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June 2011

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Very few Ghanaians are unaware of the spirited campaign by the think-tank, IMANI, to get the National Communications Authority to extend the deadline for the registration of mobile SIM cards. If for nothing at all IMANI’s campaign has helped a great deal in publicising the exercise and for that reason, once again, I commend the group. But that’s where it ends.

Come Friday, I expect the NCA to ignore every threat of legal action and all of IMANI’s doomsday prophecies and go right ahead to de-activate all SIM cards that have not been registered.

The NCA’s primary objective for directing that all SIM cards should be registered was to reduce (if not eliminate) the use of mobile phones by unscrupulous people, hiding behind phone numbers, to commit various crimes – like threatening death, telling wicked blatant lies about others and engaging in fraud.

I have received calls from people who threatened to “deal with” me. The cowards used ‘withheld’ numbers so it was impossible to even know who they were. I have read widely circulated text messages telling vicious lies about the likes of Kwesi Pratt, John Kufuor, Nana Akuffo Addo and John Atta Mills. The moment you receive a message like that you just want to find out who the sender is but when you call, the number is ‘switched off’ and when you send a text in reply it never goes through until you receive a message that your text has expired.

It was worse in the few months before the elections in 2008. So, I was particularly delighted when the NCA announced that it was going to register all SIM cards in a measure to stop the criminal misuse of cell phones. I was surprised that the NCA piloted the programme for six good months and then later announced that it would give every Ghanaian mobile phone user 12 months to ensure that their SIM cards were registered.

We all know about the silly habit of Ghanaians waiting till the last minute to rush to get things done. So it was quite smart of the NCA to give the us 18 good months to take our sweet time to get with the programme. That meant that even if there was a tortoise in Nakpanduri, who happens to enjoy talking on mobile phones he could walk slowly to Accra within 18 months to get its SIM registered – if it so wished.

With just a few days to the end of the SIM registration exercise, the NCA says more than 90 percent of users have registered. There could be problems with about 30 percent of those who have registered because they might have used unacceptable forms of identification, such as the ID cards from their ‘susu’ unions. For these people, the NCA must definitely find a way to make sure that their registration is regularised. I don’t expect the NCA to just cut them off. At least, they tried. And the fact that they presented wrong forms of identification might not be entirely their fault. So they deserve special treatment – like the phased deactivation suggestion by IMANI.

But there should be no reprieve whatsoever for those who made no effort at all to register. Sadly, I get the impression that it is for these people that IMANI is campaigning.

First of all, IMANI claims that when these people get their numbers de-activated some of them will lose their livelihood and this could create dire economic consequences for the country. Clearly, IMANI is crying more than the bereaved – or those about to be bereaved. If you depend on your SIM card for your daily bread and you have your head properly screwed on, wouldn’t you rather rush to get it registered so that it doesn’t get deactivated?
Why should you wait until the last minute or not get it registered at all?

In any case, so far, I haven’t heard from or seen a single mobile phone user who is so scared by the prospect of his SIM getting deactivated, thereby depriving him of his daily bread. What this tells me is that those who actually depend on their SIM cards for their livelihood have done the responsible thing.

I also think that the number of people who depend on mobile phones for their livelihoods, appears to have been grossly exaggerated. How many of our poor fisher-folk use the phones to fish? Furthermore, SIM cards are not as expensive as they used to be some 10 years ago. I bought my first card for today’s equivalent of 60 GHC in 2001. Now, it costs just one cedi. Therefore if one gets deactivated, you can just walk into a shop, buy another one, have it registered right where you bought it and you’d be back in business. This could explain why some people are not so keen on registering the numbers they are using now.

Secondly, IMANI also cites the sad fact that ID cards are hard to come by as another reason why the SIM card registration should be extended. Unfortunately, this argument doesn’t also hold much water either because the NCA has said that if you love your SIM card (or number) so much, get someone with a proper ID to register the SIM in his or her name for you – until you get an ID of your own. I am sure that my tortoise friend in Nakpanduri can within 18 months make friends with someone who has a proper ID to help get its SIM card registered. I don’t think there is any Ghanaian who can stand in front of the nation and proclaim that he doesn’t know anyone who owns a passport, driver’s licence or voter’s ID. With or without an ID of your own, you can register. So what’s the fuss?

