “responsibility” at each other. Everybody thought it was rather the other’s turn to get married other than them. They want to take their time to tread cautiously until they were certain and ready to go before the altar.

It cannot be overlooked; OJ has also had his bad times and has paid his due from Basic through junior to senior high school. Now that he has taken up the challenge of the ministry to share the gospel, he is the best man to tell his story and experiences. We used to say that OJ was capable of doing anything as a bad boy; but yes I will say again that “he is capable of doing anything good as a changed man.” We’ve all been once mischievous and naughty as teenagers, running away from the boarding house and all.

I have no doubts about what Jeffrey can achieve together with Josephine; I can only congratulate and wish them well as I support with a prayer too. Once OJ resolves to do something, take his word for it.

.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

OBAMA’S VICTORY-MATTERS ARISING (from my reflections)


There is no real difference between the Democratic “fox” and the Republican “wolf.” One is prepared to frighten the people so badly that they will wholeheartedly embrace the sly fox to escape the fangs of the wolf. In short, this does not avoid the fact that one will be eaten. - MALCOLM X

All over the world and especially in Africa, people are excited over the victory of Barack Obama in United States presidential polls. This excitement began during the head to head race between the African-American Senator for Illinois and the former first lady, Hilary Clinton also Senator for New York for the presidential ticket of the Democratic party. Barack Obama happens to be one of the three Black Senators that America has today.

Today, Barack Obama has made history! For 232years in the history of the United States, he is the first African-American to become president of this powerful nation.

Indeed this is the time to be proud being Black. For a lot of young people including myself, we’ve witnessed an historic act in our lifetime. Many will live to tell their children’s children about this accomplishment; the achievement of a Kenyan-born called Barack Obama. It will be told and told all over again even long after those who witnessed it have passed on. His speeches will be read, meditated and reflected upon, for it brings hope where there’s none. The refrain I’ve been hearing about this meteoric rise suggests that many are going to draw inspiration from his success to overcome their own challenges to reach great heights. It’ll only be possible if they walk the talk and see no limits to which they can soar above.

ORGANISATION

One of the greatest lessons to be learnt from this historic feat, especially for people who have political ambitions, is ORGANISATION.

“We must get ORGANIZED” just like Kwame Ture (Stokley Carmichael) used to say. It’s important to build a true and an appealing mass organisation for the people and by the people, an organisation that can force a power shift to ultimately overturn the undesirable status quo. History is replete with examples, for instance Kwame Nkrumah’s formation of the C.Y.O (Committee on Youth Organisation).

There was a painstaking exercise of exertion at the grassroots level with the masses that he identified with. The strong organisation made it possible to pursue an agenda; this agenda was SELF-GOVERNMENT NOW (SGN) contrary to the gradualists’ approach of “Independence within the shortest possible time”. They wanted to wait for things to work.

“There’s no point in waiting we have to act now.” There was no way independence could’ve been won in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. Indeed Ghana’s struggle to independence opened the floodgates for our oppressed brothers on the continent to follow suit. It was a wind of change that swept across the Africa. Many years down the line, Africa cannot be too boastful; the neo-colonial strings have not been entirely severed. The neo-cons are still lurking in our shadows having a field day, leadership has failed and many Africans are still living in abject poverty; hewers of wood and drawers of water.

Is it not also significant that even with the struggles of the freedom movements in apartheid South Africa, Chief Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom Party and the oldest liberation movement on the Africa continent-ANC, independence became a reality as recently as 1994?

Undoubtedly, it wouldn’t have been attainable on a silver platter without an organisation in motion. The oppressor minority does not care to exploit all manner of tactics to keep the oppressed majority down at all times. The subjected people met them not with flowers in the countenance of violence.

Barack Obama has been able to establish a networking body on low profile to fraternise with the American people through the internet, at Obama organizing meetings and events, volunteers collect information on where the participants live, their phone numbers, e-mail addresses and their text addresses. A virtual organisation, but it was worth it After his selection to speak at that Democratic Party’s congress; which apparently initialled his bid for the presidency, he’s been able to appeal to the majority of Americans with his confidence cum inspirational tough talking posture. You can google his views on Cuba, Jerusalem and Iran.

More to the point, his ground roots alliances reflected in the financial support he garnered through the paltry contributions from people of diverse persuasions. In the end the modest donations added up to an all-time record-breaking political fundraising campaign in the United States. Back home in Ghana, folks want to don and flash free party paraphernalia without making a single donation. I have no doubts that this support can be whipped up here on the motherland with the spot on message of truth.

