Tag: Stephen Atta Owusu


Greed and corruption as corporate bodies and top executives in Ghana siphon off state funds

During the Atta Mills-Mahama led administration, there was massive back-log in non-payment of salaries of workers in Ghana. More than ten thousand nurses and teachers remained unpaid for more than two years. Doctors and pharmacists were also victims of non-payment of salaries. Many more workers are weeping for similar reasons. There is a problem of non-payments of monies meant for national health insurance scheme (NHIS) drug providers and also service providers and food suppliers for school feeding programme for so many years. Yet huge salaries paid to top executives each month get to their accounts without fail.

Indeed under the previous NDC government, a lot of financial wastage occurred in the system. Millions of Ghana cedis spilled like leaked oil and no action was taken by Mahama’s administration to retrieve these monies squandered by individuals and companies.

Former CEO of Cocobod Dr Opuni

Mahama’s government voted GHc1.8 billion to Cocobod to purchase 800 tons of cocoa beans. Dr Opuni, who was then the Chief Executive Officer, bought only 300 tons. He was never queried about what happened to the rest of the money until the NPP came to power. He was immediately relieved of his appointment and corruption charges were preferred against him. His dismissal led to a startling revelation of amazing salaries received by certain CEOs in Ghana. Some of these are more than three or four times the salary received by the President.

The CEO of Cocobod, Dr Opuni takes home a whopping amount of GHc77,000 which is 770 million old cedis monthly! This does not include allowances, free fuel supply and free accommodation. The CEO of Bank of Ghana earns GHc89,000 every month, allowances and other benefits excluded. Let us see the monthly salaries of other CEOs in other corporate organisations: the CEO of Ghana Revenue Authority takes home a cool GHc85,000 each month plus allowances and other benefits. The Boss of SSNIT is paid each month GHc76,000, while the Director and CEO of Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) pockets GHc85,000 as his monthly salary excluding allowance and other benefits. The boss of National Investment Bank (NIB), takes home GHc65,000 and the CEO of BOST receives GHc62,000. The list continues with the boss of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) also receiving GHc52000. The CEO of Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) is paid “only” GHc55000. The list is just endless. These above-mentioned CEOs have top security men in their homes who are either policemen or staff from top security companies. They have three or four cars at their disposal. They have cooks, drivers, gardeners and cleaners. This group of people are paid by the companies. I believe you all agree with me that with such huge salaries allotted to top executives, it is not surprising that the government was unable to pay certain groups of workers like doctors, nurses, teachers and others who have not been paid for more than two years.

Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is a licensed distributor of petroleum related activities in Ghana. It is an agency responsible for the importation of crude oil and petroleum. When the GNPC was established to replace the Ministry of fuel and power, it was the objective of the government of Ghana to supply reliable and adequate supply of petroleum in Ghana and the discovery and exploration of crude oil in its territories. GNPC grew steadily in the area of oil production. However, after five years of the corporation’s existence, there was vast misuse of Ghana’s oil revenue on a large scale. There was complete absence of transparency and accountability in awarding oil blocks among others and denying Ghanaians the full use of the oil resource. A big chunk of the money accruing lands in the pockets of top executives. The top executives turned GNPC into a den of robbers, grabbing whatever money that came handy. Consequently, the chief executive of the corporation was arrested and tried at the fast track court on three counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢230,000 which he, on behalf of PNDC guaranteed a loan for Valley Farms a private company, and one count of misapplying public funds. He is said to have misappropriated GHc2million of GNPC funds to buy shares in Valley Farms. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to five years in prison.

Greed and corruption by the board of trustees at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) have put the future of both formal and informal workers in jeopardy. According to the Association of Accountable Governance (AFAG), they foresee a bleak and miserable pension benefit for retirees. This is because the current board of trustees of SSNIT have sold and are aggressively selling off what is left of their investments. Where a chunk of the money will go is anybody’s guess.

Not long ago, workers shares in First Atlantic and Merchant banks were sold. The Trust hospital was sold and SSNIT Guest house was also put for sale. It is a known fact that National Trust Holding Company (NTHC) is a company that has been blacklisted by 2007 auditor’s report as unfit to manage public funds. It is, however, very unfortunate and disheartening that SSNIT has sold the scheme of the informal sector to NTHC, a blacklisted company. AFAG organized the workers in a mammoth meeting to protest against the board at SSNIT who are selfish and self-seeking at the expense of workers livelihood.

Indeed greed and corruption among top executives and corporate bodies have condoned corruption for a very long time. Ghanaians are waiting to see if greed and corruption will persist under Nana Addo‘s government or be relegated to history. Bribery, over-invoicing, gargantuan salaries and sole-sourcing are difficult problems hanging on the heads of Ghanaian governments like the sword of Damocles. Those guilty of such greed and corruption includes DVLA, the Police and customs and passport office. Very often, monies paid at these places are not backed by receipts. This means such monies land in the pockets of the personnel. A survey conducted by Ghana Integrity and anti-corruption consortium confirmed the afore-mentioned bodies as worst off when it comes to bribery and corruption. DVLA and the passport office deliberately delay the issue of driver’s licenses and passports. They have created around the offices those they call, ”goro boys.” These boys are working for the top officials. A driver’s license that will take you three months or more to get is obtained for you within a day or two by a ”goro boy” at five times the normal cost. Guess who gets all these monies. The top officials, of course.

Will the surprise visit by Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia to the passport office help to reduce corruption? Is Nana Addo eager and fully prepared to fight greed and corruption? Is he willing to prosecute the corrupt officials of the past government? Nana Addo’s government is just three months old and I believe all he can achieve or do to get all stolen monies into state coffers lies within the womb of time.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads

The term Tsoo-boi and the Early Akan Settlement in the Volta Region

In the year 1732, when the Ashanti Kingdom was ruled by Otumfuo Opoku Ware I, the Ashantis, mainly from Kuntenase, in an attempt to expand the kingdom, moved towards a place that is now part of the Volta region and to a place called Worawora. They fought the Chokosis and drove them out from their land in 1734 and occupied it. They spoke their Twi language and maintained their culture and traditions. From then on many Akans from many Akan-speaking areas moved in to settle at different places including Jasikan, Donkorkrom and Avetime.
Something interesting happened which led to the creation and popularization of the compound word, “Tsoo-boi”. Many people and groups have used this compound word, “Tsoo-boi” without knowing how the word came about, and from which language it originates. Eighty percent of the people I interviewed said “Tsoo-boi” is a Ga word. Only twenty percent said it was an Ewe word.

“Tsoo-boi” is a word largely used in Ghana by many people including students, workers, demonstrators, pastors and Imams. When that word is mentioned, the resultant reaction is the same. It is a shout for action, attention and coordination. Furthermore the shout of “Tsoo-boi” creates a sense of belongingness, oneness, enthusiasm and victory.
In a fishing community in the Volta region, lived two fishermen and their families. They were not on talking terms. One family was Ewe and the other was Akan. The children of both families always had to cross a stream in a canoe to go to school. One day, on their return from school, a strong wind blew the canoe to overturn in the full glare of by-standers. In an effort to get help both the Akan and the Ewe boys began to scream for help in their local languages. The Ewe boy shouted, “tsoo,” “tsoo”. The Akan boy also screamed urgently, “buei,” “buei”. These were shouts for help and attention. The onlookers jokingly combined the two words, spelling the Twi word according to how they heard it. This marked the genesis of “tsoo-boi.”

