Stroke of my pen: Playing “panpanaa” with our President

Fri, 7 Aug 2015 Source: Blege, Alex

By Alex Blege

I grew up in Teshie Zongo, a neighbourhood in the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipality. Although it is a Zongo, you can find both one can find both Muslims and Christians.

On Fridays you will see the Muslims clad in their different colour of shades of “jarabia” walking to the mosque. Likewise on Sundays you will see the Christians in their blouse and tucker going to church.

Panpanaa was one of the games we played as boys during holidays and weekends apart from football. Panpanaa is the Ghanaian version of hide and seek.

This is how the game is played: a group of four boys or more divide themselves in to two groups. They then go into hiding. Then the shout is made by one person, “panpanaa” like how horns are used to sound the beginning of war in olden times. After this, members of the two groups look for each other.

If any one finds a member of the opposing group, he shoots with his fingers clasped in the shape of gun, or a wooden or rubber gun. We keep playing this game until our bellies begin to give us that hunger response or one’s parents call him for an errand— we play until something interrupts the game.

In the game of panpanaa, we learn to be conscious of our security, so as not to be caught by members of the opposing team.

A few days ago, it was reported that a man who had a pistol on him, had gone to the same church, Ring Road Assemblies of God, where the President, John Dramani Mahama and his family worships.

What! How can one go to church with a gun? Well, probably the story of a missionary I read about in a devotional guide, “ Our Daily Bread 2010 edition, June 15” will answer this question.

The title for that devotion is “Guns, Drugs and the Bible, and the portion of scriptures to be read were Psalm 119: 25-32 and Hebrews 4:12 as the memory verse.

“A short – term missionary reported on her overseas experiences and told about crossing into a country with no religious freedom. At the border the guards asked, “Do you have any guns, drugs, or Bibles?”

There are views about the three: guns don’t kill, people use them to kill each other; drugs (hard drugs) don’t destroy, people use them to destroy themselves, the Bible is as dangerous as guns and drugs: it exposes and destroys falsehood; it enriches lives, instils hope and frees the human spirit.

The three things mentioned in the narrative are lethal – so lethal that there are laws that have been passed to restrict the use and carriage of any the three. There are nations that one cannot travel to with a Bible.

In Ghana there is no law preventing any one from holding a Bible; however, there are laws that guide the use of drugs and guns.

This issue about this man who goes to a place of worship with a gun exposes the very of attitude of taking things for granted in our system. It is not only the issue of the safety of the President, but in this country we have Nigerians and our citizens who have the ability to use the office of the President, or signature of a head of a state institution, or national symbols for their dubious businesses.

We have taken for granted our own environment. The Chinese and other foreign nationals including Ghanaians are in the rural parts of Ghana destroying the environment.

In Tinga not too far away from Sawla in the Northern Region, illegal gold mining is going on, around the Bui Dam, illegal gold mining is going on. All these are perpetrated under the very eyes of those who have the power to check this menace.

National consciousness is not only limited to how best the life of a president is protected. It is how resources are protected for the use of future generations. We have taken for granted the things that have the ability to deny us of development; development which will ensure that we do not go to beg with cup in hands for money.

This is evident in how our systems are operating. People who have been entrusted with institutions at the national or grass root level sit unconcerned and corruption in high and low places are perpetrated.

History is said to be the record of past events. It is also said that those who refuse to learn from history will always have themselves to blame.

History, let’s do a little of it here. There was once a man who was born in 1809 in the State of Kentucky, the United States of America. He grew up to become the president of the United States of America.

In his time as president, the United States of America was at war with itself-- the Northern and Southern States. Yes, the Almighty United States of America did not get to where it is today by fluke. They had had their own share of troubles before becoming a superpower. For four years they were at war until the Southern States were defeated.

The root cause of the war was the decision to abolish slavery in the United States of America. This did not go down well with slave owners of the Southern States. So there was a clash of personal interests and human rights and morality.

When the war was over, and slavery was abolished by a law, this man together with his wife went to a theatre to see a play.

An actor who was half-mad, and who believed that the man who had come to see the play was evil, walked quietly into the man’s box, and shot him in the head.... so died Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States of America in 1865.

Let us wake up to the realities on the ground. Let us discuss our issues without colouring it in any political party colours. Let us begin to take seriously the challenges that confront our political, social, economic, agricultural, educational health and cultural development.

Development in its holistic sense should be our banner -- development that protects and gives a reason to future generations to be proud of their motherland.


Columnist: Blege, Alex