Feature: From Migrating Nkonfem to Nkokoketenkete …Market Queens to run shift as Waakye is sold @ 2am

It is not going to be easy for the Vice-President and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the polls in December. The national economy is not responding to treatment. One needs no ghost to hammer home this basic truth. The cost of every conceivable item is going through the roof, making it difficult for the average Ghanaian to eke out any meaningful existence.

As we meander our way through this maze of economic strangulation in anticipation of the December polls, barely half a year away, the authorities are on notice to do something drastic about the free falling cedi and its drastic impact on the cost of living.

I am not a soothsayer, but from where I sit as a social commentator, the welfare of the average voter is likely to reflect on the outcome of the December 7 polls. The response to ‘Momfa Steer No Mma Me’ and its slogan ‘It is possible’, will depend to a very large extent on whetheror not the voter would have had a meal of reasonable quality and quantity before joining the queue. At the moment, it is a daunting task for the Vice-President.

Apparently, because of the difficulties facing the Vice-President and the political party promoting his concept, the other side of the political divide believe they could throw dust into people’s eyes and make them vote for the come-back kid.

The Scandal-soaked ex-President is not helping his cause either. He is going about promoting concepts that look childish in the eyes of discernible Ghanaians.

What is 24-Hour Economy? Is it a serious economic concept that could bail this country out of its economic strangulation or a joke conceived from several hours at the Pub?

The originator himself goes about in the political arena burying his eyes in dark glasses, in a typical James Bond posture, without making much meaning of his proposals; leaving amateurish party activists throwing dust into people’s eyes.

One top party official explained that under the 24-hour Economy, market women would run shift. One group of sellers would report at the various markets dotted around the country at 6 am and vacate at 2pm, whether or not items on sale have been bought. Another group would take over at 2pm and leave at 6pm. The night shift will assume custody of the markets till 6am the next day.

That will be an innovation because not many Ghanaians are conversant with operating a market in the night in this lovely country. My first experience of a thriving night market was in 1978. I was travelling from Bolgatanga to Tamale with a colleague in the night. From where I was sitting in the car, I saw lights that looked like flying in the night sky.

My immediate reaction was that we had arrived at the Gambaga Witches Camp. My colleague, the late Robert Bentil, was the Upper Regional Correspondent. “That is a night market,” Mr. Bentil made assurance double sure.

The tragedy of Ghana is that the night market idea fizzled out when Jerry John Rawlings, with the help of those who claimed to believe in him, seized power by force of arms and put Ghana under perpetual curfew. If the Bole landlord wants to re-visit the night market idea, let him go ahead, and not clothe the idea in some kind of mystic doctrine.

We are told that under the 24-hour Economy, good old Waakye, will take an all-day long to serve. The usual morning shift will come and leave. But the real stuff will take its turn in the night with customers assured of a 2am service. This will complement the job of carpenters who would turn up in the night to roof people’s uncompleted buildings on request.

It is a transformation agenda being promoted by those who once took over this nation and used its resources for themselves. Remember the infamous transfer of state bauxite resources to one’s brother, just before Mr. John Dramani Mahama exited Jubilee House?

What about the scandal of Government Official One who supervised state acquisition of Airbus aircraft through another brother, forming an unholy alliance with a British actor and his girlfriend, which shamed Ghana at the Southwark Crown Court in South London?

My regret as a Ghanaian in this matter is that after naming the NDC Presidential candidate as Government Official One, Mr. Martin Amidu, the self-styled Citizen Vigilante, ran away from his responsibilities. If the scandal soaked ex-President has had the gust to seek the highest office of the land once again, after the mess he caused during his first term at Government House, please blame Mr. Martin Amidu.

In the run-up to the 2016 elections, all sorts of ideas were promoted from the Office of the NDC candidate. On various campuses across the country and on social front, women, some so horribly young were riding in cars, allegedly with the approval of the former president. The clamour has started again with women openly canvassing for the return to the episode of ‘Papa No’ and his philanthropic venture towards the fairer sex.

Remember the infamous episode of Nkofem (Guinea fowls) migrating to Burkina Faso without a compass. Apparently, the failure of these Nkonfem in their millions to return to Ghana is the reason why the markets are experiencing serious shortages of the lean meat.

Once upon a time, an Akonfem was selling for only GHC10. Now one Akonfem is commanding GHc150 to GHc200. It has outstripped its senior, the chicken, in market value. With the experience of the last experiment in view, the Bole landlord is promoting a new concept. It is called Nkonko Nketenkete. Loosely translated, it is small chicken.

Under the Mahamean Theory of Nkonko Nketenkete, farmers are to build small nets. When in power, the NDC administration will make small chicken available. When they hatch, the operators could sell the eggs to augment their incomes. When the chicken are grown the farmer could sell them and ask for replacement.

It is obviously a laborious means of seeking an income. But the originators of the concept believe that Ghanaians would buy into this hollow concept at a time when even large-scale poultry has not helped much to move people from poverty.

It is difficult to conceptualise the former President as a serious politician eager to get Ghana and its people out of poverty. The other day, Mr. Mahama presented head pans to a group of Kayayie to aid them in their trade. His main rival in the December polls, Vice-President Alhaji Mahamadu Bawumia responded by building a hostel for the Kayayie to get a residential and training centre where they are to live and train for all kinds of trade.

For me, as a social commentator, the solution to the Kayayie conundrum tells the difference in thinking between the two front runners in national politics at the moment. I am sorry, but I do not believe in Allan Kwadwo Kyeremanten as any serious contender. The founder of the Butterfly Movement is only on an ego trip that is likely to backfire.

Chedda’s Third Force is still far from being a force. As for the other fringe parties they are still on the fringes of national politics.

I shall return!

Ebo Quansah in Accra


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