Monday, December 22, 2014

The Power of Visual Images; The Power of Celebrity Status; The Power of The Police

Most of this played out in my mind barely 2 weeks ago.

Visual Images
Just about a month ago, I received a video via a group I'm part of on Whatsapp. Save for the comments from others in the group succeeding the upload of this video, I wouldn't have downloaded it (not very keen on using my data to download just anything). And then I downloaded it, and I've been able to watch the video just once. Too traumatising! The video was of an adult physically abusing a baby. From the group and later from news media, I found out the adult was a nanny tasked to take care of the baby. The images were just too horrifying. The video I learnt went viral over the internet, and from the BBC website, I learnt "... the case sparked outrage across the country (Uganda) after a video was released". I also learnt from the same website that the father of the baby reported the abuse to the police, and circulated the video online to family members. The footage was later shared more widely, provoking horror and upset internationally (worldwide). The nanny has since been arrested, tried in court and sentenced for her crime (all in the space of I'd say a month). Thank God. This nanny will pay for the crime she committed. She is currently serving her sentence. Glad justice wasn't delayed.

Celebrity Status
I'd say a day or so after I saw this video, I heard a story. Kwaw Kese, a Ghanaian musician (celebrity) was arrested by the police for allegedly smoking an illegal substance in public. Yeah, I'm sure countless of other Ghanaians have been arrested for smoking similar substances in public, but no one gets to hear about it. For obvious reasons, this is news. Oh no! I won't begrudge Kwaw Kese sneezing becoming news, whereas me doing same really is nothing. He is a celebrity and I'm sure he has worked hard to achieve this status. What really does get me thinking is, quite a number of other celebrities have spoken out against his arrest. I hear there is a campaign on social media calling for his release. Yes, there are problems with our police and the judicial system in Ghana, and some celebrities are calling for his release for a number of reasons.
Eg. 1. Chris Brown came to perform in Ghana and supposedly smoked an illegal substance while performing on stage. He was not arrested (I doubt if he was even questioned) and allowed to go back to his country.
2. The police themselves fail to arrest and prosecute their own when they commit crimes. cc: the #CalBank #GhanaPolice shooting.
While some are rubbishing what the police are doing in the arrest of Kwaw Kese, others are begging the judicial system to be lenient with him. Okay, if he did what the police are saying he did, then technically, he did commit a crime. Hardened criminals have friends and family who love them and don't want them to spend even an hour behind bars. Is that justification for releasing them? Well, Kwaw Kese has been behind bars for close to a month and he is not being granted bail. Apparently, narcotics related offences are non-bailable.
I'm sure there are issues here. Personally, I have problems with our judicial system and with the Ghana Police Service, but you won't get me calling for the release of a suspect in a criminal offence because of those issues. Our celebrities shouldn't forget that they are role models to a whole lot of people, children inclusive. What is the message they are sending out there? They have the platform to be heard by a wide array of people. They should use it carefully. There aren't a shortage of causes to lend their voices to. There are campaigns for eradicating poverty, for ending hunger and for world peace to name a few. There's even the #ISpeakForJustice campaign if they feel so strongly about the police in Ghana.

The Police
Rewind to March 8, 2014. Corporal Bernard Frimpong walked into Cal Bank and opened fire right there in the banking hall. The room was full of people, all of whom were unarmed. Why? He had a disagreement with one customer outside the bank and knew he could open fire inside the bank and get away with it. Three persons sustained gunshot wounds. A report was made against the corporal at a police station, and barely a month after the incident, the corporal was still in uniform and working at his station. Everything that happened was caught on camera by the bank's CCTV, which is now available to the police. In an interview in September 2014, a PRO of the police said the footage is being used to train their officers on proper conduct (no comment). I should add that right after the incident, a police PRO reported in different media in Ghana that the customer who had the disagreement with the corporal was a suspicious character who struggled with the corporal over his weapon, causing the weapon to fall and start firing (I wonder where that weapon was manufactured and how shallow minded the police think Ghanaians are). Eventually, this same PRO came out to say the customer was an innocent victim in an unfortunate incident, and that the corporal had been detained while investigations were ongoing (he didn't even apologise). Thing is, the harm was already done. Person A might have heard on medium A that the customer was labeled a suspicious character by the police, but person A might not have heard on medium B when the customer was labeled an innocent victim by the same police. In the interview in September 2014, the police PRO revealed that the corporal had been arrested and is out on bail. Apparently attempted murder of a roomful of people is a bailable offence in Ghana. Corporal Bernard Frimpong has supposedly been out on bail since March 2014. We are in December 2014.

Visual Images, Celebrity Status, The Police
The police are not above the law, but increasingly, the police themselves are making it seem that way. So, the police say they are using the CCTV footage to train their own. How about releasing that footage online so Ghanaians can train themselves on what to do when a police officer opens fire in a bank? But seriously, imagine the international outrage that would follow, should a video showing a Ghana police officer walking into a bank, and opening fire on unarmed civilians, be released online. (I know you were all scared and running for your lives, but didn't anyone in the bank that day record this incident on their phone?) The power of visual images cannot be overstated. If a celebrity whose flight from the law will not be so easy, has been refused bail for a narcotics offence, then is it too much to ask that a police officer who attempted to murder a roomful of people should be refused bail?
Celebrities, please if one of your own is suspected to have committed a crime, how about you aid the authorities in their investigations, rather than call for the authorities to also break the law. The power of celebrity status cannot be exaggerated. If you want a campaign to lend your voice to, how about #ISpeakForJustice (that's me calling for support), at least then you'll be speaking out for justice, plain and simple, not asking that rules or laws be broken. That way, no international act can come to Ghana, commit a crime and walk away. Why? Because we have been speaking for justice and we have been heard. Or you could set up your own charity and help the less privileged in society.
Police, do not shy away from prosecuting your own. What example are you setting for criminals and potential criminals? The message I'm getting from you is, if you want to be a successful criminal, join the police service. Then, even your bosses will cover up for you if knowledge of your crime gets out there. The power of the police should not be overlooked.

P.S. Finally, (I just had to add this) if it were possible for me to die and come back, I'd make sure what ever crime committed against me is captured on camera, and that footage is available to me (viral videos, here I come). Or I'd come back as a celebrity. Even if I commit a crime, other celebrities will demand, while others appeal for my release (better yet I'd be the kind of celebrity that can go and commit a crime in someone's country, and walk away a free person). But, it would be best for me to come back as a police officer. I could commit any crime and get away with it. Even, rather than admit I was wrong, the police administration would cover up for me, and put the blame on someone else.
It really is not too late (Ghana Police Service, here I come!).
http://www.facebook.com/ispeakforjustice

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Women on Fire

Roverman Productions in partnership with Joy FM and National Theatre presents: "Women on Fire".



A play written and directed by Uncle Ebo Whyte.
Venue: National Theatre
Date: 29th, 30th November, 6th and 7th December, 2014
Time: 1st show 4pm, 2nd show 8pm
Rate: GH¢50.00

When Johnson divorced his wife on false allegations of adultery, little did he know that years down the line she would lead an uprising that will threaten his job.

Tickets are available at Airtel Shop, Accra Mall; Shell Shops at Airport, Community 11, Achimota & Sakaman; Haatso Total; Baatsona Total; Jane-Ann Supermarket and Frankies, Osu.
To recharge old tickets log onto www.rovermanproductions.com

For recharge and ticket enquiries; Airtel short code 466 or call 026 109 4100.

Alternatively, tickets can be paid for via Airtel Money at a 10% discount.
1. In the Airtel Money menu, select Make Payments
2. Select Pay Bill
3. Select Other
4. Type ROVERMAN
5.Enter amount i.e. GH¢45.00 for one ticket
6. Enter your name as reference number (e.g. Efua Dentaa)
7. Confirm payment details with your Airtel Money PIN
8. Present the confirmation text that will be sent to you at the gate for entry
* A charge of GH¢0.50 applies.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Outsider Effect!

When I do something wrong and I'm scolded at home, yeah, I feel bad, but I feel so much worse when the issue is reported to an outsider (someone outside my family). That has always been the case with me.

I currently work in a university, and this morning a former employee (now a retiree) who had pushed for his son to gain admission into the university came in with a challenge. The son had forged his examination results in order to gain entry. We found out through our verification process and informed him. He couldn't believe it but had a sit down with the son together with other family members, and the truth came out. The man is devastated, but is more concerned about what employees in his former organisation will think of him.

