Say No to Ethnocentric Mongering Bigots 

​Like play like play we are allowing tribalism to rear its ugly head in our lives? You think it’s only in politics and in the run up to the elections eh? 
Wait until your boss at work starts to harass you because you are that tribe and not this one. 
Wait until you walk into a club, pub, restaurant and because you are that tribe and not this tribe you are treated worse than a used diaper from a baby with diarrhoea. 
Wait until the next girl or guy you ask out rub it in your face over how she simply can’t be with you because you are that tribe and not this tribe.
Wait until at the very last stage of a job interview some other tribalistic bigot denies you a role you are best fit for because you are this tribe and not that tribe.
Wait until your 7 year old returns from school and asks you, “Daddy, Mummy why did Ms. Bouquet tell me that my tribe people are useless”; simply because you are this tribe and not that tribe.
Wait until the market woman refuses to sell you her wares because you are this tribe and not thst tribe.
Just wait.
These politicians need you to retain them in power or to vote them into power. That’s all they care about and they will stop at nothing in getting that Vote. So what they are doing is to hit our heads together. 
When you pause and think about what they say and the examples they give you will realise it makes absolutely no sense. But we have allowed them to toy with our brains such that we fail to use them. We have ceded our rights to think to them and they are toying with them as they please.
Look around you….
How many of your friends or the people you know are not from that tribe they tell you hates you, or they tell you to hate? How many times haven’t you shared a laughter, a drink, a seat, a suggestion, a meal or a tear with that person whose tribe you have been told is second class, arrogant, worthless? 
You didn’t have an Ewe teacher ever? 

What about an Akan one? 

A Ga one?

A Northern one?
They even make us call some people NORTHERNERS! Is that a tribe? Do we have a tribe called Northerners in Ghana? Oh or we have SOUTHERNERS as a tribe too?
You have read this epistle. You understood it. Meaning you have some good level of education. Imagine you the one with education who has read and understood this falling for this nonsense….
Now what should those without education and a fair mix of social interactions through primary school, junior high school, senior high school, university/tertiary do? You lived with people of all tribes through school and know that tribes mean or should mean little, but you fan ethnocentric behaviour. What will those without school do.
Think of your life after December 7th and say no to Ethnocentric Mongering Bigots.

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Woodin’s ready-to-wear ‘Fusion’ collection and my ‘love affair’ with Berla Mundi 

I like Berla Mundi. In fact, I like her enough to have proposed to her once. And guess what? She said yes.

Snap out of it now. I am already married and I am not Muslim and the proposal was one of the fun things that happened at the wedding of my kid brother and friend Giovani Caleb a few months back – it’s amazing the sort of things we do at weddings these days. Anyways.

So back to Berla Mundi. Woodin got my attention when they announced that she was going to be the Ghanaian ambassador for their new range of funky, ready-to-wear apparel appropriately christened ‘Fusion’. It says in the tags of the Fusions that it ‘is created in limited edition for you, in the best workshops in Africa; Patterns from our heritage are redrawn in a harmonious mix of African colours’.
I have become a bit of a mixed personality towing both the #godMC style of Manifest and the #KingSark movement of Sarkodie. Well if you are not onto Ghana’s urban culture, all I am saying is that I have come to like the Western suit and tire in much the same way that I have come to like wearing African prints in the shirt, kaftan or fugu forms. Having to buy an off the shelf shirt designed neatly with indigenous African prints from down here in Ghana or anywhere across the continent does it for me especially as I am not a fan of visiting the unreliable Ghanaian tailor to sew a shirt.

I got me a few Fusion shirts and the plaudits from those who are already into wearing apparel like that and people who hitherto wouldn’t think of putting on anything with prints like that tell me that I am in good company thus far.

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I wish Ghanaians had guts like Muhammad Ali

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The Greatest

I made a similar statement in 2014 and people linked to this government who felt I was becoming too loud, too important, too aggressive, too influential, too thorny, felt this was me suggesting a violent overthrow of the government when I said “I wish we had guts like the people of Ukraine”. This was after the people of Ukraine had said no to a government that was corrupt, ineffective and one that seemed too detached from them. They had the cajones to drive the government way. We lack that umpth. We believe and keep singing ‘fa ma nyame’ as though we expect God to drop from the high heavens to physically rule us and correct our many self-inflicted and self-accepted grandiose misbehaviour.

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He roared like a lion

Muhammad Ali dies and the whole world is celebrating him. They are celebrating him for the impact he made not just whiles dancing around inside a ring and punching opponents out, but most importantly some are celebrating him for what he stood for, what he fought for, what he did not tolerate and what he taught the world to learn.

My former colleague and newly graduated Columbia University School of Journalism product, Anny Osabutey spoke my mind when he said in a long Facebook post that;

“(Ghanaians) eulogize Mohammad Ali after his passing at 74, we should remember he became great not only because he could box, but he stood his grounds against the vicious system in the United States that desperately attempted taking away his dignity as a man.

He did not hide behind closed doors moaning about the unjust system which wanted him to feel inferior, unworthy, unloved, etc. He openly declared his abhorrence at the  rubbish that America, at the time, was being taken through by the sullen thugs of evil men and women who believed their skin colour made them more human than blacks.

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Two Men with Guts: Ali was the guest of the Osagyefo in 1964.

