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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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One, two, three, go..! Let the loudest headlines begin to roll: “Sakawa Man turns into cat.” Holy Moses! What kind of news headline is that? I am not the one who wrote it, Jomo. It was all over the news at the weekend. In case you have just breezed into town, Sakawa has a rather broad and generalized meaning, but covers spooky activities many young people engage in with the forces of darkness with one express goal: To get immensely rich all of a sudden, and without so much a lifting a finger in name of productive labour.

Unless it is the case that the source of their wealth is organized and violent crime, the Sakawa thing must be working for some youth, who these days, suddenly become wealthy enough to drive around in expensive four-wheel drive motor cars, own expensively furnished houses and apartments and literally live the life.

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There is this puzzling feature of our electoral politics which my poor head finds a really hard nut to crack, Jomo: In every election, there are always those aspiring presidential candi­dates who must know full well they do not stand a mis­erable dog's chance of ever becoming president of this country any more than a cyclist can ride a bike to the moon, but who nonetheless expend ample cash, time, energy and other resources on their pointless enterprise.

This time round, Electoral Commission chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei, appears to have found a way of keeping them out of the serious game: It has raised the great hackles all around, but she has fixed the filing fee for presidential candidates at GHc 50 million cedis. Now that is what I call some real dough, Jomo!

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It is now only three months to the elections, yet most of the candidates are not telling voters in a dialect they can grasp, what they plan to do about the basic concerns of old Karl Max’s masses, if elected: Kenkey and fish, jobs, education, medical care, energy, water, security and public safety. 

Another aspect of the presidential campaign which appears to be a bit out of place, has something to do with the candidates and their relationships with the country’s traditional rulers. As you no doubt know full well, Jomo, some things just don’t mix at all: Petrol and naked flame for example, or chieftaincy and electoral politics if you like. 

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Jomo, today I fancy a rant about judges and the administration of justice. We tend to presume that the law is so technically cut out as to make the administration of justice fool proof against subjectivity and error: 

Jack Amadu commits a crime. Jack Amadu is apprehended by the police and arraigned before Justice Kwaboni’s court. Justice Kwaboni after listening to all the evidence, dispatches Jack Amadu to the cooler, or orders him to take a walk to the gallows. {Never mind that in our jurisdiction, capital punishment is dead and buried somewhere in the statutes.}

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Since our former British colonial rulers lowered the Union Jack for the very last time in 1957 and vamoosed to England, successive governments and political leaders have managed to stand our priorities on their poor heads and left us wringing our hands in despair and gnashing our teeth, gums and molars at the maddeningly slow pace of socio-economic progress. Whew! Long sentence, that one!

For the average presidential aspirant in every election, the cam­paign trail must usually be a discomforting eye-open­er to the realities of the peoples' circumstances. There are probably some would-be presi­dents who have lived in Ghana without really knowing Ghanaians, who speak about the poverty and suffering of the masses without actually seeing both in their starkest manifes­tation at close quarters, men whose only knowl­edge of the common man in the street is a car-window view of him plodding along.

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While I was in abokyiri years ago, the police and local council authorities in London kept up a fruitless hunt for a fellow who was only known by the initials, AGM. The initials stood for Angle­ Grinder Man. An angle grinder as you are probably aware, is a powered, hand machine that effectively and quickly cuts through metal. 

With his angle-grinder, this man went through streets in many parts of cosmopolitan Lon­don "liberating" parked vehicles which had been clamped by council authori­ties.

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Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe who has been ruling the country since creation, has threatened to live forever and is living up zealously to his threat. He is the world's oldest and longest serving Head of State. His decades-old rule as one of the world’s most enduring dictators has been associated more with gross human rights violations than good governance.

Old Bob was scheduled to arrive in Ghana last Thursday for a four-day visit. Uncle Bob who is now 92-year, was scheduled to speak at this year’s the Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize awards ceremony at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra.

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