The challenge this man came to my office with this morning was causing him greater anxiety than the thought of how he'd be viewed at his former organisation. He was worried that his son's name plus crime (oh yeah, what he did is a crime) would be published in the newspapers and as he put it, "the whole world would get to know". Yep, the outsider effect had him all hot and bothered.

Since March 2014 I've been up in here going on about some shooting by a police officer in a bank.
This is what happened. A gentleman drove to a bank, parked his car, entered the bank and transacted business. He stepped out, was headed to his car when something on sale caught his attention, he went to take a look when the police officer on duty on the premises of the bank approached him and ordered him to remove his car from the bank's parking lot, since he had transacted no business in the bank (which was false). The gentleman goes back into the bank to find out why the police officer was given that wrong information, when the officer followed him into the bank, tried pushing him out, when that didn't work, he cocked his AK47, aimed at the gentleman and started shooting. Three persons in the bank including the gentleman sustained gunshot injuries.

It's been over 7 months since this happened. The gentleman has sued, the officer is still a free man and nothing has been done.

Does the outsider effect really exist (or is it all just in my head)? Let's find out together.
Join me (Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians alike) as I stand up and speak for justice in this case. Please share with the hashtag #ISpeakForJustice and like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/ispeakforjustice

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest".

#ISpeakForJustice

Thursday, September 25, 2014

#ISpeakForJustice

What is the campaign about?
The campaign seeks to create awareness about an incident that happened on March 8, 2014 at a bank in Ghana where a police officer shot and wounded 3 persons inside the banking hall just because one of the victims ticked him off and he had a weapon he could use.

7 months down the line and justice has still not been served in this case. Meanwhile 2 of the victims walk around with bullet fragments in their legs, which doctors fear to remove since one wrong move could cause irreparable damage.

http://www.spyghana.com/police-sporadic-shooting-cal-bank-true-story/

Please join me as #ISpeakForJustice
This should never happen in any civilized society.
Hopefully, people with some clout pick this up and justice is served sooner rather than later.

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest".
I am protesting and have been doing so for the last 28 weeks. I can't make much of a difference on my own. Please share on all your social networks with the hashtag #ISpeakForJustice and let's be heard, thank you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Unforgiven

Roverman Productions in partnership with Joy FM and National Theatre presents: "Unforgiven".



A play written and directed by Uncle Ebo Whyte.

Venue: National Theatre
Date: 30th, 31st August, 6th and 7th September, 2014
Time: 1st show 4pm, 2nd show 8pm
Rate: GH¢50.00

For its 6th Anniversary, Roverman Productions turns the searchlight on itself and gives us a play titled, "Unforgiven", which is based on what happens inside a live theatre company from auditions to productions.

Meet Wofa Charles who bears an uncanny resemblance to Uncle Ebo Whyte, a man who inspires and pushes people beyond their comfort zone.
Meet Yaa, a woman in an abusive marriage who wants to become a star.
Meet OC, a musician who is close to Wofa Charles but does not live his values.
Meet Sweetie who is willing to do anything for her dreams.
What happens when on the day of production the secret Yaa has been keeping for 16 years comes haunting her and threatens the production?
"Unforgiven", like all other Roverman Productions has a profound story line, which while inspiring is witty and funny at the same time.

Tickets are available at Shell Shops at Airport, Community 11, Achimota & Sakaman; Joy FM; Baatsona Total; Frankies, Osu and Jane-Anne Supermarket.
To recharge old tickets, log onto www.rovermanproductions.com

For recharge and ticket enquiries: Airtel short code 466 or call 026 109 4100.

Alternatively, tickets can be paid for via Airtel Money at a 10% discount.
1. Dial *500#
2. Select Make Payment
3. Select Other
4. Type ROVERMAN
5. Enter Amount
6. Enter your name as Reference Number (e.g. Efua Dentaa)
7. Confirm payment details with your Airtel Money PIN
8. Present the confirmation text that will be sent to you at the gate for entry
*A charge of GH¢0.50 applies.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Life

Out of no where (honestly) this song just popped into my head.

"Life in this world is a great struggle,
for both the young and old.
And even those who have great riches,
have troubles of their own.
Rich men envy poor men,
poor men envy the rich,
therefore what is the sense in envying your neighbour."

It was a marching song in primary school.
Back then it was just that, a marching song (we'd sing it and march to our classrooms after assembly).
Singing it now, the lyrics seem all the more real and make so much sense.

What can I say, "c'est la vie" (just about the only French I know, well plus "je m'appelle Dentaa").

Friday, August 08, 2014

20 Additional Quirky Quotes!

I quit the game (more like I lost too many lives), but decided to play again and again and again till I completed (what can I say, I'm determined like that and perseverance generates success).
My determination to complete the game had me coming across additional quotes, which I've put together here.

1. Never mess an apology with an excuse.
2. Sometimes thought and planning are the way to go (especially early on).
3. Sometimes speed is the way to win (especially later on).
4. A shortcut is the longest path between two points.
5. The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes.
6.You can only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
7. For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.
8. Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence.
9. If at first you don't succeed, give up, no use looking like a fool.
10. Genetics explain why you look like your father and if you don't, why you should.
11. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
12. Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.
13. When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it's already too late.
14. Everything takes longer than you think it will.
15. Never test the depth of water with both feet.
16. Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it bothers the pig.
17. If you look like your passport photo you're not well enough to travel.
18. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
19. How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.
20.Politicians and diapers should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

Still hilarious, still not sure if I'm learning anything worthwhile though, or if I'm just trying to teach a pig to sing.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Don't Change!

In response to the behaviour of others, changing you might seem a good idea, but is it really?

Let's say you are a very giving person, and you do so cheerfully. Everyone likes a cheerful giver, but there are those who will just take advantage and use you always and only to their benefit. Should you change?
Let's say you love to smile. You smile all the time. Even when you sad, you find the silver lining in whatever situation you going through and still smile. You find out that not everyone that smiles back at you actually means it. They smile to your face, turn around and behind you say nasty stuff about you or worse yet do nasty stuff to you. Should you change?

Yesterday, I went to use an ATM. There were 2 ATM's in front of the bank, one was being used by a customer so I went to the next. The customer finished and left while I took my time to complete my transaction. I was about to do something (I guess it could be called weird) so I turned around first. There was this lady standing not too far behind me, but I figured she must be waiting for someone inside the bank. She couldn't possibly be wanting to use the ATM because the other machine was not in use. I took a second, thought about it, and went on ahead to do what I wanted to do.
I will not put money in my purse until all the notes are well arranged. The notes have to all face the same direction with whatever inscription or picture on them facing the same direction. In order not to inconvenience others (and to avoid stares), I take the money from the ATM, walk away, and then I do my arrangement before the money goes in my purse.
When I was done with my arrangement, I carefully put the money in my purse (I don't like crumpled notes in my purse either) and backed away from the ATM. Then the lady behind me moves towards the machine. Of course I feel bad, so I say, "so sorry, didn't realise you wanted to use the ATM. So sorry about that". The lady walks on by with an angry look on her face and doesn't acknowledge that another human just spoke to her. I'm about to walk out of the area, but I feel like turning around and asking her why she didn't just use the other machine. I decided against it. No point in being confrontational. I did after all inconvenience her (more like she inconvenienced herself) and for a second I wondered why I even bothered apologising to this lady. For one thing she didn't want my apology and I thought she standing there waiting for me to finish was just plain silly. There was a very not-in-use ATM right next to me, with the very same buttons and functions as the one I was using.

Should the same situation happen again today would I do the same thing I did yesterday? Yes (minus me doing the arrangement of the money in the presence of another).
When I offend someone, I say sorry, when I inconvenience someone, I say sorry. Whether they want it or not, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not, that is just me.

My money arranging is restricted to notes, no coins (they'll get themselves disarranged anyway if I bother).

Monday, July 21, 2014

I Choose Life!

Last week I was indulging in computer games with seemingly questionable lessons to be learnt. Over the weekend, I decided to indulge in some television shows. One of them, "1,000 ways to die".