IRAQ WAR

President-elect Barack Obama ascends to the presidency on a huge pedestal of goodwill emanating from the recklessness and misfortune of the illuminati agent, George W. Bush jnr, it appears that majority of Americans want a new face. It’s trite knowledge, the latter came into power to execute his old man’s agenda. George Bush snr turned the late Sadam Hussein against Kuwait; apparently he fell out with the Yankees who also set out for him in the infamous Gulf War.

Fast forward to the year 2000, junior Bush becomes president and in 3yrs we witnessed the downfall of Sadam Hussein. America under Bush junior was able to enter Iraq defying UN’s resolution that there was no WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in the Arab State.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under Hans Blix and Moammed El-Baradei had gone to quarantine Iraq for WMD. There was no single evidence in sight. Today Colin Powell, who has expressed his support for Obama, then US Secretary of State, has confessed they were deceived into believing that Iraq possessed WMD. The war in Iraq has made America unpopular. Insurgency is on the rise day in day out; death toll of their troops is pegging at 5000 and counting. Families want back home their husbands, fathers, uncles, sons and daughters.

The war has not been won. It’s now clear; Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L) was an economic adventure for the just mentioned abbreviation, the black gold. It had been carefully planned and well-thought out to work in the interest of the powers that be. These neo-con capitalists are very smart. This unnecessary intervention in Iraq has been dollar-sapping; millions and billions of the “dead presidents” has been pumped to finance the war.

FINANCIAL TURMOIL

Fate will have it that the war will take a negative toll on the economy, apparently corporate America has been massaging the balance sheets to show virtual profits at the same time paying huge bonuses to management. In effect middle class Americans have lost their mortgaged properties as the banks file for bankruptcy.

Credit crunch is what you get when you run the whole economy on credit capitalism and inequality. What is bailout if it’s also not your much hated Marxist-Leninist ideals of Socialism? The consecutives have always refrained that there should be no state interference in the free market, which has never been free and fair, today they are clutching at straw in the face of reality. With their profits, all they had to do was to skip the tax ropes.

Obama claims to offer hope with change to do things differently. The mantra has been “yes we can”, “change we can believe in”. His victory is a loud statement from the masses that the G.O.P (Grand Old Party) cannot be tolerated in power for the next four years. They’ve caused too much trouble, its enough.

Within this hope and goodwill lies another likely misfortune which can befall Mr. Obama’s presidency. It’ll be suicidal to overlook or pretend it wouldn’t happen. I’ll play the devil’s sponsored advocate; there’s the possibility of Obama not being able to position the economy back on its feet satisfactorily as well as curb insurgency and the purported terrorist threats (which America with Bush is no different) that they claim to face. This is where questions and doubts will be raised about the Blackman’s capability and inferiority when he was given the opportunity to carve a deep niche for himself in history. The confidence and pride gathered over this period face setback of being thwarted again.

The World Bank has in fact projected a possible 5yr span of this crisis. I would also want to think that if all ends well happily ever after in the evening of Obama’s reign, due praise and recognition will be accorded to him as leader of the regime that salvaged the nose-diving economy.

The Kenyan-born quick rise to fame has been well over two years as a member of the Senate. In forums and discussions in both the electronic and the print media, there’s been much talk by analysts about Obama’s political experience and whether he has the wherewithal to lead his charges to a well-deserved recovery, economic salvation if you like.

FOREIGN POLICY

The oft-repeated catch phrase for the past week has been “policy-shift”, with reference to the America’s foreign policies. Will the world see a different approach being undertaken by the USA? Will things change considering the make-up of the new cabinet, with men who’ve been in the corridors of power with known stance? Same faces? Most people are sceptical, especially with the naming of the feared Zionist, Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff, who has a strong pro-Israel leaning.

A couple of days ago, Rahm had to apologise for his father’s blatant admission that his son’s inclusion in the cabinet clearly emphasizes Obama’s posture towards Israel. This angered the Arab Committee in America to cry foul. This puts me within a certain imbalance. Will Obama deny, expose or maintain the agenda of the Establishment? Is Obama inheriting an unchanged system of power?

Like an albatross, Israel will be hanging around Obama’s neck in the Middle East. Obama has been daring enough to say Jerusalem would remain the undivided capital of Israel and that no body should question his support for the Jewish state because he is the best person when it comes to their security. I can’t wait to see how he will manage to balance safely on the tight rope with his tough talk. Certainly, the Arabs will not be excited over this comment.


Already Iran’s Ahmadinejad has sharply responded to his call against their nuclear initiative. He says “I do everything in my power to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” Why should Obama be bothered? They are also a sovereign nation.

