Can you imagine with Ben ACKAH-MENSAH: The Campaign Economy – Ejisu de asem b3 ba!

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The historic town of Ejisu has once again served the country well. This time around, as a venue for the dress rehearsals for the main general elections on December 7, 2024.

Thankfully, the sideline political debacles that happened prior to and during the by-election last Tuesday April 30, 2024 and matters arising from Ejisu have echoed some of the cankers in the conduct of elections and campaigning in the country.  These have thrown more light on the extent to which some individuals and or political parties can go to influence results; and when that happens, how do the concerned authorities react in the best interest of Ghana.

Suffice to say that it has become the eccentric practice in Ghanaian politics for certain contesting individuals and parties to catch-as-catch-can, achieve their political goals by indulging in certain unorthodox means. These may include consultations with oracles for winning prophecies, dishing out freebies including electronic gadgets, cars, bi and tri cycles, sewing machines, foodstuffs and cooked meals. Cloths, monies and even coal pots and bentua (enemas) amongst other unthinkable items are alleged to have been given to some eligible voters to tempt them into choosing a particular candidate or party.

It is a known fact also that since Pleistocene age, and as long as political campaigning has lived, the resultant economy within that period comes alive! Likewise in Ghana, and especially in recent times, the political season i.e. the period during which campaigns are intense, arouse unusual feelings and happenings within the state of the economy.

Campaign messages become trivia sound bites and those that come out with pragmatic plans receive the flak from all directions. Complaints of economic hardships and on failed previous campaign promises pave way to mediocrity due to some form of respite for some people within the period.

For example; for some individuals who stand to make temporary gains within the period (some call it ‘Cocoa Season’), discussions on real issues are suddenly put at the back burner. Dumsor (or Siesiesor), high lorry fares and rents, high cost of fuel and utilities, bad roads, armed robberies and inflation and exchange rates etc – the real issues – seem to evade them because of obvious reasons. Discussions of the real issues then become the smirking grounds for alcohol-induced pro-party and anti-party arguments among patrons of bars / Spots and ghettos, in trotros and at market centres and ‘compound houses’ etc. Some of these arguments usually lead to head-butts and loss of friendships and camaraderie.

Ironically, during such periods, some Slay Queens (the street curb ‘working class’ type or the ‘glorified’ ones at homes, offices, businesses, hospitals, schools etc) metamorphose into political brand influencers and Loyal Ladies, Professional Ladies, Women of ‘ Substance’ etc for candidate Esuo or Koo. Some of them also become Candidate X’s Angels or Promoters for Change. Incongruously, none have become Demons of so and so, as they may be in real life.

Even some Big Boys, Business Men and opportunists add up to the teaming campaign convoys. Most of the devil’s workers – the idle / lazy ones that, they say, the devil finds work for – are paid pittances and bused to rally grounds to add up to the numbers to fool unsuspecting ‘floating voters’ or those who flow with the tide.

Notably, some (please note the word SOME oooo) macho men and women, gym instructors, trouble makers, peace lovers and ex-forces or security personnel also aspire to be drafted into the ‘elite class’ of political owls or hawks – party vigilante groups. Necessary evils?

Unusually, most churches are visited frequently by candidates to make lofty promises that await to be unfulfilled or deemed to be dead on arrival or better put, Breeeeze! Central markets are also stormed and some Market Queen Mothers are induced to coax traders to sing the paeans of incoming political messiahs.

The Campaign Economy is good oooo! Some fetishes and shrines become lucrative. A few coffin dancers, too, might be lucky; if you know what that means. Business booms for them as well. The Economy is good for betting shops, seedy guest houses, motels and ‘hotels’ at some rural locations, just as it is for funerals. It is good for illiterates and some lucky local maidens.

Some village chiefs become paramount without Paramountcies. May be, the sirens from campaign convoys sound like lullabies to them. Enough to sooth and make them feel like Alices in Wonderland; dreaming instantaneously that their local economies have been transformed by the promises of good roads, steady supply of electricity and portable drinking water, One-Hut-One-Bundle of Aluminum Roofing Sheets (1H1-BARS), One-Village-20-Baby’s Cots a Week (1V2B-CoWs), Free-Adult-Literacy-Classes (FAL-C), and Clear-Cocoa-For-Chocolate-Looking-Streams (CCforChocoMylo). NB: These initiatives have copyrights against all aspirants who were copycats during their school days. Copying these in your manifestoes would not win you any marks).

