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…And Nobody Cares!
December 20, 2014

K1: Ei Koo, so did you see the video?
K2: Yes – I was very impressed with it! It was exquisitely conceived and expertly executed. Why are you opening your mouth so widely? You are talking about Edem Srem’s video, ‘Trading Ghana’s Water For Gold’, aren’t you?
KI: No! Do you really think Ghanaians care a dime about that? In many countries, such a film would have gone viral by now. But in Ghana, the video everyone is watching is this one:
K2: Oh, the President and the Asantehene dancing to a song called ‘Yenntie Obiaa?’
K1: That’s the one! When I first heard of it, I thought the two guys had been photo-shopped.
K2: Ok: so it is genuine. What have you got against it? Aren’t our big men altogether too solemn in this country? They are made to appear ultra-human, no? Showing us that they’re also made of flesh and blood is good, no?
K1: Well, Koo, there’s something called “body language”. The body language exhibited by the two gentlemen in the video portrays them as complacent. And the choice of song, ‘Yenntie Obiaa’, conveys a message of unconcern….
K2: I think you may be taking visual interpretation too far! When people are relaxing….
K1: When people IN AUTHORITY are relaxing, they must not give the impression that they do not carry the full weight of what troubles their ”subjects”, on their shoulders….
K2: You’re not thinking of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, and her saying, “If they do not have bread, let them eat cakes?”
K1: I am thinking more about the Tsar of Russia, who used to spend millions of roubles on Fabergé Easter Eggs and other fineries, now in museums. The Imperial Family of Russia and the aristocrats who fawned on it, had absolutely no idea that a thunderbolt was about to strike them, right up to the time of their complete liquidation.
K2: As for this, Koo, I disagree with you. A couple of dance-steps do not amount to what historians would call a casus belli [the trigger to war or something equally dangerous.]
K1: Koo, I am no soothsayer! I can’t even foretell when the lights will go out in Accra! The other day, I forgot to save the work I’d done on my computer, and …..!
K2: Ha-ha! Well, that’s good to hear.
K1: No, I am no Cassandra! I just want people to remember that history is there to teach us lessons. If massive rivers like Prah, Offin, Birem and Densu and others from which your people draw water to drink, are being destroyed in the manner shown by ‘Trading Ghana’s Water For Gold’, and you do not stop it IMMEDIATELY, but are seen dancing to a cheeky song which basically says, “I don’t care what anyone says!”, then you are asking to be compared to Marie Antoinette! In a metaphorical sense, of course.
K2: But it isn’t only the people in authority who don’t care, is it? Look, in Edem’s film, you can hear a woman saying that she “wants money to pay her children’s school fees”, and that if it is galamsey that will enable her to get the money, then it’s ok to carry on with it!
K1: Yes, quite a few people said, “Water is important, but!….”
K2: Ahah! If the people don’t care…
K1: But wait, Koo! They do not hold leadership positions. That is why our chiefs are told by their own talking drums that “Yemmfre who ohene kwa!” [We do not call you a chief for nothing!]
K2: You were telling me that the river in your town, Asiakwa….?
K1: Yes, our river was once so mighty that its very name defined it – Supong [Big River.] The galamsey people have destroyed it. Parts of it have dried up; parts have become mud cakes full of algae. And yet this was a river that you were advised not to dare to swim in, when it had rained!
K2: And what have you done about it?
K1: Hmmm! I tried to get a report done on it. I arranged for a lady reporter to go and see the situation for herself and write on it. I then had to leave town. You won’t believe this: the people from my town whom I had trusted to show her round, told her that “tomorrow” would be a more suitable day and then, when “tomorrow” came, they changed the story again. So she too lost interest!
K2: What? Your own people did that?
K1: Yes. Not that even if she had written the story, anything would necessarily have come of it. But the fact that they didn’t even try to help get the story written in the first place: that really hurts.
K2: It must be heart-breaking for you!
K1: I am devastated.
K2: The government doesn’t care! And the people don’t seem to care?
K1: I don’t know what to do! Maybe we have to sue the government? For it collects direct and indirect taxes to safeguard the public welfare, right? If it doesn’t use the taxes to ensure the public welfare – in this case, repair the damage done to the rivers by the galamsey operators so that posterity can have water to drink – it ought to be sued to do its duty, mustn’t it?
K2: You think the Supreme Court will agree to order the government to do its duty to the public? A Supreme Court that refused to differentiate between the signature of an electoral officer — such as a Returning Officer — and that of a mere polling agent?
K1: Koo, that makes me feel as if we are finished! As in cooked, eaten and excreted….!
K2: Excreted and left in the sun to dry, waiting to be collected by dung-beetles to be eaten again!
By Cameron Duodu


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