STREET SUPERMARKET & BEGGARS

“Any person found begging and any person wandering or placing himself in any premises or place for the purpose of begging may be arrested by a police officer without warrant and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty new cedis or to imprisonment not exceeding three months or to both.” This is the NLCD (1969). This law still holds till this date. Anyone who is sensed to be begging shall be subject to the whims and caprices of this law. I do not know if the religious bodies know about this law. The Ghanaian is an emotive being who is overly religious that this law is nothing but nonsense to him. Some religions encourage begging while others encourage alms giving. How do we reconcile both religion and law in order not to bring conflict within the Ghanaian society?

On the Taxi Driver Show hosted by Blakk Rasta on Zylofon FM this afternoon (11th July) on a segment known as Black Pot, showed his disgust towards the hawkers in the city of Accra who beg instead of selling their wares. Now, he suggested that the Accra Mayor should do something drastic because most of the hawkers there were trafficked from the northern part of Ghana to the city for various reasons.

I agree the perfectly with this assertion because the hawkers on the streets of Accra beg for money instead of being creative with selling whatever it is they are selling. Some even snatch unsuspecting persons of their phones, wallets, handbags and what have you.

However, these hawkers are life savers. Imagine closing from work at 5pm from Achimota to your place of abode in Tema or Madina. The traffic flow is so slow that it takes almost 2 hours to get home. Not only do we enjoy snacks and quench our thirst, we also satisfy our hunger even before we get to our various destinations. The only difference between the shopping malls and street hawkers is that you do not get to have receipts. Everything is sold on the streets, including forex.

These hawkers pay tolls of half a cedi a day so it means we are getting some sort of revenue from them. Government benefits economically from these hawkers more than cooperate bodies. Just imagine an average of a thousand street hawkers on our streets pay 50 pesewas each day – that’s a lot of money. The money is used for some social amenities in the country and these hawkers benefit little from them.

Some have argued that we need to rid the hawkers of the streets so as to sanitize the city befitting of a capital. Ghana has over the years gained the accolade, “The Gateway to Africa” so we are visited by a lot of tourists across the length and breadth of the globe. The first thing these tourists see is not the beautiful Boti Falls or the Ʋli Falls or Kakum National Park. People pretending to sell are everywhere begging.

If we are to take both hawkers and beggars off the street, Ghana Police too much be off the streets as well. They pretend to be inspecting only they can tell. Instead of upholding law and order, they use their uniform for national ‘chobo’ collection.

Ghana is I have and in committed to making sure it is rid of almost all ills. “God bless our homeland Ghana and make it great and strong.”Screenshot_20180712-093024

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Happy Birthday

20180626_075942When I was young, I thought birthdays were perfect days full of happiness, joy and lots of gifts and sincere wishes that came true. Turns out real life is a bit more complicated than just wishes and merrymaking all day. Real life is messy. It is OK to have limitations and make a few mistakes here and there. Whether the glass is half full or half empty, both sides have something in common. More in common than meets the eyes because the more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each of us will be.

We have to try to be our very own selves. No matter who we are or where we find ourselves on the social ladder. From the macho man to that vertically challenged person, just try. Try to make the world a better place. Look inside yourself and see that change starts with you. Why don’t we even look forward to our death days? We celebrate birthdays and forget our death days. This is because no one knows when they will die, except those committing suicide. I don’t want us to glorify death days and birth days. I want us to be more proactive to change our world, our society and those who need us most. Let’s be heroes to children so they do not give up.

Wee anticipate our birth dates more than we anticipate our desires to make a change. We anticipate the number of “likes” we would get on our birthday pictures than the number of likes we would make in selling our bright ideas to others. Is it a matter of fear? Low self-esteem? Or outright disbelief in our own potentials?

We anticipate the number of unrelated comments we would get from our frustrations and rants than on the number of constructive criticisms we would get from sharing our ideas and plans. Apologies to whoever sang “Who run the world? Girls!” but ideas run the world. If the ideas emanate from girls, cool but not the twerking and seductive clothing.

Now, it is easy for a woman to say “thrust me before you trust me”. What happened to “trust me before you thrust me?” Is it related to the fear of losing love? Or the fact that you think you are not good enough? Or is it effects of the cliche, “There are many fishes in the sea”?

Why not strive? Why not try? Why wait to walk a path blazed by others? Why not dare to be different?  Why not purpose to be a pacesetter? The only odd that is stacked against you is you! Give it a try! Show everyone what you can do!

