Archive for February, 2017

Pantang Chronicles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2017 by kola

It is interesting how any time we hear of Pantang the first thing that comes of mind when  you are a resident in Accra is madness. well, asylum used to have the monopoly on madness in Accra and Ankaful nationwide but now there are several mental institutions dotted around the country.

For a long time the mental institution was placed out of the center of Accra so that residents basically had the whole area all the way up to Abokobi to themselves. however, with the recent expansion in Accra the place that used to be isolated from the center of town has gradually been merged into the area and beyond. This therefore comes with the attendant merging to the society and beyond in those parts. This means that the people who are now resident in the areas mingling freely with the inhabitants of the mental institution.

The story was narrated to me by a friend, a  resident, who was waiting at the taxi rank just at the hospital premises to get to town and took a seat on a bench. there was already a well dressed man sitting on the bench and thinking that it was probably a queue he greeted and sat with the man to wait for the taxi. After sitting there a while he noticed that taxis were coming and going and other people were getting on and leaving for town but the both of them just sat there.

Not long afterwards another man joined them and then another lady came too and they all sat on the bench and soon animated conversation started on the bench. The conversation really made no sense to my friend but he still sat there waiting for a taxi and even though several taxis came to the station they all went to the other side but none came to the side where they were sitting. he also noticed that people who came to the other side of the station kind of looked at him strangely sitting among the other three people but they just went ahead to sit in the taxis and left.

After having sat there for over an hour and several taxis coming to the other side, this man finally decided to heed to that my phone credit seller sitting a few yards across who had been beckoning to him for almost  the whole time he had sat there. apparently the phone credits seller had noticed that he had been there a while and wanted to draw his attention that he was in the wrong part of the taxi station. But he had wondered what a mere phone credit seller will talk to him about so he had ignored the beckons and just sat down. finally when his ‘bench mates’ all burst out in laughter at the same time for no apparent reason, he had heeded the phone credit sellers insistent and adamant beckons and just went over to listen to what the young boy had to say.

The first thing the boy asked him was if he had been waiting for a car all this time or was waiting for somebody to join him on the bench. It was then that he confessed that he had joined the queue on the bench waiting for a taxi so he could get to town but all the taxis seem to come to the other side of the taxi rank and not to where they were sitting for the past hour and he has been wondering why.

The young boy had a couple of his age mates seated by him and they all burst out laughing at him at his explanation and with an incredulous look on his face he asked why they were laughing at him. it was then that they told him that hitherto the patients of the mental hospital came to the station and worried the taxi drivers that they wanted to go to town and after a few incidents the drivers realized that they needed to take action with regards to how they got to the station. The solution was that bench was created  and became the particular favorite of the mental patients from the hospital and they usually sat there and made people think that they were also waiting for taxis.

Oh Joe! the people really had a good laugh at my expense” he narrated.

Finally he went to the other side of the station and whilst entering the taxi looked at his former bench mates talking animatedly and laughing hysterically and somehow it all fell into place. These people made him realize that the saying that we all have some madness in us is true and indeed after witnessing a road rage incident in town that same day, confirmed the statement that many are mad but few are walking the streets.

Furthermore, this narration has its own lessons for me when i heard it. this is that we relate to everybody with respect and treat people as human beings that they are and not stigmatize them at all. The well dressed people on the bench had conversations that were reasonable and apart from a few off key mannerisms, they looked as sane as anybody else and that is why my friend could sit with them for over an hour.

In the same way that the city has expanded, the world has become a global village and people and places are much more closer to each other. It is important that we as humans also adjust to these changes for benefits and personal development. It behooves on the individual to determine how to adjust. we all have a bit of madness in us but it is up to us on how best to use this madness to suit our lives and how best it will affect our relationships.

Like i always say it begins with YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invincible or Invisible

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2017 by kola

in recent times some of us have complained about the politicizing of everything in this country. i have said time and again to anybody who can read or hear that in this land of our birth even as natural an act as sneezing could betray your supposed political affiliation. you know how we sneeze and then instead of ‘bless you’ we say a few words? somebody might say ‘bless nana’ or another might say ‘i told you so’ and these sayings might be interpreted depending on who’s standing by to be political insinuations with reference to the occupant of the flagstaff house or the economic hardships still prevailing.

anyways that is the Ghana we have come to love with its nuance and all its unconventional methods and red tape only when it suits some people. but who am i to say.

so we all say change has come and then right off the bat we start hearing of the winning party supporters attacking supporters of the losing party. reports in the media indicate that known NDC supporters were attacked at home and beaten up.

further reports also indicate that some armed and rioting forces have started and it is still an ongoing process, are seizing public toilets, toll booths, government offices and all in the name of a popular slogan in akan ‘ma aban na aba so‘ to wit ‘my government is in power.

the group that has claimed responsibility for perpetrating these acts calls themselves INVINCIBLE (or is it INVISIBLE) FORCES.

back in school studying traditional religion and a host of other subjects, we always were asked ‘what is in a name?” this has always made me associate names with occurrences and try to delve into how a group chooses a name. there have been several political associations and just hear their names and you know what they are about even if they dont spell it out explicitly to you the name should give you a clue to their objective.

but here is one group perpetrating acts bothering on vandalism of state property and abusing the rights of people and nobody seems to do anything about it except that the ruling party now came out with a press statement to effect that the group was not a part of its machinery and that they were acting on their own. really?? so if they were acting on their own why hasn’t the law taken action against them and have them arrested thus setting a few culprits as examples to deter the others.

in Tamale i had my former office locked up when this group numbering about forty on motorbikes just stormed the district office of National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and Youth Employment Program (YEP) and asked the workers out only to produce locks they had brought themselves to lock up these offices.

the regional National Health Insurance office suffered the same fate and people who were  trying to register and do transactions who tried to protest were whipped physically leading to a stampede for everybody to rush out of the offices. i hear the same thing happened at the metro office of NADMO and before the police could get there to intervene these people are gone. sometimes they brazenly wait for the police and exchange words with them until the police drag them off the premises.

a typical Ghanaian will ask, what is all this? can we just not tolerate each other and live peacefully. the fact that your government is in power doesn’t give you the right to vandalize government offices and attack government institutions asking for the resignation of executive officers to be replaced by party loyalists.

this is where the issue is. if really we were thinking Ghana first, then the civil service will not have to be politicized and its machinery can run effectively devoid of political affiliation. but in the system where the winner takes all, it has become imperative to use Machiavellian principles in a democracy thus ensuring that all the heads of the civil service are loyalists of the ruling government so as to secure an agenda not contrary to the principles of the ruling party. in some jurisdictions, when government policy does not tie in with the civil service then you know there is a standoff.

all the ducks have to be in tow for a ruling government as we see happening in parliament but that is another story for another day.

so back to the invincible forces. i really dont want to speculate here but the question still stands as to what is in a name? what is the law doing about them and are they as invincible as they seem to be because people in civil service office are feeling their actions visibly.

what i can do as admonished in the ‘plagiarized speech’ is to be a citizen not a participant and do my duty to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana as per our anthem. to be a Ghanaian is a mindset that involves every individual that it is this individual mindset that will evolve into the collective.

mine is to raise the issues and set you thinking but then what to do is up to you.

so like i always say IT BEGINS WITH YOU!