The Akans in the Volta Region have their settlements in areas like Jasikan, Donkorkrom, Worawora and Avatime. The majority of the Akan settlers were mostly from the Ashanti Kingdom. They got permanent settlements in these areas through conquests. After living in the Volta Region for more than a century, they still considered themselves as Akans. The Ashantis paid allegiance to the occupant of the Golden Stool. Their Chiefs also swore the oath of allegiance to the stool.
At a press conference in Accra months after Otumfuo’s visit, the Omanhene of Worawora Traditional Area, Daasebre Asare Baah III, confirmed that, even though Worawora is located in the Volta Region, they will still remain Ashantis. The Omanhene was compelled to react to a “Times” London newspaper headline story which came out after the Asantehenene, Otumfuo Opoku Ware’s visit to Worawora traditional area in the early part of 18th century. The front page story was an angry reaction by the chiefs in the Volta Region after Otumfuo’s visit. They reiterated that Worawora cannot be under Asante. During the press conference, the Omanhene, his subjects and well-wishers were all clad in black funeral clothes which the Ashantis call “kuntunkuni.” This was to protest to the VR chiefs that no Akan chief will swear an oath of allegiance to any VR chief.

The Avatime are another group of Akans who live in the Volta Region. These are Ahanta people who migrated to the place known today as Volta Region during the 18th century, almost at the same time when the Fanti fishermen from Elmina migrated to Togo and finally continued to Dahomey (Benin). More than a century ago, a mystery pot was found hidden in a cave at Biakpa in Avatime. Critical and investigative study of the pot and its content revealed that the Guans have been in Avatime and in Ghana since the Stone Age. Kwame Ampene, a folkloric historian and founder of the Guan Historical Society, depending on oral history, claimed that it was not the Ahantas who migrated to the Volta Region but rather the Igbos who lived among the Ahantas for so many years who later migrated to Avatime. Kwame Ampene admitted that the Ahantas may also have migrated to the Volta Region, asserting that the original homeland of the nuclear Avatime has become a difficult problem which has so far defied any satisfactory solution.

So far there has been very much cooperation and peaceful co-existence among the Akans and the Ewes in the Volta Region. When the new president, Nana Akufo-Addo, hinted that some regions including the Volta Region will be divided into two regions and the likelihood is that the Akans may have their own region and the others, including Ewes, will also have one region, many concerned people in the region have stood up against the idea. They will still want to be together as one people in one region. The peace and love existing among the various tribes in the region is superb and phenomenal.
By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads

Child-naming and its Impact on the Ghanaian Child

Babies born in Ghana come with one permanent name depending on which day in the week the baby is born. Ashantis may decide to skip their child’s day name and choose a different day name. This often happens when they name the child after a special person, a hero/heroine, a friend or a business partner. They often adapt the full names of that person. A parent who lived in Kumasi named his child after the first president of Ghana. The child was born on Tuesday but he was named Kwame Nkrumah, instead of Kwabena Nkrumah. This tradition or practice is common among the Ashantis in Ghana.

The other names given to the babies reflect the parent’s beliefs, wishes or preferences. The baby has no say in this matter. However, when the child grows up, she can decide to cast away the name the parents give her and choose her own.

05fbd6d427a1dcb5facaa365a558cc33There are several ways of giving a surname to babies. The most common one is for the father to give his surname to the baby. As said earlier on, the father can also name the baby after a hero/heroine, a special friend, or business partner.

Most names given to babies have some meaning. Nobody chooses a name that means nothing or has no significance. Sometimes names are given by fetish priests to parents who consult them to solve their child-birth issues. When their issues are solved, the fetish priest gives the child a name. This article will partly be discussing the effect of such names on the bearers.

Some people think or believe that certain names, by their definitions, carry with them bad luck and, very often, curses. Things may not go well for those who bear such names. However, it is not wholly true that all those who bear such names encounter bad luck.

I had a discussion with an elderly man when I visited Ghana last year. The man took his time to explain to me that there is no curse in the names per se but in most families, bad and destructive spirits, including witches and wizards, capitalize on the meanings of the names to shape the child’s destiny and to bring hopelessness, hardship and destruction on the child at the very incipient stage till the child reaches adulthood.  He further explained that not all Akan names can be brought under curse.

Some names given to babies by the Akans have obvious meanings. Berko is translated as a

fetish priest

fetish priest

person whose life is full of hustle and bustle, Abebrese (a sufferer), Bediito (a glutton whose preference is mashed plantain), Kokooto (mashed plantain in red palm oil), Bosompem (thousand gods), Asuo (a gift from the river god), Nkwantabisa (ask at the junction), Bediako (a fighter and a hustler), Diawuo (a murderer).

Names with funny meanings do not exist only in the Akan culture. The Anlos have names which sound humorous, interesting and thought-provoking. Ex-president J.J Rawlings named his first daughter Zanetor. It is said that this child was born while Rawlings was in jail awaiting trial for treason. The name means, “let the darkness stop.” The birth of the girl expressed Rawlings’ wish for the dark days to stop, and it stopped too (at least for Rawlings). Indeed, many Anlo names are full meaningful sentences. Mawuenyega means God is great, Kugblenu (death destroys things), Delanyo (the Saviour is good), Mawunyo (God is good), Dzigbodi (Patience), Edem (the Lord has saved me), and Delali (the Saviour is there).

Interestingly, there are some terrific Ewe names whose meanings, for the sake of decorum, I will not provide here. (You may ask your Ewe friends to tell you…) What will you say about names like Avugla, Amemornu, Fiadigbor, Avudzivi, Agbetsiame, Datsomor, Avagah, Kumasenu, Gamor, Degodia, Gbormitan, Avadzi, Gbortsu, Agbogah, Gasor or even Woyome? Every ethnic group has such names but my digging around the subject revealed to me that the Ewes may lead this league of “special” names. Some of these names may have started as nicknames, names by which the bearer boasts of some personal prowess or “drinking names” taken at the nsafufuo grove or ogogoro bar but which gradually become bona fide names that are passed on to offspring.

In an epic song, Highlife Maestro, P S K Ampadu, described the disastrous effect of how one day-names-colorname brought untold hardships on the bearer. The person in the song was called Yaw Berko. Berko means a person who came into this world to fight it out or struggle in life. In the song Yaw Berko was hit hard by the uncompromising arms of life. Penniless at forty, he tried to find jobs in almost all the regions of Ghana to no avail. Yaw Berko’s destiny was a sad one.

Bosompem, Bonsam, Asuo and Brekune are all names that are easily manipulated by the spirits to implant in the bearers of such names elements of fetishism. Most of the time, a child with such a name is donated by a river god. Brekune is the name of a fetish god. All these names affect the destinies of these individuals.

Ghanaians are now careful in choosing names for their children. They choose names that inspire, bless, and motivate. The common ones among the Akans are Nhyira (Blessing), Obrempong (a mighty royal), Adom (Grace), Oheneneba (Prince), Ohemaa (Queen), and many more. The Ewes and the Gas also use motivating and inspiring names like Born-great, Prosper, Fafa (Peace), Destiny and many more.

All what Ghanaians need to do is to wise up. We must all commit ourselves to constant prayers and to make the fear of the Lord a top priority. If God intervenes, no matter what name you give to your child, no bad spirit or witchcraft can turn a name to curse the bearer.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: stephen.owusu@email.com

Ineffective and incompetent leadership in Ghana, result in a weak, non-performing institutions

All the leaders who have ruled Ghana, apart from the military dictators, had university degrees. All of them either lived or studied abroad. The current president, John Dramani Mahama, for example, attended Achimota College and Ghana Secondary School in Tamale where he obtained the Ordinary and Advanced level certificates respectively. He continued to the University of Ghana where he got his first degree in History. He further did a post-graduate course in Communications at the School of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana. He travelled to Moscow where he pursued a post-graduate degree in Social Psychology. I have taken time to describe the prestigious education of our president and his travel experience. He is not alone in this. All our former leaders had similar experiences and education abroad. They all returned to Ghana with certificates to commit crime and corruption against the state, while rendering the ordinary Ghanaians poor, unemployed and miserable.

