Monday, November 24, 2008


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.