Ghanaweb.com: A Meeting Place for the Good, the Bad and the Terrible

Tue, 15 Jun 2010 Source: Pryce, Daniel K.

Akoto's oft-accessed and -read Ghanaweb.com Internet portal is both bodacious and boisterous, and the Finland-domiciled webmaster possibly had no idea how important his pet project would become today as a conduit for his fellow Ghanaians to share their ideas, thoughts, frustrations and anxieties when he created the Web site approximately 20 years ago. Today, one of every two computer-literate Ghanaians is addicted to Ghanaweb.com – and more Ghanaian citizens appear to be drowning in this rivulet of addiction every day, even if they refuse to admit it! Of course, there are several pro-Ghanaian Internet portals – at least 15, at the last count – but Ghanaweb.com seems to be the indisputable leader among the lot, in terms of total number of daily visitors, freedom to express self and the ability to establish an ideological trail. And this brings me to my theme: the very interesting and eclectic personalities influencing life and activity on the Ghanaweb.com portal every day!

As an honor to his complex personality, I wish to begin this piece with Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr. This man is at once brilliant and vexatious – and he is arguably the best scrivener on Ghanaweb.com. In fact, the frequency with which this brilliant academic produces articles, not only for Ghanaweb.com but for other Web sites as well, is astonishing. But history has shown that all brilliant men do have their quirks and eccentricities, and Okoampa-Ahoofe is no exception. While his pieces may not be readily understood by someone with an average education, the New York-domiciled college professor simply does not care what anyone thinks of him, despite the heavy scrutiny his pieces are subjected to regularly on Ghanaweb.com. Okoampa-Ahoofe is a big personality on Ghanaweb.com, and his presence is as vital as any other writer's. With his wife from Abutia-Teti, Okoampa-Ahoofe is actually a member of our family, so we the Ewes have forgiven him even if he once called for former President John Kufuor to send us back to the Republic of Togo!

Michael Bokor is another notable writer on Ghanaweb.com. A National Democratic Congress-leaning stalwart, Bokor's credibility plummeted recently when he wrote a peculiarly callous and insensitive piece about the Asantehene. Like Okoampa-Ahoofe, Bokor has now stepped on many toes, but because Ghanaians have a proclivity to magnanimously forgive, I am certain that Bokor's offensive piece will soon be forgotten. Bokor's take-no-prisoners approach in dealing with national issues may be his greatest strength, but he needs to display greater sensitivity toward his audience.

Kofi Amenyo is a peculiarly brilliant versifier whose writing style is a pleasure to imbibe. His superb narrational abilities have been on display recently – and I know that Amenyo has won several hearts with his writing style. Sadly, Amenyo does not write regularly for the Ghanaweb.com crowd – consistency is vital for establishing long-term writer-reader rapport . I hope that Amenyo will begin to write more frequently for his fans, which will, undoubtedly, bolster his near-legendary status as a prolific writer.

Who does not know Justice Sarpong? This pro-National Patriotic Party writer is as fearless as he is candid in his assessments of the policies of the John Atta Mills-superintended National Democratic Congress, Ghana's ruling party. Love him or loathe him, Sarpong has a huge presence on Ghanaweb.com, and his intelligent analyses of economic issues and indicators have occasionally forced his opponents into hasty retreats. Sarpong has slowly evolved as the quintessential voice of the opposition on Ghanaweb.com, and it is impossible to miss his ubiquitous pseudonym. While his opponents had tried – more than once – to implicate him as a hater of Ewes, Sarpong each time was able to successfully prove to all and sundry that he is no ethnocentrist, just a man who will readily pounce on those who malevolently call members of his ethnic group distasteful names. For that Sarpong owes no one an apology, he boldly declares.

Nana Amma Twum-Baah is a brilliant writer who recently began writing for the Ghanaweb.com audience. Her great writing skills are obvious in her pieces, even if, like many of her female counterparts, she dreads tackling political topics. As the operator of Afrikangoddess.com, a Web site that focuses on issues pertaining to the welfare of women, Twum-Baah is a good expounder of the smorgasbord of issues plaguing the modern woman. Nonetheless, it is my prayer that Twum-Baah will daringly tackle political issues in her writings as well, as more writers are needed to deal with the many political problems afflicting our dear nation today.

Lola (she tells us it is a pen name) is another excellent female writer on Ghanaweb.com. Known for her poignant, brilliant and matter-of-fact approaches to varying topics, Lola is always able to project vivid and memorable images of the characters in her pieces. Her self-confessed "hibernation" in recent times now over, Lola appears to be back to give all of us what we want: brilliant pieces on the gamut of the human condition.