My goodness, the Campaign Economy knows no bounds. It’s good also for some event planners, DJs, venue hirers and landlords. Politically-positioned car rental ventures, souvenir and party paraphernalia sellers, iced water sellers, kebab, Kenkey and Gob3 sellers are also not left out. Even political jesters, sycophants, a**lickers, and handbag bearers have their depraved souls taken care of by the Economy.

… and most conveniently  also for local alcoholic beverage brewers and ‘concoctionists’, their lots are well-reserved (B42 Bombers, ɔbumpa, Ab3 Nsuo, Neem, Cinnamon, Prekese, Ginger, Half Time, Full Time, Half Caste, Kraman ****, WO, Daavi Remix, Concorde, Under, etc etc. All distilled by Local Brewers of Ghana Limited (LBGL). Stamped: FDA & Standards Board Unapproved. Proudly made at a Blue Koisk near you Volume: APC-250ml, 500ml, 1Ltr, 5Ltr, 10Ltr, Kuffuor GallonLtr, Blue BarrelLtr. Acl. Percentage: Kindly use your lighter).

Now, let’s consider some other important players in the Campaign Economy as well. Those who have the monies to sponsor candidates and parties. They become kingpins and are untouchable. They may spread monies to parties and candidates according to religion, likes, tribe, ethnicity, and in some cases, depending on how compliant and lucid a Loyal Lady would be as a fund raiser.

In the frenzied and hazy …ba …ba …ba …ba (Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec) harmattan weather and probably boozed up with swelling egos, political and human lusts, and venomous intensions, some of these financiers cast their bread onto the political waters freely and in blatant disregard for the provisions governing political party financing in Ghana, contained in Chapter 7 of the 1992 Constitution (article 55) and the Political Parties Act (Act 574). Some may do so hoping for gargantuan contracts and underserved influences when their sponsored candidates win. This is a simple campaign economics matter, abi? Yoooo!

Miserably, walking through the whole Campaign Economy journey, the most pained points or elements we come across are the irritating political opportunists or sadists. These charlatans, con political artistes and dreamers who know very well that they cannot win any election, even within their own families, inflict on us the agony of having to oblige them because of some provisions in the same 1992 Constitution of Ghana. They are only in there for ‘economic benefits’. They are political nuisances, trying hard to recoup their meager sunk costs plus more.  They know themselves, hooooo!

Coincidentally, there are other irritating batch like those opportunists in the Economy too: some neglected media men, artistes, pastors and prophetesses, self-styled political analysts, bloggers and vloggers, soothsayers, fortunetellers and so-called-astrologers who when denied a share of the campaign cake, cry greedily. They become naysayers, worrywarts and cynics. Their witchcrafts have no proportions. The Campaign Economy has not favoured them and so all hell should break loose. They continue to bite their toenails instead of finger nails and wet their mats to the annoyance of everyone, until January 7, if there’re no Pink Sheets to contest in court.

The scenarios painted in the above paragraphs, depict what many watchers of the political landscape in the country may already know. However, Ejisu has revealed new unseen strategies: The Political Ganja Trap (PGT) and the Good Samaritan Feeding Scheme (GSFS).

Ejisu is a wonderful town, historically. Wonders always happen there. Ever heard of the story of a beer lover who was buried with a full bottle beside him in his casket? You may also have been taught in school the story of the b3siaba, ɔbaab3sia – the legendary Yaa Asantewaa (17 October 1840 – 17 October 1921) – queen mother of Ejisu who led nb3nyinfo, m3rema, MEN, way back in 1900, to fight against the British. Woow!  Another toli also has it that the Asona clan dominate Ejisu and that it was an elephant which brought the clan from the ground, in the form of a woman, into this world. Hmmmm! I’m tempted to hold my chin just like kids do when they hear such tales.