THE ESTABLISHMENT VRS PAN-AFRICANISM & CIVIL RIGHTS

In Black Africa, people have tried to link Obama’s triumph to Pan-Africanism. This is not true and accurate! Personally, I don’t even perceive it to be the culmination of Civil Rights Activism for people of colour. This false impression seeks to establish that the Blackman taking up the reins of command in America is what Pan-Africanist proponents like Nkrumah, Padmore, Dubois and others were struggling for.

Throughout Barack Obama’s campaign, he never mentioned what his plans for Africa were. But one can understand, he’s going to be the president of America not Africa, period! Africans have been exceptionally overwhelmed to see a fellow kinsman enter the Oval Office “to call the shots”. He does not extend his much talked about hope to Africa, perhaps only recognising his roots (which I admire) and paying his Kenyan grandmother a visit.

Beyond his colour, I’ve not heard any cogent argument on why he draws the support of many Africans. We’ve been simply racist in this regard. “He is a fellow brother”, is all I hear.

Obama’s victory would’ve been meaningful to the Pan-Africanist cause if he had sought to promote and called for unitary government for Africa. An Africa that is free from the machinations of the West and not a playing ground for supporting local agents and cronies to act in a certain interest that is detrimental to Africa’s development. Am talking about Africa taking her rightful place in the world given the undisputable natural resources she feeds to the world. Not to even talk of reparations for our looted resources including the “human gold”.

I’m not enthused about Obama’s US-Africa relations and policies to be. Trust me; the arrangements which ensure that our resources are looted away under unfair trade agreements will be unwavering. Those arrangements cannot change overnight against the interests of huge multi-national corporations. I have no doubts; it’s not going to be about Africa. The American presidency as it stands today is about the protection of the dwindling fortunes of the Establishment. When Obama visited the White House sometime last week, Bush made it clear at the Oval office “the election of Barack Obama is good for our country”. The fortification of the Establishment is extremely crucial; Africans must wake up to this reality.

There’s nothing in Africa to boast of in attribution to Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice in their tenure of office as Secretaries of state. Is there any? Tell me. Our own brother and a sister! Do not forget.

I feel so emaciated that even Turkey (a single country that can be a small fraction of Africa) can organise a summit on their land for all African leaders “to strengthen ties”, as they put it (see New African magazine-November ’08).

The civil rights struggles in the United States have been fought hard with brazen resistance. Many lost their lives in violent apprehensions whilst others too were assassinated. It was all in the attempt to end segregation and have a free society of equal rights and justice, equal opportunities and peaceful co-habitation between people of colour and whites. Is that the situation today? Can America confidently beat her chest to have dealt with injustice against coloured people? That just by the colour of your skin you’re more likely to face an unwarranted arrest or get shot by the “popo” (police as referred to as by black Americans). Innocent Guinean immigrant, Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41times by the police on February 4, 1999 in a multi-racial city like New York and many others, has not been forgotten. The culprits have always been left free.

Is not worth noting that even with the claim that Obama’s vote represents those from the middle class, the statistics of coloured people within this group is nothing to at all to write home about?

Obama’s utterances has been loudly silent on these matters even to the extent of denouncing his own pastor, Jeremy Wright, for what has been labelled as incendiary comments (that America has been paid up for injustice) after the 9/11 attacks whiles his allegiance to his Hawaii resident grandmother has been firm and unflinching till her death on the eve of the elections. Many have remarked that such distancing act is only strategic for him not face the wrath of white supremacists else he sees his end just like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jnr. He’s chosen his words carefully not clearly align himself with the civil rights movements, on whose efforts and struggles he’s been able to aspire to become president-elect.

When Obama was born between the 1960’s, civil rights struggles were at a peak. How come he has failed to give them an overt acknowledgment? But while the State itself projects the Baptist Reverend from Georgia (MLK Jnr) as a national hero and getting mentioned in this light, nothing much absolutely is been said of Malcolm X. He is considered as an extremist, or is it because he was a Moslem? Were these two men not fighting for the same cause only to suffer the same aggression and end? How come again that one has become more acceptable than the other?

For me, anybody outside the United States, who accepts Barack Obama as the man to give America a clean face (without any animosity for him) is indirectly endorsing America’s hegemony in world affairs to be unshakable by China, that they should continue to be a super-power as they intervene in areas where they are not welcomed.

Monday, November 3, 2008

YOUR DANCE IS NOT YOUR VOTE!

The date has always been fixed; electorates have been registered, positions on the ballot paper have been sorted, the debates have started and there’s one more showdown ahead. After the last showdown, all one has to do on 7th December is to thumbprint his preferred column on that paper which has been showing up consistently every four years for the past sixteen years. Well, some faces have become regulars on this paper; they never seem to go away, that’s the power of determination, right?