Depending on what I have to do, I watch this show every now and then. Waste of time?
I chanced upon re-runs showing over the weekend. The title really does speak for itself and some of the death scenes albeit based on real life events, are actually hilarious (probably the narration brings out the humour in them).

This morning, on my way to work, my mind was wandering, and decided (on its own) to settle on the different ways I could have died since I woke up (or before I woke up). Come to think of it, what stopped a swarm of ants marching right up my nose and blocking my airway while I slept or marching down my throat and chewing some vital organs? Where did I even get the whole ant thing from? Well, my mum did tell me of how when my older brother was a baby, he'd fallen ill and was on admission at a hospital. One night, my aunt who's a paediatrician walked in to check up on him, only to find him all covered with ants. Turns out some cough syrup he'd been given earlier had spilled on him. Fortunately, no harm done, he was cleaned up and is very ok as at now (at least he was ok enough to have an argument with me over the weekend).

It really is by God's grace that I or anyone reading this has life!
Given a choice, I choose life! Amen!

But come to think of it, there really are over a billion ways to die every single day. That none of us succumb to any one of these ways is a miracle we should be grateful for.

Friday, July 18, 2014

20 Quirky Quotes!

I'm home and bored and playing tumblebugs for the umpteenth time, and I try to make my obviously utter waste of time appear valuable.
At the end of each round a quote pops up.
This time, I decide to put all the quotes together.
They're mostly hilarious (to me), but who knows, I just might learn something worthwhile (or not).

1. Ambition is a poor excuse for not having the good sense to be lazy.
2. A 3 year old's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
3. Never trust a dog to watch your food.
4. Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.
5. If you want your spouse to pay attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.
6. Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.
7. Once you've seen one shopping centre, you've seen a mall.
8. Everything your mother warned you about is true.
9. Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.
10. Don't worry about what people think. They don't do it very often.
11. The glass is either half full, half empty or twice as big as it needs to be.
12. A bit of hard work never killed anyone but why risk it?
13. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.
14. Money will not buy you happiness, but it will let you be unhappy in nice places.
15. Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
16. A photographic memory is no use if it's never developed.
17. If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed replacement anyway.
18. It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.
19. If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Did I learn something or classic case of "too much time on my hands"?

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Consumer Protection

For obvious reasons, I steer clear or Shoprite shops in Ghana.

Yesterday, I was at the Accra Mall to watch a movie ("Think Like a Man Too" is just hilarious. I honestly almost fell out of my seat. Kevin Hart, you get any funnier, I will fall out of my seat) and decided to get some fruit juice at Shoprite. I guess I figured with their track record (roaches and flies), packaged fruit juice would be harmless. Wrong!

In school I took a course in Consumer Studies (not because I wanted to, but because it was a core and I wanted to graduate) and I learnt quite some interesting things. Honestly at first, I felt taking that course was a waste of time. Turns out it wasn't and I, without realising it still practice some of the stuff I learnt.

I can't shop without picking up the item and checking for expiry dates, especially consumables. It makes shopping rather tedious and quite annoying, but I'd rather be tired and annoyed than be ill or worse yet, dead. So yesterday, I pick up the juice I wanted after first checking the expiry date. Satisfied, I turn to walk away when this other bottle of juice I had no intention of purchasing caught my attention. I was curious about the combination. It was cranberry and some other fruit, maybe kiwi (not 100% sure). I pick up the bottle, look at the label and then even though I had no intention of buying, like reflex, my eyes shifted to the expiry date.

The juice expired in April 2014 and as at July 2014 it was still on the shelves. Just to be sure I got the right date, I checked the manufacturing date as well. It was manufactured in April 2013. I put the juice back, was about walking away (figured it was none of my business) when I saw 2 shop attendants not far from me. I picked up the bottle, walked to one of the attendants, gave it to him, pointed at the expiry date and walked away. Have no idea what the attendant did and how many of their products are expired. I hope he plus his management do right by their customers.

Why didn't I take a picture? I did think of that. Had I had a copy of any newspaper of yesterday, I would have taken a picture of the bottle of juice with it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Adventures in a Foreign Land - Snow, Frostbite, Ice & Slush

I see these adorable slippers in a shop but can't buy them because I don't have enough money. I go back to the shop a week later to get those very slippers, and I'm just about to pay for them, but the guy at the counter wants to and does question why I choose to buy slippers in Fall. Ah! I so didn't get that. So why is the shop selling slippers in Fall and why has the price been slashed by more than 50%? Is it not to entice me to buy it (that's what I wanted to ask him)? I just smile, say nothing while he goes on about how I'm probably going on a vacation in the Caribbean (I wish), and then some of the other shoppers start pointing outside with excited looks on their faces. Finally, the guy shuts up and turns round to look outside. Oh my! it had started snowing. My very first time seeing snow. Now, I'm in a hurry to get out of the shop. The guy turns round to face me and goes like, "now, you definitely can't wear those here. Better speed up on those vacation plans". Ah! This boy paa! Which one is his own? I'm buying my slippers to take back to Gh and there he is going on about vacation.

Finally! I step out of the shop and the snow flakes awwwwwww... I honestly don't know how to describe the feeling. I walked and walked and walked (when I could have been on a bus) just so the snow flakes would fall in my face (breathtaking). First snow that winter so the ground was still brown. I just couldn't wait to see the ground all covered in snow like I'd seen in movies and read about in books.
My fascination with snow was extremely short lived. Let's see, first the temperatures were always somewhere between 20 to 30 degrees below 0, when there was enough snow on the ground, I managed to twist my foot in it and fall (fortunately there was more than enough snow on the ground to cushion my fall), oh, and then I got caught (or got myself caught) in a blizzard (with that one, I got blown to the ground no less than 10 times), and then the frostbite. Ok, ok, ok, slight exaggeration. I guess it could be characterised as frostnip, but that really was my fault. I disliked the idea of wearing a tuque (knit cap or ski cap). I didn't look good in it. Beats me how I was ok falling because it was not my country plus no one really knew me, but I was bothered about how I looked in a tuque. I've given up trying to understand that. My ears were always exposed to the cold, which could be for long periods especially when I'd stand at the bus stop. Turns out me using just my hair to cover my ears was not enough. With time, one of my ears became real huge and extremely darkened (looked almost burnt). Then the darkened part peeled away (more like I forcibly removed the dark part) leaving me with one regular coloured ear and one ear that looked bleached. With time, I ended up with this:
Looks like this is permanent since the ear has been like this for a couple of years. My response to curious observers depending on my mood is; it was caused by hair relaxer or I got burnt by a hair straightener (it's possible I caused a couple of women to go natural)
And then when it wasn't too cold, some of the snow would start to melt, then it would get cold, so the melted snow would freeze. There were thus quite a number of icy patches here and there when this happened, and yours truly would slip, slide and fall. Unfortunately, no cushion for me this time. I would fall bum first and would feel the full impact of the fall.
Some cities use sand, others use salt on the roads and sidewalks in Winter. I lived in a city that used sand. Hmmmmmm... so when it was nearing Spring and the snow started melting, there was a lot of not so nice looking slush around and then there were some icy patches too, which I'd slip on, and when I'd fall, not only did my bum hurt, but my clothes would look not so nice (dirty).

Moral: not all that glitters... and, when in Rome...

It really wasn't all that bad all of the time. There were quite a number of fun times in the snow, like the snow fight and when we were putting decorations outside for Christmas and when we didn't have to bother putting our drinks in the fridge for a party (we just buried them in the snow out front), oh and when we kept our Thanksgiving dressed turkey in the garage (I thought that was funny).

Monday, June 30, 2014

Too Careful

A little over 2 years ago when burglars broke into my house, I thought my mom was being a worry wart when she had burglary bars fixed on all the windows and doors. Right now, it's so annoying stepping out of my house when I'm the only one home because I have to lock up all these huge metal gates. Feels like too much work when I'm not going anywhere important, so I just stay home. Honestly, I thought my mom was being overly cautious especially since I did not believe the burglars would come back (they got what they wanted the first time).

But yesterday, how proud I was of my mom and the decision she took and the fact that she didn't let my whining deter her. Burglars tried to break into my house again while we were away at church (I'm convinced the burglars either don't know Jesus or just don't care). No idea if they are the same ones from 2 years ago, thinking how easy it was the last time, or if they are new ones. They tried, but they couldn't get in because of the burglary bars.
The other thing that had me arguing with my mom about this thing was she had the bars installed on the inside of the house, making it difficult to clean the windows when they get dirty. Why did she do that? Someone told her if you install them outside, the burglars will come to your house just about every day to pour some acid on the bars. Then they strike when the metal corrodes. Well, these burglars had no idea there were burglary bars on the inside until they tore nets, broke windows and doors. All that work for nothing.

