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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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Shut your eyes for moment, Jomo and let history take you 40 years back into time.  Imagine that we had since 1975 began implementing a programme of energy sector development that required by law, that every successive government use a percentage of annual revenues for the generation of a progressively graduated or uniform volume of megawatts of electricity to feed the national grid, would we have been trapped this galloping nightmare of an energy crisis?

Coincidentally the chronic energy crisis appears to symbolize the situation where due to lack of planning, a nation first appears to stagnate, and then starts to slide slowly back into time: The rationing of power in the power crisis of the mid-1990s was so austere that consumers received power supply for only 12 hours. More than 20 years later, nothing has changed. The republic is still firmly stuck in the same rut, with scheduled power rationing now next to impossible.

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The year is nineteen-eighty-something. Colour television has still not come to this village, so a band of young fel­lows hanging out in the village square at night cluster around a motorcar battery-operated black-and-white television set sitting on a wooden stool. They are unaware that all around them, global television has gone all colour.

 

The magic of colour television emphasizes the power of colour on everything it touches. There is certainly a deceptive splendour about colour. Colour enhances beauty, but then it alters true features. A cart pusher’s discarded old coat may look like a royal gown in colour. Have you personally met some of the beauties and male celebrities you see on television and the colour ads in newspapers?

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to ask the cops questions about guns

 

 

The attractive police woman at the outer reception of Police Headquarters asked politely what it was I wanted to talk to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) about.

 

"I want to talk to him about guns," I told her. This was one policewoman who could have charmed the dark glasses and dagger off an armed robber. She could really put many corporate and public service office receptionists to great shame. Rather than blink, she flashed a row of ivory-white teeth and explained that the IGP was not available and would not be available for a couple of days.

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If you think it is partisan politics that keeps throwing up the most hilarious news headlines, you score ten out of ten points for bull’s eye accuracy: “Akua Donkor shows up in Italy with President Mahama.”Honestly?

This old lady, paa! She would probably take mighty offense or protest with righteous indignation if she heard you call her that! Only recently, she summoned the energy to travel all way from the south of the republic to Tongo in the Upper East Region where the most recent parliamentary by-election was held, for the Lord knows what.

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Jomo, do you reckon the shortest route to becoming a president is to go round shooting presidents? No, wait.  That is a poorly-worded question. Let me rephrase it: What do you make of a fellow who grabs a loaded gun, goes to a location, and waits for the president of Ghana to show up, so that he can shoot the president dead, confident in his expectation, that the NDC and NPP would then suddenly lose their unyielding appetite for political power, and carry him shoulder high to Flagstaff House, to take the seat of the slain president?

Far from being a phantom playing attention-grabbing antics in the public mind, Charles Antwi is a flesh and blood being aged a handsome 36. Last Sunday, Antwi went to the Ringway Assemblies of God Church in Accra where President Mahama and his family worship, carrying a loaded hand gun. On arrest, he said he intended to shoot the president, so that he could then become president of the republic. The chap has been jailed 10 years for all his troubles, or rather for possessing a gun without a license.

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On Tuesday, a government spokesman reeled off a zillion-kilometre long list of statistics to prove that far from going mountain climbing as many critics of the government’s management of the national economy have been claiming, Ghana’s foreign debt has actually been on the decline. The ever changing exchange rate of the cedi to the almighty dollar he explained, is what has given the erroneous impression that the nation’s foreign debt has kept increasing progressively.

It is a point well made that nonetheless, leaves the legendary survivor in the street in a rut and grumbling that he cannot eat statistics. Yet as the government economist might respond in the words of onetime Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwesi Botchway, “if you have no use for statistics, then you are not a scientist, in which case, I am afraid, I am unable to help you.”

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Most otherwise well-informed and generally knowledgeable people know for an elementary fact that mosquitoes infect people with malaria but they would most likely be startled or probably laugh at you if you told them that human beings infect mosquitoes with malaria.

Yet it is all so simple isn’t it? When a female anopheles mosquito carrying malaria parasites bites a person, the person gets malaria. If on the other hand, a mosquito which is not carrying any malaria parasites bites a person with malaria, the mosquito gets infected with malaria by that person. That mosquito can now in turn infect a person it bites.

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