 

It’s time for deep reflection and sound judgement for decision making, the other day somebody was dazzled into disillusionment to make a choice, he saw them-folks try to do what I call, the-elephant-copying-the kangaroo-boogie. I don’t think I should also roll my hands in fast small circles in favour of the change trumpeters, for vegetarians do not taste cockerels and neither do I also like using the umbrella. In the unlikely event that you spot see me do the victory sign, don’t go telling your no-good gossip-filled trusted disciples am “too sure and two direct.” You better excuse my ignorance!

 

The point is that this whole process of showing support and solidarity for political parties should not be reduced to the level of dancing and gestures. In my opinion it’s becoming just too much, I’m getting bored with this manner of campaign. All I see on television is fake smiles of politicians trying to impress and persuade whoever that they are angelic beings. This alone should not be anyone’s standard of a competent leader or a party deserving our powerful thumb in the booth.

 

On the campaign trails and at the rally grounds, it’s becoming evident that we are not demanding much from those who want take political power. We are not subjecting them to enough succession of questions and constructive criticisms. They are running the show all alone while we look and gesture along with them. There’s so much to be demanded from the people who are interested in taking control of the national kitty. At the last presidential debate, the aspirants showed a bit of a good grasp of what the problems are, unfortunately the solutions that were proffered, excuse me to say, were incoherent. On countless occasions, they kept telling us what pertains in America and Europe.

 

Meanwhile we all do know that western economies are plummeting and home-brewed solutions are being dispensed to forestall any further downward trend. We need Ghanaian solutions to match Ghanaian problems. They are not thinking within the box. Cuba has been under U.S blockade for about 50yrs yet they’ve been able to build a resilient economy to withstand the aggression.

 

Interestingly, they are able to export about 200 medical doctors to Ghana to prop up our health sector, without which health delivery in Ghana would have collapsed. Pragmatic and purpose-driven ideas should inspire us before we decide whom to cast our votes for. As for populist mannerisms we must shun them at once because they offer no hope to salvage us from our troubles and foibles.

 

I cringe when I see the elites and party bigwigs in this country filling up spaces available at forums organised to expose presidential aspirants to all and sundry. One gets the impression that these selected few, who are only a small fraction of the total population, have more votes than the rest of us. The would-be president is going to be accountable to everyone therefore it’s important to have a fair turnout of groups from diverse persuasions. This is discriminatory just as last week’s presidential debate, where four aspirants were denied the opportunity to participate. Never again should this happen. The argument that those four aspirants do not have representation in parliament does not wash at all; it’s backward, divisive and gives an unfair advantage to those who participated as well as deny the swing voters an array of alternatives. This cannot be democracy.

 

The electoral process should have meaning to the electorates. It ought to be premised on sound judgement; it shouldn’t be on ethnic lines, religious affiliations, class or race etc. The student’s vote should mean to him/her access to affordable education and accommodation, and an expansion of facilities. To the man who’s about going on pension, his gratuity should be ready before he retires, why retire the man if his take-home is not standing by complete. To the public servant, his or her vote represents affordable housing, low transportation costs etc. The farmer cannot be ignored; his vote should send out a loud message, that subsidy plays an important role when it comes to food security, that farm inputs and machinery must be reasonably priced.

 

There are a lot of factors that should interest us to vote. We must also not go to sleep after electing our leader. We need to demand what’s due us, that it-will-be–well kind of mentality which debars us from making legitimate claims must be conquered. I always say that your lack of interest will come back to haunt you when fuel prices are increased. Have an interest today, nothing short of that is negotiable.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Speaking and writing English.

Very often we hear a lot of hue and cry about the fallen standards of the English language among the youth in today's Ghana. A lot of blame has been attributed to the fact that most young people speak Pidgin English with impunity wherever they find themselves be it in the home or in formal organizations.

Unfortunately our tertiary institutions and high schools provide an enabling environment where Pidgin English is habituated. It seems that nothing could be done to truncate this worrying trend among young people. One cannot begrudge them of the slang which they are so comfortable with, not been oblivious of the fact that Pidgin English provides a platform for the youth to fraternize quickly within the immediate society. By this time am quite sure that readers would be wondering whether I am a pro-pidgin advocate, wrong, I am not. My concern is to find out how that pidgin-speaking weakness can be turned into strength for the larger majority of Ghanaians that are illiterate. Definitely one cannot write good English if he does not make a conscious effort to speak it. Obviously the point I want to emphasize is simply this;

That, it is better to speak some substantial amount of quasi-English than not being able to write and speak good English at all. Indeed statistics show that an overwhelming majority of our country folk are illiterate and this should be of great concern to the privileged minority, most especially our national policy formulators, there should be a painstaking effort be it a national program agenda or machinery to reverse the status quo.