 

galamseyAll the leaders that have come and gone and the present government are guilty for not attending to the problem of illegal mining. This appalling and condemnable practice has gone on for many years. Illegal miners and people around the mining areas dig up holes and search through the sand to gather gold and sell. “Gather them and sell” gradually became known as “Galamsey.” There are serious problems connected with galamsey which call for the government’s attention. Either due to deliberate lack of interest or pure, active and selfish interests and gains in the galamsey business, the government has either chosen to keep quiet or done little to stop the offenders. The reason for my argument is that, any serious government can easily relegate galamsey into the abyss of forgetfulness, by sending the military into all the areas where galamsey is taking place, chasing them out and seizing their machines. This action must continue for only a month and galamsey will die a natural death. What is happening is that this illegal mining is destroying water bodies which the people living in the surrounding villages depend on as a source of drinking water.

The situation has worsened with the influx of Chinese into the country who are getting actively 4249901896446_5495566304152involved in the illegal mining business. Apart from the destruction and contamination of water bodies that serve as sources of drinking water, there are other problems connected with galamsey. The gaping holes have become traps killing children and adults alike. The Chinese brought complex machines to the forest and destroyed cocoa farms in the areas they operated. Many farmlands belonging to the residents were taken away and sold to the Chinese for galamsey purposes. Foodstuffs and cash crops are being destroyed at random. Despite protests and demonstrations, no leadership in government has ever planned and released a permanent solution to the problem. If a solution was found, the farmers would congratulate the government rather than the daily wailing and moaning.

 

Due to lack of control, measures and unwillingness to wipe out galamsey from the system, the illegal mining has moved to another dangerous level. In Konongo in the Ashanti Region, the residents believe that many houses have been built in areas where they assume the ground is rich in gold. You will not believe this: galamsey has now moved to houses. Many halls and bedrooms of houses in Konongo have been dug and dynamited, all because they want to gather gold and sell. Neighbours are horrified by the noise created by these dynamites. The local authority look on helpless and unconcerned with no desire or power to abate the nuisance. The leadership of this country can easily stop galamsey, but will they?

Many commissions and organisations that are supposed to be agents for change, development and industrialisation have all become white elephants. This is all because our governments are not eager to implement the results of research by certain institutions and organisations in order to speed up development and progress. In Finland for example, the use of bicycles during summer is an obsession. One out of five persons you meet has a bicycle. These bicycles are parked in hundreds in the cities especially near underground stations. Very often many of them are stolen. This created a serious problem for the citizens. A Master’s degree student took upon himself and wrote his thesis on how the government and the municipal authorities could provide bicycles near subway stations describing in detail how this system could work. The government and the metropolitan authorities studied the thesis and approved it. Today you don’t need to have your own bicycle. You only slot your travel card and a bicycle is ready for your use. Alarm will sound very hectically if after three hours the bicycle is not returned to the nearest subway station. This is what I call positive and unselfish thought by leadership to the masses. This system can also be found in many cities in Europe who have also researched into the benefits. What are our leaders doing with all the research works that are gathering dust in archives of forgetfulness? The cost of research is expensive and time consuming and therefore due to government’s unwillingness to implement these research findings and results, many research-proven academicians like engineers, medical officers, lawyers, statisticians and pharmacists have given up and many have found their way into parliament where the salary is much better.

 

Council_for_Scientific_and_Industrial_Research_–_Ghana_logoThe Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is a science and technology research centre which has several institutes operating under its umbrella. The most important of them is Food Research Institute (FRI). The main task of this institute is to provide technical, analytical services, contract research and consultancy services to governmental agencies, micro-medium and multinational agro-food processing industries and international development agencies. Yet we don’t see Ghanaian food products, but West Indian bananas and coconut, Kenyan tea and cashew nuts flood American, Canadian and European supermarkets. Is the institute interested in research that could increase the lifespan of our farm products in order to make them attractive for export and is the government even interested in funding a research like this? FRI intends to engage in research that give rise to increased food products with healthy and long life-span and attractive to international markets. When this is done, it will go a long way to strengthening the institute’s goal for providing income security for farmers. There will also be food security and foreign exchange earnings. The institute has good motives but will support for their various research works come soon? Indeed the institute has very nice and heart-warming strategies and plans but when are CSIR or FRI ever going to put any of their research into action for all Ghanaians to see and applaud?

When Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah assumed power as the first president of Ghana, his main vision was to make sure Ghana is powered by atomic energy because he foresaw the dangers that could be posed by the water level of the Akosombo Dam, thereby causing interruption in electricity supply. At least that was one of the reasons he put forward but it became known later that he had secret nuclear technology agenda too. He created a commission to regulate the Ghanaian Atomic energy programme. With Nkrumah’s vision and drive, Ghana had massive nuclear plant_1confidence of bringing the atomic energy Project to a victorious end. Nkrumah always thought ahead and in one of his addresses in 1964, he revealed his intention of going into nuclear technology. He explained that with the erratic supply of energy from hydro and thermal sources, the country must focus on a more reliable means of power generation. To prove his seriousness he put Robert Sogbadji, an expert in charge of nuclear and alternative energy at Ghana’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum. This man had high hopes for the Project because he knew that when it was completed, it was going to be so cheap that we wouldn’t need to pay so much for electricity. The Americans became suspicious of Nkrumah’s nuclear technology plan and all these fine ambitions of 1960 were stalled when Nkrumah was overthrown.

 

After Nkrumah’s exit, none of the leaders who came after him even talked about atomic or nuclear energy as an alternative source for the erratic power supply that has hung permanently on our heads like the sword of Damocles. Those leaders who talked about atomic energy could not do anything about their plans. The atomic energy commission is no longer remembered or considered by any Ghanaian leader as a potential source of energy. Sadly enough such an important monumental centre is now used to denote a junction: Atomic Junction. Are our children learning anything? If it is the intention of governments to break every institution including Atomic energy commission, no matter what they do, Ghana will continue to remain in Dumsor.

 

made-in-ghanaPresident Mahama, in one of his addresses, announced that it is both important and necessary for Ghana’s industrial growth, if we patronised “made in Ghana goods.” To show how serious he was with the campaign, he began to wear Ghanaian traditional jumpers and boubou and admonished his ministers to do the same. He revived the shoe factory in Kumasi and promised that made in Ghana boots would be made for soldiers and the police and even school children would get their shoes. It was everyone’s wish that the president will continue this noble agenda. It turned out to be wishful thinking, a nine day wonder and a mere propaganda! Ghanaians woke up one day to find out that the president had bypassed local industries and carpenters and ordered for parliament seats from China, costing more than 1.5 million dollars. Interestingly those seats began to sag in and anyone who sat in could not easily be seen by the Speaker. The seats had to be replaced and despite public outcry and protests, the president had no regrets and ordered new furniture from the same source.

 

As if to add salt to the injury of Ghanaians he gave a contract to a Burkinabe to build a wall 1.8867529around a plot Ghana has purchased in Burkina Faso and got himself entangled in a scandal dating back to 2012. The president is reported to have received a gift which is undeniably a bribe, of a vehicle costing several thousands of dollars from a Burkinabe contractor. In return Mahama offered him the contract valued at more than 600,000 dollars. A job which a Ghanaian mason or building contractor could have taken less than a tenth of the amount? In the case of the bus branding, the contract had to go to a foreign Company. WHY?

Our leaders have made the job of being a  president so cheap, no doubt illiterates like Akua Donkor and Kumchacha are also vying for similar positions in Ghana. God help Ghana! Our institutions will continue to die and research works will continue to gather dust if our leaders continue to show interest in foreign products.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads

Pɛpɛɛni, ntaafuo, eblutor and the prejudices we have of each other

A few weeks ago, there was an interesting discussion on Ghanaweb following Charles Agbenu’s article in which he castigated all Ghanaians who regard themselves as not being northerners for looking down on people of “northern extraction” in Ghana. Agbenu’s article was a politically motivated one but the issues it raised concern us all as Ghanaians and the way we think of each other.

