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A literary critique

Letter to Jomo is a socio-politico-cultural mine of information which I recommend for aficionados of literary writing, and serious journalists who can learn from a style that takes their profession away from the mundane to a higher plane.

Many more will find pleasure in reading the letters for the beauty of language and matter in them as well as the accuracy of information that they provide. Generations to come will find them readable, enjoyable and a repository of information on Ghanaian social history.

Professor A. B. K. Dadzie

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George Sydney Abugri is a prolific, multi-award winning, Ghanaian newspaper journalist. He trained as a science and mathematics teacher, but migrated to journalism after a decade of teaching. 

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The hour of reckoning has finally burst forth upon us and from the southern coast to oour northern borders, our compatriots will tomorrow file up to vote in what promises to be the great grand uncle of all national elections since the British lowered their Union Jack for the very last time and vamoosed from our shores.

In the coming hours, there will be high voltage electricity in the very air we breathe, but the key word for voting day should be the five-letter word “peace.” You are probably familiar with the strange expression, “as long as peace and war.” I recall the expression with some puzzlement every election year in Ghana.

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“108 Ghanaians and Liberians deported from the United States.” Welcome home buddies, or rather wait one short second: Theirs was not the happiest home coming ever, and certainly not the most dignified: They arrived in Ghana on Wednesday on a chartered flight in hand cuffs and leg cuffs. They initially refused to disembark. Others, it was however also reported, had served jail terms in the United States for various offences including drug trafficking.

What else can we say, Jomo, to our compatriots who apparently went on misadventures in Yankee Land? Maybe, we might add that we hope they are returning to make wholesome contributions to this up-mountain task of building Ghana which we are engaged in. Maybe, we might also add that we hope they are not returning with guns and attitudes and things and will not, because of lifestyles they may have acquired, end up joining the ranks of you-know-who.

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War, it has been suggested, is too dangerous to be left to army generals and battalion commanders. The same goes for the fight against corruption: All citizens and institutions must join in the war.

There is a very powerful link between money and politics and this link is considered by many to hold very negative implications for democracy, especially still growing democracies like ours.

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The other Sunday morn­ing, I joined these Jesus People in a downtown church house to- see how they worship their God. No sooner had the Osofo begun his introductory prayer and the congrega­tion was responding, than a very large and somewhat rowdy crowd came by, and set up a thun­derous din that drowned out Osofo's voice. 

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I have just got me a brand new personality, complete with genetically re-evolved physical and psychological characteristics. Gone for example is my other face, the one someone once said was of Africa. In its place, is a creased mask, whose premature lines fur­row the strain of carrying my daily cross. 

I recoiled in horror the other day when this total stranger leapt out at me from the reflective glass of the morning mirror. When I mut­tered, "who be diz", the imp in my skull sniggered: That is you buddy, who else?

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While tending livestock in northern Savanna bush in the very early 1950s, we got quite a thrill goading two rams or cocks to a fierce fight to the finish and sitting back to watch the poultry feathers fly and ram horns clash again and again with a heavy thud. 

Radio appears to have rediscovered our script and is using it to keep the tempo of political propaganda on morning talk shows high: A talk show host calls up a leading political or public figure who has just made bad press, thanks to a round of bad-mouthing from a political rival and says:

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Every day, I feast on a generous diet of words. Words which piece together the kind of information that shapes people’s thinking and percep­tions of life in our great republic. If I leave any­thing out of my menu, it is usually a direct quotation of the kind of barbed and poi­sonous words feuding hunters of political power throw about. 

I listen to every word the local and foreign radio and television stations and networks have on offer. I read mature, unprejudiced, analytical columns in every newspaper I can lay hands on, including even those which really belong to you know where!

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