For those who can speak and write at least some good English, yours truly was inspired to pen this article for them. to draw our attention to a lesser known truth that, technological advancements with regards to the internet and mobile phones is gradually corrupting the English we write through the electronic mail and text messages we send .Due to the limited number of characters one can send in a text message, “texters” have resulted to writing abbreviated words leading to bad spellings, weird tenses and poor semantics.

The utmost reason being that the current generation spend more time texting short messages on their mobile phones and the internet through instant electronic mail messaging It is therefore becoming rampant to receive emails and text messages with very bad spelling which cannot make meaningful reading. Regrettably the same can be said of the text messages people send to television networks, which are screened to viewers without any editing. This habit of bad spelling comes to bare in educational institutions, workplaces and other formal organizations where people are subjected to the task of writing assignments, long essays, reports, applications and memos etc. In this regard most people find it tedious and boring organizing their thoughts on paper. Indeed it is quite easier to speak than to write because writing requires the organization of content points and expressions that are mechanically accurate.

Quickly I will mention that it is not good to write with poor spellings and irregular grammatical constructions whiles we speak fluently and eloquently. Writing and speaking good English must be encouraged among the youth. Forming of debating and creative writers clubs as well as reading/book clubs should be promoted in schools and communities, dying ones must be revived and supported with resources. They are much more profitable to an individual's self development and the entire nation than allowing ethnic groupings on our university campuses.

Analogically, good writing comes after reading and speaking good English.

Will the price of "purewater" sachet rise to 10pesewas?


this article was written before the presidential intervention in May.

I ask this question because Ghana's inflation rate seems to be soaring gradually and I can't possibly tell you where it's going to rest from the current 15% rate as our economists have made us aware. I hope it does rest soon because I do not want Ghana's inflation rate to be a replica of Zimbabwe's, 'na lie' my brother!

These days prices of good and services steadily keep rising by 5pesewas.Current transportation fares are a classic example, indeed passengers are really feeling the pinch, this they express by incessantly picking up squabbles with 'trotro mates'(bus conductors as known in Ghanaian street parlance).

Quickly it comes to mind that this is what the economy will encounter when the regime in power 'unwillingly' refuse to mint enough 1p and 2p coins for petty and routine transactions. After the elaborate campaign on the use of the Ghana pesewa, I least expected this outcome.

I keep asking, who really benefits from the unavailable pesewa coins? And who is also at the losing end? Critically speaking, items which should have had an increment by about 2p are increased by 5p with ease; in fact this phenomenon is rapidly pushing up the price mark for petty consumables. We also should not forget that hitherto there was even the old 50cedis coin. To me it’s most unfortunate that this trend is coming at a time when Ghanaians have not been made privy to the budget that accompanied the re denomination process.

So how much money was withdrawn and how much more was pumped into circulation plus how much was used to financing the mint process?

We need and ought to know the answers to all these questions that are cropping up. I'm quite sure that there was a cost-benefit project analysis undertaken before the decision to re-denominate the old cedi for the new Ghana cedi. I shudder to think that the only benefit that is readily enjoyed is the fact that we are no more carrying large sums of cash for transactions as was happening with the old currency. While mute was kept over the shortage of the 1p and 2p coins and its resultant effect on prices.

Definitely, a thin line can be drawn between the shortage of the 1p and 2p coins, and the correlation it has with inflation. Before some of you begin scrutinizing my economics background and think that probably I am postulating my version of economics theories on inflation, I must also state before hand that both my economics tutor in secondary school and lecturer in the university did not like me, bottom line, I was such a bad student whenever it came to economics. But for all I care, am a layman trying very hard to make some sense out of the mess, am I not?

Gradually we are trying to meet the same very dire conditions that brought about the re denomination, and if indeed we do meet those conditions by not acting swiftly, am sorry to state that then the entire re denomination exercise has been flawed. Please don’t be surprised because the writings were on the wall long ago, the value is the same, abi?

Times are hard and one cannot afford to drop a pesewa. In fact how can you, when constantly we are being reminded about O.I.L (Operation Iraqi Liberation) price hikes on the world market, food shortage and climate change, why would you want to take things for granted and muse that it doesn't hurt to lose some pesewas.

In fact I’ll have to be charitable enough to you; a free unsolicited consultancy advice will surely come in handy one of these days. Better welcome it gladly before it’s too late. The next time you go shopping in town when the ever blazing sun is most high. And you feel thirsty and sweaty; please quickly buy a sachet of water to mellow down your biological temperature.