One of the points of contention in Agbenu’s article had to do with the true meaning, or otherwise, of the Twi terms PƐPƐƐNI and NTAAFUO. This follows another ghanaweb columnist, Kofi Ata’s argument that the two terms did not, originally, have any negative connotations. Kofi Ata had written an article in which he said his mother had told him that PƐPƐƐNI came about as a result of Akans who perceived Northerners who had come south in search of employment as people who were truthful and did things “pɛpɛɛpɛ” (exactly or fairly). He added that they were referred to as NTAAFUO because they always moved in pairs like twins”.

regions of Ghana

regions of Ghana

Many commentators saw this explanation as very illuminating. This led to a rejoinder to Agbenu’s article that appeared the day after. Kofi Ata’s explanation of how the two terms came about was, indeed, interesting. But it had a few problems. In the first place, there was no way of establishing the fact that what Kofi Ata’s mother told him (Kofi Ata) constituted the unvarnished truth and was, indeed, how the terms came about. Other commentators said their mothers and grandmothers told them different stories. Some said pɛpɛni came about because these migrants were perceived as miserly (“pɛpɛɛnfuo”) and they were called ntaafuo because they bought similar items in the market as you would buy similar dresses for twins. What this shows is that it is only a properly conducted research work that can establish the correct etymology of the terms. The only thing we can be sure of is what their current usages denote in Ghanaian society.

Another fact is that no matter how the terms originated, they came about as nicknames for a group of people who never called themselves by those names. These people, having lived long in their new areas, came to know the names by which their hosts called them. They either did not like these names or did not care. Then there is this thing about nicknames. Even though they can be given to denote positive traits, they are most often given to denote negative traits.

Agbenu Charles also equated the terms “pɛpɛɛni” and “ntaafuo” with what he termed as their

Ewe dancers

Ewe dancers

equivalents in the other major Ghanaian languages. He said the Ewes call Northerners “dzogbedzitor” and the Gas say “senu”. The Ewe commentators went up in arms against Agbenu arguing that the Ewe term was not equivalent to the Akan terms. They said the Ewe term only denotes people who come from the grasslands or Sahara or a dry place and no abusive connotations are involved.

The Akans have a word for Northerners that can be said to be neutral: ESREMFUO (ESREMNI singular). The literal meaning is the same as the Ewe equivalent: people from the grasslands. Nobody who uses the term “esremfuo” can be accused of trying to look down on people from the North unless the person intentionally gives it a twist that makes it so.

The Ga term for Northerners, “Sanu” is said to be the shortened form of the Hausa greeting: “Sanu kede?” (How are you?) It is not, exactly, neutral.

13616_2014_12_MOESM1_ESMThe thing to be noted here is that any term used to denote some other people as different from us can, very easily, degenerate to a notion of “different and inferior”.  This is often so when it is the dominant and more powerful group that is marking the difference. That is why people have fought segregation (separate development) everywhere. And that also explains why the whites who come to live among us in Ghana do not quite like it when we call them “obroni”, “blofo” or “yevu” until they come to realise that we do not mean anything offensive by those terms. Even so, the supposed original meanings of the terms may not exactly be complimentary to the white man. The Twi term “obroni” begun as two words “(a)bro ni” (wicked man) and the Ewe term “a-yevu” means a cunning dog “the one who feigns niceness and bites you”, as Yaa Gyasi puts it in her much praised debut novel (HOMEGOING). I have not been able to find out how the Ga “blofo” came about. But, as with pɛpɛɛni and ntaafuo, the true origins of all these terms may have been lost.

There are other terms we all use to refer to each other whether for good or for bad. In Kumasi, there is Anwona. This is a corruption of the correct pronunciation of Anlo which is beyond most Twi speakers. The “nw” is a nasal sound as in the Twi “anwanwado” (amazing love). It has no negative connotations…

The Ewes call all Twi speakers “eblutorwo”. I have not been able to find out how this term came about. It seems the Ewes themselves don’t quite know how they came to call all Akans “eblutorwo”. If you ask any Ewe if the term is derogatory, they are quick to say it is not. But, again, from the contention of denoting otherness explained above, any term a people use to denote another people can easily degenerate to the regard of those other people as inferior. But, surely, Ewes do not regard Akans as inferior! Or, do they?

“Eblutorwor” seems to be the counterpart of “ayigbefuo” which many Akans will tell you is not

derogatory. Ga legend has it that when they were migrating to the present day Ghana, the chief

Homowo festival of the Ga people

Homowo festival of the Ga people

who had the royal stool in his keeping lost his way and gradually settled in what is now Anecho in present day Togo. When the Gas realised this, they sent emissaries to the “lost tribe” to retrieve the stool. But the chief of the “lost tribe”, known as Ayi, refused to hand over the stool. The emissaries came back to report this as “Ayi gbe” (“gbe” being the Ewe word for “refuse”). They said Ayi said “megbe” (I refuse). The combination of “Ayi” and “megbe” came to be used to refer to Ewes as “ayigbe”. Since the chief refused to hand over something that did not, technically, belong to him, he was said to have stolen it. This gave rise to “ayigbe dzulor” – a negative epithet that clouds all Ewes in the imagination of some non-Ewes. Whether this story is true or not, today, Akans join Gas to call Ewes “ayigbe”. Indeed, and one is more likely to hear “ayigbeni” or “ayigbefuo” than “ayigbenyo”. Perhaps it may be that the Akans, finding it almost impossible to correctly pronounce the word “Ewe”, took to the relatively easier to pronounce “ayigbe” even though the sound produced by “gb”, common in many West African languages, does not naturally occur in Twi.

Today, it is more politically correct to refer to the people of the Volta Region as “Voltarians” in an

Northerners of Ghana

Northerners of Ghana

effort to prevent the mistake of regarding all citizens of the region as Ewes when only about half the population are Ewes. The term also clouds the myriad differences among the Ewes just like pɛpɛɛni and ntaafuo disregard all the differences among the peoples of the three northern regions of Ghana. The use of the term “Anlo-Ewe” to refer to the coastal Ewes does seem to be of recent origin and employed mainly by non-Ewes. The Anlos call themselves “ANLOS” (nothing more) and their fellow Ewes also call them ANLOS (nothing more). Even so, there are still many Akans who think Ewes are a homogeneous group all of who eat “akple and fetri-detsi”. But many Ewes are aware of the broader differences among the Akans – Asante and Fante in particular but also and Kwahu and Akuapem.

An instance of the majority laying claim to what is normal can be found for the term that Akans have for minority (?) languages they do not understand. The people who speak them are said to “potor” and the languages known as “potorkasa”. Some people say the term is not derogatory and refers to all non-Twi languages including even English. Others say there is a derogatory tinge to it as it originally referred to Northerners who had come to Ashantiland and who spoke poor Twi– “wonmo potor kasa no”.

There is an Ewe equivalent, especially among the mid-Volta Ewes. The speakers of the minority languages there (Likpe, Buem, Akpafu, etc) are called “fiafialawo”. These people do not speak: they “fia”. The Ewe term is somewhat derogatory and is not used for major languages like Twi, Ga or English. There is a historical example in the ancient world. The Roman and Hellenic civilisations regarded non-Greek languages as unintelligible. They sounded “baaa baaa” to “civilized” ears. This is how “non-civilized” tribes became known as –  barbarians!

Ashanti Chief at Akwasidae Kese celebrations

Ashanti Chief at Akwasidae Kese celebrations

There are other prejudices the various ethnic groups hold of each other. Akans think Ewes like juju, they have low self-confidence, and they are envious of Akans. Ewes think Akans (especially Asantes) like money too much and like to boast of it. But the Asantes think it is the Kwahus who worship money and will do anything for it. Ewes frown on the display of wealth and will prefer the rich to keep a low profile. Akans say Ewes hide their wealth because they are afraid of being “jujued” by their fellows. The two prejudices fit each other and give rise to some cyclical reasoning. If Ewes dislike the way Akans boast of, and flaunt, their wealth, it stands to reason that they (Ewes) should keep a low profile with their wealth. And if the Akan prejudice about Ewes is that the latter like juju, then the only reason why the Ewe person will not flaunt his wealth is the fear of being done in. Of course, times have changed. Everyone likes material wealth and wants to boast of it when attained. Who lights a lamp and puts it under a bed?

