Business in Ghana

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Tillipology. Critical News, 19th July 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on July 20, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I am bursting to tell you this. Somewhere in the area where resides Nkonya, there is a street called Ososo-Kusumpo Street. This name insults the definition of “street”, and I doubt very much if the person(s) who defined street had this in mind as a perfect and long lasting descriptive of what we all would recognize as a street when you receive directions.

Ososo-Kusumpo street sign is mounted just before a kiosk that marks the beginning of the road, adjacent and off part of the Eastern corridor network. All along that highway, there are many streets, avenues and lanes, and they all go no place. This Ososo street leads nowhere. It starts and stops with the sign in front of the kiosk. You might be forgiven if you do not see the word street, it could be the name of the kiosk, but this is clearly a marked street.

First, you and I will not be there to tell this story, were it not for the matter I had to attend to in that area I would have no inkling that directions to Ososo-Kusumpo St. would end in the gutter.

This is no joke. Driving through the connecting road, from Kpandu to Jasikan and beyond, we amused ourselves, regaled with laughter at the audacity of the street-namers, who must all have juicy contracts from the District or the Municipality, to develop as many sign posts as possible in order that riches can be identified in one bank account and the other.

But the scam was very obvious. So many of the signs simply lead nowhere or even if they did, the designation of what is a street or lane was completely ignored.

Saw one street, a dirt pathway, where you had to jump over a stream-bed about two feet below the edge, before you continue on the other side. It was funny then, as we drove past and noted several of these, but now it is a clear how we steal money in the cities and rural communities knowing that no one will see and tell.

I think someone from that District or the Ministry of Highways might chance on this article and maybe, just maybe, go take a look at the streets and …. Ah! The Auditor General, might just chance a performance audit on the District and its use of funds.

I wonder what the donor community think of us and our administrators and seriously, for real, I would stop any disbursement of funds until we account for all that we have done with all the money they have given us for at least a decade.

What is the matter with us in Ghana? Is this a repressed gene now popping up in the generation after the 1950’s time line? It has to be, because the corruption is way beyond imaginable.

Matilda Amissah-Arthur (Tilly) to those of us of the same generation was so enraged at what she considered the “begging” mentality of a headmistress that she scolded her like a child and left her, her PTA and parents, totally traumatized by her tirade.   Their sheer audacity to ask about their entitlements to teaching chalk precipitated media frenzy for the week.

She brought them computers and they asked for chalk? I think Tilly’s naiveté was more upset than her mind. That they could not see the value standard she was offering and they still preferred to use chalk as a medium to enhance teaching?

But we provide everything don’t we? This sarcastic piece from a spoof website caught my attention, but it explains why the Tilly gaff became fodder for the media, especially on the rigid spine of “yentie Obiaa”.

Dear Auntie Matilda,

I wish to apologise on behalf of my head teacher for making that bizarre request. It is very silly to ask government to provide us with chalk, log books and other teaching and learning materials. We all know that is the work of those American NGOs. They always bring us pens, pencils, chalk, crayons and books, not the government.

I will also like to apologise on behalf of all parents and school children who received free school uniforms and sandals. Auntie, it is very true what you said. Government has spoilt us with all these freebies. Government officials don’t enjoy such freebies so why should children like us? Auntie, I bet you’ve never ever enjoyed any government freebie before. It is unfair for us to expect government to give us free uniforms and sandals when the president, his vice- your husband and the ministers and various appointees do not receive any freebies at all.

Oh sorry auntie Matilda. In my hast to apologise, I’ve completely forgotten to ask about your journey back to Accra. Please forgive me. I hope you had a comfortable drive back. I know your four-wheel drive wouldn’t have any problems gliding over those giant potholes in our village. And your seats looked very well padded so you wouldn’t even feel the bump if your driver was careless enough to go through the biggest pothole- which is about 10 times the size of my head. And you had the whole backseat to yourself. It must have been a real hustle-free journey. Nothing like how we travel to Accra.

We travel on those rickety Ford vans. My father can’t afford to pay for a seat for me so I always perch on my mother’s lap- one hand holding onto the side of the seat for balance and the other hand masking my nose from the dust. It must be really nice traveling in dusty and hot conditions in your fully air-conditioned vehicle. Maybe one day my tiny buttocks will get the chance to sit in a 4×4 like yours.

A vehicle like that must be really expensive. And it must consume a lot of petrol too. It must be really expensive to own and maintain a vehicle like that. Someone told me the Taxpayer bought that 4×4 for you. I wonder who that Taxpayer is. He/she must be very, very rich. God bless him/her for making your life so comfortable. I wish the Taxpayer would buy us some chalk to help us learn at school.

Auntie, I really have to end here. I need to finish my homework before the lights go off. It’ll be off for the next 48 hours but when it’s back on, we will be able to test those computers you brought. I hope they work, I hear those second-hand computers blow up often because of the dumsor. Anyway, bye for now auntie.

A-Remorseful-Recipient-Of-Free-School-Uniforms

And I think that summarises the general feeling of the people in the country. It is sad, but the government deserves the sarcasm and maybe even rudeness if you read it that way. How can you possibly run down an economy so much and still hold your head on high, and claim we are on the way to recovery.

I think it is very shameful and only government machinery that feeds fat on the people’s welfare can be so stubbornly corrupt.

State broadcaster GBC wants free money. They want to ride on the back of my assets and force me to contribute to their loss-making and corruption venture they call a television and radio law. Me, I won’t pay. I don’t use my TV for watching “bad television”. If they choose to do so, they can offer me a subscription service and I will make my choice of stations. But to pay them even the meager thirty-six cedis, forget it.

The age of government propaganda stations is over. We are all competing for content, adverts and viewers. They should go and do the same.

But this is the way social media is getting to the power base. In the end, Tilly has apologized, and a very decent apology she gave, at the next most available opportunity at Jack and Jill school. For me that makes class, a more acceptable form of civil engagement than the crass raping of our resources on Ososo-Kusumpo Street and shooting at people when they challenge you on an election platform.

Jack and Jill did not ask for chalk. Does that have anything to do with the form of support it gets? From private sector? We accept the “Tillipology”, but don’t go there again.

Ghana, Aha a yε din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!

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