I celebrate the 8th of July and all those who have directly imparted into my life. From my uncles, who have always had my back and made sure I had everything to be able to make it in life, I celebrate you ( Dr Amegashie-Duvon Edem aka PhD MAN, Peter Kwaku Kogbe aka Macho Man, Godfred Kumah Kogbe aka Big Daddy), my very own brothers without whom life would be so robotic, I salute you (George Ken Kogbe, Dotse Afanyede, Arnold Mensah Elavanyo, Raymond Kobatu, Aaron Obed Nii Armah-RIP], Mo Tabicca, Daniel Hogli, Sir Joe, Bernard Fianku, Abdul Aziz).

No pain, no gain. We shall get there some day despite the oppositions from all angles.

To The Legislooters

In a country of “let us pray” instead of “let us work”; a country of ” let’s leave it to God” instead of “let’s ensure the right thing is done”; a country of glorifying the big thieves in suit while burning the cassava thief who stole just to feed his hungry stomach; a country where patriotism is thrown to the dogs; a country where political parties are more important than the nation. Welcome to Ghana.

The law is like a spider’s web. It catches the small flies and allows the big animals to have their way. Pardon me, but are our great principles of political freedom and of natural justice embodied in our beloved 4th Republican Constitution extended to all and sundry? I thought the law was “reason without emotions.” Why are emotions and personal sentiments emanating from every possible hole of the law? I am forced to bring my offering to the national alter and to express my devout gratitude to the gods of our land- the politicians.

I must also confess to these gods that the “blood and toil of our fathers” are just mere rhetorics these days. No sense of patriotism let alone Pan Africanism. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and unity bequeathed by Yaa Asantewaa, the Osagyefo and the framers of the 1992 constitution should be shared by all. The sunlight that brings life and healing to you has brought shame, humiliation and eventual death to the poor masses. To drag a man in  fetters into the grand illuminated temple  of Parliament and force him to apologize, thereby seeking to strip him of dignity were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.

Are you fit to be called “Honourable”? Do you even know why you find yourselves in such an august house? Being divided on national issues such as the provision of ambulances ,hospital beds, opening of University of Ghana Medical Center, hence #UGMC, but united when issues of salary increment and the buying of V8 cars for yourselves are mentioned. You ought to be describe for what you truly are -LEGISLOOTERS. There is absolutely nothing you legislate to make the lives of those you pretend to represent better.

Is it true you use your positions as members of Parliament to cook juicy deals for yourselves, cronies, family and friends? The sad joke too is that most Ghanaians have amnesia. They will forget or pretend to forget because they are in the darkness of ignorance with you. Are these the behaviours of a public office holder? It looks like, “I promise on my honour to be faithful and loyal to Ghana, my motherland…” is just a saying. If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. It is dangerous to copy the examples of Babylon whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin.

But wait! Whose interest is parliament seeking…? Apologies to the Orator, PLO Lumumba, “We have elected hyenas to take care of our goats. And when the goats are consumed, we wonder why.” Ideologies run the world. You have failed to “think like a man of action and act like a man of thoughts.” Can I conclude therefore that you have no ideologies since the time of Nkrumah because you are too busy stealing for your potbellies? I very well remember dragging Blakk Rasta to the Privileges Committee over comments that sought to make them think but these comments were misconstrued.

Why are you so inconsistent with your own principles? The same law applies to different people depending on who they are. You have just one job – represent the people. Have you been doing your job? No! We are instead confronted with the comedy of errors. The struggle for freedom started from the time of Tihazie the Red Hunter, Yaa Asantewaa, the three ex-servicemen to the Osagyefo and many others. They did not die for this.

I remain Ɛfo Kɔshi, a son of Gbeho. Gbeho of “God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.”

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The Hereafter; Suing God!

As the men were exercising, I joined the ladies to pack food when you died .You had drowned. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind your students at Start Rite School, a beautiful girlfriend and people who loved you. It was a painful death. The Maestro, Abdul Aziz and your roommate, FK tried their best to dsave you from drowning but the waves of the early morning sea was way too strong. Your body emerged the following day without the eyes in their sockets, and your head was utterly shuttered. I could not believe it.

And that was when you met God.

“What … What happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died.” He said. Matter-of-factly, no point in mincing words.

“There was a … a big wave and I dived …”

“Yeah”, he said.

“I … I died?”

“Right. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies.” God said.

You looked around and there was nothingness. Just you and God.

“What … What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less.” God said to you.

“Are you God?” You enquired.

“Yes, I am God”, God replied.

“My students… My girlfriend… My friend lives in my house.” You said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be alright?”

“That’s what I do, just to see everyone alright.” God said. “You just died and your main concern is for those you left behind? That’s good, son.”