He spoke out for the voiceless and paid the price for it. Imagine if he had chickened out back then? His tireless fight is partly the reason why Barack Obama is in the White House. Likewise as Ghanaians, we must be bold enough to out the deep-seated corruption in our society, especially within government, and not be part of the on-going rot, just because it benefits us, or affects a party we love.

We can’t sacrifice the interest of our country at the expense of the evil greed which has taken hold of us, as a people, as a nation-Ghana. We must not give in to fear, intimidation, and the covert attacks often heaped at those who mean well for their country–we must speak out against the blatant corruption eroding the lives and times of the future of a country once revered by many from far and near.

Refuse to be a praise singing stooge, don’t loathe those who speak against the blatant abuse of the national resources, be their protector.  Again, remember Ali did not hide, he spoke out. And I pray that while you continue to heap the praises on his memory, you’ll do your part to preserve our country for the future.”

I absolutely agree with Anny Osabutey. I felt vindicated when on Republic Day a few years ago ordinary Ghanaians for the first time protested against the government without the involvement of any political party. Political parties in this country succeed in amassing crowds to rallies and demonstrations because they promise participants water, food, stipend, T.shirts and all manner of things including free transport so they show up. On that day a group of regular folks used social media to create #RedFriday and to #OccupyFlagstaffHouse and to #OccupyGhana. The rains poured but they, including me, defied the rains and made our voices heard. It was this sort of guts I spoke about in 2014. People were worried that it could spiral into an Arab Spring of a sort and tried to kill my spirit. But guess what, there are countless of Ghanaians who have bigger hearts and spirits than mine and gradually they are getting heard.

I hope we let the values that Muhammad Ali stood for to sink into our heads and minds so we withstand the blatant corruption and nation wrecking going on.

I hope we let the values that Muhammad Ali stood for to sink into our heads and minds so we tell those at the helm that enough of the lame leadership that has seen as mark time when others are flying around us.

I hope we let the values that Muhammad Ali stood for to sink into our heads and minds so that we stop giving it all to God and take what is rightfully ours because God gave us brains and heart to live a life that He will be happy with.

I I hope we let the values that Muhammad Ali stood for to sink into our heads and minds so we abhor mediocrity and stop hailing at the crumps thrown at us when we must be given what it takes to live like Queens and Kings meritoriously.

I hope we let the values that Muhammad Ali stood for to sink into our heads and minds so that we are not continually fooled by politicians who claim they have provided us with world class medical care but will jet to Dubai when they have headaches; will educate their children in London and New York when they say they have provided first-class educational infrastructure; drink imported bottled water after claiming to have given us more water than we need; fix the roads leading to their homes whilst claiming they have fixed the nation; and so on and so n and so forth.

Ali was the greatest. He said he was the greatest even before he became the greatest. We sing in out national anthem, “….and make our nation great and strong” but tell you what, God can help but he will have to help US to make our nation great and strong. We cannot sit on our bums and expect our nation to be great and strong. Our nation will be weak and ordinary unless we dig deep into our extraordinary hearts and make it what we want to make it.

WE – if WE leave it to THEM, absolutely nothing will come our of it. WE can make our nation Great and Strong and we  must make it so or live the rest of our lives in our old age seeing a Ghana brought to its knees.

I wish we will get the guts of Muhammad Ali.

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The President’s own men took away his shine

“Today, I really felt pity and hurt for President John Mahama. After such a colourful ceremony, an excellent speech and a splendid display of our traditional wear by the first couple, someone managed to creatively take the shine away from him. Someone’s unimaginable indiscretion to pack journalists in a tipper truck, and the “competent” hands that edited and proofread the programme booklet ensured that the wrong reasons are trending instead of the splendour of the day.

It is as if someone is constantly setting him up for mockery. Remember at his last ECOWAS meeting as Chairman he fumbled helplessly for missing pages. A similar thing happened at the recent State of the Nation Address, when he was heard asking for some pages. But, hey, who am I to weep more than the bereaved? Those who are around him were not appointed by my grandfather”.

Those are not my cries. They are that of Mannaseh Azure Awuni. I happened to agree with him completely. Now, just in case you have not seen or read or perhaps heard, the official brochure distributed to the Kenyan President and his colleague from Guinea Bissau and their wives, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and many other senior dignitaries from Ghana, was froth with so many mistakes it embarrassed some of us from simply seeing them. As captured in the attached photos, the errors included the wrongful designation of Uhura Kenyatta as Ghana’s President to errors in grammar, spelling and the sort of mistakes you will see in the school magazine of a junior high school edited by a JSS three pupil.

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To be honest I found today’s parade to be lively and very befitting of the event (yes I know the debate on its relevance won’t go away). The speeches by both Kenyatta and Mahama were on point and I particularly liked the interaction between them on one side and the opposition party leaders as very matured and a welcoming sight especially as their follows do not seem to have a reason to jump at each other. But then some people had to make sure that we discuss these other sad spectacles that came out of the Black Star Square.

Among the questions I have been asking myself since I saw some of these images have included; who in God’s name supervised the 59th Independence Day brochure? Who commissioned it? Who supervised it? Who proofread it? Sorry, who DIDN’T proofread it?