Prejudices, psychologists tell us, are ready made schemas we employ to meet what we do not know. They are normal to the human race and found in all societies. Since they are often formed prior to any supporting evidence, they can lead us astray. It is when we base our behaviour on them that things can go wrong. And using them for political advantage can be detrimental to the effort of building a strong nation that benefits all of us.
By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads.

*I want to express my deepest sense of gratitude to my Ewe friend who provided immense information on the Ewes during the writing of this piece.*

The Blame Game among the Two Major Political Parties in Ghana

Blaming one another for a particular problem or crime committed has been very rampant and prevalent in Ghanaian politics. Those in authority, most of the time, shirk their responsibilities while blaming others for not taking full responsibility in certain situations until things begin to go wrong. Since 2010 this blame game has been unprecedented in Ghanaian political history. This attitude, which is very recent, impedes trust, creates inter-party suspicion and dampens the spirit of democracy and fair play. This article will discuss the blame game not only among the two major parties, but also among certain individuals and personalities within these parties.

 

Bernard Allotey Jacobs, the Central Region Communications Director of the NDC already began to blame the opposition NPP for the worsening Ga chieftaincy crisis and all the disputes bedevilling the Ga state in 2012. According to Allotey Jacobs, the former president, John Kufuor and his NPP, broke the peace and tranquillity of the Ga state by poking their noses in the Ga state chieftaincy affairs. As if to strengthen or confirm Allotey’s suspicion and mistrust of Kufuor and his NPP, a palace coup which culminated in a raid of the stool house of the Ga traditional council and a subsequent installation of a rival Ga Mantse, tilts suspicion of active involvement towards NPP. The NPP vehemently denies this claim and refuses to accept the blame by Allotey Jacobs.

Chairman Wontumi

Chairman Wontumi

A recent blame game occurred when the Ashanti Regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako aka “Chairman Wontumi”, was arrested and detained for allegedly assaulting the MP for Manhyia North, Collins Owusu Amankwah, and the constituency secretary, Felix Ibrahim. The police station was besieged by hundreds of NPP supporters and admirers of Chairman Wontumi who had been refused bail and was remanded in police custody. The blame game suddenly resurrected. The fourth deputy speaker of ECOWAS parliament, Simon Osei Mensah, accused the state of being behind Chairman Wontumi’s detention. It was also on everybody’s lips that the Ashanti region’s Police Command acted on the instructions of Flagstaff House to detain Chairman Wontumi. The underlying aim of President Mahama and the NDC, according to  Simon Osei Mensah, was to brand NPP as a violent party. Was it right to blame the government in this assault case? People argued that if the government did not have a hand in this, why would it bring in the military to guard the premises of the Regional Police station in a mere assault case?

 

The intermittent power outages that engulfed Ghana under NDC rule was the worst that ever index1happened to Ghana. The President, John Mahama, refused to accept responsibility for what became known as dumsor, but blamed the NPP for the current deficit in the nation’s energy supply. The NDC alleged that the NPP did not take the issue of power supply seriously throughout their eight year rule from 2001 to 2008, because they failed to give the needed attention to the energy sector.

President John Mahama has embarked on regional tours to give account of his stewardship during the past seven years. In between the tours he held a press conference where he made excuses and blamed all others except himself for the current charges his government is facing with regards to excessive corruption, utility price hikes, micro-finance fraud, power crisis, falling educational standards and poor national security. Concerned groups including Progressive People’s party (PPP) were greatly disappointed with President Mahama for shifting blame of his incompetence to others and also for his unimpressive account at the press conference of his stewardship.

 

President Mahama

President Mahama

Governments are elected to power primarily to solve the challenges and the developmental problems of the country irrespective of which political party caused the problem. However, in this country of ours, the two major political parties have continued to blame each other for one fault or the other. Due to this unfortunate blame game, successive governments have abandoned projects began by rival parties during their terms of office. Instead of continuing the uncompleted projects of the previous government, the ruling government shirked its responsibility. President Mahama and his NDC cannot continue to blame their predecessors after seven years in power.

President Mahama must accept the full responsibility of hardship and misrule during the past seven years of NDC rule. He dares not shift the blame to anyone else. He has been in power for the past seven years but he creates the impression that he has been at the helm of affairs for only three years. The reason why many hold on to this assertion is that he was a Vice President under a weak and sick president so he was virtually in control. He boasts openly as the architect behind every good thing that was done during the past seven years while frowning upon anything bad that is attributed to him and the NDC. Who then is President Mahama blaming for all the hardships and the bad things that have gone on and continue to go on?

 

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North in the Eastern Region, J. B. Danquah

J. B. Danquah Adu

J. B. Danquah Adu

Adu, was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant. Bernard Antwi Boasiako (Chairman Wontumi) came out to blame President Mahama for the death of Joseph Boakye Danquah Adu. His reason for blaming him stemmed from the fact that instead of President Mahama coming on air to express his shock and condolence at the sudden departure of the Abuakwa North MP, he happily and remorselessly went to the social media, Twitter, to scribble haphazard message of condolence to the bereaved family. The obvious question raised by concerned citizens of Ghana was the reason behind the President’s use of Twitter to express his shock and condolence. The question is: how many Ghanaians use Twitter? Chairman Wontumi argued that President Mahama did not announce Prof. Mills’ death on Twitter and therefore in much the same way he should have issued a statement for this tragic death. Undoubtedly Twitter is faster but he could at the same time have issued a prompt statement on air.

Stan Dogbe, a professional journalist and presidential staffer, was also blamed for master-minding the premature death of JB Danquah Adu. Asiedu, the young man who was arrested by the police, was alleged to have mentioned Stan Dogbe’s name. A journalist at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Yahaya Kwamoah, recorded a conversation between Stan Dogbe and a colleague. Stan Dogbe pursued Yahaya and wrenched the digital recorder from him and destroyed it. If what the journalist recorded did not implicate him, why then did he destroy the evidence? According to Stan Dogbe, what he was discussing with his colleague was a strategy on how to break the news to the family of the death of Samuel Nuamah, the Ghanaian Times correspondent at the Flagstaff House. His explanation can be likened to what Macbeth described as “a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing.” Ghanaians would have believed him more if he had allowed the recording to be played on air rather than destroying it.

The Vice President, Amissah-Arthur, has constantly been blamed for refusing the people of Central Region to visit him in his office. He denies this as a concoction coming from the imagination of hungry and desperate people who want power by all means. There was deep mistrust between two groups in the NDC, the Young Cadres Association and the Fante Students Association. The former blames the latter for leaking vital information of the party. They are branded as very mischievous and deceptive.

It is important for both parties, the NDC and NPP, to realize and accept that no government will ever be able to complete all the development projects they begin and therefore it is important and imperative for parties who take over from the incumbent to avoid blaming their predecessors for incompetence but continue and finish the uncompleted project, in the interest of Ghana’s development. Former President Rawlings embarked upon the construction of the Keta Sea Defence Wall. However, according to Malik Kwaku Baako Jnr., the Editor in Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Rawlings deceived Ghanaians into thinking that his government was going to construct the wall but rather supervised over an era of embezzlement of the monies allotted to the construction of the wall. Kufuor in his eight years in office continued and completed the Keta Sea Defence Wall without any blame to ex-President Jerry Rawlings.

ex-President Kufuor

ex-President Kufuor

President Mahama on the other hand triggered a political controversy of achievement in the Volta Region when he said the NPP did nothing for the region. This claim was too hard for ex-President Kufuor to swallow so he hit back and accused President Mahama of dishonesty. Apart from taking upon itself to complete the Keta Sea Defence Wall, the NPP government says it undertook several developmental projects of all kinds including repairing all dilapidated buildings along the beaches and strengthening the ground there to prevent erosion.