You looked at God with fascination. To you, he didn’t look like God. He just looks like some man or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the Almighty.

“Don’t worry, they’ll be fine. Your students will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your girl will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, that relationship was nothing more than ‘Things Fall Apart’. Yeah, if there’s any consolation, she’ll feel guilty for feeling relieved.” God said.

“Oh” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither” God said. “You will be reincarnated.”

“Ah” you exclaimed. “So the African traditionalists and F.K. were right after all?”

“All religions are right in their own way” God said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along striding through the void.

“Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular.” God said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby! So all my experiences and everything I did in life won’t matter?”

“Not so!” God said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

God took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your singer in a cup of water to see if it’s cold or hot. You put a tiny part of yourself into the cup, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.”

“You’ve been a human for the past 26 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here long enough, you would start remembering everything but there’s no point doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated?”

“Oh, lots. Lots and lots. And into lots of different lives.” God said. “This time around, you will be a Chinese peasant girl in 540AD.”

“What … What?” You stammered. “You are sending me back in time?”

“Technically, I guess. Time as you know it only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You inquisitively asked.

“Oh sure,” God  explained. “I come from somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you want to know what it’s like there, but truth be told you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oooh!” you disappointedly said. “But wait! If I get reincarnated to another places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” God asked.

“Seriously? You are asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a bit stereotypical?”

“Well, it’s a reasonable question.” You persisted.

God looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you!” I made this whole universe for you. With each new life, you grow and mature, and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There’s no one else.” God said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at God. “But all the people on earth… ”

“All you! Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait! I am everyone?!”

“Now you are getting it.” God said with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human who has ever lived? Or will ever live, yes? I’m Adolf Hitler?” You asked, appalled.

“You are the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you are everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Everyone you victimised someone, you were victimising yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve it to yourself. Every  happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was and will be experienced by you.” God said.

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked God. “Why do all this?”

“Because some day you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You are one ofy kind. You are my child.”

“Wow!” You said, incredulously. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No, not yet. You are a foetus. You are still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe is just…” You said.

“An egg.” God cut in.

“Now, it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

You were sent on your way to your next life.

NOW “I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE”  MAKES ME SEE YOU IN US BUT I STILL MISS THE RONNY IN THIS LIFE.

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MY IRONIC LIFE

Why did I study subjects I don’t and would never use in my life? My parents and my teachers always lied that ” to get a good job, you need to go to school and have a good degree. I never had this opportunity when I was young .” But now my question is, weren’t you young a long time ago? These are indeed different eras. Even the 90’s bad girl couldn’t stand the heat in the 2000’s. Society’s heat change as years go by.

My parents would always convince the ‘bgonyo’ teachers in my school asking them to ensure that I studied harder. Assuming without admitting that my parents did not know any better and throughout their entire adult lives, they have never applied the Pythagora’s theorem and don’t even know the value of ‘x’.  My parents did not know me because we never spent anytime together apart from the beating and the nagging times. They relied on our neighbours to tell them who I was. ” This your boy is wayward, kubɔlɔ, unfocused, easily distracted and will amount to no good.” But they did not also know that I was one of the sharpest and most creative minds ever.

Which idiot came up with this system of education in Nkrumah’s Ghana? I remember studying equations, formulas and definitions and never to use again. All my ‘A’ grades don’t matter when I apply for jobs. How many students remember something just five minutes after the invigilator shouts “stop work” in an exam? Results are released only for you to realise that you are just one mark short of the top grade. Does that mean remembering five minutes earlier would have made you more qualified for a job?

We all have different abilities, talents and genetic make ups. So why is the class full of individuals tested by the same means? Just because I  couldn’t do Maths, my teachers called me “dumb”. If this is issue not addressed properly, it then becomes Odewale on his way to self-destruction calling Baba Fakunle ” a blind bat” in The Gods Are Not To Blame. No school has the audacity to have a policy on equality.

Exams is the system’s method of telling you what you are worth. But you can’t allow society to tell you what you are. The same system which shapes society tells you that abortion is wrong but looks down on teenage mothers. Pastors that preach charity but own private jets. Parents who say they want educated children but constantly marvel at how rich Mc Zukaberg, Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote are. Governments who preach peace yet endorse wars; schools who claim they believe so much in the  importance of education and learning but are constantly increasing school fees each year.

Why would teachers tell students that exams are imperative to their success? We are constantly being tested with tests but finals are never finals. The school has never prepared anyone for the biggest test, which is SURVIVAL. We are worth more than the ” A” or “D” in our result booklets. People are becoming Doctors and Lawyers not find solutions to the ailing humanity and injustice in the society but for the prestige and money the profession come with.