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Some people will start speaking rubbish about us ‘hating’ and not focusing on the beautiful event that happened. Tell you what, people rehearsed for today and delivered. However those taking the shine away from JM and the parade are people working directly for and with the government. That brochure was as hurriedly done as though March 6th sneaked up on those who had a job to do. It was as if they lived in December 2015 and before they could scream the K in Jack, it was March, and it was March 5th so they had to do something.

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This smacks of incompetence, mediocrity, laziness, carelessness, and a complete disregard for the tenets of work, common sense. That document belongs to this state. It has the emblem of the Office of the President. Let’s treat that with respect.

Some people will want to play down on this. Event organizers say the reason they invest in brochures is that they expect people to keep them and to serve as some reminder of the event.

For some occasions, even corporate entities advertise in them. I imagine President Kenyatta reading this whiles flying back home. Bright Simons gives a more elaborate reason why these errors must not be downplayed. He thinks it portrays us as an unserious country.

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“It affects our national image. Which has implications for the national brand. ‘National brands’ are economically quantifiable benefits to business. There is ample evidence to show that adding ‘Swiss’ to a brand name boosts the value of the brand measurably. To the point where nowadays many companies from Switzerland simply use ‘Swiss’ as a brand tag. Case in point ‘Swatch’. When a machine maker adds the tag line, ‘German engineering’, she is harnessing the benefits of the country brand for direct corporate gain. Demonstrating to the whole world that Ghana is an ‘unserious’ country has economic consequences, whether the hapless folks in charge know it or not.”

The matter of the journalists in a tipper truck

As I said in a Facebook post, if I don’t see news stories from JOURNALISTS condemning the way some JOURNALISTS were made to cover the 59th Independence Day parade by being holed up in a parked tipper truck, I shall praise organizers for doing well in further disrespecting media practitioners. These journalists should do stories condemning this and we should see these in print, online, TV and every avenue the media has. Our media folks allow themselves to be treated any how and as long as they don’t complain and demand their due, they will always be treated like crap.

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Some people assumed I was speaking about government helping private media get needed equipment. I have intimated that you don’t go to a place like this and stand wherever you want. You are told where to. The onus was on the organisers to find an appropriate location for media.

No one is asking anyone to buy any equipment. As an event organiser you create a press centre otherwise you’d have them all over the place.

After the sad photos of media using a ladder to climb into the bucket of a tipper truck, party and government people released a photo of a riser that they say was meant for media. As Manasseh Awuni says, “some are saying those in the truck are not accredited. If they are not accredited, who brought them the truck? Count the number of “journalists” and police in the “riser.” Are these the only journalists accredited to cover the ceremony? GBC reporters and crew alone at the Black Star Square are more than the people on the riser.

David Andoh of myjoyonline told me he refused to climb the truck when it came because it didn’t look safe, but some of his colleagues did. He said the truck belongs to NADMO. Or they are telling me that the truck was brought in by the journalists themselves?

To such fortified and secure venue without anyone stopping them? The movement of journalists on such occasions are restricted, and rightly so to ensure order. For security reasons and space, the media houses cannot bring their own vehicles to the Black Star Square. The organisers are those who show them where to and how to move. They can put the journalists in a more dignifying vehicle than this. Let’s confront the issue. It happens all the time and we defend it”.

Someone must come out to apologise to the President, and then to Ghanaians. Then of course to the media. This is not a small matter. It may not be a direct bread and butter issue, but it does have an effect on that. Let us not be satisfied with mediocrity.

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I have worked as a PR practitioner in two multinational companies – one mining, the other telecommunications.

In my capacity as a practitioner I have had to deal with media folk of various ilk. Having practiced journalism before, it was quite easy to appreciate the actions of journalism.

A video went viral that showed the news coverage of President Mahama’s visit to the Scottish parliament – I maintain  the phrase ‘visit to the Scottish parliament’ and would stay clear of calling it ‘State visit’.

In the said video, and commentaries that preceded it, Stan Xoese Dogbe, the President’s reliable and unmovable right hand man was seen shielding his boss from a potential ambush interview that was sought by a journalist on the issues of gay rights. Stan was seen firmly and effectively preventing the journalist from thrusting a microphone in the direction of the President so he could walk away without answering the question.

I have done a similar thing on several occasions.

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A screenshot of Stan preventing the Scottish journalist from asking the LGBT question

As a PR person one of your jobs is to ensure that journalists do not arrest an event to skew the reportage in their interest.

This will sometimes mean stepping in to say something like ‘I am afraid Mr. XYZ and this company will not like to comment on this matter at this moment’. There may be times that the practitioner must be tough and possibly use physical restraints especially when the journalist may be hostile. I therefore appreciate Stan’s actions absolutely.

What however remains of concern is the seemingly undiplomatic manner this trip was organised. I haven’t studied Diplomacy before but I didn’t need to be an expert to realise this was a badly arranged visit that left a tonne of questions left unanswered. Bright Simons of mPedigree and Imani Ghana encapsulated my feelings when he said;

” What has been bugging my mind is: who arranged this visit to the Scottish parliament in the first place? If the host country hasn’t expressed a willingness to grant a state visit then why include on the itinerary a stop usually associated with state visits? Why should the President of a sovereign state go to the Parliament of another country to observe proceedings from a gallery, and then address a small group of parliamentarians in a committee room? It looks like someone was recklessly trying to make this a state visit by force. Why didn’t the President make this a private visit to Aberdeen to collect his doctorate award? Whilst I resent the attitude of some of the Scottish parliamentarians and journalists, I think more blame should be assigned whoever arranged the visit. There was a sense of protest about the whole thing on the Scottish side, and it probably stems from lack of diplomatic preparation to ensure that the political elite was ready and generally willing to host a state visit. Someone probably arranged the whole LGBT controversy to scuttle what was seen as an imposition”.