 

Indeed Ghanaians are not in any good mood to accept this blame game between these two major political parties. What Ghanaians need from these political parties are concrete steps that can be adopted to alleviate our hardships and propel us towards conscious development of our beloved country, Ghana.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads

Do Citizens of Brong Ahafo deserve this treatment? What next?

The Brongs have always been excited and proud of Mahama for choosing a wife from the region. However, their love, trust and confidence for Mahama were badly shaken when the president disappointingly failed to help frustrated customers in the region whose accounts with three micro-finance companies were frozen through no fault of theirs, as a result of closure of these banks by the government and the Bank of Ghana. They have vowed that if their brother and son-in-law, President John Dramani Mahama, does not intervene to hasten the release of their monies locked in the frozen accounts, they will turn Nkoranza and the other affected areas into a living hell for government employees. The banks that were closed down include DKM and God’s Love micro-finance companies. They were closed down in May 2015.

cocoa farmers in Brong Ahafo

cocoa farmers in Brong Ahafo

Let me give a brief history of the Brong Ahafo region. The region was created on 4th April 1959 by the Brong Ahafo Act No.18 of 1959. The Act defined the area of the Brong Ahafo Region to consist of the northern and the western parts of the then Ashanti region. It also included Prang and Yeji areas. Before the enactment of the Act, these two towns formed part of the Northern region. Brong Ahafo region has a vast amount of rain forest, timber trees and cocoa farms. Their serious approach to farming has created many rich men and women in areas like Berekum, Dormaa, Nkoranza, Techiman and Kintampo. Many Brongs who travelled to Germany, USA and other countries in the late 70s and 80s were heavily sponsored by these rich cocoa farmers and when they became successful they bought Mercedes Benz and other luxury cars for these farmers who sponsored them. The Micro-finance companies went into these areas because of the riches in the area and the unsuspecting innocence of the people.

These micro-finance companies announced an incredibly high interest rate of 50% on any amount one saved. The people began to open accounts with the financial institutions. Many customers, including farmers, businessmen and women, politicians and students lodged vast sums of money into the accounts with the hope of retrieving 50% interest on their savings. One weeping customer confessed that he savedghana_cedi GHc2.5million which was money sent to him by his brother living abroad, to use for the storey building he intends to build. Other customers had saved between GHc3000 to GHc15million! Yet Bank of Ghana could not alert the customers that no bank can pay 50% interest to customers. According to some of the customers, they were encouraged or lured to save there because of the encouraging recommendation of these companies by the first lady, Mrs Lordinna Mahama – an allegation she flatly denied. To the utter disbelief of customers, the Bank of Ghana closed down the three micro-finance companies and all accounts were frozen. The establishment and closure of these institutions clearly revealed the incompetence and deliberate refusal to oversee or supervise these financial institutions. As a result they took undue advantage to operate illegally as they failed to comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in their licences. They also failed to hold sufficient assets to meet their liabilities to depositors. The former Governor of Bank of Ghana and the officials allowed the micro-finance institutions too much room to operate and therefore must be held responsible for making these unsuspecting customers worst affected by their actions and inactions.

 

It was a red-letter day for the people of Brong Ahafo, especially the customers, who were badly shaken. The customers could not contain the shock and it was confirmed by the MP of Berekum East that three customers collapsed and died.

wpid-nigerian-banks-are-financially-stable-cbn-channelsThis unfortunate situation has created general poverty and frustration for the people in the affected areas. In Nkoranza alone, about 90% of people living there had deposited their monies with those micro-finance companies. Pupils and students are the worst sufferers in the affected areas. Most of them remained at home due to the inability of their parent’s to pay their fees. Farmers in these areas who saved heavily in these companies can no longer invest in their farming businesses, and even when they fall sick they cannot go to hospital because all what they worked for have been locked in these accounts. They have no hope of getting their monies back. Out of worry, frustration, hardship and poverty they have threatened to invoke curses on both the government and government workers if their accounts are not released.

 

Concerns have been shown by many including the Brong Ahafo regional security council. The latter held series of meetings with Bank of Ghana and the micro-finance companies in a move to resolve the crisis. How far did all the meetings go? Those desperate customers still have no idea when their monies would be released to them. Eric Opoku, the Regional minister, also added his voice while supporting the position of the Regional Security service (REGSEC). He called on the Bank of Ghana to consider de-freezing the accounts of the aggrieved customers and the affected companies. Why is Mahama and his government so silent and adamant? At what point will the president intervene?

 

President Mahama

President Mahama

The recent step taken by the Bank of Ghana to take DKM to court and put their hands on their properties does not convince the troubled customers. According to them, what the Central bank should have done even before these micro-finance companies could establish in Brong Ahafo was to have checked on how much money they were going to inject into their operation, whether these companies were legally and fully registered to commence business or not, whether these companies had beefed up their staff strength with persons with requisite qualification and, lastly, whether a competent board had been put in place. All these were not checked and before their illegal operations and diabolic intentions became known, they had swindled these unsuspecting customers of millions of Ghana cedis. Despite the customers’ mistrust of the Bank of Ghana, they see the action taken by the bank to be in their supreme interest which is geared towards protecting them from losing both their monies and interests. Despite all explanations the affected customers still believe that Mahama and his government have a hand in their plight.

 

The entire members of parliament of Brong Ahafo have expressed their regret over the plight of the Bank-of-Ghana-BoG-buildingcustomers in Brong Ahafo and the action of the bank which has brought sorrows to many and sudden deaths to three customers. The Brong Ahafo minister also added his voice and confirmed that the action of the bank has affected customers emotionally, economically and psychologically. The region’s MPs came together in one accord to put pressure on Bank of Ghana to speed up investigations so that affected customers can ultimately get their money back. However, Dr. Kwabena Twum Nuamah, MP for Berekum East, in his interview at Joy News said that the situation is terrible and that he sees no light at the end of the tunnel with many customers losing all their capital. He warned of a massive demonstration if nothing positive is heard from Bank of Ghana.

 

Despite these unfortunate incidents and the hardships brought onto the people with locked monies in those illegal financial institutions, the citizens of Brong Ahafo went back to their farms. The farmers, especially those in the Sampa area, harvested tons of cashew nuts. Foreign buyers were on the spot to buy tons of cashew nuts from the farmers. As if what the micro-finance companies did to the Brongs were not enough, the Ministry of Trade and Industry imposed a ban on raw cashew exports and said that they were going to buy and process them before exporting them. According to the ministry, this would add value to the product and create jobs in the area. What angered the farmers was the ridiculously low prices they were going to offer farmers. The foreign buyers have disappeared and tons of cashew nuts that could have reached foreign markets got rotten due to the ban imposed on the commodity by the Ministry.

 

Spontaneous and effective protests were launched by both farmers and MPs in the affected areas cashew-prices-009because apart from buying them at lower prices, the factories available have the capacity to process only 35,000 bags out of the 950,000 produced by the farmers. This means that what the foreign buyers could buy at a go will be left to rot. Serious concerns and threats were issued by the leaders of the cashew farmers. One of the leaders, Mr. Mumuni Issah, said that if the ban is not lifted by the end of May 2016, the processing plants will not be allowed to buy cashew from the region. This is because the farmers have invested a lot in the expansion of their farms and they will need enough money to pay for their loans and also money to ensure their livelihood and that of their families. But with only two processing plants available, and the lower price they give coupled with the Ministry’s inability to buy all the 950,000 bags, the farmers will remain impoverished as they are going to be at the mercy of the two processing plants. Luckily enough, the Ministry of trade and Industries could not contain the pressure from the farmers and the Brong Ahafo MPs and they finally gave up and lifted the ban.