Just pay if the seller updates you on the latest price of 10p!

Morning Palaver!!

I had gone to a nearby internet hub this morning to update our website. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you at all; in fact we‘ve been able to build newsafrican without a regular internet facility in our “home office” by often perching on unsecured wireless internet technology around town.

Be sure to find me in an uncomfortable position right opposite to Papaye (Ghana’s #1 junk food joint) in front of the well-known drinkables base –The Container, on the Oxford Street at Osu in Accra, a nest for the seemingly almost sometimes elitist class in Ghana.

From the hub, I joined an express rickety trotro (transport-locale mini van) on the 8-lane Winneba-Kaneshie stretch to my workplace, mind you I’m running 2hrs late, where I’m currently about ending my one-year national service obligation after intellectually romanticizing in one of the world’s rare ocean-view universities located at Cape-coast in the central region. The “mate” (the trotro driver’s assistant as we call them in Ghana) offered me the front seat to squeeze my bottom.

Don’t think I would refuse, because to sit at the front and in fact close to the door, you can comfortably rest your right arm, we call this posture, 7, in Ghana. It’s a privilege, but not for those behind you in the main cabin. You have the opportunity to be mistaken for being the “car owner” while you sheepishly smile and wave to familiar pedestrians whom you spot in a spate of milliseconds if you were having laser eyes.

I beckoned to the conductor that I would alight in front of the somewhat-famous cellular network house, MTN (Most Troublesome Network) so I can majestically ply my favorite catwalk route to work thinking of how I was going to balance that financial account I’ve been preparing for the past 2 months, don’t envy anyone who works in an audit firm . This account has given me sleepless nights this whole month; I dared not even to occasion my birthday. The account would simply not balance.

Once, I had to rush out of the bathroom with soap all over me to go post a figure which had eluded me. Apparently I had to jump out of the shower before it evaporates from my mind again.

Charlie (and Nigerians wonder why Ghanaians always use this expression to refer to each other either male or female), what actually gave me my uttermost shock this morning was to find the “mate” busily engrossed with a newspaper, he was so much concentrated in his reading that he didn’t hear me screaming, “I’ll alight here.” It was indeed a spectacle to behold.

A “mate” reading a newspaper on duty! Wow!

They’re usually not known for such an act by Ghanaians and anybody who’s ever lived and joined trotro in this West African country and probably wherever this transport system exists on the African continent. To tell you the truth their personality, character and attitude is nothing to write home about. That can be a discussion on another day.

Perhaps they’re turning a new a leaf, even if its one out of the whole lot, I pray it becomes a craze amongst them. It will surely change the face of transport business in Ghana. Passengers should also stop branding them negatively because of the pesewa. Of course I agree with you, they must also be polite to the people who put bread on their table.

One love to all “trotro mates” in Ghana.

A date with the richest man in Babylon


Last July, I decided to commit myself to a book club that meets once a month either on the first or second Saturday review a selected book. In fact I decided to join this club to take my reading habit a notch higher and to keep me busy at all times while I also explore more interesting books with diverse subjects. Simply put I want to be caught reading at all times when am not working. I’m such person who completely believes in meeting up and interacting with folks of dissimilar orientation. You know, to share ideas on issues, plans, exchange contacts and all that. But largely I’m a part of the Beacon Books Club for the reason that I strongly share in the philosophy that yes indeed “reading maketh a man”.

Basically members acquire the chosen book to read before the next month’s meeting when we review by way of sharing thoughts on the principles discussed by the author. There’s an attention-grabbing format that directs the entire discussion. Just like economists, we agree to disagree. At the end we all leave imbibing wisdom, practicable knowledge and encouragement to spur us on. Isn’t this a worthy cause? One that should be egged on in families, neighbourhoods, communities, schools, work places (only @ lunchtime else we anger the boss…), etc. Can you imagine what successful Nations we will build? To learn the secrets of achievements of higher and improved places we have heard of. They wantonly tell us that the African does not like to read, let alone to discover. That clandestinely hide the furtive knowledge of wealth in a book and for ages, generations upon generations the African may never discover. We can challenge this ignoble assertion if we commit ourselves to study and strive to know all things. Dare call me a materialist! I think I’m being ideal. I’ve always liked to find out the truths of Africa’s untold stories. The hidden truths of our forebears. The exciting tales of how the kermits made on the river Nile to build magnificent pyramids and statutes in ancient Egypt. Same can be told of city of Lalibella in Ethiopia, the study of astrology in Mauritania way before Galileo, the University that was established in Timbuktu centuries ago. With the tools of this age the comp temporary African can build and achieve more.