The President is just one man with a thousand things to do. He can’t do everything himself. He counts on people that you and I pay to do some of this work. For this trip, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, State Protocol Department and Ghana’s Mission to the UK must take the responsibility. Our institutions are often quick to step out for the applause but hasten slowest when the criticisms start falling around them. Again as Simons intimates, the President could have simply gone to the University on a private visit to pick up his award and then come back home quietly. I frankly didn’t find this visit to the Scottish parliament for these unpresidential, undiplomatic heckling to be subjected to our President. Even getting a respectable seating place was disregarded.

Was it the case that State Protocol and National Security didn’t access the area the President was to sit or they did and in their mind, there ws nothing wrong with having the President of Kwame Nkrumah’s government and his wife and key officials cramped on two benches in the public gallery of a colony of Britain? Let’s think about that for a second.

On the issue of Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Rights, Ace Ankomah, lawyer and member of Occupy Ghana puts it succinctly;

“I am going to try to remain restrained in my language.

I feel offended at what some Scottish MPs did or sought to do yesterday. Some TV footage is making rounds on social media. That behavior was cheap, low, crass and not right. The President did not pass the laws on homosexuality. He has no power to repeal them. That power is for parliament.

And for the information of these dummies, those laws were first written in official statues here by the UK, the country to which they, the Scots, technically and happily remain a colony (and they just gleefully voted to remain so).

And, does whoever arranged that part of the trip still have a job this morning?”

Yes, are we going to punish someone for this or we are going to wallow in our mediocrity and say these are not bread and butter issues? What we saw in photos and videos clearly show that something was not right. Let’s do this right. We are proudly part of the 75 nations left globally who still maintain same-sex relationships must not be given legal stature. If any country won’t invite our President to their country because of it, then they can take their country – that’s my opinion but of course I am not always diplomatic.

Let me congratulate President Mahama on what I believe is a second honorary doctorate in two or so years. Some friends of mine and I have been on a crusade against people who pay for  doctorates from institutions that are not recognised by any body. Worse, they pay for full page ads to praise themselves as well. Our President gets these awards from legitimate institutions and then asks us not to call him with the ‘Dr’ prefix – that’s so unGhanaian, isn’t it?

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I celebrate the PEOPLE of Ghana – not its LEADERS

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The recurring theme in online and media conversations this time of the year is “what are we celebrating; we have nothing to celebrate; we are at the same place”.

I wouldn’t pretend not to have thought about similar things on March 6. But then I feel the fact that we are able to question the need for celebrating our independence in itself gives us a reason to celebrate it.

Yes indeed if we had continued our onward  growth from where Kwame Nkrumah started off with us, we would have been the true Black Star of Africa. Along the line we have messed up and had soon become satisfied with makeshift solutions, mediocre development, and leadership that have offered all but leadership.

Yes indeed I wish in celebrating our 59th birthday we would have had no schools under trees, our government wouldn’t tie development to electoral fortunes, our hospitals wouldn’t be lacking oxygen and gauze, our health insurance wouldn’t be run by selfish men who divert the monies into their personal accounts whiles sick and poor patients must cough up cash to receive healthcare.

I wish we didn’t have to contend with basic issues that are reminiscent of nations that are 2 and 3 years old. I truly wish.

But I am happy celebrating Nkrumah’s Ghana because her people have found their voices again and are using them.

Her people do not swallow anything and everything including what the President says hook, line and sinker.

Her people are beginning to hold her leaders to their promises and won’t allow them to treat them like some dumb illiterates that get bought with toilet rolls and kruba and cutlass and 5 cedis and sweet promises.

I celebrate Ghana’s Independence Day not because we are where we ought to be, but because we have lived through a torturous leadership span of 50 years or so but have the cajones to turn things around.

I celebrate Ghana because her people are worth celebrating and I celebrate her people.

I celebrate the people of Ghana.

Happy birthday Ghanafuɔ.

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A user’s guide to using social media within the Ghanaian stratosphere

It can be so hard to maintain your sanity on social media. There are all manner of people there with all manner of persuasions and beliefs and all manner of reasons why they are on social media. Take social media to be like one big university or perhaps even secondary school. You recall the various shades of people you had to live with on class, rooms or dormitories, during social events  and religious ones too? Well, that’s pretty much how social media is. Just that it is much bigger than any secondary school or even country.The average social media user in Ghana is perhaps used to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Whatsapp (yes the experts will tell you it is a type of social media same as Viber and IMO), SnapChat. I recently heard of Tinder. There is also Pinterest,  MySpace and a whole lot of others some of you may not have heard of. So how does one meander through the minefield classily labelled as social media? Let me try and give it a shot with some basic observations.

