Dede Drives the Discourse: For What It’s Worth


Hello, my name is Dede Nyansapo. I am an entrepreneur who also participates in Accra’s burgeoning gig economy as a driver. My love for meeting fascinating people and my curiosity about how they think usually places me in the midst of some very entertaining conversations. Invariably, these conversations lead to some key learnings that may be useful to anyone on their business journey.

Episode 7: For What It’s Worth.

“It’s been confirmed”, said one of the voices in the back. “He’s dead. I’m really sad. Asaase Radio just posted it on twitter… I mean X”.

“Abena”, came the other voice, “This is hard to believe. He appeared to be such a good man. A kind politician”.

“Rose! You have no idea. I met him once, and he was a true gentleman.” she replied.

My two passengers, Rose and Abena, had just got wind of the death of a local politician. Beloved by many but as is inevitable in the world today apparently detested by more than a handful of others as well. As my grandfather used to say, “Even Jesus Christ was not and is not loved by everybody” .

The truth is, I had also had the pleasure of meeting this politician myself on one occasion, as part of a group of young entrepreneurs, and I was amazed by how courteous and accommodating he was of us. His demeanour was completely devoid of any semblance of pomposity and he treated every single one of our small group with respect.  The news had hit me personally, and I could feel a little bit of sadness settling comfortably in my heart.

Rose asked, “What are they saying on social media? It was all so sudden. What happened?”.

“There’s this video trending by a local TV Host. It seems to be getting a lot of traction. Let’s watchAbena responded, as she clicked the video and increased the volume on her phone subjecting the entire vehicle to the booming voice of a confident host speaking in Twi.

“What channel was this on?”, asked Rose. “You know I don’t understand Twi too well….and….”

“Too well? You don’t understand it at all”, Abena chuckled as she cut in, “But don’t worry, I’ll translate it for you.”

The audio continued.

“Is he saying that the politician was poisoned? Yikes. This is scary!”, exclaimed Rose.

“Wow, good job. I’m impressed”, Abena responded. “Do you have a new Ashanti boyfriend you haven’t told me about? But you’re right. I think he is claiming the politician was poisoned a few months ago, and has been trying to recuperate. That’s sad. He also seems to be alluding to the fact that this may have been done by some elements worried about his potential.”

Rose lowered her head in her hands and blurted out, “How can this be? What is he alleging? That people within his own party would be willing to do a thing like this to him? I can’t accept this. I really can’t.”

“Oh, there’s a post on X saying he was seen as a potential candidate for a presidential running mate. I think he would have brought some value to the ticket. This is unbelievable.” Abena uttered. “But look, the trolls are coming out. Some people are so heartless. How can you say this at a time like this?”

“What are they saying, Abena?” Rose asked. “What could they possibly be saying of a man like this?”

“Well, it appears, the politician was scheduled to fly out of the country for treatment and was enroute to Accra before his demise. I guess the gist of what some of these trolls are saying is that about 19 Ghanaians have died since the dialysis machine at the KorleBu Teaching Hospital stopped working. Their contention seems to be that the life of an ordinary Ghanaian should not be seen as less valuable than that of a politician.” Abena responded.

As Rose mulled over the words Abena had just uttered, she said quietly, mostly to herself, “It is really sad that we need to fly all our lawmakers out of the country to receive medical treatment when things are dire. One would think the lawmakers should start prioritizing the quality of medical treatment available here so the ordinary Ghanaian has a fair chance at survival as well.” Rose said, “But I don’t know if this is the right time to have a conversation like that. It seems extremely insensitive, Abena.”

“You know what? You may be right, Rose. You may very well be right. However, when is it a good time to have such a conversation? When it is just the ordinary Ghanaian dying, nobody seems to care. When it is an ostensibly wicked politician, we lack the balance to fully appreciate the injustice, so perhaps this may be the perfect time. “Abena responded.

“What would it take to build, equip, and staff a high-class medical facility good enough to handle such cases?” Rose said. “What would it take, not only in terms of financial costs but also the change in mentality needed for us as a people to prioritize that?”

“Certainly much less than it takes to run a national campaign, but I don’t know if we have the right educational or logical foundations as a people to make that shift”, Abena quipped.

“Look,” Abena added, “When the pandemic hit, I really thought our leaders would change their attitude. I thought the prospect of death would bring us all together and perhaps provide a road to Damascus moment that would allow us all to see that all is vanity. Instead, some saw it as the perfect opportunity to amass more wealth. If that did not change how we think, I’m not sure what will.”

Rose remarked, “This is extremely sad. I really want to keep believing in Ghana, but it gets tougher and tougher. Even the comments coming from some people during this time of loss seem a little short-sighted. None of us knows how we will leave this earth, and to me, that is enough reason to be measured in our response to this event, no matter how you felt about the guy whilst alive. Even our cultural values of not speaking ill of the dead seem to be lost to some in this hyper-partisan environment.”

“I know what you mean”, Abena responded. “Like this post, for instance, the writer seems to suggest that the politician’s defence of the unpopular electronic tax and his public support of the National Cathedral are enough grounds to celebrate his demise….”

Rose interjected, “Support of the Cathedral or as I like to call it, the National Biblical Museum, was wild though, and the claim that the electronic tax would prevent us from going to the IMF could not have been honest, but those are no grounds for such blatant schadenfreude. In my opinion, at the very least, it was all part of his job as a politician to be loyal to his party…and yet, what good did that loyalty do? Especially if the claims of poisoning are true, then what is the value of being that loyal?”

“Maybe politics is truly this dirty. This may explain why so many good people choose to not partake in it. The unbridled pursuit of money and power often elicits some of the worst characteristics in humanity and it takes a strong personality to overcome the risks associated with playing in such an arena. The truth is, even then, sometimes there are casualties that hurt a little more than others.”, Rose added despondently,  “At this moment, my heart goes out to his family and anyone whose life is going to be negatively affected by his passing. Hopefully, this also does not deter good people on the sideline who are interested in positively impacting society through politics. May his soul rest in peace.”

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