Samuel Adjei-Sarfo and Justice Sarpong have a common trait: they are both fearless. Unafraid of personalities – big and small – on Ghanaweb.com, Sarfo-Adjei both attacks those he perceives as ethnocentric in character and overtly identifies them by name. A brilliant writer gifted with superb dictional skills, the contents of his rather few articles on Ghanaweb.com are quite refreshing. His recent idiosyncratic foray into the complexities of motherhood and higher education for women left many of his admirers befuddled, but we all cannot agree on everything, so I am certain that there is no permanent damage to his relationship with his friends on Ghanaweb.com.

Benjamin Tawiah is another of Ghanaweb.com's prolific writers. His pieces are usually inundated with Shakespearean enunciation, which certainly betrays him as an English-language major. For all the refreshing pieces that Tawiah produces for his readers, his greatest weakness, according to some, is his unwillingness to respond to the questions and/or concerns of expositors. My good friend Tawiah may have his reasons for staying away from his own pieces, but it will be wonderful if he visited the forum one of these days to discuss his own article and put an end to the speculation by a few that he is haughty.

Love or hate her, Akadu Mensema is a veritable force on Ghanaweb.com. Known for her caustic rhetoric and anti-Jerry Rawlings doggerels, Mensema's "populist hyperbolic, satirical" odes are too biased and dogmatic to be considered serious chastisement of the nation's leaders. What readers would acknowledge about Mensema, however, are her fearless responses to salvos from her opponents on Francis Akoto's Web site: Mensema does not back down from anybody! Hopefully, Mensema will start writing regular pieces for her readers as well, and not just her doggerels that tend to vilify, to an extent, an entire ethnic group in Ghana.

Of course, there are about 100 writers on Ghanaweb.com presently, and while I cannot acknowledge every one of them by name in one feature piece, I am certain that all of their contributions pulsate in the hearts and minds of the nation's leaders.

Now, let us turn to commentators and expositors who have left their marks – good or bad – on Ghanaweb.com! ANTONIO GERSIS, the self-styled Ghanaian "Jew," is the first person that comes to mind. Although Gersis' denunciation of every piece that accuses Jerry Rawlings of wrongdoing is now fully expected, it is what the Texas-domiciled man has been doing lately that is raising eyebrows: the interjection of disgusting material in his expositions. Referring to the private parts of women is not a particularly endearing trait, so I am appealing to Gersis to not allow anyone to provoke him to the point where he engages in diatribes that violate the principles of common decency.

TROUBLE-MAKER is a fierce, uncompromising, tough-minded Ewe who rejects and denounces attacks on Ewes on Ghanaweb.com. Yes, Trouble-maker and this writer have one thing in common: we both detest and reject all the callous and reprehensible attacks on Ewes. On the other hand, I hope that Trouble-maker will join me, going forward, to unequivocally condemn our fellow Ewes who also attack other tribes for no apparent reason. We need sanity on Ghanaweb.com – and a toughie like Trouble-maker can assist with this effort!

The man who went by the pseudonym ASANTE – he has been absent from the site for some time now – always had morsels of wisdom to share with us. A brilliant and well-informed citizen, I always looked forward to reading his contributions to feature articles. Why Asante has disappeared from the site is unknown to some of us, but I sincerely hope that he will return to Ghanaweb.com soon; after all, there is greater strength in numbers, according to the popular aphorism.

There are so many other Ghanaweb.com expositors – Kola London Main, Vodoo Xebieso, Ekow Koomson, Pelicles, Okponglo Guy, 10!, Cybercop (this man is, undoubtedly, brilliant!), Old Soldier, Nana Kwabena Buruwaa, Obournana, Tekonline.org, Obourba, Nana Akyea Mensah (a well-known opponent of Justice Sarpong's), Nyansasem, Mojingles, Watchman (once a fiery opponent of this writer's), Ultimate Ghanaian, Araba Banoa, Akwele, Esi, Queen, Basoah George, just to name a handful – who espouse their unique views about different topics. In fact, anyone who has followed discussions under feature articles for a while now would be able to delineate the unique qualities of all these personalities who appear under the aforesaid pseudonyms.

Is Ghanaweb.com exceptional? Yes and yes! Ghanaweb.com's uniqueness is due to all these colorful people – the good, the bad and the terrible – who show up every day to discuss issues that affect us as a nation. What we all ought to do, ultimately, is stick with our preferred pseudonyms, as some people are fond of temporarily taking popular monikers belonging to well-known expositors to cause mischief. It appears that all the entreaties to people to give up the indecent and insalubrious language on Ghanaweb.com have so far failed, so the best option is for people to stick with their own monikers and create their own unique identities.

While many of us will never meet in person, Ghanaweb.com has become a very special place because of the many personalities who feud with and/or support one another on a daily basis. Perhaps, working together to point out the concerns of ordinary Ghanaians to their elected officials may just trump the sad fact that one of every two of us is addicted to Ghanaweb.com!

The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University, U.S.A. He is a member of the national honor society for public affairs and administration in the U.S.A. He can be reached at dpryce@c

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.