1. Not everyone will like you on social media.

Seriously do you have everyone liking you at school or work or even church? Of course not. So why do you expect everyone to like you on social media. Sometimes these people express their dislike so strongly it makes sense to think of it as hate.

2. Some people will like you a lot.

This may be as a result of many factors, chief among which is the fact that you may be saying or doing things that speak to them or that relate to them very closely.

3. Some people are on social media because they are bored stiff

It is so bad they live on social media platforms and can and will do anything so they forget there is a real life outside the virtual walls of social media.

4. There are political party operatives whose ‘job title’ may be ‘Facebook Poster’ or ‘Social Media Team Member’

So whereas you and I may be doing our own thing and having fun, it is actually their job to be on there. If you find them taking some hard postures and defending the impossible, know that it is bread and butter issues and they have very little choice but to say what they say.

5. There are lots of people ‘keeping up appearances’ like Mrs. Bouquet

Have you not noticed that girl or dude who always have their locations turned on and after every post ‘…at Golden Tulip’. Or ‘….at Tang Palace’ and stuff like that? Tell you what, sometimes it is either that the trotro they are driving in just passed in front of the hotel or they have configured their location to pick up Tang Palace though they may be sleeping in the single room they share with five others at Madina Libya quarters. Beware of the fakes.

6. Social media brings out the best photos of the people you know

Guys, if you didn’t know I am telling you now that there are all sorts of applications that are used to edit photos and to generally enhance people’s images. Please dont be suprised that the real version of the photo doesn’t look like the version standing in front of you.

7. Some people will never make sense

True. Some people seem to have sworn to some deity in their hearts never to make sense. They decide to say the things that will irk you just so it gives them the satisfaction they crave. Be careful you don’t fall into their trap.

8. There are many more people that will follow you in silence

Yes when you meet them they can rattle to you the last 20 posts or tweets you put up. They may even be able to tell you some of the comments others posted. But they will never like a post, retweet a tweet or comment. They belong to the silent army. Or call them Team Stalkers.

9. You may be a hero. But when trouble comes, you may be on your own.

People will often like your posts and comment and tweet and all, sometimes even when the cause is needless. But if you find yourself in any legal quagmire you may realise it’s just you and your God.

10. Social media works

I know of a few very positive causes started by regular folk on social media that have brought some wow results to communities and people. For instance I am part of a group on Facebook called Dummies Guide to Ghanamanisms. We have over time used social media to complete and re-roof school, buy books and helped schools. Others have used them for many others.

11. People have married after meeting here

I emceed a wedding reception three years ago where the couple had met on social media. The groom, a senior of mine from Presec had met the lady on Facebook. One thing led to the other and next I knew, I was hosting their wedding.

12. Some people will hate your guts but will still read your posts albeit clandestinely

One of Piers Morgan’s followers on Twitter had tweeted after Piers had shared an opinion about Donald Trump and the US Republican race in 2016 that “who on God’s green earth cares about what Piers makes of the race”. Piers responded “apparently thousands of my followers such as yourself do”. A few days later someone replied to a post on my wall that “…I have stopped reading that Kwame Gyan’s commentary, he thinks he knows everything”. I replied “….dude you don’t read me but you are here; are you here looking for the keys you lost”. Or something like that.

13. Not every comment deserves a response

See, one major difference between traditional websites and social media is that the latter is generally interactive. Meaning users engage more and ‘speak’ to each other as though they were seated across each other. However at a point in one’s social media life you will notice that not every comment is worth a response. Some must be plainly ignored. It will be near suicidal to mind everyone.

14. Social media creates celebrities…Social Media Celebrities

My friend Kalybos gained his fame on YouTube and Facebook before he 1appeared on mainstream. In his case, he launched a career that made him some money and led him to mainstream entertainment and movies. I have heard some people refer to a certain Kwame Gyan as a Facebook celebrity. May be so, may be not so. But surely you can get noticed on social media and the extent of being known can be extensive.

 

 

15. Lots of news content is generated from social media so watch what you say or post on there

I have had a few posts of mine generating news content in the past. One of it was twisted to mean what it was not and it got a whole lot of attention it didn’t merit. A few other times bloggers have found my posts and that of many others as content for news. Indeed celebrities have made important announcements here. It’s important therefore that you watch what you say.

16. Social Media is a good hiding place

Ever seen people with names like “Finest chickinnaGhana Mensah”. Or “Beautydefined Nana Yaa Ahoofe”. People can hide on social media and create a whole new identity for themselves including images. You may be there as you with nothing hidden and then you find yourself in an altercation with someone whose name is a sentence and whose face is not hers or even if it is, Camera 360 has been used to redefine her.

 

 

17. You can be sued for defamation

The Deputy Attorney General of Ghana in February of 2016 sued a “Facebooker” for allegedly making defamatory statements about him. So you see, it us not only in Europe and the US that people get hauled to court for what they say.

18. Know how to start a conversation or to make friends on social media

I have had to literally yell at some people who seem not to realise that courtesies that apply to meeting people in real life is needed in the virtual world too. Some people can say hi and then I say hi back and then they go quiet. I again say what’s up and they say hi. End of convo. This sequence can happen a few more times. Seriously if you can’t learn how to start convo and make friends learn it.