For the first time last weekend I heard about the book-the richest man in Babylon by George S. Clason. It was the preferred paperback for next month’s review. I’ve just completed reading my copy and boy! there’s so much wisdom in this book that I can help than to share with you the wise sayings that I noted. Indeed it’s a book I’ll recommend to anybody seeking to be wealthy. It’s such a treasure to me now. This is a book full of parables and practicable principles to building an empire of your own. The parables I cannot recount now but here are some thought-provoking wise words for you.

No one lends his entire fortune, not even to his best friend.

A man’s wealth is not in the purse he carries.

A part of all you earn is yours to keep.

Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed.

Every fool must learn.

Why trust the knowledge of a brick maker about jewels.

If you would know the truth about sheep, go the herdsman.

Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having.

He who takes advice about his savings from one who is inexperienced in such matters shall pay with his savings for proving the falsity of their opinions.

Opportunity wastes no time with those who are unprepared.

Will power is the unflinching purpose to carry a task you set for yourself to fulfilment.

Wealth grows wherever men exert energy.

Desires must be simple and definite. They defeat their own purpose should they be too many, too confusing, or beyond a man’s training to accomplish.

The more of wisdom we know, the more we may earn.

The man who seeks to learn more of his craft shall be richly rewarded.

Good luck waits to come to the man who accepts opportunity.

To attract good luck to oneself, it is necessary to take advantage of opportunities.

Good luck can be enticed by accepting opportunity.

Wealth that comes quickly goes the same way.

Wealth that stays to give enjoyment and satisfaction to its owner comes gradually because it is a child born of knowledge and persistent purpose.

Where there is determination, the way can be found.

Work well done, does good to the man who does it.

Think deeply about these wise words, for myself I’ve already started its practice. I can’t wait for the next review date to hear all the fine contributions from other fellows. If you plan visiting Accra (Ghana) one of these days, we will be at Sunny fm at North Ridge on the second Saturday of October, the next hour right after midday. Cheers!

Repatriation is a must !

An African undergraduate student from Chad studying at the HELP University College in Malaysia Abdel Aziz Hassan Abdraman, 22,was brutally murdered just because of his color by local youths of the country has been reported in some other media. The incident started when three Chadian students, walking towards the Wangsa Maju LRT station, were confronted by the locals who abused and assaulted them with weapons. The three sought refuge at the LRT station and called friends living nearby for help.

Seven of the friends, also Chadian students, arrived to confront the group but were chased and assaulted with knives, sticks and metal rods.

During the tussle, Aziz was stabbed by the gang and he died on the way to hospital.
i've just cross checked this issue from Malaysia and the latest development is that some suspects have been arrested and the police believe that this murder case will soon be solved.this story is a sad one indeed, and i cannot fathom why Africans are treated so badly outside. unfortunately the color issue always comes up. we've been abused and refused ever since the missionaries stepped on our shores, and for about 500years things are still the same. but in the words of Marcus Garvey "repatriation is a must now" for Africans abroad.

we've had enough of these inhumane treatments. our resources are stolen and we get abused in addition. if this is all life is worth for us then in fact its not worth living. we've been made to feel so timid towards the light-skinned. this morning on my way to work a brisk walking lady, whom i presumed was a Chinese, shoved one of our ladies aside, unintentionally though. to my utmost surprise the ghanaian lady was the first to apologize sheepishly. when in fact she was shoved from behind by the Chinese girl.

well you can make your judgement on this...? But this is what fellow Africans will suffer in Malaysia when quite recently in South Africa our own kind unleashed their wrath on us in what has now become the infamous xenophobic attacks. so this is where i get confused when the colour card is played. can it be economic reasons or some other theory that has not yet been propounded? i find it so strange that for all this while these dastardly acts are been perpetrated against our kith and kin in Malaysia and elsewhere and yet for us we always trumpet the refrain that we should go the Malaysia way because both countries attained independence the same year.

Fellow 40 ghanaians were also murdered in Gambia with impunity. this whole thing is in fact a paradox and Africans must come home now just like Marcus said. may the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

WHERE ARE ALL THE JOURNALISTS?


As usual, over the weekend last Saturday evening 25th October, I found myself working from home. I was in mine makeshift office-hall preparing a piece for publication on this blog. I was scurrying busily through stacks of papers looking for sacred facts. It’s important to lay facts bare once you decide to have opinions on diverse issues in order not to dangerously misinform readers, who most often depend on those of us who belong to writing fraternity.

Unexpectedly my phone rings, the call was from a much respected experienced senior journalist. He put his pen down just about a year ago after a vibrant thirty years or more practice without a blemish. He happens to be the longest running editor of the Daily Graphic, Ghana’s biggest selling newspaper. I’ve known him virtually all my life. He didn’t mince words at all; he wanted me to represent him at the 13th Ghana Journalists Awards Night at the Banquet Hall of the State House. I told him I was very much interested in attending the august and prestigious awards that features the crème de la crème of Ghana’s journalists.

As a young and upcoming freelancer, I knew this was an opportunity to have a sneak peek at the faces and personalities behind the columns, front page headlines, voices on the radio and the news anchors on prime time television.

Quickly I put everything on hold and headed towards his residence for the invitation. With the invite in hand, the next moment saw me majestically walking into the Banquet Hall. It was my first time at such grand event, usually over the years; I would be watching the Awards live on television, sometimes ended abruptly without any reasons. This time, I was a guest; in fact I was part of the show. I wouldn’t blink an eye.

What started off well as a meticulously planned Awards night had much to be expected at the end. In my opinion the most honest and objective solidarity message came from the Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC). He pointed out by admonishing the journalists that they had totally forgotten about their main role of reporting on issues that really affected the lives of Ghanaians, other than waging into politics. To think of it, the media front, especially the print medium has become so politically polarised. Front pages have become avenues for launching screaming banner headlines with scathing attacks on political opponents. Allegations and concocted stories reign supreme these days. Allowing people who do not even belong to the profession I ask that, what more can we expect when these same politicians are the ones who bankroll some these media houses? Whether these smear tactics are for scoring political points or for the profit motive, they get me confused, please be the judge.

The NMC boss delivers a more powerful punch when he charges at the media men that on countless occasions that they’ve been called to book by the commission on matters that bothered on their reportage and ethics, they did not show any courtesy to apologise. Clearly, Ghana’s the fourth estate of the realm has sold its soul to the executive. That’s why they’ll openly show disregard when they are cautioned. He offers them a simple advice,

“It’s your duty to allow what is in the greater interest of the public to prevail.”

There was an even silence as he descended the rostrum. He told them the truth in plain language. Interestingly, they’ve reported the import of all the speeches that were made on the night, from the vice president, the lady Chief Justice through to Ghana’s ambassador to Ivory Coast, nobody has dared to report the rebuke vented out by the NMC chief. Why? Maybe they are shying away from the blatant fact.

So it happened that, a lot of journalists did not submit entries for the awards, not even features from radio and TV. The awards committee could not present the top prize for the day. For them nobody qualified for the most enviable honour, with regards to the standards and instructions that were laid out for presentation of entries. There were others too who entered but did not follow the guidelines.

The question then to ask is whether the committee itself did its work well in setting the parameters straight? How come that the entrants sidestepped the rules? Perhaps, it wasn’t clearly spelt out. The next morning after the event, I was amazed to hear one journalist on radio saying that he did not hear about the calling for entries, at the time he heard, entries were being closed. I said “wow”. But whether indeed the standards have fallen is another matter that is debatable. Lets’ not also forget that it was in this same country that a journalist of the soil, Israel Laryea was presented with the CNN/Multichoice African Journalist Award for news reporting. Its’ strange he didn’t put in his bid for the local version. I stand to be corrected.

It’s not so surprising to me that the awards committee could not find a worthy journalist to receive the most prestigious, journalist of the year award. To say it’s an indictment on the work of journalists in the country might be an understatement. It’s a shame. But checking the records I found out that this phenomenon occurred in 1974,82,83,84,85,92,94 and 1997 since the awards was started in 1971. Clearly, this year’s omission has hit everybody so hard. Much is been expected from them next year.

At the end of the event, if it even ended at all, something disgraceful happened. This was after it had been announced that nobody qualified for top prize of the night. The sudden announcement was a shock to most guests present, since that award was the toast of the entire event. In a moment nobody moved, but before one could say “jack” after the instrumentation of the national anthem, everybody was heading out of the doors, by passing the vice-president, the ambassador and the lady chief justice. What? They were not accorded the respect of exiting before anyone else could. I bowed my head in shame. The M.C had to make a quick announcement to call people to order for the sake of protocol. This too they’ve not mentioned in their bulletin so far, not to even apologise to the esteemed guests.

The upcoming December 7, elections offer all journalists a fresh page to right all their wrongs. Sensationalism should be a thing of the past. Objectivity and sound analysis is what many like me will be expecting. In these times, everybody’s hand is needed in holding the Nation together in one piece.

I can only hope that things get better in this country. All the journalists must stand up and be counted. They play an important role in nation building, keeping us informed and making our voices heard.

Without them, many would’ve been voiceless.

All the same, the pen like they say, is mightier than the sword, I salute them.