Thirdly, and most seriously, IMANI has thrown around the suggestion that deactivating the phone lines of people who don’t register could amount to a violation of fundamental rights; a breach of the constitution. Now, that’s taking the argument to ridiculous depths of legalistic nonsense. The legal argument they put up are a bit too convoluted for me comprehend and relay. But I think it has something to do with the fact that when the NCA orders the telecom providers to deactivate unregistered SIM cards, contracts will be breached. This is because at the time most of these SIM cards were sold, it wasn’t a requirement that the subscribers registered their cards. And so to punish subscribers retrospectively and force the telecom operators to breach the contract with the subscribers is unconstitutional. This makes sense to some extent but it doesn’t really address the issue fully.

Look at it from other perspectives like that of the NCA (as the regulator) and the millions of responsible mobile phone users who have spent time and effort to have their SIM cards registered.

To begin with, the NCA as regulator recognised an anomaly that it is wrong for SIM cards to be issued without any mechanism of tracing who was using them. To correct this, it issued a directive – which is within its mandate as regulator to do – that all telecom companies register all the SIM cards they have sold out. Not only did NCA give them more than sufficient time to do this, it also spent a lot of the taxpayers’ money to publicise this exercise in the mass media over a very long period, warning that those who fail to register will be disconnected.

Most Ghanaians heeded the warning and got their cards registered. Why should the irresponsible minority who have failed to register hold the responsible majority who have done the right thing to ransom?

Interestingly, those who think the NCA could be breaching the constitution if it deactivates the unregistered SIM cards have registered theirs. Speak to them and they tell you they are testing the law!

I pray the NCA sticks to its deadline and does what it has been warning us for the past 18 months that it would do and let’s see if any lawyer would have the gall to take this matter to any court to test the law. No sensible judge would fault the NCA for setting a regulatory deadline and sticking to it. In any case, why wait until the very last minute to complain if you knew from the very start that the NCA was on the wrong track?

The mobile phone and its prevalence in our society is a clear manifestation that we are in a fast-moving world. We cannot continue to take things ‘easy’ all the time and seek excuses in GMT – ‘Ghana Man Time’. We have to move on as a nation and moving on means setting deadlines and targets for ourselves and striving to meet them. And if we fail to meet them, it shouldn’t be because we went in search of excuses – tempting excuses like the ones IMANI is dangling before our eyes. I say the NCA should go right ahead and deactivate every SIM card that is not registered by Saturday. It would be a good jolt for the national psyche.

Accra stinks. And it’s filthy. No two ways about that. I wonder if there is any town or village in Ghana which is filthier than Accra and stinks worse. It’s a terrible situation. Instead of dealing with it sensibly and comprehensively, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly prefers to dabble in political expediency and senseless politicking.

Before Atta Mills won the presidency and appointed Alfred Vanderpuye as mayor of Accra Zoomlion run a virtual monopoly over garbage collection and disposal in Accra. It was doing a similar job in other big towns in the country. It was a thriving company making a lot of cash out of trash. But somehow, it was perceived as being too affiliated with the NPP.

There are people in the NDC who think that without the support of the Kufuor administration Zoomlion wouldn’t have become the company that it is today. So when Atta Mills came to power, the NDC, unofficially, was determined to break the back of Zoomlion and distribute the trash (and the cash) among companies that were sympathetic with the party.

To achieve this senseless aim, they decide to zone Accra, so that other companies can lift some of the garbage and make some money out of it. It was supposed to be a perfect jobs-for-the-boys scheme which will take some of the trash from Zoomlion and feed it to the hungry and angry footsoldiers of the party.

That meant that some areas in the capital were declared no go areas for Zoomlion. Garbage collection had suddenly become territorial. Zoomlion had its territories and the small-scale waste-management companies that had suddenly been set up, mostly by and for NDC footsoldiers, would have their territories as well.

Whoever thought up the scheme must have considered himself very smart. But for those who think without any political filters and with no footsoldiers breathing down their necks, it was a very stupid idea, doomed to fail. And failing it is.

Almost everywhere you turn in Accra these days there are heaps of garbage all over the place. People are complaining and it has gotten so bad that the Ghana Health Service has issued a warning that if the situation is not dealt with soon, there might be yet another cholera outbreak.

That is what happens when political expediency is placed above efficiency: afflictions come and we all suffer.