19. Be mindful of what you leave behind on social media

Any combination of Facebook, Snap Chat, Instagram and Twitter can expose you to potential stalkers. It may be important to limit how much info is given out and where that happens. There are some people that leave nothing to chance and that’s scary. Generally it’s safe to do a number of things in these parts. However you never know when that first,  strange incidence will happen.

20. There are delete and block buttons for a purpose. Use them.

I have used these a lot. I want to think I am generally a very tolerant chap.  But however I sometimes find myself unable to withstand some of the bland, irritating nonsense that some people meet me up with. I block those who have made it a point to make my life uncomfortable and painful. I also keep others with agenda tailored to make me not attain my full pleasurable experience on social media away. If you can’t stand it, delete or block them. Even companies block irritants from their pages how much more you the individual.

So, there you are. I will probably do a revised version of this soon. We should all keep our sanity snd not lose it to some folks with lunatic tendencies.

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Disqualifying Shatta Wale will give a lot more respect and credence to the Music Awards

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On Tuesday February 23 Charterhouse Ghana, organisers of the Vodafone sponsored Ghana Music Awards announced some key decisions on the 2016 awards. Key among this was the disqualification of arguably the biggest artist in Ghana from the awards.

Shatta Wale had denigrated and made mockery of the awards. He took both organisers and the Board to the cleaners in social media posts and via videos as well. When nominations opened this year he had announced he will submit his works to be considered. He claimed his fans wanted him to, and that was why he did. The onus now was on the VGMA Board to accept or reject his nominations.  This the board did, citing the artist’s refusal to apologise for his actions and the way he ridiculed the awards he now wishes to receive and decorate his living room with.

Shatta Wale’s response was rather mild

Well, Shatta Wale had a response for them just hours later:

“WHY SHOULD I ALWAYS I APOLOGIZE FOR THE  MONSTER YOU HAVE MADE ME BECOME WHEN NO ONE HAS EVER APOLOGIZED FOR MAKING ME THIS WAY. IF YOU PUT ME IN A CAGE LIKE AN ANIMAL AND FEED ME WITH FRESH BLOODY MEAT FOR YEARS, IMAGINE WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I BREAK THE CAGE AND COME OUT, I WILL BE FORCED TO LIVE THE BLOODY WAY YOU TRAINED ME”.

Now, that was a mild response especially if you know how he has reacted in the past on similar matters. The response to me is not that of defiance. But more of a bitter man who wishes to be understood and is trying to get a message across by blaming others for turning him into a man he does not wish to become but has turned out to be nonetheless.

Who Made Shatta Wale a Monster?

I am not sure who made him a monster. I don’t think Charterhouse did. May be he made himself a monster and used the foolhardy backing of a section of his fans to entrench that status where he feels invisible and untouchable. That has been the Shatta Wale brand and posturing since he metamorphosed from Bandana (from Ghana). His new management team is doing a lot to change that image and that perception. To be honest I admire what they are doing. As a brands snd PR professional I can see the work being out in and the resultant output thus far. If Shatta Wale will allow himself to be managed, I bet he will attain a better status whose influence will go beyond the teeming fans most of whom may be yelling his name blindly.

Where were the fans last year?

I am sometimes left in awe when I think about this. Where were the fans last year when Shatta Wale rained all sorts of invective on the awards and the Board?  I bet they were there cheering. So in their mind it is ok for their mentor to denigrate an awards scheme and after 365 days turn around and say, “ye man, I won make ya give me di awards me diss last yer”. How’s that reasonable or sensible?  Or they feel the young man is a god and can do anything he wants and whenever he pleases?

Leave Vodafone alone

I have seen a video and some social media posts where some of his fans are threatening the sponsors of the awards. They seem to think they have the wherewithal to bring Vodafone to its knees. It appears they want to force the hands of the sponsors and organisers into reinstating their idol. Sadly though, nominations into the Ghana Music Awards is not like some birthright anyone is entitled to. It is not an abuse of anyone’s fundamental human rights not to be nominated. You cannot go to court snd claim a violation of some sort. The earlier someone told these boys they are fighting a losing battle the netter it will be for them.

The difference between the VGMA and perhaps other award schemes in Ghana is that this one has been well structured with a board made of industry players that are respected. The organisers do not meet at a pool party with their friends and decide on how the awards are run. Sponsors have a say but the sole direction of the awards does not lie with them.

The Message – the bold message

I feel the board has sounded out a very succinct message to people out there. If the awards is to be taken seriously it must be respected. They have earned my respect with this decision. If I were Shata Wale’s team, I will call on my client to apologise and put a brave face afterwards. Shatta Wale must be told that he can’t eat his cake and have it.

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Fighting for Relevance: The Case of Screwface…do you guys know him?

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Piers Anthony couldn’t have put it more succinctly, “When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour”

I read with utter disgust and rage the monstrous fib cooked and published by the one hit wonder, Screwface, seeking to cast a slur on the in the integrity of the Ghana Music Awards.
Screwface has alleged in a facebook ‘outburst’ posted on his wall @skrew faze at about 2pm on Thursday 28th January 2016; 9 years, since he had any relevance in the industry that he did not win his 2007 Ghana Music Awards Discovery of the Year nomination because he failed to pay a bribe supposedly demanded by a staff or member of the event organizing team, Charterhouse Pathetic!