 

The people of Brong Ahafo are no fools. The region has hardworking farmers who have greatly contributed to Ghana’s development in terms of food products, timber and bush meat. They should be held in high esteem and not be taken for granted. With the resignation of the governor of the Central bank, the prospect and hope of the affected customers to get their monies back have dwindled. The indifference of president Mahama and his government is not helping matters.

 

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: stephen.owusu@email.com

Impotence: An Intensely Secret Worry for Many Ghanaians Abroad

A group of Ghanaian doctors researched into the problems of impotence or sexual dysfunction affecting many Ghanaians abroad. This research was carried out in 2013 and published on the Newsinfo website. According to the doctors, there are both physical and emotional factors behind the problem. The report stated that about 40% of Ghanaian men living abroad have experienced some erectile dysfunction. The problem, according to them, results mainly from the lifestyle and the nature of work Ghanaians do. It is more intense among Ghanaians living in Southern European countries like Italy, Greece and Spain, where many of them work at construction sites where they carry and impotencearrange heavy slabs and iron rods for building. These Ghanaians work eight to ten hours a day. Within a year or two, this tedious work affects their waists bones, which consequently puts their manhood in permanent prison never to resurrect again.

This reminds me of a funny audio making the WhatsApp rounds of four Ghanaian women abroad who met to pray that God should give them better male sexual partners. Among their requests were males with strong and hard erections, the type that is so hard that if you put a baby on top, it won’t bend. They also prayed to God not to give them Ghanaian men abroad who have spent their lives at several hard jobs until their waist bones are bent or broken: “Wonmo sisi akyea”. As a result they can’t do anything after a long day at work. Such men come home from work in the evening, finish eating and begin to sleep in front of the television. When they get to bed, they are tired and can’t do anything but have to wake up very early to go to work again.

Some men hide their impotence at the incipient stage from their wives. They return home very late from work, get themselves busy cleaning the hall, washing dishes and toilets until they are sure the women are fast asleep. They then get to bed quietly. These men are the first to wake up and go to work.

 

medfr30082This article discusses the factors that contribute to impotence. However, it is important to indicate that the problems are not unique to Ghanaians alone. It may be all poor people forced to do heavy work abroad. It may also affect white people who do such jobs.

Impotence is a condition that affects a man’s ability to achieve or maintain erection. The man is unable to penetrate the female during the sexual act. This dampens the sexual drive. Those who drive articulators and big trucks have experienced sexual weakness leading to impotence after years of driving from one country to the other. The same thing applies to long distance cyclists.

The doctors, in their research, interviewed ten prophets and pastors, ten herbal practitioners, and ten Muslim herbalists and spiritualists in Ghana. They all confirmed separately that not less than fifty Ghanaians living abroad have either called them or come to them personally with their sexual weakness and problems of impotence.

 

Apart from impotence caused by excessive drinking of strong alcoholic beverages by many Ghanaians abroad, there areImpotence DISEASE2 generally other common causes of impotence. This is a subject many Ghanaians are hesitant to discuss. According to the study, about 31% of Ghanaians living abroad are depressed due to sexual dysfunction. Many are unable to cope with their impotence and those who are unable to stand the embarrassment and depression, may even commit suicide.

This is more so when Ghanaians want to live up to their reputations in Europe. There is a general and ill-conceived belief that black people are more potent than whites. They have harder erections which they can hold longer than white men. White women who have had black men attest to this. But there is no study confirming it. Some people think it is due to the cold. The loss of a black man’s potency in Europe is a very traumatic event.

Over-dependence on sex enhancing products has also been identified as one of the causes of sexual weakness or impotence.

 

The percentage of Ghanaians abroad suffering from erectile dysfunction may be more or expected to increase because, according to the doctors, many sufferers will not want to admit to the problem and share it with others because it is embarrassing, especially for macho Ghanaian men. Those who take sex enhancement drugs and develop sexual weakness problems often hide this fact even from their doctors.

imagesCertain diseases like piles, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, if not properly controlled, can lead to acute erectile dysfunction. Dependence and constant use of certain prescription drugs can cause erectile dysfunction. There is a class of high pressure drugs that can cause sexual dysfunction in a small percentage of users. These are, however, normally prescribed more to women than to men. More than two hundred prescription and non-prescription drugs are known to affect the erectile function in men. Certain drugs that work directly on the nervous system easily create organic impotence. These are anti-depressant drugs, medicines used to treat high blood pressure, those used to treat neurological disorders like Parkinson disease, medications used to treat gastrointestinal ailments and also those used to treat allergies. Those Ghanaians abroad who are addicted to strong alcohol, tobacco, cocaine and marijuana are automatic candidates for impotence.

 

The medical research group sampled at random hundred Ghanaians in four different countries abroad to complete a Unhappy-Couple-Man-in-Front-The-Trentquestionnaire. 45% admitted sexual dysfunction and 30% had low sperm count and 60% of those who filled the questionnaire affirmed that they have once used sex enhancing drugs. Five men between 21 and 25 years were among those who declared impotence.

Sexual dysfunction or impotence is an important public health problem that compromises the overall quality of life of the patients and their partners. This often leads to loss of emotional and physical intimacy which very often leads to divorce.

 

Research to find out where and how Ghanaians with sexual dysfunction sought cure for their problems was conducted among Ghanaians living in U.S.A and Canada. Five hundred and fifty Ghanaians in the United States of America and Canada, who had sexual weakness problems, were asked how they sought help for their problems. Almost all of them said they sought for help from traditional herbal practitioners in Ghana. These herbalists who advertised on FM stations in Ghana had special phone numbers for Ghanaians living abroad to call and have their medicines posted to them. The interviews were made possible thanks to the active cooperation of the executive members of the various Ghana unions in the main Toronto area and New York.

 

This article talks about Ghanaians abroad, but those with problem of impotence are not alone. There are many Ghanaian women who have diverse sexual problems including sterility. Regular body exercise is very important because it precipitates effective blood flow to all parts of the body for as we say in Latin, mens sana i corpore sano (A healthy mind is in a healthy body).
By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads

The Wives We Leave in Ghana, Na Wow!

couple getting divorcedGhanaians abroad are often confronted with diverse problems. Chief among these are their inability to procure resident permits or jobs which would enable them to bring their wives from Ghana to join them. There are some men who also fear that when they bring their wives abroad, these women will learn the ways of the “white woman” and abandon them. Whatever the reasons, not all the women left behind can hold out until their husbands come home, sometimes after several years. It is easy to fall into temptation. Some of these may result in pregnancies which are given to unsuspecting husbands who return home and sleep with them. Indeed many men are fathering children that are not theirs. These, among other things, are what the article is going to talk about. I will also talk about my own personal experience.

 

Joshua lived in Kumasi with his wife, Esther. They both had a child each from former relationships. Joshua, a hardworking tailor, took both children as his own and cared for them. He lived in a single room with wife and both children.

Joshua had a very good friend from childhood who helped him to secure a UK visa when he added his name to a business delegation visiting London.

Joshua overstayed his three-month visa, worked hard at several menial jobs and saved enough to “buy” a residence and work permit by marrying a Ghanaian lady with a UK passport. It cost him £12,000!!!

He called his wife and told her of the good news and promised her that she would soon join him in London. Since he had saved enough money he decided to have his own house in Ghana. She sent money to the wife to buy a double plot. An architectural design of twin buildings was drawn for him and he sent it to his wife. Work was finished on the project within two years.

 

Strangely enough Esther called Joshua and told him that she was no longer interested in the marriage because she had waited for so long. She added that if he got anyone in London he could go ahead and marry her. Joshua then ordered her to leave his house. But the woman told him that he did not have any house in Ghana.

He rushed to Ghana for the first time after living in London for seven years. The first thing he did on his arrival in Ghana was to consult a lawyer. He explained the whole problem to the lawyer. The lawyer explained to him that if he could prove by receipts and documents that he, indeed, sent all the money for the buildings the court would revoke her ownership of the houses and give them to him. But Joshua had no such documentary proof of the remittances he had made. The lawyer advised him to go and plead with the lady to give him one of the houses.