"The gods are not to blame" by Ola Rotimi. I read the play when I was in secondary school. So, a king consults a soothsayer after the birth of his son and is told the son will grow up, kill him and marry his mother. The king deciding to be too careful, had the baby sent away to be killed. The one to do the killing feels sorry for the baby and rather abandons the baby in the bush. The baby boy is found and brought up by surrogate parents in a different town. He eventually grows up, kills his real father, the king, and marries his real mother.

There are times when a girl meets a guy who obviously has a thing for her. She might feel the same but wants to be too careful (I guess to avoid the broken heart etc. etc.) so she treads extra cautiously. Or for one reason or another she feels the whole thing is pointless because the guy might be living in a different country or her parents don't approve of the guy or something. The guy keeps pursuing the girl, the girl entertains him because she does also kinda have a thing for him. At a point, the guy realises he's being strung along, advises himself and walks away. The guy could have been the one, but the girl will never know for sure since she never gave him a real chance.

Scenario 1 - my mom made a good decision in being too careful and I'm glad she didn't listen to me.
Scenario 2 - sometimes in trying to avoid certain situations, we end up causing those very situations to happen. I'm thinking the soothsayer should have added at the end of his prediction that all he had said will come true should the king listen to him and try to take precautions. But seriously, which child in their right state of mind, living with their parents, will kill one and marry the other?
Scenario 3 - it doesn't hurt to go with what you feel sometimes. I believe in taking chances (sometimes). What's the worse that could happen? Well, I believe God will never bring me to a situation He knows I can't handle or a situation He won't see me through, so even if the worse does happen, I know I got Jesus :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Aftermath

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About V
...one of my neighbour's found my hand bag 3 days later in her backyard. Most of the contents were strewn on the ground next to it. All the items in the bag were intact save for my purse and the mobile phone that had to be held by 2 rubber bands. Another neighbour found my purse in her backyard a day later also with its contents strewn on the ground next to it. Everything was there except the GH¢10.00 ($3.33). Unfortunately, the bag plus all the items found were soggy because of the dew (I guess) so I threw most of the items including the bag away and held on to those I wanted to like my drivers license and the GH¢150.00 ($50.00) mobile phone, which actually still worked. I'm guessing the robber missed it because it was in an all black case. The other mobile phone, the one with the rubber bands he must have seen and took. The guys who caught him in my neighbourhood mentioned there was a mobile phone on him, but I was too traumatised to go take a look at the phone. I have no idea who eventually ended up with that phone.
Turns out the car the robber used had been stolen a couple of days before the incident occurred (was a good thing one guy stopped the rest from damaging the car any further).

This incident could not have happened at a worse time for me. I'd just emerged from a rigorous selection process to be one of 12 finalists on the reality TV show, "The Challenge" (I call it the Gh version of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice"), which was to begin the very next morning. Fortunately for me, the morning was a televised visit to sponsors. I had to miss out on it because I was needed at the police station to give my statement.

With the drama of everything that happened, everyone, myself included, forgot I needed to put ice on my chin  that night. Result? I woke up the next morning with what looked to me like a double chin. The second chin was blacker than the rest of me, I had bruises on my face, neck, arms and chest, and I was to be on television. Fortunately, it wasn't a beauty contest I was taking part in, but I didn't want the rest of the world (yeah, right), maybe the rest of Ghana that watched the TV station the reality show was on seeing me the way I looked. I was so self conscious that whole time especially when I had no makeup on and the cameras were in my face. Surprise, surprise, especially since I usually love the camera with or without makeup.

Thank God for makeup artists and thank God most television shows have makeup artists working on them. I had a long weave fixed, makeup hid the bruising, but my chin still looked weird (fortunately, just to me and to those that knew me). Thank God the very first task was a group one because though hair and makeup could cover up most of the physical signs of what I'd been through, none of that could help my psychological state. I was absent minded throughout most of the task, I couldn't concentrate or focus on anything (though I tried real hard), but my teammates were such gems. They just let me be and did all of the work themselves. When it came to presenting the results, they spoon fed me the easiest part to present (just so I didn't get kicked out for non-participation).

Aside the fact that the task for the next week was an individual one and I needed to up my game, I was determined not to let that incident mess up my shot at winning a postgraduate scholarship to the UK and a job in Gh upon completion.
No, I didn't win. I just didn't. Nothing to do with what happened (I think), but I got mad love for you guys, Nana Afia and Seth. You guys held me up during a very terrible time in my life, and thanks to you both, I made it past week 1 of "The Challenge".
Eviction was worse than terrifying that week. I knew if my group came up for eviction, I'd be the one to go (there was no way I could convincingly fake knowing what that week's task was about)
Thanks Nana Afia and Seth, you guys had my back the whole time and your hard work saved our group from coming up for eviction (I can so see that double chin in this picture and I'm so not imagining it)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Adventures in a Foreign Land - Support For Ghana

I was at work when the accountant walked into the office I shared with a lady from Ghana. He had in his hand a newspaper clipping of the Black Satellites of Ghana winning the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup by beating Brazil. Oh yeah, all the Ghanaians were excited about that and I was mighty surprised this guy even knew what football (aka soccer as football referred to a different sport for him) is and even more surprised that he cared. He congratulated us (myself and my office mate) and said how well the boys played (even I didn't watch the match).

Fast forward 2014, before the start of the World Cup and in a different country. I was with 3 Ghanaians and whenever we mentioned the country we are from, we instantly made new friends, the locals would gush, "wow! Asamoah Gyan", and go on to tell us how they feel Ghana will do well at the 2014 World Cup.

Congrats to the Super Green Eagles of Nigeria for making it to the next stage! Praying the Black Stars of Ghana will meet you guys there.
Go Ghana!
Go Black Stars!

Moral: it doesn't hurt to support your own country, but even if you don't, chances are, someone, somewhere is supporting your country.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About V

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About IV
...they started to disperse, and one guy who couldn't believe the robber got away, got home, was about to turn in when he decided to get a powerful lamp he had and use it to sweep the whole street, just in case. His decision yielded some results. As he swept the neighbourhood with the lamp, the light from the lamp fell on the rooftop of someone's house and there lay the robber, quietly waiting for everyone to disperse.

The guy raised the alarm and everyone came back, even those that had got to their homes. Now, this robber obviously didn't know my neighbourhood that good because he jumped from the rooftop, I guess thinking he would land in the next house. But next to this house whose roof he had chosen to lie on, is a huge gutter. So into the gutter the robber fell, the guys in my hood literally pounced on him with stones and machetes, then dragged him out of the gutter onto the next street, where they continued with the stones and machetes.

The guys wanted my brother to drive onto the next street so I could identify the robber's lifeless body. We didn't know until we got onto the next street. I almost threw up when I saw the body. I couldn't even look at the body

I appreciate the guys in my neighbourhood having my back (God knows we had had it with these robbers). My condolence to the family of the robber. I know with what he did, I could have been permanently damaged or lost my life, and it wouldn't have meant anything to him. Regardless, I am sorry he died. That's the difference between me and him and that's why I am not a robber. Me feeling bad about him losing his life actually worsened when his uncle went to the police station to write his statement (about this whole thing), and stole a mobile phone. The uncle ended up behind bars, because he was caught (who even does that? steal in a police station?). Then I started to wonder if he being a robber was due to nature or nurture or peer pressure.
RIP Mr. Robber (I never knew his name).

Nope, that wasn't the end of it...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Differences In Similarities

I was watching Tinsel last night, which is kind of a Ghanaian - Nigerian series, though I should say there's no Ghanaian left in it now because they either left or died or something. Anyways, so there's to be a memorial (for the last Ghanaian that was left and died) and one of the characters is discussing this with a bartender in the show (details of the memorial). The bartender asks the character about who handles what etc. and then he says, "what about item 7?".

The guy just made a mistake on television, but it doesn't seem he made a mistake because he repeated it, and the one he was having the conversation with seemed to understand him. I am watching and wondering, what are these people talking about?