So i decided to research a bit…thank God for the internet. In the year 2006, ScrewFace released a breakthrough song , “Bue Bue” that enjoyed some good on air rotation and earned him a nomination in the discovery of the year category of the 2007 Ghana Music Awards, competing alongside Ewura Esi, Ohemaa Mercy, Abigail Bedjabeng and of course, King Ayisoba who at the time had what was incontrovertibly the biggest and hottest track in Ghana then; “I want to see you my father”

King Ayisoba as expected by most people won the category and went ahead to win the traditional artiste of the year and the big one, the most popular song of the year.

So, was Screwface “robbed” because he refused to pay a bribe for the man who beat Kweku Gyasi who had the smash hit, Nyame Aseda, Obrafour with Heavy, Ofori Amponsah with Emmanuella, Samini with Samini Music, Lord Kenya with Born Again and Wutah with Esikyire?
Is Screwface saying King Ayisoba, panji anoff and his pidgin music paid bribe to Charterhouse for Ayisoba to win?,

Screwface was “robbed” for refusing to pay a bribe and yet granted this interview on Wednesday 18th July, 2007?

“The young musician who was nominated for the 2007 Ghana Music Award as a Discovery of the year but lost the award to King Ayisoba said he doesn’t feel bad losing that award BECAUSE HE THINKS THE WINNER ALSO DESERVES IT. According to him, to be nominated in a category brings you to the lime light and everybody notices your effort”
http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/entertainment/Liberians-Independence-Day-celebration-with-Screwface-193183

Who asked Screwface to pay any money? How come Screwface couldn’t mention a name? Oh, let me guess, he didn’t ask the person his or her name, right? And how come he never ever ever mentioned this anywhere till now?

And finally, why the connection to Shatta Wale? Could it be that his irrelevance in the industry for almost a decade is driving him bananas? Is it a desperate scream to SM’s fans to drag him into some small lime light?
Or is the plan to also defame Charterhouse so that maybe, just maybe if he’s lucky he might also get popular again by being anti Charterhouse.

Is this really how much damage desperation and abandonment can do? I mean, we all know it’s been very long. Almost a decade since “bue bue”.  Ghana has had 3 presidents and participated in two world cups since. Why?

Clearly Screwface needs help. Now what I’m not sure of is whether that help is emotional, financial…i pray charterhouse will just simply ignore this one…so he doesnt get the fame he wants through this ludicrous claim.

Writer: Anonymous

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CITI BREAKFAST SHOW – Why we talk the way we do

CITI FM has maintained its relevance amongst Accra's 46 radio staions.

CITI FM has maintained its relevance amongst Accra’s 46 radio staions.

Over the past couple of months, we have introduced a new format on the Citi Breakfast Show on Citi 97.3 FM, which has been commended, criticized, imitated and derided in equal measure.

My two colleagues Richard Sky, Nhyira Addo and myself  (the 3 wise men on the radio) sometimes with help from Nana Ama Agyemang Asante and Godfred AkotoBoafo, have become quite vocal in our criticism and commentary on a variety of national issues, from the inadequacy of basic resources, to the docility of our middle class and the apparent “outoftouchness” of our political leaders.

Earlier on Thursday,April 4, 2013 for example, we criticized the decision to pay over US200, 000 each to Article71 office holders including MPs  (a total of over GHS 40million) at a time when the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) is struggling to respond to serious flooding in the Volta Region.

The payment as far as I am concerned is another manifestation of misplaced priority of government. Only a few weeks ago, the President was forced to explain the details of an intended sponsorship of pastors to a so-called pilgrimage to Israel, at an amount of USD600, 000.

The explanation that the amount was from a benefactor hardly mollified the anger from some sections of society that the government, faced more pressing problems like shortages and strikes, could even contemplate spending its (mental) resources facilitating such a trip.

We have been accused of all kinds of things including pursuing a political agenda, running animated commentary on “issues we have no business talking about” and doing “lazy journalism” among others. Some even feel we only complain and have, in the words of a past American President, become “nattering nabobs of negativism”.

These views I believe stem from a misunderstanding of what we do and what motivates us.

Our work as media,whether as journalists (or pundits) in my view is to EXPOSE the ills in society, rigorously ASK WHY and instigate POSITIVE CHANGE:  in attitudes, actions and mindsets.

If doing this attracts the criticism that we have an agenda, then thank God! Who doesn’t?

We have chosen to avoid the predictable NDC-NPP panel arrangements that pitch politicians and social commentators from the main political groupings to split hairs on predominantly partisan political issues.

These news-driven newspaper review programs have become common place on most local-language and some English speaking networks in Ghana.

Listeners deserve better than well-rehearsed political arguments from career politicians and routine answers from Ministers-of-State and public officials.

If your morning ritual includes listening to the commentary of General Mosquito, Sir John, Kweku Baako or Kwesi Pratt, then Citi Breakfast Show is not for you!

Whereas we also pontificate every now and again, we are neither wearing partisan political lenses nor have we become part of the establishment that tends to take a predictable path on national issues.

