Sebiticals Chapter 36: Coming in from the cold [Article]

Dear Wofa Kapokyikyi:

I bring you warm Buharamattan greetings from Amalaman where we are on auto-pilot, if you were to believe what the papa deceive pikin people are saying. Well, to be fair, they are not the only ones saying that.

The Rock of Aso neighbours are also saying same. Oga Kpatakpata has been visiting herbalists in the land beyond the cornfields and has gone beyond his originally advertised return date.

There are many stories making the rounds, Wofa. Some say the herbs that are needed to be put in the pot to be cooked for him to inhale, he sitting on a stool with the hot steaming herb-infused, pot in front of him and layers of blankets covering him, those herbs, they say the herbs are a bit scarce now due to climate change and how much the snow has fallen this year. Some people also say that the herbalists are as slow as a wounded snail so their journey to the land of herbs is taking a bit long.

Others also say the Oga is just tayaaed, and need rest, insisting that it is only the infirmed tortoise who feels the cold and blames it on the weather. In the meantime, Wofa, we wait as the country drives itself. So they say. Ei, these yesi-yesi people.

I have been watching events in Sikaman from afar and wanted to share a few thoughts with you, Wofa. On February 2014, I wrote on my Facebook wall:

“Forget AFAG. Forget CJA. Forget footsoldiers. This is a year of citizen demos. Small small ones. They will start with roads and unfulfilled promises and upgrade. I can hear the sounds of a toad which is getting to the limit of intake of water.”

Later that year, on the 1st of July, a motley collection of mostly professionals, who are usually classified as the “middle class”, stepped off their social media accounts, went beyond their online rants and demonstrated with their feet, waking to the Flagstaff House to occupy.

That was the beginning of hitherto unconcerned Ghanaians, who had learnt to create their private solutions to public problems, wearing their voices and coming in from the cold. That simmer swelled and gained momentum and found expression in the massive defeat of the ruling party in the 2016 elections.

Legend has it that the tipping point of the struggle for Ghana’s independence started after the return to the then-Gold Coast of Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, Private Odartey Lamptey and their comrades who, as members of the Gold Coast Regiment, went to Burma to fight in World War II. The story goes that having fought alongside other nationalities and having calibrated their skills against same, there were imbued with the awareness of the fact that they were equally capable and wondered why they couldn’t be in charge of their own destinies. Well, the trigger point was the non-payment of their due pension and provision of promised jobs, but that awareness from the mountain top experience, where they viewed across the terrain and found their voices, counted and culminated in the 28 February Christiansborg, Crossroad shooting.

A people who gather momentum from the freedom of finding their voices hardly go quiet again. From 2014, many a Ghanaian started on a journey of shedding her cloak of silence and picked up an armour of citizenship that had a breast-place to repel insults.

Insults! The tool used by the Sikaman politician and his cohorts to frighten ordinary citizens from commenting on issues. Usually when loses the capacity to argue intellectually (or perhaps lacked the capability in the first place), the person descends to the level of using insults. I remember a story of one musician being asked how many times he smoked weed, Wofa.

“Once in a blue moon,” he responded.

The interviewer probed further, asking “How often does the blue moon appear?”

“Everyday,” the musician answered, not missing a beat.

The use of insults happened every blue moon day, and sadly continues. So with time, citizens resorted to playing safe and wearing clocks of silence that had been sewn under the culture of silence, when the former Odekuro, whose lineage transcends the cornfields, reigned.

But Sikamanians shed those cloaks! They found their voices and these voices, having found the harmony of singing a war song that could drive a party out of power, will not go silent as the new Ahenfie inhabitants settle in and attempt to maintain the status quo. These voices will not go back into the cold.

None of the parties in Sikaman have enough card-bearing numbers or staunch supporters to win elections on their own. None of them. From previous election trends, it is clear that the most the parties can pull on the strength of these dedicated numbers is about 45% of the total vote cast. To cross the 50%, parties need the swing voters, the so-called neutrals (which is really a misnomer, in my view, as no one who votes is a neutral!). The problem with these swinging safari folks is that they are too-known! They speak their minds with their thumbs, which have attributes of the pendulum.

I dare say, Wofa Kapokyikyi, that if one drew two circles representing these swinging safaris and those who wore their voices from 2014, the two circles will overlap very nicely and the intersection would contain a good number. A very good number. Voices that have come out of the cold.

Already Odekuro Odieasem Nana Tutubrofo Dankwawura and his sub-chiefs are feeling the new Sikamanian. The momentum built by the Sikamanian from the near-occupation of the Ahenfie meant that even though the new Odekuro and his men and women hit the cornfields running, the pace of Sikaman was faster, and is also fueled by impatience.

The issues that sent the former Odekuro out of the Ahenfie will not be changed overnight, but the environment that nurtured the issues and gave them life must change. Odekuro better note that. And he must note also that a key component of the past few years has been that culture of talking plenty that doesn’t cook yam. There is much work to be done, and it is the time for business un-usual. Sikamanians have had enough feeding of propaganda to last them decades so we want a different menu.

Long may the voices find expression in keeping Odekuro and his men alert, Wofa. May these voices not lose the audacity to question. Every Sikamanian has the right of exercising the “effrontery” to ask questions. The day we lose our appetite to question is the day we die as a country.

Till I come your way with another sebitical missive from Amalaman, I remain, as always:

Sebitically yours,
Kapokyikyiwofaase
End Notes

AFAG: Alliance for Accountable Governance
CJA: Committee for Joint Action
Tayaaed: Adulterated form of the word ‘tired’, pidgin
Amalaman: Nigeria
Sikaman: Ghana
Sikamanian: Ghanaian

 

By: Nana Awere Damoah

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