Why did I think he made a mistake?
Item 7 refers to refreshment at a programme in Nigeria but the same thing is referred to as item 13 in Ghana. So no, he didn't make a mistake. It's referred to as item in both countries, but 7 in one and 13 in the other.

I just learned something new then.
All the best to the Super Green Eagles and the Black Stars in the 2014 World Cup. Hopefully one of them (of course Ghana) brings the cup to Africa :D

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Miss You! Want You! Need You!

I'm listening to Ms. Naa this morning on YFM and her enquiring minds question for the day was, "what was the most inappropriate gift you ever received?"

Of course I was expecting to hear her read out totally hilarious tweets (and I was ready to lol) answering the question, but of course I knew I'd never received any such gift until she reads a tweet from a guy talking about a card he'd received and then it hit me.
I had received a terrifyingly terrible card too that made me just want to gag!

In secondary school, it was Valentine's season (I already don't even like the day for other reasons) and I'm not particularly expecting to get anything. The mail comes in and is being distributed, and my name gets called out. Before I could get out of my bed, my dear friend, CAROLINE! makes a grab for my package (wasn't really a package, was just an extremely huge brown envelop) shakes it, looks through and goes like, "it looks like a card, but its way too small to be in this huge envelope" (like the whole world hadn't already noticed). Does she hand it over to me? No! Caroline opens up the envelope and out falls this card, which I think had happy val's day written on the front. She opens it up and Oh My!

Inside the card was a drawing of a teddy bear and the words:
Miss You
Want You
Need You
Of course that's sweet right? WRONG!
Because the person (my boyfriend at the time) that sent the card signed his name at the bottom of the card after he had so obviously scratched out with blade, something that had been written (obviously another name) in the card. Made me wonder what happened to pen erasers anyways, smh.
The dude sent me a used card! and CAROLINE and HARRYETTE (my friend too) had a good laugh (instead of sympathising with me) at my expense and resolved to call me "Miss You, Want You, Need You", while making funny sounds.

Totally didn't find it funny then, but I think it could be funny now if I felt like laughing.
Seriously can't believe that dude. Who does that? Why? Is sending a val's card by force?
Just the thought that counts my *#~
Miss you gals (CAROLINE & HARRYETTE).

Friday, June 06, 2014

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About IV

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About
The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About II
The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About III
..."get lost", said my brother (nah, he just told the officer to wait till a car was available at the station since the life of his dear sister is more important than a car or a robber at larger).

So off we went to the hospital. We called my aunt who is a medical doctor at this hospital, and she met us in front of the emergency ward. Now, she couldn't treat me herself because for one thing, her oldest patient would be a decade or two younger than me, plus there's the thing about family not treating family. She hands me over to one of her colleague doctors and oh my. In my pain, I was able to appreciate the beauty of God's creation and then he started talking and oh oh my. He had the most beautiful accent I ever heard, and then I actually started listening to what he was saying and then I'm thinking, like seriously? I couldn't even get excited about him touching my jaw. The dude was giving me a lecture on how wrong and dangerous what I did was and how it wasn't worth it etc. etc. (like I didn't already know). Boy was I glad to get away from him when he asked that I get an x-ray of my jaw and chest (we could have been such good friends but he messed it all up with that lecture, now I don't even remember his name and I'm sure it's all his fault).

Thank God, no broken anything or anything funny in the x-ray. I got some pain killers, the doctor filled out the form and I was out of the hospital. I couldn't believe I made it out of that whole thing with just some aches and pains, a few scratches on my neck and arms and a rather nasty sore on my leg (which I still have a not so nice scar of). Matter of fact, I still can't believe it, but it was by the grace of God, so I believe it. Of course I have learnt from my foolishness.
Let the bag go!

My brother and I get to my hood and a bunch of guys stop us just as he was driving onto my street. The guys wanted us to drive to the next street. Why?
After we left, the hunt for the robber continued and it turned out the robber was still in the neighbourhood, but basically jumping from one house to the next. I guess he was scared to get out of the area as he could sense the guys meant business. One of the guys involved in the hunt managed to slash the leg of the robber when he saw him hiding behind someone's hen coop. The robber however managed to get away. The hunt still continued. Eventually, the guys decided to give up since they figured the robber had probably escaped. Just as they were turning round to leave my street, one of the guys noticed that another one of the guys involved in the hunt was bleeding from his leg. Then it hit him. Then he raised the alarm. Oh my! Turns out the robber was involved in his own hunt!
The alarm raised, the hunt resumed with the robber back on the run and the guys in my hood determined not to let him escape. They however had to give up the hunt again...

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About III

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About
The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About II
... nothing! There was nothing in that hand bag worth losing my life over, but I had clung to it like there was a gold mine in there. Contents of hand bag:
1. a mobile phone that needed to be held together by 2 rubber bands
2. another mobile phone (fairly new) that at the time cost not more than GH¢150.00=$50.00*
3. 2 notepads and a couple of pens
4. my daily prayer book
5. cash worth GH¢10.00 = $3.33*
*I should add that at that time, GH¢1.00 was equivalent to $1.00, so the cost in $ were relatively higher

For me it wasn't about a gold mine in the bag (I wish), it was more of me feeling the bag was mine and the guy had no right to snatch it (me feeling violated), that I'd say informed my not so smart decision to hold on to it.

My mummy opens the gate and is going all like what happened etc. etc., but before I could say anything, the old ladies in my hood were right behind me and they just jumped in and told my mum my story, while I stood by and didn't get the opportunity to get a word in edgewise. Of course they got most of the story wrong, but before I could say anything, they had managed to somehow convince my mum to forget about me, leave me behind, and head to the scene.

I went inside my house first to find some slippers (totally proves I wasn't crazy) and then I headed up the road to the scene. It was my story. No way was I going to let a bunch of nice old ladies mess it up.

I get to the junction and a bunch of guys from my hood were smashing the wind shield (front & back) of the car. One guy was trying to stop them, but that didn't work until he explained that the car might also be stolen.

Now, there's a whole crowd (that's those not involved in the hunt) around, and me, the star (I so wish) had arrived and people were still telling their own versions of my story.

According to the bread and egg seller, she saw the car follow me from the first street onto hers and then onto my street. Did she do anything about it? No. So I wasn't particularly interested. According to this guy who was sitting in front of his gate a few metres away from where everything happened, he saw me get onto my street, he saw the car pull up next to me and then he saw the struggle, and then he got up and walked into his house. Yes, I remember seeing him and I remember when I first started screaming thief it was for his benefit (cos he was the only one I could see on my street), but when he got up, that's when I switched to shouting out thief in local languages.

Why did he get up and leave? He thought I knew the guy and we were having a lovers tiff and he didn't want to get involved. I almost screamed out, "like seriously!", but before I did, my mummy said I needed to go get myself checked out in a hospital (most reasonable thing I had heard all evening). Just then my brother drives onto my street, my mum brings him up to speed on the night's happenings, and tells him to take me first to the police station and then to the hospital.

We get to the police station, make a verbal report and I'm handed a hospital form and asked to go get myself checked, and make sure the attending doctor fills out the form. Just before my brother and I head on out of the station, one of the officers approaches us and says he needs to get to my hood since the robber is still at large, and secure the car as well.

He needed a ride from my brother since there was no car at the station. Like seriously...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Adventures in a Foreign Land - Girl on a Mission, Disapproving Adult!

I'm in a restaurant and this girl keeps walking up and down, seemingly with an aim. She stops at almost all the tables with men seated on them, whips out her phone, talks to the guys, they say something, she punches something in on her phone, and then moves on. I really couldn't see what she was doing, but I just guessed she was taking phone numbers. I honestly wanted her to stop at my table (there were 4 guys on it), but she didn't. I hope it had nothing to do with the not too nasty (at least I hope it wasn't) look I kept giving her. In my head, I knew what was going on, in my other head, I wanted to find out if she was starting a men only monastery.

So let me describe the girl a bit. Her hair was cut real short and had been dyed blond. Her dress was short, but not too short. It just looked really short from behind cos some part of her lifted the dress up thus making it look real short. Now, I would talk about her behind, but I won't. Cos for me, as a very straight female, it caught my attention, but I had come to realise that behinds like that on girls/women in that part of the world was nothing out of the ordinary. The very weird thing about her though was she had this way of walking that (I wish I could describe it) made her behind appear more endowed than it already was.

