In 1983, following the drought that devastated the land, identifying a Homo Sapien from that nation named after the ancient empire that thrived for centuries in the Western Sudan, was one of the easiest jobs on hand.
The Rawlings chain was the standard bearer for the identification parade. It also provided the citizenry with some of the wisest cracks to emerge out of the Mother Land. It so happened that in those days when ordinary folks queued for raw corn dough wrapped in leaves from what passed for kenkey joints for treatment at home, the depletion of the state treasury gave birth to a number of ideas considered brilliant by the originators and their surrogates but loathed by the ordinary man on the street.
The Economic Recovery Programme was one big idea. It invited the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund into the country. From their activities came the dreaded word. Retrenchment, the policy sold to the zombie bosses, raised the poverty level instead of reducing it. Many workers ended up with no reserves to fall on. The new doctrine, with a mouthful of a name, devastated the land.
Those who coined the name ensured that it carried so much weight that ordinary folks with Rawlings chains were too weak to live under its pressure. Statistics are not yet available, but grave diggers were kept busy throughout the society. Retrenchment was the oppressive word, and its impact was felt far and wide. In the same year, the zombies came out with another idea. This one was a company to find oil for the nation. It was christened Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to find oil for this country.
For nearly two decades, the fortunes of the company were tied to one man’s apron strings, according to several complaints lodged at the office of the State Prosecutor. At my age and disposition, remembering names requiring expertise behind the river folklore has its own challenge.
Tsuatsa and his mistress were accused of turning the state enterprise into a family empire and siphoning state funds by overstretching the company’s mandate.
Now another group of persons has come to control this same enterprise. What would it mean? Take it from the bald old man with one leg in the grave – one does not need to look into the crystal ball to appreciate that all may not be well with the corporation, in spite of the departure of Tsuasta and his mistress. Trust the company to attract all manner of dances. The new entrants have brought their own drums, and the workers are mandated to dance to the new tune.
In this part of the world, where football is a national obsession, trust the new operators of the oil enclave to nurture a number of Maradona tricks. The word is that the new bosses deciding the fate of the company trace their roots to that football club founded in the city of gardens. Dribbling is, therefore, a natural device for the new operators.
At my age and disposition, surfing the world-wide net has its own challenge. That is why information about the new office building being quoted in millions of Uncle Sam’s currency, is proving to be elusive. All the same, tongues are wagging on other matters with the same connection.
It is the department christened ‘Sustainability’, with its own boss – that is the new freak in town. How ‘Sustainability’ came to be synonymous with scholarships for studies abroad is what is creating problems for the new football-loving administrators.
The other day, the new Oga made a statement that was music to the ears of ordinary people of the land, who have seen their fortunes dwindle by the propensity to use petroleum resources to fund scholarship schemes for men and women, far away in the Queen’s territory.
Oga met the media and said his new administration is harping on sponsoring brilliant students to pursue courses up to the Pull Him Down (PHD) level at home. What he failed to add is that in spite of the official declaration, the company holding state oil money in trust for the people has already opened its vaults to ensure that men and women fly out to be educated outside the four corners of the country.
There are those reading courses at the Masters’ level. Three specific names are on the lips of those opposed to the idea at the headquarters of the company. All three belong to the Eve faction of mankind.
That is not the real ‘Macoy.’ Trust rumour-mongers to spice their stories. There are those beating their chests and claiming that a particular leader from the ‘Sustainability’ Department has been taking too many trips to the country that once colonised the good people of this country in recent times. The word doing the rounds at the new head office building is that all three of the learning Eve family are on the radar of the man with the ‘Sustainability’ brief. The bald old man is investigating the allegation, though.
That is not all. Tongues are wagging at a much faster rate on another issue. This time, it concerns the department in charge of acquiring property for the corporation. Delo is officially tagged as deputy in charge of acquisitions. How workers came to link him to over-invoicing and under-declaration with his boss firmly in place, tells much about the nature of cobwebs and cockroaches threatening to occupy every cupboard at the edifice Tsuatsa founded.
In all this, forget not that the Chairman himself, I mean the boss at the Asylum Down enclave of the party, is playing the Big Brother role!
Heads you lose, tails you lose
Innovation indeed! The woman taking charge of the ‘kako’ and ‘eban’ we consume is talking tough. For a month in the latter days of July, and for a considerable period in August, fisher-folks are to take compulsory leave.
It is a directive causing much pain and anguish in my native Mfantseman area. Since creation, fisher-folks in this society have never taken any holidays, except the customary Tuesday when they mend their nets and engage in traditional singing and dancing. Two things are creating all the problems in the minds of the people who brave the harsh weather for expeditions at sea.
August is the peak of the fishing season in Ghana. It is that time of the year which defines the entire fishing season. It has a loud shout in determining whether the wife would have new clothes. It also has a large influence on whether the children’s school fees would be paid.
One jovial fisherman, Kofi Kakraba, told colleagues at a Tuesday break at Abandze that the new directive would alter all his plans, including when and how to mate with the wife. Everything, to him, depends on the quantity of fish caught during the August peak season.
The new law, apparently promulgated to allow fish to replenish its stock, is as unpopular as the woman directing the fishing industry herself. Ms Yelofa is on the carpet for allegedly masterminding the shortage of pre-mixed fuel, the energy material that powers the ‘Ahead’ in the absence of man-power rowing.
It is still a subject of contention, but the fisher folks believe that the diversion of pre-mixed fuel does not happen accidentally. A new theory is emerging on how the illicit trade is conducted, via the overseeing bosses themselves.
Apparently, for every five vehicles dispatched from the various filling joints in Accra and other regional capitals to the various landing sites, three disappear into thin air.
Theories are emerging of state officials turning themselves into ghosts and causing the disappearance of these petrol tankers. It would shock you to realise that many who stand accused are foot soldiers of the party. A number of them are close allies of Madam herself, and that enclave between Teshie and Sakumono is their operative base. It is all turning to that mantra at the betting grounds: Heads you lose, tails you lose. That is the lot for our fisher-folks as the August ban on fishing approaches.