FEATURE: Why are we becoming a nation of cheats? (Part One)

It is exactly 50 years today when Ghanaians woke up to hear the voice of Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong announcing the overthrow of the Second Republican experiment, headed by Dr. Kofi Abrefa Buia as Prime Minister, and Mr. Edward Akufo-Addo as the ceremonial President.

As a young secondary student at the time, my anger was not only that Bro’ Kutu had overthrown my hero, I was totally irritated by the main reason given for disturbing this nation’s democratic experiment.

“Even the few amenities enjoyed by the army,” Acheampong told the nation, via Ghana Broadcasting Corporation radio and television networks, “have been taken away.” What happened in the name of the military regime was reckless dissipation of state resources under the watch of the Abongo Boys.

Before reading his coup speech, the coup plotter played one of the most popular highlife songs at the time. I intend to use the lyrics of that composition to ram home a point.

Today is Thursday, January 13, 2022. What this means is that we are almost in the middle of the first month of the New Year. We crossed the line separating the old from the new without the usual cacophony of noises answering for prophetic declarations.

For once, not many armed robbers in cassock might have benefitted from telling cooked stories from the pulpit to create fear and panic among the good people of this country  in the course of which so-called men of God line up their individual pockets.

Before the advent of one man in uniform, we were treated to a season of a cacophony of ugly noises in the name of God…This or that man would die…That political leader with a long nose will die before the Fantis celebrate their Ahobaa Festival, they would proclaim, citing so-called messages from the Creator of Heaven and the Earth.

Not many sons and daughters of Adam and Eve have ever encountered the Almighty. Even Moses could not look God in the face when the voice thundered among the burning bushes. Yet, these self-proclaimed prophets were using the pulpit to make ugly pronouncements in the name of God. They usually used their sermons on New Year’s Eve to bring distress to a number of prominent Ghanaians and their families.

That was the ritual until the advent of one man in uniform and a cross-belt. In the Bible we are told: “There came a new King who knew not Joseph.  Exodus 1:8-2:10.

When Dr. George Akufo Danpare was given the baton to lead the transformation of the Ghana Police Service as the Inspector General of Police, he went about his business in a firm and businesslike manner. Many robbers were hunted down. Hardened criminals, who stood in the way of the police, were gunned down to have audience with their maker.

It was at a point in time when some so-called men and women of God had turned the pulpit into a pugilist sport, attacking their colleagues in the so-called ministry.

When the police arrested and caged Mr. Isaac Owusu Bempah of the Glorious Word Power Ministry International, who was perceived as a powerful personality, as a result of his links with the ruling elites, word went round that the new police capo could not be messed around with.

As the old year meandered to an end, Mr. Dampare issued what amounted to a Fatwa that so-called men of God who would give any crazy prophesy to create fear and panic in society on New Year’s Eve, would be treated as a criminal and dealt with by the police severely.

That prophetic word from the police capo was the saving grace – not a mouse stirred from the pulpit. The only dissenting voice was that of a man called Nigel Gaisie. Even then he used an imaginary country called Umuofia. Umuofia is a fictional job created by Chinua Achebe in his novel Things Fall Apart.

Apparently, all the prophetic pronouncements that had assailed our ears in previous Cross Overs were manufactured from the pulpit to make those making them look divine.

Like Abrekyireba Kofi Sammy’s hit song that ushered in the coup speech from Colonel Acheampong on that Harmattan morning on January 13 1972… “TO WO BO ASE OO NA AFIDIEWURA BEBA, NEA OBEBO WO MBA A, WOSE OBI NTUMI WO –OO.”  Literally translated the song says, be careful in life. The owner of the trap would come. While the one who would beat you is away, you pride yourself that nobody could match you in a fight.

When Dampare got his orders through all communication channels in the country, all was quiet. We now know. Not many of those prophecies had any Godly input.

I spent a stress-free New Year thanks to Dampare. Kudos to the Inspector General of Police!

While lauding the new capo and his service, there are a number of things the police and the general populace should do to help nip roguery in the bud. It looks like the general attitude to life in Ghana is that every citizen must cheat to live.

I am not one who is a regular visitor to our markets. Occasionally, I do. On Christmas Day, with the heavy traffic down a bit, I went to the Kasoa Market to get a few items.

I had not taken groundnut soup for a while. So I decided to have guinea fowl meat with peanut soup. When they told me that one guinea fowl was GH¢80, I screamed!

I do not think I had ever asked for the price of a guinea fowl since the whole nation rose up from bed one good morning in the Mahama regime to be told that the entire guinea fowl population on farms belonging to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, in the then Northern, Upper East and West Regions, had migrated to Burkina Faso. Yes, authorities holding funds in trust for the people of Ghana looked at us in the face, and made that pronouncement.

Poor Ghanaians, we have moved on from there. People who caused this kind of mess have not accounted for it. Rather, they are issuing threats that if we do not hand the resources of state back to them, there would be ‘Do or die!’

That is by the way. Some of us will not keep quite over threats that have no legs to stand on. At the appropriate time, I will respond. In the meantime, it is relevant to note that following my desire to taste groundnut soup, I asked a woman selling groundnut paste, near the fowl market, to give me raw paste, for which I paid GH¢30.

When the paste was being prepared for the soup, much of it was discovered to be cassava dough – KOKONTE! Oh, yes, more than half of the paste was kokonte. The Ghanaian and his quest for riches!

I have retained the rest of the so-called paste in the freezer. I intend to hand it over to Prof. Alex Dodoo, Chief Executive of Ghana Standard Authority. I will like the whole stuff to be taken through chemical analysis before I invite Dr. Dampare into the matter.

I never enjoyed a good Christmas. The economy was not responding to treatment, so, for once in several years, I failed to visit Ekumfi Ekrawfo, my hometown, for the New Year celebration.

It was not the kind of holidays I bargained for. If my failure to visit Ekumfi Ekrawfo was painful, read the account of my serious disappointment on Monday, January 3, the holiday given the people of this lovely country on the account of the New Year day falling on Saturday.

A friend invited me to come along and visit another friend of ours at Akwapim Akropong. We decided to surprise him, only to be told on arrival that our friend was out of town. In our disappointment, we decided to visit the Acqua Safari Valley that has opened not too long ago at Adukrom.

At the reception, the kind of fare they were quoting for rummaging through the Safari was a king’s ransom. We left in disappointment. On our way, we encountered men and women selling palm wine all the way from Aburi through Kitaase to Peduase. We decided to drown our sorrow in the stuff, seeing it foam at the seams.

We stopped and ordered a gallon each. Initially, we decided to get down and drink. But with my friend at the driving wheel, we decided that each one of us should take his stuff to the house.

Imagine my hesitation when I got home. Before putting the stuff in the freezer, I decided to take a glass while I waited for it to cool. “All that glitters,” according to a good old English proverb, “is not gold.”

Those selling the wine on the Akwapim Ridge had mixed the stuff with water and a substantial amount of sugar. Oh Ghana, where is this nation going?

I shall return!

Ebo Quansah in Accra


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here