Me, my disapproving thoughts in my head with my nasty look on my face, then an older lady next to me comments, "I don't know how things are in your country, but I don't like the look of that girl". Well, neither did I, but I realised one thing,

Moral: adults will always be adults no matter what part of the world they are from.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Games Men Play

Roverman Productions in partnership with Joy FM and National Theatre presents: "Games Men Play".


A play written and directed by Uncle Ebo Whyte.

Venue: National Theatre
Date: 24th, 25th, 31st May & 1st June
Time: 1st show 4pm, 2nd show 8pm
Rate: GH¢50.00

It is the day of Black Stars first match at the World Cup in Brazil and the manager of the team finds himself in several battles even before his team faces the USA. Players flout camp discipline and pull strings to get away with it; his assistant is busily scheming to unseat him; spiritualists invade the camp; terrorists are threatening to blow the team up and a powerful man from Ghana is dying to be seen as the man in charge. In addition to all these, the manager must keep his head as two women fight for his love at the worst possible time and a wife appoints herself a vigilante for her husband's fidelity. And this is all happening even before kickoff.

For recharge and ticket enquiries: Airtel Short Code 466 or call 026 109 4100.

Tickets are available at Shell Shops at Airport, Community 11, Achimota & Sakaman; Joy FM; Baatsona Total; Frankies (Osu); Jane-Ann Supermarket; Airtel Outlets at Accra Mall & Ring Road.
To recharge old tickets, log onto www.rovermanproductions.com

Alternatively, tickets can be paid for via Airtel Money at a 10% discount.
1. Dial *500#
2. Select Make Payment
3. Select Other
4. Type ROVERMAN
5. Enter Amount
6. Enter your name as Reference Number (e.g. Efua Dentaa)
7. Confirm payment details with your Airtel Money PIN
8. Present the confirmation text that will be sent to you at the gate for entry
*A charge of GH¢0.50 applies.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Unforgettable Weekend in Durban!

Yebo, I had so much fun, if I decide to write about it, the post could pass for a PhD thesis.
So, I'll stick to pictures mostly. Well, and then there's the thing about a picture being worth 1,000 words, and then of course I can get more people jealous with pictures (totally not my intention).
Day 1
Sala kahle Accra! Sawubona Durban!
Day 2

The view from the hotel & my room was just breathtaking! The hotel itself was spectacular
A city tour had me exploring as much of Durban as I could before lunch
Time to relax, unwind and experience unlimited fun at uShaka Marine World
I could've been in picture number 2, but most important thing is, I did get the picture with the sharks :D
Dinner, and then it was time to hit the club!
Day 3
I was humbled by my experience with the rich Zulu culture at Phezulu village. And then I shared a coke with Lungi
Picture with a crocodile (checking to be sure it didn't have access to any of my body parts), selfie with a giraffe (no lions in Phezulu safari park and then there's a selfie with some zebras too (though they look so tiny in the picture)!
The Game drive was the best ride I have had ever! (just had to add that).

Food, glorious food! Magical food, wonderful food, marvelous food at Cubana!
Day 4
Yebo, BRAI
Had pap too! What can I say? More food, glorious food at Max's Lifestyle, Umlazi
And I did shop till I literally dropped at Gateway Mall
Explored the city a bit and then had me some dinner
Day 5
Can't believe I'm leaving this room. Awwwwwww... the view *sob sob*
The last breakfast
Breathed in my last beachfront air and then it was sala kahle Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
Ngiyakukhumbula kakhulu already
All too soon, back at King Shaka Airport, headed back to Accra
This was one weekend I can't forget about even if I tried.
Thanks be to God for a wonderful and safe trip.

Ngiyabonga kakhulu South African Tourism, Ngiyabonga kakhulu GMA, Ngiyabonga kakhulu Yfm. None of this would have been possible without you.

I should so add that I am on a meat free diet until further notice!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

And Then I Was A Celebrity Again!

I could so get used to this.
Actually, this is getting to feel natural.
So, I done the interviews (more when I get back) and I'm just about to be flown outside Gh, and then I get chauffeur driven to a luxury hotel, and then I get to tour Durban while living large. All of this is by the grace of God and I am grateful.

Thank you South African Tourism, thank you Global Media Alliance (GMA), thank you YFM.
I promise to have too much fun, and hopefully, I get a selfie  with a shark when I go shark cage diving (nah, my phone isn't exactly water resistant). Ok, I'll just settle for one with a lion (or lion cub) on the safari.

If I don't put up anything in a week or less, means either I didn't survive the selfie or I just got lazy.
Adios Gh, even if it's just for a few days!

Friday, April 25, 2014

As Useless As...

There really are hardly any bank robberies in Ghana. I'm sure (not 100%) in my lifetime, I've heard of only one. So, it really doesn't surprise me that police officers providing security at a bank (I guess against potential bank robberies that never happen) find other means of entertaining themselves, like doubling as parking attendants and firing AK47 rifles at innocent persons. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the AK47 rifles these officers wield have never been fired and I'm sure that irks these officers too.
I promise, I don't have a personal thing against Ghana Police
This police officer is stationed at a bank in Accra. The security at the bank that day were busy bickering with persons who had parked in the bank's parking lot without entering the bank (finding parking really is a problem in Accra). Rather than get involved, this officer deciding he wasn't a parking attendant, decided he taking 40 winks would be a more profitable use of his time.

I just got 3 questions for him.
1. Should armed robbers invade the bank, will he bother to go after them, and if so, will he:
(a) take his slippers off to go after them?
(b) go after them with his slippers on?
2. Is he aware that according to a PRO of the Ghana Police Service, should the AK47 rifle fall and hit the ground, it will start firing  (that's how smart Ghana Police officers really are)?
3. Did the possibility of a potential robber picking up his rifle and using it to rob the bank, or a madman/woman or psycho picking up the rifle and doing with it as they please occur to him?

So I ask, what really is the essence of police officers at a bank? Waste of tax payers money if you ask me. And oh, the only bank robbery I ever heard of in Gh, well, the robbers got away with the money, and yes, there was police security at the bank at the time.
So, how useful is police presence at a bank?

All this to arrest a taxi driver? Really please, each of you just hold a tyre of the taxi. That will absolutely ensure the car won't move
Security in Ghana really have a totally weird-ed out way of tackling problems.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!

Unless Ecobank wants to initiate Sunday Banking, then really, no one expected you open on the 20th. It will be interesting to see you open on 21st (Easter Monday) though

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Open Letter To The Inspector General Of Police (IGP), Ghana Police Service

Dear IGP,
Your officers have gone rogue.

I apologise if that sounds harsh but I really do not know how else to describe some of your officers after the Cal Bank Shooting.

First, an officer of yours gets upset with someone and opens fire inside a banking hall without a care to the fact that there were other customers in the bank. Then, a PRO of your office chooses to brand the target of the shooting as a suspected armed robber, a suspicious person and finally an innocent person, without even apologising for the first 2 names he (the PRO) called him. Honestly, it makes me wonder:
1. What qualifies a person to be accepted into the Ghana Police Service?
2. What qualifies an officer of the Ghana Police Service to be given a firearm?
3. What qualifies an officer to be called a PRO of the Ghana Police Service?
4. When a person identifies him/herself as a PRO of the Ghana Police Service, when he/she speaks about a police case publicly, does that mean his/her words echo your thoughts as IGP? If so, DSP Freeman Tettey is belittling your thought processes.
5. If there is a case involving two civilians, and the Ghana Police Service through its PRO decides to comment, does the PRO speak about what only one party said, or does the PRO speak about what both parties said, or does the PRO remain silent and say the police service will comment after investigations are complete?
6. Should the same in 5. above apply when the case involves one policeman and one civilian?
7. If a PRO of the Ghana Police Service speaks, and there is no counter information from the IGP or a representative of the IGP, does that mean the IGP spoke through the PRO?
8. Does DSP Freeman Tettey have PR training? If so, where did he receive his PR training from?
9. DSP Freeman Tettey said last week after he was done with all his name calling that the police were waiting for the CCTV footage from Cal Bank. Has the Ghana Police Service been able to review the CCTV footage of Cal Bank?
10. If the Ghana Police Service has reviewed the CCTV footage of Cal Bank from the day of the incident, am I pushing in asking that we (Ghanaians) wish to hear what the police service has to say after their review of the footage? Or was it apt on the part of the Ghana Police Service though DSP Freeman Tettey to attempt to ruin a person's reputation when no footage had been seen, but after reviewing the footage (video evidence) that may vindicate a suspected armed robber (according to the police service), the police service keeps mum on the issue? Even DSP Freeman Tettey, who has had so much to say has gone silent.
11. Finally, as IGP, how do you advise your men to handle suspected armed robbers?

Does the Ghana Police Service ever apologise when all shows and proves that the service was wrong? I ask this because, I picked up the Daily Graphic today and there was a story that had me laughing all day. Story was captioned Campaign to boost public confidence in police starts tomorrow. Writing it out here has got me laughing so hard some more. Oh my! Looks like I'm getting all teary eyed.

Seriously?
You care what the public thinks about the police? You haven't acted like it at all. How about we ask families of persons who have been shot dead by police officers and have been told the person shot by the police was actually an armed robber, when all indications show the person was most likely killed by a stray bullet, what they think about the police. I am going too far. How about we ask someone who was shot in a banking hall by a police officer just because he could, and just when he thought it was just one police officer with issues, he hears the next morning that a PRO of the police service obviously speaking for you, IGP and for the whole police service calling him a suspected armed robber, and then video evidence which has obviously vindicated him is watched by the police and none of them, not even their vociferous PRO has anything to say. Ask him how he feels about the police. And oh, ask an innocent man who was placed in Nsawam prison on remand for 14 years and having 2 of his finger nails plucked out by police officers how he feels about the police.

It doesn't hurt to say, I was wrong, I am sorry. It doesn't hurt to say my man/men made a mistake, please accept my apology. Until the police learn to get off their high horse and do that, I'm sorry (see how easy that was to say) what you are trying to do, will remain a joke to a whole bunch of us. In other words, it will fail abysmally. We are human, we are all fallible. Accepting that is the first step to being a better person/institution.

I however haven't forgotten that, "there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but let there never be a time when we fail to protest".

Yours sincerely,
Efua Dentaa.

P.S. Why am I going off on this whole PR thing? Well, let's see, could be because I hold an MPhil in the subject.
And oh, the person your officer shot and wounded who was called a suspected armed robber still has shrapnel (bullet fragments) in both legs that doctors say is not advisable to remove as their removal might lead to other complications. Imagine living the rest of your life knowing you have foreign unwanted material (bullet parts) in your body (the psychological trauma).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Open Letter To Cal Bank

Dear Management of Cal Bank,
The Cal Bank Shooting is as much your problem as Ghana police and the victims.

Trying to act like an ostrich will not make it go away neither will it make it not your problem. After the incident, you have issued out one statement stating you have been informed of the incident, the injured were given medical care, the incident has been reported to the police (out of curiosity, who reported? you or one of the victims?), you are cooperating with the police investigation and the safety of your customers has always been of paramount concern to you so customers should continue to do their business as usual with you. Seriously? If you are concerned about the safety of your customers, either you show it or issue them bullet proof vests and helmets before they enter your bank.

When there is a crisis, you manage it (yes, this is very much a crisis for Cal Bank) that is why there's something called crisis management. Never heard of a wing (no pun intended) of it called "ostrich crisis management", which really is what you are practicing. Your statement could have started off as you stating how appalled you are by the incident that occurred in your bank (who was right, who was wrong, it was after all appalling), offering your sympathies to the victims of the incident and their families, assuring your customers of their safety in your branches and assuring them you are cooperating with Ghana police in their investigation. Don't urge them to do business with you. Makes you come across as insensitive. Lives could have been lost. That would have sounded like something written by persons with feelings not something written by an automated machine only concerned about profit making. A statement like that does not come across as you judging the situation nor refusing to assist with the police investigation. I know your tag line is "bank on our service" and not "bank on our human relations", but I must have mistook the service you talk about to include human relations. My bad. You are a bank and your service really is collecting people's money and making profits off of it. How they live and die really is no concern of yours. Leave that to human rights activists.

Another thing Management of Cal Bank, if you are not aware, well, officials at your branch where the incident happened, Derby Avenue, are. Your security men at that branch sold (who knows? maybe they still do) parking spaces to shoppers in Accra. So, you get to Accra to shop, can't find parking, you park in front of the bank, pay something to security over there then you go do your shopping. I am guessing proceeds were shared with the policeman at the centre of all this. Why then would a security man, send a policeman after a man because of parking space? Why would the policeman oblige? Something must have driven him. Unless Ghana police can come out and prove that he was under the influence of drugs/alcohol or was controlled by juju or their officers now double as caretakers of parking lots, I'd like to speculate and say the love of money drove him to what he did. Did I already say officials of the branch knew this? They knew and did nothing until this incident happened. Imagine they had put a stop to it. Now, imagine someone comes out to say your security has collected money from them to park over there before. Don't rule that out just yet. It just might happen.

And oh, you saw the communication that was coming from Ghana police and you, having some of your staff witnessing what happened and watching everything on your own CCTV said nothing?

Remember, "there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but let there never be a time when we fail to protest".

Sincerely,
Efua Dentaa.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Open Letter to Ghanaian Media

Dear Media of Ghana,
With reference to the Cal Bank Shooting, ASK RELEVANT QUESTIONS!

Many thanks to media who told the story of the victim. For the media who chose to set the agenda for Ghana police, you forget that you each have bank accounts and this unfortunate and extremely bizarre incident could happen to you. I guess if it happened to you, you wouldn't be telling the story of Ghana police but your own story. Sometimes in certain situations, it helps to put yourself in the shoes of the other person before you act.

Media men and women of Ghana, I was under the impression you are supposed to be neutral and impartial. I was under the impression you are supposed to be a check on society for all Ghanaians. We all will not be able to interview the public relations officer of Ghana police and make ourselves heard or question certain things. The media has that opportunity and under normal circumstance is to do that for all Ghanaians. In a situation where a case is pending investigation and there are two sides to it, does it hurt to quote what each side has to say and add that the case is under investigation? However, you are free to pick a side. It is after all your media and you are free to do with it as you please. It'd however be a very good idea if you pick the side that is telling the truth (you do have investigative journalists don't you?). Otherwise you'll just come out looking foolish as you will have to keep changing your story as and when the side you chose changes their story.

Ask relevant questions! It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise they should ask Ghana police why a suspected armed robber was shot by one of their officers and was never arrested, never charged for any crime and has been a freeman ever since the incident. If Ghana police honestly felt this person was a criminal, trust me, he would have been behind bars right after the offending officer told his side of the story. It doesn't take a rocket scientist either to realise they should ask how an AK47 fires 3 times on its own during a struggle. Why? Was it locally manufactured?

For the media who did not have the contact and opportunity to interview the victim, heard the Ghana police account, went on ahead to get experts into their studios and question and discuss what Ghana police was saying, God bless you. You showed your media house is run by human beings with feelings. For those who chose to ingest all they were being fed by Ghana police, no questions asked and tried to feed it back to Ghanaians, really? Was under the impression that all journalists were trained to be more open minded than that.

Interestingly enough, no one seems interested in getting Cal Bank's account of events. Aside the statement Cal Bank gave out, which really was speaking in their own interest, nothing. Did I already mention that I was under the impression that the media acted as a check on society? I really would love to be patriotic as some media houses have chosen to focus on this month of March and not say what I am about to, but tell me, how does one stay patriotic to a country where its police shoot and injure you, try to tarnish your image and a section of its media aid its police in covering it up thus making themselves look good? Would any international media have handled this incident like some Ghanaian media have? Would the media of developed countries have handled this as some Ghanaian media did? Or Ghana is not there yet?

Remember, "there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but let there never be a time when we fail to protest".

Sincerely,
Efua Dentaa.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Open Letter To Ghanaians

Dear People of Ghana,
I hope we all have heard about the Cal Bank Shooting. For those who haven't, and for non-Ghanaians who don't know what is happening in Ghana, and for those who have heard a twisted version fabricated by #GhanaPolice, Cal Bank Shooting. This account of the incident which happened on Saturday, March 8, 2014 was given by the victim.

