Sunday, 12 July 2009

So he's gone

Ghana had the opportunity to host the biggest personality in the World at the moment and arguably (because some people will want to argue) the most powerful man on earth, along with his family. With his arrival was accompanied by euphoria and excitement – Obama fever or Obamamania. Obama came here ‘some’! [And President Mills came through for us by speaking very carefully, hurray!!]
But now that he has gone I want to say something...
Before that, I hope we all heard what Barack Obama said oooh. One of the things that I felt was most poignant was what he said about Africa’s future depending on Africans! [Amazing how he had to come all that way to tell us that, huh?] I’m sure those who were expecting millions of dollars to be carried out of Air Force One and shared were quite disappointed at that. Guess we have to quit looking for a saviour now, because we have to look to ourselves. He did promise the US would partner us in our efforts though, and I have no doubt Mr. Obama will honour his promise. Ghana has been given a great assignment, and we have a lot to do to make sure that we can help to point the way forward for other countries. The four key areas he mentioned in his address were democracy; (creation of) opportunity; health and peaceful resolution of conflict...enough about that.
I was already very embarrassed by the state officials who behaved like toddlers about to meet Father Christmas at the Airport. I didn’t feel better watching the parliamentarians clamour to shake Obama’s hand. The front row suddenly quadrupled in number as they virtually climbed over each other, stretching from many feet away and shaking vigorously when they got hold of him. It’s true though that he is such an inspirational and charismatic leader that he inspires such responses from people. I do wish they, dignified members of such an august house, had exercised some restraint...or should I say decorum. But I’ll forgive them because it is Obama, but if they do that again, they will see. After all even JJ had a camera and was taking pictures, though he didn’t seem amused. I’m sure he didn’t like what the MPs were doing either.
The people who upset me the most though were GTV, station of the nation with their coverage. Their angles were terrible and the picture would shake at times. Was is my TV or would the colour lose its temper and leave? Hmm. The commentary was horrible; I don’t know where the commentators/panellists came from. Some of the topics the commentators chose to talk about were simply baffling. [I would like to say kudos to Metro TV, for empanelling the best panel on TV the night that Obama landed on Good Evening Ghana]. We kept hearing people talking in the studio background “Look at JJ” “Kuffour is giving an interview”. Oh! Asem ben kraa ni? Did this have to happen while the whole world was watching? I hope after this they are given new equipment and some training sessions. Who knows who will decide to come next now that Obama has come and we were mentioned at Michael Jackson’s memorial?? Madonna might decide to come and adopt from here too. Ghana Police too will have to be given lessons in super-security measures for super stars and world leaders, in case they don't bring as many of their security personnel like Mr. Obama.
I also wondered if blocking so many roads was the best way to ensure Mr. Obama’s safety and security. I am almost 100% sure that no Ghanaian wants to kill him. The road blocks caused such a wide array of inconvenience for so many people. One woman interviewed on TV3 said she had left the house early but still ended up being late for her exam; one man had to carry his sick daughter to a hospital. I guess some things cannot be helped though. It's good to be important oh.
Well, so he's gone...a few roads have been given facelifts [he should have been given a tour round Accra, that would have fixed a lot of roads oh; some hawkers were ejected and some rubbish cleared. A few places in Cape Coast are looking great and Cape Coasters are happy.
So now what???

Saturday, 11 July 2009


Obama has landed and I’m star struck. My mother chose to watch the GTV [station of the nation]’s coverage of the event. The commentator [whose name I unfortunately didn’t catch] almost quenched my fire with his droning voice and irksome commentary. Anyway, Air Force One touched down and we were left in suspense for some time. I couldn’t wait to see what Michelle was wearing. The [mostly white, American] security personnel were in position [I didn’t see many of the 10,000 Ghanaian police officers though; I guess the Americans only trust their security].
The President walked with his wife to meet him [was it me or was his walk a little wobbly?] with an entourage of high ranking officials and important Ghanaians. Finally the man and his family came out [was his elder daughter wearing flip-flops? Ei, she too?] I was pleasantly surprised to see how he greeted everyone, actually chatting for a while and even cracking jokes with some people. It was very refreshing to watch, he seemed genuinely interested in the people he was meeting. That was when I noticed it...was that a phone?? Oh my!! One of the people in the line-up to meet him was actually filming it all...and another, taking pictures>>>> what would the ordinary pedestrian do? Did i almost forget to mention that they had to be kept in line and kept sneaking peeks, as if he wouldn't talk to them in just a few minutes. I do understand that the visit is historic and that they were as star struck as I am, but ebei!!! Ah ba!!!
The Obamas were also interested in the cultural display, and even nearly made an attempt to dance. I say nearly because I couldn’t see much because of the awful camera angle, I could only tell because bothe Barack and Michelle were taller than most people standing around them. Suddenly, as soon as the magic began, it ended. The security personnel [who didn’t seem too happy with all the fraternizing] whisked their president and his family away, and left the gathering surely thinking or exclaiming to themselves “ei menso mehyia Obama!”

Friday, 10 July 2009

this??? again!??