 

He took the lawyer’s advice, went home and selected three elderly members of his family and an old friend. They went to meet Grounds-of-divorce12Esther and her family members. No matter what Joshua and his people said Esther refused to give any house to Joshua.

They rose up to go. Esther and her people followed them and hooted at them. Joshua’s friend who accompanied him hurled his elbow swiftly behind. His elbow landed accidentally on the left jaw of Esther’s mother. She fell flat on her back and died on the spot. They ran to board the car but Joshua knelt before the dead woman and asked an onlooker to find him a taxi. The police arrived and arrested Joshua. To cut a long story short he was given a seven years sentence and imprisonment for bringing in the man who caused the death of the woman. As I write, he has already spent four years in jail.

 

What Joshua went through is very similar to what I am going through right now. I married a Ghanaian woman in 2003 after circumstances purely beyond my control led to a divorce between me and my Finnish wife with whom I have four children. When I came back to Ghana I met a lady who was introduced to me by a close friend. I married her but not long after her real intention for getting married to me began to come out. I lived abroad and I had a school in Kumasi. I placed my wife in charge of the kitchen. For most of the time, she extended her authority beyond the kitchen, stepping on the toes of teachers, head-teachers and even the board, anytime I travelled. It was my intention to bring her to join me in Europe. I returned to Ghana a year later. The head-teacher complained that my wife showed no respect to both parents and teachers. She was even insolent to members of the school board. The school suffered because of her attitude. Many parents withdrew their children. They could not take the insults from my wife.

 

I used part of the proceeds to buy a house and another plot. It was my intention to give the house to my four children and build another house for my wife. I could not complete the transfer of ownership forms with the landlord when it was time for me to go back to Europe. I gave my passport-size pictures to the landlord and asked him to complete the forms and I would append my signature when I returned from Europe. He did so and left them with a close friend of mine. I told my wife to collect the forms and keep them until I come.

 

I returned to Ghana to discover to my utmost surprise that my wife had changed the documents of the house into her name. She sold my cars; a MB van and a Nissan Pathfinder.

104370352_divorce_282607cShe sold the plot too and collapsed the business I opened for her. She got back the GHC8000 goodwill I paid for the shop space by giving the shop to another businesswoman. With all these monies in hand she was able to bribe her way through the Lands Department and succeeded in transferring my landed property into her name. She then finalized the deal with a lease-hold from the office of the Ashanti Stool Land Registry. This was how she decided to bring to an end all the achievements I made for the past three and a half decades spent living abroad.

 

Many well-wishers and sympathisers have suggested several ways of dealing with this woman. Some said I should divorce her. Others also said I should end her life by any means necessary. But I am a Christian. There is this group which also suggests that I choose the legal option to retrieve my property.

You as a reader may also have other suggestions. What do you say?

By  Stephen Atta Owusu

Article taken from here

Turkish Airlines, Why?

Turkish Airlines. Many things have been said about the airline. It is commonly known that transit in Istanbul sometimes took about 24 hours and passengers had to spend a night in a hotel. I also felt that Turkey was so close to Iraq, and that the long standing dispute between Iraq and the Turkish Kurds could suddenly spark off terrorism which could affect planes flying from Turkey. All these things frightened me and I always said to myself never to fly Turkish Airlines. This year, at the time I was about to travel to Ghana, Turkish Airlines happened to have the cheapest rates of all the airlines I checked. I was tempted and decided to give them a try.

A bit of facts about Turkey: They have been trying hard to be counted among the developed countries of Europe and want to join the EU. They hype their achievements and one of their prides is Turkish Airlines. They have advertisements

Turkish Airlines ad featuring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi

Turkish Airlines ad featuring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi

in major international media saying how good the Airline is and the awards they have received. Some major footballers in the world have appeared on some of these ads. One popular and funny one pits Drogba against Messi in an epic food battle featuring many exotic dishes served on the airline which you are not likely to get on the Accra journey. It is evident in my personal opinion that what they say in these ads did not meet up with their services as I experienced when I travelled in their aircraft to Ghana. I get the impression that they have different and better services to the developed world but poorer services to the third world.

Through inefficient management of the Airline or absolute and deliberate corruption, Ghana Airways collapsed never to rise again. Ghanaians have been travelling very much with airlines which are better known to them, and these are: British Airways, KLM and Lufthansa. These companies use huge aircrafts for long distance journeys. These are wide-bodied passenger jet airliners.

The article will mainly be talking about Turkish Airlines and the uncomfortable treatment meted out to passengers travelling to Ghana. In July there was an urgent need for me to travel to Ghana. Since their rates were some thirty percent lower than the next cheapest airline, I chose to travel with them for the first time despite the mixed feelings and suspicions I have for the airline. The plane left very early in the morning and we were to transit in Istanbul. The immigration process was simple and waiting period to board another plane to Accra was just three hours.

Thy_fcb_new_aircraft_borakWhen I entered the plane I realized it was not a Boeing aircraft. This plane had two seats on the left and two on the right with a tiny aisle. It was a long and boring direct flight from Istanbul to Accra since the tiny plane had no facilities for the passengers to listen to music or watch films in a flight that took seven hours. This was a far cry from the service I’m used to on the bigger airlines doing the Accra journey. I was all the time hoping that my regular luggage and the one extra I had paid for, would all arrive with me in the plane. It was a smooth journey. We arrived on schedule at 20:15 at the Kotoka International Airport.

Like all other foreign aircrafts coming to Ghana, the passengers in the plane were predominantly Ghanaians. There were only six white persons. We went through immigration procedure which was very transparent and smooth. I hurried to the luggage belt. My people were waiting outside to take me home. We were all becoming nervous, impatient and angry. All the luggage that came were transported to a special area. What was happening? News came after nearly forty five minutes of waiting that our luggage would arrive the following day and that the luggage we were seeing were for those who had arrived on the same flight the day before. They pleaded with us to leave and come for our luggage the next day.

My anger knew no bounds. It was the first time I was going home without my luggage. The worst thing was that I had my daily medicines in one of the bags. I kept wondering why they could not announce this to us in the plane. This clearly shows a total lack of respect for Africans. As I turned to go, I bumped into a white man who sat right behind me in the plane. I asked him if he knew anyone in Accra. He told me he was visiting a Ghanaian friend in Takoradi. He added that his friend did not know he was coming. He wanted to surprise him. He said that this was not the first time he was coming to Ghana. I asked him if he knew anyone in Accra. He said no, and that since his luggage did not come, he requested a card that would enable him to spend the night in a hotel. Really?

He took me to the officer who gave the card to him. He left to find a taxi to the hotel. I told the officer to also give me a card to stay in a hotel since I didn’t know anyone in Accra. He looked at me and smiled. “You are a Ghanaian and you don’t know anyone in Accra? I don’t believe you,” he said. I told him I was taken to Europe when I was five years. I gave this lie just to check how he would react. He asked for my passport. I gave it to him. “But there is no visa in your passport.” He said. I showed him my dual citizenship card. He took it, took a furtive look at it and pushed both passport and card in my hands. “Sorry I cannot help you.” He was very indifferent. This is pure discrimination, I hollered at him.

The following day when I collected my luggage, I went to the office of Turkish Airlines and complained bitterly about theGhana_Airways_DC-10-30_9G-ANE_JFK_2004-4-10 attitude of their staff member. The man apologized and assured me it will never happen again.

Dear reader, probably what happened to us was not frequent but a single incident. However, if you have had such an experience with Turkish Airlines, do share it with us. You may note that the officer who treated me that way was not a Turk but a Ghanaian.

This article is to indict Turkish Airlines for its poor services and the harsh and unwelcome treatment meted out to Ghanaian travellers by fellow Ghanaian officers at the airport. Don’t you think it is time to resurrect Ghana Airways? I weep for Ghana.

By Stephen Atta Owusu

Article taken from here