No one will say Zoomlion was doing a perfectly good job. I won’t. Sometimes, when I put my trash out it takes them more than three days to pick it up. They are not even so good at collecting their bills. But by far, they are the best waste management company in town. They have the equipment and they have the men (and women). When they put their hands to it, they don’t always do a perfect job but they do not botch it up. They even give free bins and when I got mine last year, it was like one of the best gifts I ever got.

Most of the new waste management companies that were set up after the rezoning of the city are as useless as the garbage they are supposed to collect. They don’t have the equipment, they don’t have the men and most of them don’t seem to know what they are about.

Yet the AMA insists on inflicting people in certain parts of the city with the inefficiency of the new waste management companies. That is the reason why heaps of garbage all over the city are increasing and growing ever taller.

We all agree it’s bad for one company to become a monopoly in any given sector. But it’s worse when central (or local) government decides to intervene by taking business from the company that enjoys the monopoly only to hand that business to a company that simply can’t do the job. Why should a local authority decide which company collects my garbage?

Will central or local government decide which company becomes my internet service provider or which company paints my house? If not, why should Vanderpuye and his bunch of nincompoops decide who collects my garbage?

This whole rezoning this is nonsense. It’s like saying that the country is going to be zoned such that MTN serves people in Accra, Vodafone for Ashanti, Airtel for the Volta, Expresso for Brong Ahafo and Glo for the rest of the country. Such an arrangement won’t work. It doesn’t allow for an efficient operation of a capitalist economy. It doesn’t work even for a garbage economy like ours.

If it is not the business of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to decide for me which company I choose as my telecom services provider, I don’t see why they should decide who should be my waste management service provider.

The AMA’s job is to provide landfill sites and other means of disposing of the city’s garbage – something it hasn’t given much thought to and, therefore, hasn’t done so well. Right now, all we hear is that Accra’s landfill site are full. That’s a disaster waiting to happen but Mayor Vanderpuye is busy rubbing his hand through his beard and getting paid for it. The idea of recycling has been talked about several times but no one seems to have any plan on how to build one or two of those for Accra. Instead, they are wasting time ‘zoning’ Accra all in a bid to cash in on the city’s trash.

For me, the most dangerous trash in Accra is not the heaps of garbage in the city. It is in the minds of the men and women in city hall. It’s the reason why Accra is so filthy and stinky.

I have heard most, if not all, of the rumours about my marriage. Some just made me shake my head. Most others made me laugh. I enjoyed them all. But it’s time to end the rumours and announce to the world, formally, that my marriage of three years has broken up.

I would love to spill the beans and speak openly about how it came to this. But for very good reasons, I can’t. For now, all I can say is that marriage has been one of the few ventures in my life that I committed and dedicated everything I had to. I gave it my all and I did everything I humanely could to make it work. It just wouldn’t work.

So both of us decided that we were better off going our separate ways for, as Lucky Dube said, it is “better to be alone and be happy than be with someone and be unhappy”.

It’s been one of the most difficult periods of my life and I am well and truly glad that it’s over. I am not bitter. I am not angry. I am not hurt. I don’t need pity from anyone. One day, when the complete story is told everyone will know that getting divorced was one of the best things that happened to me – after marriage. I kid you not!

This is the window to my heart
I just want us to be free
There ain’t no freedom where we are
There ain’t no wishes in these stars
Ain’t no reason to believe

But don’t worry baby
Don’t you worry
Maybe this is what we need
A little bruise and a little bleeding
Some space that we can breathe in
Some silence in between

So cry for me baby
And I’ll cry for you
And we’ll both break down
And we’ll both break through
Find our way to face the truth
We both will be stronger
And we’ll lie down in our loneliness
And wake up with our sad regrets
Even though we don’t know it yet
We both will be stronger
We both will be stronger

I can’t believe you’re really gone
But I know it’s for the best
Baby, I know that we weren’t right
But I still reach for you each night
And man, that hurts like hell

So cry for me baby
And I’ll cry for you
And we’ll both break down
And we’ll both break through
Find our way to face the truth
We both will be stronger
And we’ll lie down in our loneliness
And wake up with our sad regrets
Even though we don’t know it yet
We both will be stronger
We both will be stronger

This is the window to my heart
I just want us to be for real
Baby I’m sorry for the way things are
Goodbye is always hard
But we both will be stronger

www.youtube.com/watch


Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
Bare.

