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Forty-seven, seventy-three

Kwasi Ansu Kyeremeh Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh believes modernity has made age less of an issue in our society

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 Source: Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh

‘Akwadaa hu ne nsa hohoro a ?ne mpanimfo? didi (When the child is able to wash the hands clean he’s able to join the adults at the meal table). So says an Akan proverb. Conversely, a child who cannot properly wash the hands will poison the meal if s/he is allowed to eat together with adults.

If you are as rural as I am, you will remember the didipono (our local version of a dining table), upon which fufu would be served and around which everyone in the family would sit to eat it. All hands will go into the one same bowl of an fufu island surrounded by the soup of the day. With the finger-fork, eaters would scoop the fufu and occasionally some soup with finger-formed spoon to drive the nkontonmoa (scooped lump) down. It continues till everyone would have a fill and the eating session would be done with.

In our days, you climbed to the adult didipono by progressing from fed by mother, through self-eating child to young people’s bowl set on the floor and eventually to the didipono of the grown-ups.

The handwashing saying was just to stress the need for clean hands as one climbed up in the communal eating setting. It all required some training and hard work. There were measures that pre-empted skipping the stages to reach the didipono without adequate preparation. An amp?br? who would want to skip and eat with adults would be prevented from doing so.

That isn’t like the law making session where an amp?br? who would not have progressed through lessons of how to speak, would speak like an achiever with bloated ego. Those times, the amp?br? trait will easily show in a verbal exchange between the one of forty seven years old and an ?br?fo?, onimyamfo? seventy three year-old.

Our elderly sages knew the importance of graduated training to achieve a status of influence and benefit from it. The Greeks and the Romans knew that. One trained through school and the military to advance to be a senator. Modernity, the western system, has, however, managed to fast-forward achievement to the point where age is not that much an issue. Yet, condemnation of gerontocracy is often substituted with fudged meritocracy.

I personally don’t understand what is so meritocratic about someone leaving university not living a life of work that much and is suddenly given a responsibility to run a national life. Without that much thought, people cheer it as youth in leadership even though this our motherland has been the worst victim in our recent history.

People talk about the age of the Kwame Nkrumahs and the crop of early leaders of the motherland. When they talk that, they forget to add the lives lived by those people before assuming leadership positions.

Their lives and living conditions were none like today’s babies with sharp teeth whose expertise is bite chunks off the national cake to satisfy the self and lie about that with unpolished sharp tongues.

Just see how they lie in the lawmaking house, costing the motherland huge expenditure in false recalls.

Someone advised one ‘should not allow youthful exuberance [impetuosity] to dictate what words he uses.’ Never accountability and probity cadre, but ever a student leader exploiting fellow students for self, he at 47 can be rude to an elderly 73-year old.

‘You owe me that courtesy and that respect… If you invite me, I will [disrespect you].’ That is first class moat condemnable disrespect.

It’s a clear case of a dishonourable child who has not yet learnt how to wash the hands clean mistakenly propelled to an honourable status to jaw jaw with adults. This is a clear case of how not to grow your institutions. You grow from good to better and better to best. When fair (2001-2008) was reduced to bad (2009-2016), no way could the institution have moved to good from fair in 2018.

Twenty-six is an adult child’s age. Some say a woman’s best age for having a child is 25. I, as a male, had my first child at age twenty-seven. So my first child would be almost a seventy-three year old’s grandchild. Seriously, it isn’t as if self-seekers are hungry and are starving. They are hungry for V8s and mansions, things they shouldn’t be worrying about. What seems to be encouraging them is the way they see others realise ‘one million dollar’ with ease in political positions.

Martino, oh ye demolisher of the corrupt compatriot, arise quickly to save the motherland from these mischief makers. They have no respect for the elderly and think they are who they are not. Retrieve their stolen motherland positions and wealth. And maybe, just maybe they would be reasonably silenced to give us some peace. Please deal with them.

Columnist: Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh