Waakye queues, rain clouds and Justice Atuguba’s mask

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

As if sweating giant clots of venous blood under a cruel sun for pitiable fistfuls of grade three peanuts from the so-called Fair Wages and Salaries Commission were not enough, Jomo, we also now have to queue up under the same merciless sun to buy waakye!

The high and mighty in society who could easily afford 25-course dinners noon and night in the topmost bracket of upmarket restaurants are jostling with us for a dish that is the traditional preserve of the blue collar people.

The reason? The way side waakye seller is giving the best hotel and restaurant chefs in town a really good run for their menus, enticing patrons from among the rich and the poor alike with great cuisines and culinary delights in the waakye category that so excite the palate, Jomo.

There are so many other things going on in the republic to gripe about even if you are not the griping type, Jomo: The lights for example are still popping off all over the place as if a drunken backstage lights man were doing his own crazy thing with the switch. That is in spite of assurances from the authorities that the most debilitating electrical power crises since the 1995 nightmare would end by the first week of May.

Then there is the weatherman, Jomo: He appears to have gotten off to a bumbling start with his forecasts this season. He issues a weather warning: A raging storm is Ghana-bound from Nigeria. It is likely to tear through the Eastern Region and then hit the Accra with a potentially destructive bang. The weatherman says at the time of issuing the warning, the storm is somewhere around Ghana’s border with Togo.

He warns that fierce winds accompanying the storm will most likely fell outdoor advertising billboards not firmly fastened to the ground and pose a danger to people who may be outdoors. He asks all and sundry to take preventive safety measures until the passing of the storm.

He estimates the time of arrival of the invisible beast of the elements at between 8.30 and 10.00 am. Noon comes and goes and there is no sign of a whiff of wind blowing from Lagos or Ndjamena.

When the weatherman was criticized over his botched forecast of the tropical hurricane that never came on Monday, he staunchly defended himself. In an interview with some reporters, he quoted passages from the Bible to make a case, that weather forecasting had only just progressed from relying on sky-gazing techniques in the days of Jesus Christ to the use of principles of mathematics and physics, which he seemed to imply, could sometimes be unreliable. Eyeh asem-oo, Jomo.

Methinks with moisture-laden nimbus clouds beginning to float menacingly about in the lower Heavens these days, the weatherman needs to keep his wits about him and look very sharp.
Accra Mayor Alfred Vanderpuije has been busy scraping loads of solid refuse and other debris and waste from drains and disused lots around his beloved, flood-prone millennium city and is optimistic that this season around, flooding of the capital will be minimal.

Presumably, monstrous volumes of flood waters which would have swamped the city, would make great escapes through debris- and refuse-free drains and save lives and property which may otherwise have been lost. We wont score or deny the mayor any marks until the torrents have come and gone, anaa..?

The pink sheets war over the results of the presidential election held in December last year? It is raging on fiercely at the Supreme Court like Dante’s inferno and for Heaven’s sake, Jomo, don’t ask me when or how it will end because clues, I have none.

Midway through the week, Presiding judge Justice William Atuguba tore off his jovial demenour and wore a tough mask in the place of his usual face. It was quite discernibly, a signal that the hitherto very liberal posture of the Supreme Court toward inappropriate courtroom and judicial procedural behaviour had just ended with the closing of that chapter in the hearing of the dispute by the court.

The court’s toughened posture was obvious: The justices upheld several objections raised by the petitioners’ lead Counsel Mr. Philip Addison against NDC counsel Tsatsu Tsikata’s mode of questioning of the petitioners’ lead witness, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. Justice Atuguba told Dr. Bawumia in stern tones to let his intellect impact positively on the hearing by answering counsel’s questions appropriately and ordered a chagrined Addison who managed to get himself into the beginning of an argument in defence of his client, to “sit down.” 

Remember that courtroom quarrel between two learned friends over matters of professional and personal integrity? “You cunning, scheming, swindling son of a crook…” bellows plaintiff’s counsel.

“You thieving, dishonest, unrepentant, unmitigated liar”, yells counsel for defendant. “Now that you have indentified each other” the presiding judge suggests, tapping his gavel on the table “we can proceed with this case.”

It was no exactly like that, but great sparks did fly between petitioners, respondents and the nine wizened custodians of the principles of jurisprudence at the hearing this week and I daresay the forces of Justice, truth and dispute resolution are beginning to heave mightily at the Supreme Court…

A redesign of the almighty Daily Graphic’s editorial page now makes it impossible for a columnist to try shooting past the standard 15 paragraphs, which is what I did a fortnight ago. The result was a microscopic print point-size of about five. I tried reading my own letter with a telescope and fifty-five binoculars but it did not work.

The next rambling letter round last week, an accompanying cartoon was edged out to make text more legible. So? So I learn to stop abruptly..!

Article by George Sydney Abugri

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