Cars, cash everywhere ... but not enough for president’s press

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Sat, 29 Aug 2015 Source: Enimil Ashon

This is not a tribute to Samuel Nuamah. It is dedicated to his memory. Like the Ghanaian Times Castle Reporter before him, Nuamah was one of those reporters who made the editor suspect he took notes with a dictaphone. Never missed an essential word.

And his style? Very much like himself: simple. His only “problem” was that for all his reputation as an exceptionally creative word-smith, he was not loud.

‘Our hearts break with woe’

Even as we allow our tears to flow freely, and even as we accept that accidents do happen, we also take note some accidents didn’t, and don’t need to happen.

When a building technologist compromised on the quality and/or quantity of materials, the building collapsed; when a nurse infused a patient intravenously with a drug that should have been administered intra-muscularly, the patient died.

That is why some accidents or misfortunes get probed.

The Ghanaian Presidential Press Corps accident happened because the hired vehicle had a burst tyre. Hiring a vehicle for journalists is not a crime: neglecting to do due diligence on the driver and the car is.

Have we not been told that to qualify to drive a vehicle in the Presidential convoy, drivers are given special training on what to do in the event of, for example, a tyre burst? So where is the probe?

A former reporter with the Ghanaian Times now pursuing larger journalistic interests elsewhere narrated to me his experience coordinating a tour to Ghana by a team of American journalists.

For the vehicle he intended to hire for them, the Americans sent him a check-list.

They asked for a photocopy of the driver’s licence to determine the number of years he had been driving, plus his accident record.

They insisted on being shown the vehicle’s maintenance record, the age of the vehicle’s tyres etc. The overall interest of these professionals was somebody’s responsibility.

Someone was in charge.

Are we, as we always do in Ghana, “giving it to God”? Even God will ask one question: Are Ghanaians being told that there was no other suitable vehicle?

No money?

But we had enough to pay Akua Donkor’s plane fare to Italy (in the President’s entourage), out-of-pocket allowance, plus her accommodation!

While at it, is it true that as happened in the days of the President Mills, there are still pastors and prophets on presidential delegations for overseas trips?

If it’s only morning devotions they are needed for, I can assure the President that there are countless Ghanaian men of God everywhere.

For example, there is this prophet in America who predicted Evander Hollyfield’s defeat when the boxer went to church in the week of his world title bout.

The second time the same boxer fought Mike Tyson, the pastor told him that he would win, and that “there would be something about the ear”.

That was the fight in which Tyson bit Hollyfield’s ear. Remember?

If I am approached, I can supply names of powerful Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian pastors and prophets overseas who will pray, preach and prophesy free of charge.

The money for prophets, plus Akua Donkor’s Italian trip on the President’s entourage, can buy a new vehicle for the Presidential Press Corps.

‘Broni wawu’ in boutiques

Now time to put a little smile back on your face. Do you know, or have you checked the origin of the clothes you buy from our so-called boutiques?

As I found out, recently, some of the clothes you see on display in some of those glass-walled fully air-conditioned boutiques are of the same origin as those you and I used to patronise at Tema Station, Kumasi Folks Line and Takoradi Market. They are “folks”.

I have a friend who owns one such boutique and I caught him in the very act not too many weeks ago. He has top-level connections with the “importers”.

A morning or two after their arrival, the bales are opened for “first selection” by top-contacts of the importer (such as my schoolmate).

He first takes steps to ensure that the “folks” scent is off. For assurance doubly sure, he takes them to a laundry. Next he fits them on those mannequins in his boutique.

He knows the psychology of buyers - that nobody buys clothes from a boutique below a certain price, so he multiplies the price many times over.

He even knows the class of people who patronise these boutiques so the appropriate music plays softly in the background.

He himself has a Prado, and his wife, a Hummer. His tastes are expensive, so how can you doubt that this or that shirt or jeans in his boutique is from Calvin Klein or Armani or Levis!

Ladies and gentlemen, please, note: I have not said it is so in every boutique, but I have enough evidence to prove that the “guilty” ones number in excess of a few.

We used to call them, “Bend Down Boutique”. Today, you don’t need to bend down. And you don’t need to look over the shoulder to see who is looking; indeed, in an era when people – especially bank officials and young execs from the Telcos - count their salaries in “several” thousands, you rather wish everybody sees you entering such an “expensive” boutique.

Columnist: Enimil Ashon