Thursday, 30 August 2012

Does age really matter in elections?

The BBC has brought to all of our attention the fact that of the 13 heads of state to die in the past 4 years, 10 have been African. A couple were killed, but most of them died from the general expiration of their bodies, most likely due to their old age. Remember Africa's life expectancy is not very high.

Since the death of President Atta Mills last month, the NDC have been working tirelessly to sell President John Dramani Mahama to the people. After all, we know what type of President Atta Mills would have been going into a second term, but his successor hasn't quite built an image to relate to and sympathy votes just won't do.

According to this article the NDC are therefore playing the age card. John Dramani Mahama is 15 years younger than Nana Akufo-Addo. Given that Atta Mills, Akufo-Addo's classmate didn't reach the end of his tenure Ghanaians are justifiably cautious of falling into the same situation as this summer. However, the election for Presidency is not an individual one, it's a team event for two people and the communications teams of both parties need to present the facts to the people and allow them to have a more informed debate and a better informed decision come election time. The average age of the NDC ticket by election day will be 57 and 58 for the NPP. One year difference. When presented like that, the age discussion seems quite redundant and we are then able to consider other benefits and disadvantages of both teams. Ghanaians, like most Africans, respect the wealth of knowledge that our elderly members of society possess. There is a saying

"The death of an old man is like a library set ablaze" - Unknown

Yet, at the moment I don't believe this is a saying that any African leader can use in his favour over a younger opponent.

Given that both major parties are practically equal in age, Ghanaians must not be swayed by irrelevancies, like dust in the eye thrown out by propaganda machines. Ghanaians must think about whose ideology they agree with, and whose promises they are drawn to. Real democracy is presenting the people with options for their future, and their children's future and letting them decide, it is not cynically making mountains out of mole hills on things we cannot change - like the fact that we are ALL getting older.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

One Track Everything (2)

Following from my One Track Everything post, I thought I would share this article about Ghanaian athletes who went to this years Olympics. Many Ghanaians have complained about Ghana's showing (or lack of) in the Olympics. So when we're having one of those conversations, can we just think about it.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Does Ghana have a politics of insults because Ghanaians take things too seriously?

I argue with my mum alot, as any young person can attest to. You get to an age where you're a bit more confident in speaking your mind and your mind might not always agree with your parents.

Things often collapse into an atmosphere of silence and sighs when my mum tells me I've insulted her. Now I know when I've intentionally insulted someone, and often my mum is wrong about these allegations. Nevertheless, she'll tell everyone and they'll believe her because she is the mother. She is Ghanaian.

Yesterday, on the night that Nana Akufo-Addo gave a talk to the IEA, I found other Ghanaians overreacting just like my mum would, to one of my comments. I merely pointed out that given that NADAA was educated in Ghana under British rule and then in the UK it is weird that he would say aluminium in the (incorrect) American style of "ALUMINUM". You know what I'm talking about right? I'm hoping you've had that discussion about the weird way in which Americans pronounce/spell perfectly simple words. If you've ever been stuck in a room with a Brit and an American then I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about.

Aluminum - my dear American friends - is not how it's said, but that is all for another post. 

If NADAA was educated in America I could accept this mistake. It would clearly be a cultural thing that he had picked up. But along with it I would expect a slight accent, especially on the mispronounced word. Something that gives it a raison d'etre. But my dearest NADAA, has a strong posh British accent which occasionally will slip into a Ghanaian accent. (His accent doesn't bother me, I have many family members who sound just like him - that little merge of Accra-London living. It does throw me off slightly though, and that is why I mentioned it on the running commentary beside the live coverage on YouTube.)

Suddenly, (though not surprisingly) I had people telling me no one forced me to watch the Evening Encounter, suggesting that I was a NDC supporter and telling me that this election is too crucial to be pointing out the minor things. WOAH WOAH WOAH. First off, as much as I love Ghana, I can't see how a minor question as to NADAA's choice of pronunciation could ever lead to someone voting for the opposing party. And if for any reason ECOMINI or ALUMINUM becomes the tipping point for the electorate then we really should look at the value of our democracy. Secondly, unlike the Americans (who can still entertain comic critique and jest around their politics), we are not voting in the world's most powerful man. Heck! we aren't even electing the most powerful man in Africa! People. need. to chillax. The problem with over-reactive comments like the ones I received is that they become easy sparks for more serious replies and eventually an argument ensues where real insults feature and our politics are yet again devalued and put at risk, all because someone took unnecessary offence to a minor comment about their favourite politician, or even about themselves (if they are the politician).

When my mother drops the "you've insulted me" card in an argument. I quickly tell her how I didn't - or at least not intentionally, - and then I suggest we leave the discussion, because she's now in a bad place which will mean she doesn't progress the argument objectively. If the topic can be revisited at a later time, it will be. But if it is clear that she's harbouring negative energy, I'll leave it alone. I try my best to remind her (and those YouTubers) that some things do not need to be taken to offence so easily. Some things are a passing comment and if you agree or disagree you can join the discussion and give your reasons in a calm and thought out manner, or walk away until you've calmed down.

Relaying the incident to my sister, we both came to the conclusion that Ghana's politics can be volatile at times, simply because it is so very easy to offend a Ghanaian, my mother included. So when we all ease up, maybe our elections won't be such a do or die affair, and THEN we can start widening the discussion about how the everyday person contributes to the vision of the nation instead of worrying about protecting the peace in election time.

Opinions below please.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Ask Nana Akufo-Addo

Nana Akufo-Addo will be taking questions at the IEA tomorrow. Since I'm all for holding our politicians to account and really questioning their values I suggest that you vote on these questions to ask him.

Thanks guys.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Good news.

I've got some good news and I thought I'd share it because I'm just so proud about it.

I've been accepted to study MSc African Politics at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies.

In a year's time I will probably be 75% accomplished, if I think about all the big goals I have in life. I've wanted to do this course for the past 6 years. Now I'm nervous, as is expected but still, this is good.

Like the Saudi Arabian runner said at this year's Olympics: Live Your Dreams.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Bold and beautiful...

Something else to share:

I found this on the accradotalttours blog. Absolutely love the sound quality to Kwabs voice. Have a listen, let me know if you agree:

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Becca - No Away ft. MI

New found love for this song, lovely video too.

Nke bo baya Miisumo bo

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Maliyo Games

In a few years time when I finally start doing with my life what I'm supposed to I'm sure this guy will be happy for me to say he's a mentor of mine. But as it stands, and given that I never seem to heed to the advice he has actually given I will just call him a friend.

I'm very proud of all he's achieved since going MIA early this year (by MIA I mean refocusing his time and location to Nigeria and the Nigerian market).

Hugo has developed a gaming website which can also be played on one's mobile. It focuses on environments and activities that the African user can relate to. This is all I've been searching for within the African Renaissance - Africans not trying to simply replicate the rest of the world, but build a world that is relevant to the local culture and market and that promotes our culture to the rest of the world. Please support it.

Check out his website
Try out the games.
Encourage your kids to try it out as a fun alternative to what we already have.

Live Your Dreams

At first I thought this "every team must field a woman" rule was yet another IOC imposition. To an extent I still believe that but I'm happy for this lady that she can perform on a global stage. For anyone in any field that is an accomplishment.

Live Your Dreams.

In a CNN interview the Saudi Runner advised "Live Your Dreams" I'm not that motivational. All credit to her, for her achievements and her words.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Here's a funny...

My future country of residence, Singapore, has a low birth rate and it is no secret that the government have done everything under the sun to promote Singaporeans getting together, getting married and having kids. It seems they've now outsourced to mentos, the mint company for some more inspiration on National Day.