The Government Of Bones

One of the major things which keep this country together in the face of very unacceptable difficulties imposed on us by the incompetence of any government is our collective sense of humour.

The ordinary Ghanaian has a very nice way of laughing off his difficulties and build up his hope into the future with the expression ‘obeye yie’ (it shall be well). All governments have escaped mass attack by its angry citizens because the people made light of the very serious issues affecting them. Indeed the circumstances that led to the Arab Spring cannot be more serious than the circumstances we are experiencing today and some of such in the past. But our sense of humour kept us going even as we moaned, groaned, pined and whined privately.

I remember during the massive and persistent protests by the National Students of Ghana Students (NUGS) against the Acheampong misrule in the 1970s, there was this rumour of Acheampong having said that ‘Kumasi Legon is more reasonable, but as for Accra Legon, they don’t understand anything at all.’ Limann is also known for the ‘famous’ ‘Ghana na wayeme dwendwene’ in his moments of distress with the challenges he inherited and the difficulties he was encountering in finding solutions to the problems; he might either have said it in jest or the usual Ghanaian humour to just laugh off our hardships.

We also remember the Rawlings chain in the most difficult period of our political history, when this nation went through food crisis never experienced before. In the Kufuor era as well, water shortages in many of our urban centres compelled many of our citizenry to use particular plastic containers to go round looking for water. These containers were named Kufuor gallons. Egya Atta had more, one of them was, ‘Anapa yi mekyea wo aa?’ It is said that when the late President was alive, each time he met a staff or any of his appointees at the Castle, he asked the person ‘have I greeted you this morning?’

There was also this talk that he did not know many of his Ministers, and that if perchance he met one anywhere, he was quick to ask ‘ which Ministry did I put you’, and when the Minister had responded, he would then say, ‘ooh, you are the one there eh, then please work hard eh’. For whatever reason, John Mahama seems to have had more of such pain soothing humours in the most difficult times of our lives. Today the going greetings in Ghana is ‘Yema mo dum so ooooo,’ then the response ‘Yaaa, Mahama’. The latest addition is greetings for people coming home from travels or elsewhere. ‘Ekwan so te sen,’ and the response, ‘Akonfem nkoaaa’. Do not forget about the nation having eaten all the meat and left behind only the bones.

To this, some Ghanaians have made a song out of Kekyire Kwame Appiah’s song;

Aban yi, aban yi,

Gyama wo nte ne nka

Na wakofa no abeto woho so yi

Aban yi de, ope dompe

For example, dum so

Also, nsu kom

Not all, akomfem

Furthermore, no gas

Worse still, dead trees.

I wonder why any serious government would want to sit down for its agent to invest GHC15 million of our monies into the rearing of guinea fowls in this country when the most patronized meat on our markets are chicken. Our local poultry farmers are complaining of unfair trade practices which ensure the mass importation of poultry products at relatively cheaper prices from outside of the country whose effects are very negative on the local efforts at producing the same poultry products. This is not to say that mass production of guinea fowls is a bad thing in itself, but if its objective is to improve the economic wellbeing of the people in the SADA catchment area, then the most sensible thing to have been done was to invest in that item which has wider, across the board consumption culture, with a broader market and also has the potential of saving this country some foreign exchange.

If that money had been invested in fowl production within the SADA zone, I am very certain that the much fancied and fashionable ‘take away’ rice and chicken producers within those zones would not have to travel to Kumasi or Accra to buy years old frozen imported chicken to serve their customers. Dealers in the poultry products within the SADA zone would not also stock imported and sometimes unwholesome poultry products to the public with their attendant health implications for the consumers. In my view, the rippling economic effect on the people in the short to medium terms would have been far greater than the economic effects that guinea fowl production would have brought.

Media reports indicate that in spite of that investment, not that many guinea fowls can be found in the area of investment and production. Some of the stories told about the non-existent guinea fowls is that they fly to Burkina Faso during the days to feed and come back to sleep during sunset. My other friends also think that the original home of the guinea fowls is GUINEA, and that some of them migrated to Ghana when they had political crisis back in Guinea. They still have their family links in Guinea so as soon as the investments were made in them particularly in the area of good nutrition, they decided to visit home and offer some booty to their compatriots who are hungry there.

You see, part of the visibility studies the SADA people should have done was to trace the historical antecedents of the fowl, how did they expect fowls born and bred in Guinea, who migrated to Ghana in such of greener pastures to be comfortable in Ghana when their kiths and kin are suffering back home? After all, ‘ofie ne fie’, the Guinea fowls have stayed long in this country to understand and appreciate this Ghanaian wise saying. I heard the leader of the Guinea fowl group telling the younger ones ‘ chalie, efidie hwan, aa, ne nkye araa na eko’, to wit when the trap gets disengaged, it certainly goes back.

So for SADA to have invested that huge amount of money in the fowls from Guinea without any prior agreement or contractual understanding that they are being invested in today for them to serve as delicacies for Ghanaians tomorrow was akin to paying Woyomic judgement debts without inspecting the contract documents before. Anyway, has the Mahama administration ever had the presence of mind to do any due diligence on anything before financial commitments are made? Else how on earth will we be engulfed with such huge deficit which has taken away all the juicy meat off the dining table, leaving only the bones? Even that, he is appointing only juicy ladies to come and squeeze the remaining marrow out of the bones, with nothing for public sector essential staff. It is the policy of ‘ide bee keke’ for them and hard core bones for the rest of us.

Eee, Dramani, as for your selection of female deputies, it is gargantuanly wild oooo. Hmm, I am wondering how many substantive Ministers who have this bevy of deputy Ministers would have the opportunity of travelling with the President outside of the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana when he needs real flesh to at least cover the bones. Oyimpa nye aboa, mbere to wo a, dzi be. Edzi ban aa, Dramani, dzidzi.

Anyway, as we wait for the mass arrival of the fowls of guinea from Guinea, we should find out where the GH¢15 million is. I hear that Poultry Farmers Association of Ghana is going to embark on strike. They will stop feeding their chickens in protest against the investment in the fowls of Guinea. You lie bad, if you like try and see. The FWSC will take you to the Association of Guinea Fowl consumers for arbitration. Some two shots of mahogany bitters while waiting for the arrival of the fowls of guinea which fled to Guinea with 15million guineas.