Tweaa: I'm not your co-equal - Mahama tells MPs

BY: Graphic.com.gh

Parliament erupted in laughter Tuesday when President John Mahama, who was delivering the annual State of the Nation address suddenly said: "Herr... Order. I'm not your co-equal?...

MPs and other dignitaries were yet to recover from their bouts of intensive laughter when the First Gentleman added: "... who said 'tweaa'?".

President Mahama went on to speak on Ghana's progress in the last year as well as on government's vision for the country, which includes plans to introduce free secondary education in Ghana by the 2015 / 2016 academic year.

‘Tweaa’, an Akan interjection used mainly to express contempt for a statement made has for some time now gone viral in Ghanaian discourse together with a lot of funny posts on social media.

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It is used to indicate impatience, disgust, irritation, disapproval, or disbelief.

It became popular recently after the District Chief Executive for Ahafo Ano South, Mr Gabriel Barimah, exchanged words with a health worker who hurled the word at him at a public function.

The DCE retorted: ‘Who said 'tweaa'; am I your co-equal?’ 

A video of the exchange soon went viral on social media, prompting the traditional mass media to report on it.

Last week the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, banned the use of the word in Parliament, saying it was "un-parliamentary" and should be not part of the “Parliamentary lexicon.” 

Foreign media organisations such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, have also reported on 'tweaa'.

Last week, Mr Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, an ace Ghanaian writer, who is the President of the Ghana Association of Writers and a Consultant in communication, culture and media relations, had suggested that the idea of banning the feeling of contempt was ridiculous and that although dictators up and down the byways of history had tried, none had succeeded.

He suggested that if indeed the Speaker was trying to save the President’s blushes, the best strategy would be for the President to go on the attack and say, "I know someone here will say ‘tweaa’ today, but remember you are not my coequal”. That will bring tensions in the House down as everyone says 'tweaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa'.