Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ghana Politics 101: New Additions to the Ghanaian Political Lexicon for the Aspiring Politician

Class, it has been a while since we have had a lesson in Ghanaian politics. This is simply because this particular roller-coaster is hard to keep up with. Today we will discuss some new additions to the Ghanaian Political Lexicon for the Aspiring Politician. These entries have been culled  mainly from radio and television emanating from the Beacon of African Democracy (BAD):

1. Inherited: All the perplexing problems a newly-incumbent government is faced with often receive the label 'inherited'. In most cases, this is because these pesky problems were passed on by a previous administration. Solving 'inherited' issues is crucial for any government's success. Also, please note that good things are never 'inherited'. It is also key to downplay any good passed on from a previous administration. However, it is imperative to occasionally give credit to your predecessors but this has to be done swiftly and preferably, inaudibly. 

2. "I have in my hand.......": On any political panel discussion programme, this means that the person making the statement has supporting evidence to buttress their point. The term appears to have been originated by veteran journalist Abdul Malik Kweku Baako. Lately, it appears  others have developed a perchance for the phrase which is clearly a good sign since it shows careful examination of the issues.
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako. Source: Joy FM online
3. "I would like to interrogate the issues": On any political panel discussion programme, this means that the person making the statement would like to examine the issues in depth. The term also appears to have been originated by veteran journalist Abdul Malik Kweku Baako. Lately, others have also developed a perchance for the phrase. Please use this phrase with extreme caution because grammatically, can inanimate things such as 'issues' really be 'interrogated'? 

4. Promises/Pledges: Lofty assurances made by all political parties on the campaign trail. Hope to God that everyone forgets these if you ever have the chance to be in power.

5. Party Manifesto: Lofty assurances made by all political parties on the campaign trail but (unfortunately) captured in writing. Once in power, hope to God that everyone loses their copy of your manifesto. Any good Ghanaian politician carries their opponent's manifesto in his (or her) briefcase to be whipped out during panel discussions and quoted from as if it were The Bible.

6. Roads: According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'A Road' is an "open way for vehicles, persons and animals". In our part of the world, roads are pathways on which our nation's future are built. When in government, highlight and  herald all the roads that you are constructing. Ensure that road construction projects open with much-publicized sod-cutting ceremonies. When in opposition, emphasize that roads cannot be eaten. Once in power, be sure to revise your former stance on the inedible nature of roads. Likewise, once out of power, be sure to revise your former stance on the edible nature of roads. 

Descriptive cartoon of inflation.
Source: Greekshares.com 
7. Inflation : Something from economics that no one really understands but we all know it is really, really, very important. It is key that this thing inflation is kept as low as possible. When in government, highlight and herald that you are ensuring inflation is down. When in opposition emphasize that inflation cannot be eaten. Once in power, be sure to revise your former stance on the inedible nature of inflation. Likewise, once out of power, be sure to revise your former stance on the edible nature of inflation. 

Asempa FM literally lives up to their tagline
Source: sportlife.ghana.com

8. 'Ekosii sen?'. Political panel discussion programme  in the Akan language broadcast on Asempa 94.7 FM between 3-5pm daily. It is partly concert party, partly debate and often times a worrying indication of the base nature of partisan politics in Ghana. Ekosii sen is fast-emerging as an essential ingredient in the daily political diet in Ghana. If you don't think so, check out the speed in which high-ranking politicians call in once a libelous statement has been made about them. Shows like this are perfect for the aspiring politician. Although it is perfectly okay to make wild, unfounded statements on this show, if these can be backed by facts, even better.

Also, all political party footsoldiers are welcome to post insults on Asempa fm's facebook page which is usually done in atrociously bad English. Some of these comments are  read out by the show's hosts.
A snapshot of Asempa FM's (in)famous facebook page. All profile names have been removed. Click on this picture to read the comments properly and also to weep for Ghana's educational system

9. 'My good friend [insert name]': If any political opponent refers to you on the radio or television as a "good friend", be aware that they mean the opposite. To be referred to as a 'good friend' is a good thing. In Ghanaian politics it means that you have been flagged and identified as a dangerously  capable adversary. 

Class, do you have any additions for the ever-expanding Lexicon?  

10 comments:

kinnareads said...

LOL, this is perfect. If ever you assemble one for the (successful) politician, I would add "Plans are underway...". Thanks.

Sam said...

Funny post! Althoug "Tapes" is missing. Something that someone claims to own but never shows up...

Abena Serwaa said...

@ Kinnareads Thanks! I will definitely have to put together a lesson for the successful politician. "Plans are underway.." or "Plans are far advanced...." are perfect example...All credit to you!!

Abena Serwaa said...

@Sam Thanks for stopping by. "Tapes" would have been good too...especially tapes that DO show up! Although my advice to the aspiring politician would be that when you are conducting any nefarious/ morally dubious activity, ensure there are no listening devices present in the room.

Nana said...

Ha ha, had a good laugh with this lesson. Ghanaian politics drive me nuts!

Abena Serwaa said...

@Nana, all one can do is indeed laugh! I have learnt though that there is some logic to the Ghanaian democratic experiment. Aside from the very cyclical nature of our democracy, the ruling party and the main opposition party end up being not very different from each other.

Boatemaa said...

Hi Abena! Thanks for the lesson. I had a good laugh reading it.

Abena Serwaa said...

@Boatemaa Thanks :) Nice to see you in the blogosphere! I hope this means you are back?!

gamelmag said...

Thanks teacher. Crisp, clean and clear!

Abena Serwaa said...

@Gamelmag lol! Thanks for stopping by for the lesson!