Bernard Avle hosts the CITI FM Breakfast Show

Bernard Avle hosts the CITI FM Breakfast Show

Nana Ama Agyemang Asante is a bit like me - Dont ask me what that means

Nana Ama Agyemang Asante is a bit like me – Dont ask me what that means

Richard Sky is the CITI FM Parliamentary Correspondent - He hates being reminded that I was one of those who taught him to be the 'biiiig ma' with the biiig head he has.

Richard Sky is the CITI FM Parliamentary Correspondent – He hates being reminded that I was one of those who taught him to be the ‘biiiig ma’ with the biiig head he has.

So a couple of weeks ago,we chose to highlight the importance of leadership in Ghana on a morning when almost everybody else was salivating on the akomfem saga.  On Friday April5, 2013, we chose to discuss the headache of acquiring and securing land in Ghana on a day when hotter political topics were making the news rounds.

Today Monday April 8,2013 for example, the main issue in town is the rekindled strike by doctors and pharmacists, and while we found time to highlight this, we spent a good amount  of airtime discussing the poor customer service, unreliability and lack ofenforcement of standards in our domestic airline sector.

Our job is not only toreport events and point out their implications but also to anticipate problemsand flag them before they become catastrophic.

In our view, the Ministry of Transportation and its allied institutions ought to wake up and strictlyenforce standards particularly for domestic airlines, to prevent the catastrophes like the Dana Air Crash in Nigeria.

This approach isimportant because sometimes events take place so quickly that we tend to miss their real meaning.  It is therefore important to step back every now and again, and decide what is important for our listeners.

Radio is a powerful  medium, but for it to yield positive results, it must be approached from an enlightened, well-informed and creative mindset-, which is what the Citi team tries to do every day.

This is not to say we do not report on current affairs. But any serious analysis of Ghana’s problems, be they erratic power supply, water rationing, strikes or budget deficits will reveal a predictably cyclical ring to them.

This means it’s not enough just  to report the fact of the occurrence of a strike, or a road crash or such other newsworthy issues, but to situate their occurrence inrecent historical context and point out the links and common threads that run through these issues.

In these past two months we have broached subjects from the difficulty in getting blood in blood banks,to dealing with persistent armed robbery, the inappropriate content of some TV (and radio) programs, the incessant noise pollution in our neighborhoods and the inability of Ghanaian children to express themselves in their own local language.

When hawkers and traders took over the newly constructed Madina road and turned it into a market overnight we run a series of shows on it until the Municipal Assembly led a team to restore sanity at the place. Another pet topic is the menace of motorbike users who seem to think a separate set of traffic laws apply to them as they brazenly run red lights with traffic police helplessly looking on.

We are driven by a love for Ghana, a country blessed with unbelievable natural resources but suffering from chronic leadership failure on all fronts.

The country has become complacent and is resting on its oars, others have overtaken us and we still delude ourselves that having relatively peaceful elections every four years and attracting plaudits for our democratic credentials every now and again  is fine! (Wake up, Kenya also  has done it. And quicker too)

To put some of our developmental problems in broader context;

According to the Ghana Social Development Outlook 2012, our Water and Sanitation deficits have become a serious health threat to educational outcomes.

Our housing deficits have created urban slums with endemic problems. Unemployment has reached dangerously high levels, with social development now under serious threat. Energy Supply is inadequate for our growing population and Economic Inequality is widening even in the face of increased economic growth.

What compounds these problems is the increasing apathy of our middle classes and their resort to private solutions to public problems.

As some wise chap said, politics, (which essentially deals with public choice) are too serious a matter to be left in the hands of politicians alone, particularly because:

“Most voters are largely ignorant about the positions of the people for whom they vote, and except for a few highly publicized issues, they do not pay attention to what legislative bodies do, and even when they do pay attention, they have little incentive to gain the background knowledge and the analytic skills needed to understand the issues”**

This means media have a crucial role to play in informing, educating, framing and contextualising the issues.

This is not always easy to do in a highly polarized environment like ours. Incredibly intelligent and articulate “experts” prefer to leave the minefield of national discourse and political analysis to the IDEGs, CDDs, & IMANIs, who have borne the brunt of our acerbic politics of being unfairly branded by some disingenuous politicians.

The political space hasbeen hijacked by vitriolic political commentary, which fiercely labels and brands anyone who dares question the actions of politicians.

There is too much at stake to let the fear of being labelled as NDC or NPP or the silence of the so-called experts to make us apathetic or cower us into silence.

We will risk being labelled and talk about politically charged issues like the ballooned budget deficit, and the acquiescence of a parliament that keeps approving budgets and spending limits which governments refuse to adhere to, and risk being labelled in partisan colors.

We are privileged to be on air as  broadcast journalists with access to information and decision makers through a phone call and sometime face-to-face meetings.

We will not waste this precious opportunity by  asking ignorant questions nor be obsequious when we interact with our leaders on behalf of our listeners.

We will do our best to get all the facts and background information on the issues that arise and question the system as rigorously and fearlessly as we can.

We will be fair but firm,respectful but robust, inquiring and irritating if need be.

The talking we intend to do is reasoned, passionate advocacy that will prick our collective conscience and jerk our leaders from their complacence.

Our selected approach to breakfast or morning shows is neither orthodox nor comfortable.  We will set people on edge but we also force them to think deeper.

It may be true that talking won’t solve our problems, but silence won’t either!

 

By Bernard Avle: Host of the CitiBreakfast Show

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