Do you likewise remember the much-revered ɔkɔmfo Anɔkye? He was there some oooo.  You can imagine him; wearing his raffia skirt, strings of beads swashed across his powdered torso and brandishing his Podua while doing the Awoyo dance, and assuring the beleaguered leaders of Ejisu that if they came together, they could be victorious over a hard guy, an overlord called Ntim Gyakari. So, it is alleged that after some sacrifices, including burying someone alive, and other rituals – protruding hand from beneath the earth, butchered human flesh strewn about for vultures to devour etc – were made, infamous Gyakari was overthrown and never to be named after again. Eeeeei saaa! E-j-i-s-u!

What even cracks me up is how they got their name. It is believed that in the olden days, the entire Adweso (Ejisu) township and its environs (Besease et al) were awash with cola nut and palm trees. So Adwe-so became Ejisu because the town was established in a place full of nuts. No wonder my friends from Ejisu and its environs are hard nuts! I reckon the place would be full of squirrels – opuro. If I ever set up a football team there, I would name it Squirrel Eleven for men, Black Squirrels for women and Wonderful Squirrels for the under 17 team. Over to you, Kwasi Nyantekyi.

 

Ejisu de asem b3 ba! Fast-forward from the scenes of Yaa Asantewaa, the Adwe and Asona people, featuring Gyakari and Anokye in part one, the story now changes to a part where fierce political rivalry and contest has culminated in deception, disloyalty, hate and accusations of murder, bribery and inducements with money and infrequent gifts such as WEE, also known as Ganja, Ntampi, Marijuana, Fa me nantew e.t.c.

Why? How come?  A sitting member of parliament (MP) for Ejisu has died. A by-election had to be conducted for a successor. One of the two dominant parties in the country decides not to contest. However, the only dominant party left in the race (coincidentally, referred to as the Elephant party) laments that an ‘ingrate’, a ‘traitor’ or probably a ‘mole’ from within has deserted them to contest as an independent candidate in the by-election. Events took off lightly, then in the last minutes it turned murky. Two political elephants (Mother Elephant and the Prodigal Son – Baby Elephant) fighting on the same grounds where the elephant people live.

Some people assumed that the rampaging Baby Elephant, the Prodigal Son, was about to floor Mother Elephant for the ground to suffer. However, with her experience, the latter allegedly intensified its known eccentric practices –free goodies and shenanigans.

Unperturbed, Prodigal Son fought on, winning more spectators and supporters and threatening Mother Elephant with defeat. So, overwhelmed and fatigued, Mother Elephant, showed Prodigal Son a few new tricks and tactics.

For the first time, in the history of recorded / filmed political campaigning, it has been alleged that some people from Mother Elephant’s camp dished out “Wee” to stimulate certain individuals into action. Power to the people! Wonders shall never end in Ejisu.

For the first time too, in Ejisu, motion pictures captured a sitting MP in the Mother Elephant’s camp from somewhere in mainland Kumasi blatantly and confidently walking towards two of the Electoral Commission agents, said something to them and apparently placed a padded envelope on a table in front of them. The footage showed no objection or any attempt to stop the MP from interference was made by supervising security personnel and other concerned officials. It emerged later that the MP allegedly acted as a Good Samaritan and gave money to the hungry agents to buy some food. How many ‘Good Samaritans’ were deployed to feed all the hungry agents on the ground? Tactics!

Meanwhile, tired-but-not-so-wounded Prodigal Son and all the other political animals from different camps that would be contesting in the main general elections across the country come December 7, 2024 are lying down and watching carefully, likes patient dogs do, and thinking: Wooow! What a great addition to our tricks.

These two instances alone: dashing out stimulants – ‘Wee’ – instead of Bentua across the country come December 7, 2024; and the possibility the deployment of blatant ‘envelope-dropping’ Good Samaritans without being confronted, are enough to send the general elections to Armageddon.

We can all imagine the end of the storyline in the movie, set in Ejisu, if lessons are not learnt from the dress rehearsals and corrective measures put in place to forestall chaos come December 2024.

Vivre et voir!

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