For accurate reportage, which some Ghanaian media who have chosen to set the agenda for Ghana Police are not doing, I should include the story Ghana Police is telling (represent both sides of the story). Thing is, I cannot. Why? Because I don't know which story to upload. I have lost count of the different versions of the Ghana Police account of events since Sunday, March 9, 2014. The victim has moved from a suspected armed robber who struggled with the police officer over the officer's AK47, hence it misfiring, to a suspicious character who transacted no business in the bank, yet hang around the bank and caused the police officer to fire when confronted, to still a suspicious character transacting no business in the bank and the AK47 firing in the process of the officer handcuffing him. Today, the Ghana Police story is the event was a "mishap" and that there had been "negligence and recklessness on the part of the policeman, leading to the unlawful cause of harm to the three innocent persons". Today, Ghana Police counts the victim among innocent people. The story of the victim has however remained the same.

Why should Ghanaians be concerned? After all, not all of us are foolhardy enough to return a policeman's slap even when the slap was unwarranted. Well, there were two other victims who were shot. These were innocent bystanders who were in the banking hall transacting business. Either of them could have lost their life. Either one of them could have been any one of us. Let us not forget that there is at least one armed policeman in front of every bank in Ghana. This could have happened in any bank.

To all Cal Bank customers, future customers and all Ghanaians, in all of this, the bank has issued one statement. Cal Bank's Statement telling Ghanaians to keep doing business with them and everything is safe in their banks despite what happened. Meanwhile, officials of the bank and workers of the bank were present when all this was going down and the bank has, and has watched their own CCTV footage of the incident. Cal Bank has seen and heard how Ghana Police have decided to report the incident and have said nothing. This incident involved their very own customer. It appears the bank is more concerned about business going on as usual in their banks than about their customer and the fact that three of their customers could have died due to the negligence of one Ghanaian policeman. The bank is ignoring the fact that the image of their customer is gradually being tarnished by the very same Ghana police that tried to kill him for no valid reason (do they even care about that). It would probably be better if time was taken to assure Ghanaians of the provision of bullet proof vests for Cal Bank customers by the bank. At least that would show some care and concern on their part.

Ghanaians and the rest of the world, let us open our eyes and see what Ghana police has done and has been trying to do. Let us open our eyes and see just how much a bank cares about its own customer.

Remember,"there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but let there never be a time when we fail to protest".

Sincerely,
Efua Dentaa.

Friday, March 07, 2014

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About II

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About
... and then the strap of the hand bag snapped causing two things to happen.
1. I was flung into the gutter to my left. Not sure, but I felt the pain in my chin and then in my chest, so I'd say I fell in the gutter chin first.
2. The rear tyre of the car was thrown into the same gutter.

I remember feeling slightly dazed.
Someone or some people helped me out of the gutter and then I notice one of my shoes had fallen off. So then I decide to search for it. Found it in the gutter just where I fell and then I start to search for an earring that had also fallen off (I totally loved those earrings and the shoes too). After about 2 minutes, I give up the search for the missing earring (I must have realised the futility of my searching for an earring at about 10:45pm). I then move towards the car looking inside as though I was searching for something. Someone comes up behind me and asks what I'm looking for. I then tell this person (and anyone interested) that I was searching for my hand bag. Suddenly, one guy pops up seemingly out of no where and says the thief jumped over a wall with it.

Thus begun the mad hunt for the thief.

Me, after seeing all the curious stares I was receiving, some of them a mixture between curiosity and "the girl's gone crazy", and realising my hand bag was gone, I left all them people behind speculating as to what had happened and I set off to my house, wearing one shoe, the other in my hand, wearing one earring and the other most likely lying somewhere on the ground.

I get to the front of my house and bang on the gate. My keys to open the gate were in the stolen hand bag. My mum opens a window and shouts asking who it was. I guess she heard the commotion coming from the junction and was minding her own business in her house, not wanting to get mixed up with all that, and being all extra careful by checking who was banging on her gate before opening it.

Little did she know that all that ruckus had to do with her very own daughter, me. And then I start acting almost like someone who had just been through what I had.
I start sobbing and wailing and somewhere in there, I manage a, "mummy, he took my bag"... (what was in that bag?)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About

There is a not so flattering scar on my leg to remind me of it, but then again, how many times do I look at my leg in a year?

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a hair salon in my neighbourhood when one of the neighbourhood guys walks in and says whats up to me. The ladies in the salon surprised ask how he knows me. Reason? I keep to myself a lot (always have) and hardly speak to anyone in my hood. Then the guy says, "oh, your salon is new here. This young lady helped get rid of thieves in this area".

Some 7 years ago (wow, seems like eons ago. how come the scar isn't totally obliterated?), just out of uni (translates to I had no job and no money aside what generous members of my family would give), I was heading home from a programme. It was about 10:30pm and I was in a bus (trotro). I hated taking the bus home (for varied reasons) but I really didn't have a choice. My car broke down a couple of weeks before and no one was willing to fix it (did I already say 'just out of uni').

I get to my junction and I get off the bus. I could have used one of two routes home, and I chose to use the one I never use. Why? Because there was this guy who kept staring at me funny in the bus who got off at the same bus stop, and headed in the direction of my usual route. So I thought, why not use the other route. It didn't matter to me at the time that the street I wanted to walk on was too quiet as compared to the one I usually take, which had a pub and a store on it that closed well after midnight.

I move from the main road (the bus stop) to this very quiet street and I instantly start feeling uncomfortable, so I walk as fast as my legs would carry me (which wasn't that fast. anyone who knows me would know why, plus I was in heels). You know how sometimes you can feel someone staring at you from behind? I think I've read it in books as "the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end", that's exactly how I felt. I would turn around every once in a while but saw nothing out of the ordinary.

Then I made the first turn and I felt better. Why? There was a bread and egg seller on this street I was on, and she had quite a number of customers at that time. Now, I relaxed a bit, but still walked as fast as my legs would carry me, and then I made it onto my street. I was convinced something was going to happen but I felt I was home free, or so I thought.

I was walking on the left side of the road with my hand bag hanging on my right shoulder, when this car at top speed, makes the turn onto my street. Thoroughly angry, I turn around ready to scream obscenities at the driver, but I didn't have to bother because the car came to an abrupt stop right next to me. Now I'm thinking that at least the driver was considerate and didn't want me to over utilise my vocal chords by screaming so he had come to me to receive his scolding (who even does that). I open my mouth ready to speak (I was still thoroughly angry) when the driver speaks first and asks me for directions to a bar. I stop for a second thinking about the name of the bar and thinking it sounded awfully familiar (all thoughts of the scolding he deserved out of my mind). I stopped for a second too long.

In that second, the driver of the car lunged for my hand bag and I did the most stupid thing anyone in that position could ever do. I held on. I struggled with him, and then I started shouting "thief", "thief". When I realised nothing was happening and no one was coming to my aide, I shouted thief in two different Ghanaian languages. Just then, I heard the steps of people running towards where I was, I guess from the bread and egg seller's place.

That was when the driver of the car went into reverse and stepped on the accelerator and moved with the same speed he had made the turn with. I'm not sure, but I think I fell chest first onto the ground because I was on the ground, but I first felt this sharp pain in my chest when I hit the ground. Now, I was screaming alright, but in pain. My voice however didn't sound like my own (it sounded too low for someone that was in the situation I was) and the sound of the car's engine totally muffled whatever sound did come out of me. Now, I just wanted to let go of the hand bag, but it was seemingly glued to my hand, and my hand wasn't doing what I so desperately wanted it to do; to let go of the bag.

So here I was, my right hand attached to my hand bag, a guy driving a car and holding on to a part of this same hand bag, the guy in the car and me outside the car and on the ground. Me, the hand bag, the guy and the car were all in motion, being powered by the engine of the car, which was of course controlled by the guy's foot on the accelerator. I knew once he made the turn off my street, and should I make it onto the main road with him, I was a goner.
Prior to that, I know I'd always told myself that should I ever be in a life threatening situation, I would say my last prayers. Thing is, I wanted to live and saying my last prayers meant I was ready to give up, which I wasn't.

All I kept saying over and over again was, "Jesus, help me"...

Damaged Goods

Roverman Productions in partnership with Vodafone, National Theatre & Joy FM present: DAMAGED GOODS An Ebo Whyte play The Ark...