I grew up in the 90’s, a generation where I did not find answers on Google, never followed anyone’s dreams on Twitter, pictured their future on Instagram nor accepted my destiny on Facebook. To my ‘failures’ and drop-outs, unemployed graduates,shop assistants, cleaners and street hawkers with bigger dreams, the self employed entrepreneurs as well as game changers and dream chasers, push on.

The reason for which I  I hate school but love education is not to popularize ASEM’s “school dey bee but class dey bore” mantra but to let society know that whether 72% or 90%, 44% or 26%, we will not let exam determine our fate.

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Poverty is a form of slavery!

To begin with, allow me to quote the now political activist musician, Kwame A Plus: “Africa, where I wanna be, life for be simple as ABCD but our leaders dema greediness plenty plenty, dem make the whole thing dey look like scary movie.” In Africa, we have a lot of resources but we lack resourcefulness and we are willing to dole out our sovereignty for pittances just like Esau sold his birthright in the biblical allusion for a pot of soup.

When it rains in Africa, we get diamond on the ground for free. Gold, oil, fresh air and abundance of sunshine should make us the envy of the world but here we are.

Poverty does not only connote lack of money but also the restriction and incapacity of one to broaden their minds towards achieving success. While we agree that some people are born into physical and liquid wealth which creates an edge over some others, many would agree that such a person if not commissioned through the right part might enslave themselves with shallow thinking and self restriction hence a downward slide… Yet for those born into less wealthy opportunities the acceptance of such faith without adequate and realistic push/struggles to improve their state and alter the status quo becomes a self imposed restriction and/or an enslavement of the mind and abilities.

We are encouraged to realise that the universe owes you nothing more than you have been presented rather we owe ourselves the duty to broaden our minds, realise and take adequate steps to achieve self fulfilment… No wealthy lineage was inherited/initiated ab initio without someone(no matter how long ago in lineage) paying a price of dedicated and fruitful struggles for his/her descendants to follow… Be that person today rise up to the occasion, break the jinx, liberate yourself, your family and descendants whilst creating the free blueprints of successes they ought to follow, our successes lies in our own hands we either choose and stay committed on the part to glory to write a new story or give up willingly with excuses of a dejectable fury!

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Things Fall Apart

For some reasons, my pen has refused its intended vacation and my desire to revisit the blanks has instantaneously  gained much velocity. Hitherto, I was quite certain about the decision until the inspiration behind my quick return dropped following recent happenings in our sociopolitical Ghana.

Is Ghana a colony or an independent country? Has Ghana become a US annex or Britain annex? Why is Ghana even still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations headed by Britain? Does Ghana have a legislature? What would the Osagyefo say were he to wake up to this fourth republic? Would Yaa Asantewaa be ever proud today? Is this the same Ghana Dr Martin Luther King Jr, WEB Du Bois, Robert Mugabe, Muamah Gadhafi and a host other Pan Africanists died and still fighting for? Why are our schools lashing school children for speaking their local languages? Why are we not developing our curriculum to suit our own developmental agenda looking at our individual skills, talents and potentials?

For 61 years after independence, Ghanaian lawyers are still wearing wigs making them look like some some caricatures in comic books. After 61 years of independence, Ghanaian leaders go cup in hand begging the so called developed world for pittance. Why won’t the people of Ghana and some other black race be referred to as “Shithole”? Yaa Asantewaa fought against this ‘nkwaseasɛm’ when the British insulted us by demanding for the great Golden Stool. The British Prime Minister is telling all Ghanaian people represented by our lawyer president at some Commonwealth meeting that they were ready to support any country ready to reform any obsolete law which is anti gay. What sort of support was she referring to? The rice, sugar and milk powder they would give us to fill our hungry bellies? What kind of insult is this? The British Prime Minister means to tell us that we are so dumb and stupid that we do not know which laws are good or bad for us. We have the Ghana Bar Association, the clergymen and civil society groups sitting without doing anything about it.

What annoys me the most is how the Prime Minister made it seem like the British gave us laws which included anti gay laws and these laws were wrong. ‘Akpɛtɛshi’ along with palmwine were banned. Marijuana was banned. Speaking local languages in schools was banned. Without suit and tie, it is an improper dressing.

Why have we cheapened ourselves so much? Is this how the Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah wanted it? Showing “to the world that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs” are just mere rhetorics. We allow ourselves to be treated like animals especially after 1966. Shame on all of us for fighting for visas to enter a so called Commonwealth country. Shame on our misleaders for “running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.”FB_IMG_1522969946747