I noticed the shortage on the 4th of July, and now petrol queues have appeared all over...i don't want to talk. not yet


Obama is fact he is almost here...and obama fever is on!! I love it!! Nigerians are boiling but there’s nothing to be done. His biography has been shown on TV so many times, I’m beginning to know the scenes by rote; roads are being blocked; musicians composing songs ; from t-shirts to biscuits with Obama on it; an Obama lookalike has even been found, complete with his ears!...Obama mania is here!!! Obama and his family are coming! Several gold-digging boys I know have mapped out strategies to get Malia and Sasha to marry them as soon as they are of age. Isn’t it good to see a black American famous worldwide for something other than entertainment? And not just anything but as ‘the whole’ American president...whaaaat!
I have refused to interest myself with whatever reason he gave for coming [because I know it is oil] but I’m glad that he is. Unfortunately for me I’m not well this weekend so I will not be privileged to catch a glance of him [or even his motorcade as it passes by ‘whiiiim’] anywhere this weekend.
But what are we going to say? Obama give as money?? Taking for granted that the name Obama will come out flawlessly from our Excellency’s lips. I for one won’t forgive him if he repeats any ecominy or ofumtuo or coursety this weekend, at all. Daabi daabi. I wish we could show him something progressive, that yes, we too we can...let’s wait and see.
And what are we going to show him? La Poly clinic? I hope that road has been fixed because even his beast of a limo can be derailed by those monster potholes. Cape Coast? Not bad, after all he’s a tourist and it’s not too far away. I hope on the way he doesn’t see our petrol queues. I also hope we don’t force Malia and Sasha to experience light-off or water shortage. No doubt, having been to Kenya, Obama has experienced both.
I hear that about 10,000 police personnel have been dispatched to protect Barack and his Family, but I have a feeling there are enough people and fire power in that American fortress at Cantonments to guard them. Who is protecting us Ghanaians from armed robbery in the mean time?? Let’s hope the armed robbers too will want to see Obama, and forget their plans for the weekend....
More to come..

The Hoax that never was

The news of Michael Jackson’s death was received with disbelief by many people. As someone’s facebook status said “How can a whole Michael JACKSON DIE??” We all hoped it would turn out to be a stunt or hoax, so we could suck our teeth or sigh in relief or say “Ah, Michael paa”. It is always difficult to accept the sudden death of a person dear to you, especially when there was no warning, such as sickness...and that’s how it felt for Michael Jackson fans
For me the sight of the hearse carrying Michael Jackson’s remains in the beautiful coffin made it all very real. Even the King of Pop had to answer when the King of Kings called. His memorial service was the most beautiful and touching service that I’ve ever had the privilege to witness. I really admired the strength and love of the Jackson family. That’s what family should be about, supporting each other when it matters. The performances were heartfelt and respectful; and the crowd was solemnly appreciative. Maya Angelou’s ‘We had him’, read by Queen Latifah summed up all the feelings and emotions we felt. Usher and Stevie Wonder were amazing, and yet conveyed such profound feelings of loss. Al Sharpton’s speech got thumbs up and a cheer from me, ‘Bo ho biom’.
The man himself was enigmatic and there were many controversies surrounding him but he was without question one of the most iconic people on the planet. Who doesn’t [didn’t] know Michael Jackson? Or had never heard his name? His brother Marlon said some heartfelt words, wondering if in death Michael would now be left alone. Uri Geller, at whose 2001 wedding Michael acted as best man, is quoted as saying, “The great tragedy is that Michael was not permitted to be the simple, humble man he always was”.
My heart goes out to his children, and I cried when his daughter, Paris Michael declared the King of Pop as “the best father you could ever imagine”. At the end of the day Michael Jackson –son, brother, uncle, friend, humanitarian, musician, entertainer...whatever; whether you’re a lover or hater, critic or fan, believer or sceptic, passionate or indifferent; the man whose presence and impact worldwide cannot be denied or undermined, he was just a regular dad who meant the world to his heartbroken kids.


As sad as I, I could not help but preen my feathers proudly as Ghana was mentioned three times during the CNN coverage of events and once in Maya Angelou’s poem, for the whole world to hear [Obama coming here must have helped too]. I intend to rub it in the face of any Nigerian friend I meet for a long time to come.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Emergency 111 calls

I was one of the numerous Ghanaians complaining about the service I was getting from MTN (once Areeba/Spacefon). I also owned a Onetouch (now Vodafone) and Tigo chip and switched a lot, in order to get the best possible service – earlier free night calls from Onetouch; and tigo for their international call rates. I’ve also had a Kasapa phone [their service could be the best, but that’s another story]
I remember the countless number of times I tried calling 111, the MTN “helpline” to request one form of assistance or another...only for a rude ‘Network busy’ to dash my hopes; or to have the call go through and cut the very minute I get to speak to the operator. Sometimes I would be toyed with; the call would cut, but only after I had painstakingly explained my problem to the operator. The most frustrating one, which killed me kraa was that ‘piniiniii’ sound.
Hmmm, MTN!
Sometime last year, I simply got fed up, not for any particular reason, more of a culmination of reasons and I signed on to Zain. It was not for any particular was a new network and I wanted a fresh start. After all it couldn’t possibly be much worse than what I was getting, could it? So I got a Zain chip, and made the switch and I have loved it!
Now when I call 111, I get to talk to real live human operators with names, who genuinely seem to want to help me (with a few exceptions...and I know their names!) But even roses have thorns. As one credit vendor aptly stated: “Zain die, mframa kraa bo a na network no ati ko”. This means that even a slight wind can cause the Zain network to go off. This is true to an extent, their network can be unstable. I felt very important, like a truly valued customer, one day when I received a call from them asking what I didn’t like about their service, and I did tell them. They have promised to improve, so I’m watching.
Their internet service, though more expensive, is fast and usually reliable. I can also sign up to receive texts informing me of calls I missed when my phone is off (which reminds me of T-mobile in the UK). What I currently love most as the You pay, Zain pays promotion (which will sadly end at the end of this year, sniff) I no longer consider buying credit a chore or expense now it’s an investment! And I’ll get a full return on it the following month.
I am not advertising for anyone, not at all. I am just in love with my network and it’s a wonderful feeling!