Opinions Mon, 21 Aug 2006

Smiles from Ghana Part 11

Dear diary,

Day 8- I have arrived at my holy village and touched on the "green green grass of home" Home sweet home. I have travelled mile from Accra and have not heard one angry voice. The STC I travelled on arrived on time, the road was good going and the Nkawkaw Rest Stop still remains welcoming. Interestingly, every taxi I saw at Nkawkaw [and I saw a lot] were all tico [akwadaa]. The women selling their wares on the road side were a delight. I am sure some of them may not sell 20,000 cedis worth of food items, but they are all wearing broad smiles. The most amazing feeling, the feeling of freedom- it is good to be home

Day 9 - Money goes like water. I am not smiling. It is only day 9 and I have blown 9million cedis. The hair on my head will not suffice. But if this is the way money goes and pop goes the weasel, why are they still smiling? I have just learnt why they are smiling and I am not. The money I have is all in 20,000 denominations and I am dishing it out like mad. 12noon, back to Accra. Lapaz- suspected armed robbers beaten to death and thrown in a gutter. It serves them right. People streaming along the road from Lapaz to Mallam to catch glimpse of the dead suspects.

Day 10- You cannot avoid politics in Ghana, no matter how hard you try. The cocaine saga dominates every news headline this morning. The President has weighed in on the NDC taunts that NPP is responsible for cocaine in Ghana. He has taken the fight back to NDC and this is dominating the news this morning. I am quietly thinking of what will happen when I return to Heathrow. Am I going to be body searched?

Day 11 -Back to Accra-Heading towards Nkrumah Circle and just gone under the Ako Adjei Interchange. I have just gone past a car called Hammer. "Who in Adam's world can afford this car"? I am in a taxi and I can't avoid my usual conversation. "We have about 10 of these cars in Accra. People have Lexus limos and you do not what business they do..." he replies. Listening to Adom FM. The presenter is joking that there is a $35million floating around in Tema


Day 12- Today I intend to sample public viewpoints. Was the President right in commenting about this cocaine saga? 8am: still stuck in traffic on Teshie-Nungua road. “Was the President right in commenting on the Cocaine Inquiry?” I broke into conversation with one of the passengers. “Oh [smile] he is right. He is also a citizen of Ghana and has the right to comment on anything concerning Ghana". "But is this cocaine party matter?", I inquired. "Oh yes, it is party matter because the NDC said NPP is Narcotic Party, so if NDC person is involved in cocaine it should be so said." "But this Rojo man or whatever his name is, does he think he could insult Rawlings and get away like this, he is a lucky man", another passenger interjected. This Rojo man is not attracting public sympathy at all. From the little that I gather the question that people want answer to, like the President, is this that- what kind of man will lead a company, ask for directorship, arrange for land for the company, receive remuneration, open a bank account for them and then claim he does not know the nature of the business that the company was going to engage in? And this very person was the campaign manager of a respectable person like Prof. Atta-Mills. Are we Ghanaians aspiring towards a democratic civil society where people can go on the air and describe a sitting President as "illiterate" "dumb" and "irresponsible"? As for me I am still looking for my smiles and the good thing is that in the midst of all the flaunting of cocaine money and the affluence of the few, many of us Ghanaians are still smiling.

Day 13- Still the cocaine dominates the news but I have lost interest. Well not yet! I have just heard on the radio that the Hammers [the latest car craze of the novo riche) are disappearing from the roads and going into garages. Me, I don't know ooh! At least Ghanaians have forgotten about petroleum price increases that dominated the news last week. Now it is cocaine here, cocaine there, cocaine everywhere. One thing that I know for sure, I am not letting anybody touch my luggage at Kotoka. It is 8am and I am still looking for my first smile. Last week it was this chant “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, MCA’s coming home” Today the President goes to Abeka Lapaz to cut the sword for the commencement of a six-lane road network as part of the MCA infrastructural project. I may go there, if I manage to negotiate my way past the traffic from Achimota to Abeka

Day 14- This evening I head back to London. Do you think I am smiling? It is sad leaving all the smiling faces behind to the rush and gloom of London. We have a beautiful country, guys and we must look after it well. Ghana is lovely, peaceful and I promise you the government is doing well. It has all the good intentions. We have a lot going good for us as a nation. The Black Stars have beaten Togo last night and the nation is back to the world cup frenzy. For me personally the fact that the hard-working Razak Pimpong finally managed to bury the ghosts behind him is my source of joy. Ghanaians may forgive him after his abysmal performance at the world cup. Kudos to him. 2pm. Good bye Ghana.It is sad to leave you behind. Mother Ghana, you are being abused by these drug barons, riddled with the taunts of the affluent, trumpled upon with their big cars, sometimes broken by insults of the haves and yet you protect the have-nots and lie smiling like a "broken china in the sun". I love you, mother!!.

8pm. Welcome London. Ouch!!!

Kwesi Atta-Krufi Hayford.
(Somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea)

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Hayford, Kwesi Atta-Krufi