I am sitting on a bench, my back against a wall at the Weija DVLA office, waiting to be called. My castigation for not coming forth with the required “aseda” if I am to get my lost licence replaced today. Forty-seven minutes into purgatory, I am watching Dufie (not her name at all, I have nicknamed her such, a reminder of another Dufie I know elsewhere) trying to sell Malta Guinness to all and sundry. She is a very attractive girl, beautiful large eyes set in an oval face, held up by a not too long neck with a slight wrinkle and a body that can match Alicia Keys. She is wearing black spandex just to below knee level and a tight fitting top with “I Love NY” emblazoned just below her thirty-six “D” cup. She has a nice strut, an exaggerated double bump when she heels up. She knows I have been watching her this past half-hour and I am deliberately staying with the view. It is a nice diversion from the seething anger I am holding down from this cesspit of bribe-taking staff fleecing desperate customers of their “deperado” money, a need that has to be plugged even though a right to be demanded.
I am where I am because I insisted on my right to pay the listed fee at the cashier’s desk and not part with cash to an officer in a small office, where all they were doing when I arrived at 11am was eating “pregnant women only” community waakye. I have been approached by at least three people, asking if they can help me in any way. I refuse persistently, so Dufie is now joined as my unvoiced companion in a fight against the establishment she has not thought of bucking.
I came from the police station, a very pleasant experience for a change, it only cost me ten cedis, because I stood firm and refused to dig further into my wallet, back with the required missing licence report. Since then it has been downhill.
Dufie has disappeared from sight and I clutch a momentary loneliness, my eyes searching across the barren, water-sachet-littered landscape to see where she could possibly be. She has not sold a single bottle while I have been on the watch, but finally there she is, under a tree, head bowed between her knees, worn out and desolate. In a better place and youthful time I might have arranged to pluck her off the street and onto a catwalk. She would have made it. Finally, I claim a small victory. A senior officer recognizes me from both TV and the Daily Guide, apologises for any inconvenience and takes me straight into the inner sanctum, signs my papers and directs my course. Just when it is my turn at the cashier’s cage, DUM! I have a decision to make. I don’t drink Malta Guinness, but I left the DVLA two hours later, a double pack of the stuff on my back seat. C’est la vie.
We do not deserve the sanitized refinement of Supreme Court procedure. Saturday night, I am gridlocked at La Paz, lights are out and there is no traffic police. For slightly under an hour, I am sitting there looking on helplessly as halfwit trotro and taxi drivers regress to Neanderthal, refusing to listen, back up or create space to free the jam. Sitting there, I turn my attention to the week’s Petition hearings, all the drama, NDC and Mahama Counsel, Tsatsu and Lithur trying most hard to delay proceedings. At least that’s the way I saw it. With too many numbers to make a narrative, I have posted the table as analysed by the Petitioners here for readers. It is worth the history. But watching the many dimwits crowding the intersection, I ask myself are these the people for who we are fighting to create a civilized society? They cannot even manage free movement of cars at a single intersection with no supervision.
Funny thing though, during the Petition hearing, EC Afari Djan was doing a brisk Alex Ferguson imitation, chewing gum, (usually a sign of calming nerves) and was called out by Sam Okudzeto, lawyer not Ablakwbish, to respect the rules of court. Touché. The cameras did not catch this.
But Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) got it wrong. They put the word out to all members not to grant Johnson “mosquito” Asiedu Nketia any further public interviews. The same courtesy was extended to Sir John of the NPP. They have a right to this call, but how can you not want to talk to this man? Look at this picture of the mosquito. What do they expect us to do for comic relief without Sir John and Asiedu? In an attempt to be a professionally astute association, I think our journalists are forgetting that humor is also an arm of literature. What will Akosua do without Asiedu Nketia? Please leave us a small sense of local wit.
The doctors are holding the Minister of Finance’s feet to the fire and his signature. Still on strike, Government is under a lot of pressure to make outstanding payments and now Nurses and Pharmacists are calling on members to think about coming out as well.
Mahama’s first 100 days was heralded by the NDC talking heads as a major success. They caused the cash crisis and a budget mess, but look they have solved the dum-so and water issues and all that is left now are the strikes. Didn’t we do well? We cause am, and we say we fix am.
Throughout history, time has been defined in a variety of ways: by everything from the current ruler, or empire, or not defined at all. For periods without a historic record, attempts have been made to categorize tool kits, pottery styles, and architectural forms into regional timelines. Some ill-fated attempts to define time even attempted to count backwards through the genealogies of the Bible, establishing a series of dates, which remain a cause of confusion. In Ghana, the Supreme Court inched a half-step into the technology age, allowing the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) to live-telecast the Election Petition hearing. They then hesitated, technologically challenged by the term “power-point presentation”, but subsequently ordered the 1st Respondent in the case, John Mahama to present an electronic file to speed the process of cross examination.
Here is the full text of their letter.
“In order to expedite the hearing of the petition, the panel hereby directs that the cross-examination on the pink sheets be continued as follows:
1. Counsel for the 1st Respondent do list out the residue of the pink sheets in the manner here to be identified by him in his cross-examination of the 2nd petitioner which he claims were duplicated, in their mode and manner of generation and extent of their user by the petitioners for the purposes of proof of their petition.
2. The said list should be electronically served forthwith by counsel for the 1st respondent on all other parties.
3. At the resumed sitting on Monday, 22/04/2013 counsel for the 1st respondent may put the said list by way of further cross-examination to the 2nd petitioner for his response.
The said list can then be tended in evidence.
4. Counsel for the 1st respondent or any other party may bring along with him his or their copies of the pink sheets.
It was signed by Justice William Atuguba.
The broadcast decision went down well and Ghanaians found themselves glued to TVs and radios following every nuance on the presentation. And then on this week’s excellent, back to normal Joyfm Newsfile standards, someone posed the question whether the loss in productivity spent watching the case could be justified. Tut-tut and duh! Can you price the value of this transparent broadcast? Is there any price to creating a more informed and civilized society? More fully engaged in their future?
I am disappointed that the court did not engage social media and expand to accommodate the citizens more. This case is not about theft of property between two private parties. This case is about whether someone usurped the people’s destiny. It is for Ghanaians and Ghana and the whip round to our National slogan, Freedom and Justice. All I see is a result that should put an end to kneading votes for political “power”, votes that have been twisted in Ghana since Nkrumah became President of the Republic. This case must make voting change an imperative for development.
The import of what we are doing is so momentous that I have sleepless nights, not wondering about a Coup d’tat or about my water and electricity that still does not flow, but the lesson we might skirt around unless our leaders really mean to change Ghana.
Coming Monday 29th Andrew Awuni’s Centre for Freedom and Accuracy will launch its National Anti-Corruption Campaign at the British Council Hall at 9am. I will be there and I will join in for what it might achieve if the agenda is right. Yet another start of yet another anti-corruption move, I am hedging that this campaign might make an impact.
The police gunned down “suspected” armed robbers. Witness stories differ from the police narrative, but the police have set up a “police investigation” to investigate the “police shooting”. Let’s do this conversation next week, it is still unfolding.
Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!