But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —

For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Last night, I was named as the first winner of the Gordon N. Fisher/JHR Fellowship at Massey College at the University of Toronto. The occasion was the 14th annual awards gala of the Canadian Journalism Foundation.

You can read the full story here: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2011/07/c3431.html

Winning this fellowship is an incredible honour and a wonderful opportunity that will take me to one of my favourite cities on the planet for an academic year. I intend to take full advantage of it to broaden my horizon, deepen my knowledge and gain new experiences.

Over the next few weeks, I should settle on exactly what I would be studying before I leave in late August.

I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the selection panel at Massey College for choosing me out of hundreds. I look forward to a great year in beautiful Toronto, studying and catching up with all my wonderful Canadian friends.

I was raised a Christian and I attended Christian schools. I used to play the bass guitar in church but I don’t remember the last time I woke up on a Sunday and decided I was going to church. I do still believe in God, though. I know He rules in the affairs of men and I don’t need to go to church to hear from Him. I believe in Him in my heart and that’s all that matters.

I believe there is a heaven and there is a hell. Sometimes, I get the feeling that a place has already been prepared in hell for me and that any day, any moment, I would be dragged there. I have no control over how and when I get there – if I will go there at all.

It’s all in the hands of God.

No man can tell me whether I am going to hell neither can I tell whether anyone is going to heaven or hell. In the same vein, no one can look at another’s deeds and proclaim him hell-bound. Only God decides that.

God decides when to curse and when to bless. He decides who to afflict with ailment and who to cure. He decides who to make rich and who to strike with poverty. I believe we all live on the grace of God.

That I am alive today doesn’t mean I am more righteous or any more deserving of God’s grace than the men, women and children who were washed away in a blink of an eye by the Tsunami in Japan. It’s all by His Grace – given freely. None of us can work for that grace.

That’s why I am in no hurry whatsoever to condemn homosexuals and pray fire and brimstone on them. So this one is for my self-righteous Christians who have decided to strike fear into us by falsely preaching that if we don’t banish our homosexual brothers and sisters, God will curse us and we will never receive his favour.

Let’s start off at Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.”

For me, there is only one righteousness. It is outlined in Mark 12:28-31:
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
But then loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbour as yourself doesn’t guarantee that God will exalt your nation. And failing to do any of these doesn’t automatically mean that God will set your nation on fire. He decides.
That is why the bible says in Isaiah 64:6 that “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

We are all sinners – pastors, bishops, choirmasters, mass servers, ushers, instrumentalists and gay men and women alike. And no matter what you do – whether you pray all day and all night or have gay sex morning, noon and night – your righteous acts are like filthy rags before Him. If the world (or the nation) is going to suffer God’s damnation, it wouldn’t just be because some men are having sex through the anus. It would equally be punishment for thievery, murder, adultery, idolatry, fornication, deceit and all the other acts God abhors.

With this in mind, when an adulterer was brought before Jesus by stone-wielding men and women ready to pelt him to death, our Gracious Saviour looked around at them all and said: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).

At that moment, the stones fell to the ground. We are all sinners. None of us can decide that our sins are less grievous than the other. The man who has regular virginal sex is as sinful as the one who has anal sex. God will not punish the gay man any more than he would punish the heterosexual man.

But let’s not forget, He is a gracious God. With His infinite mercies, He forgives and forgives in equal measure. That’s why He sent his “only begotten son” to come and die for us all.

According to Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He loves us all in equal measure and He suffered equally for us all. The homosexual man didn’t increase Christ’s pain and suffering more than the heterosexual man did. He didn’t die more for the man who claims to be righteous and less for the sinner.

In dying for us all, not only did Christ demonstrate His love for us. In Ephesians 3:17-19 it is stated: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

So boundless is His love that there is enough for each and every one of His creations. And it is this love that He wants us to demonstrate when he says to us: “love your neighbour as yourself”. He doesn’t say, love the heterosexual more than you love the gay man.

It is for this reason that I believe that it is wholly un-Christian for any believer to jump on a moral high horse and proclaim homosexuals as the scum of the earth who deserve to be exterminated and condemned to eternal damnation. Using scripture to fuel hatred and discrimination is the most despicable thing to do. I have no doubt in my mind that there will be some homosexuals in heaven but there will be a lot more heterosexuals burning with me in hell.

I believe we must embrace gays and lesbians as fellow human beings who contribute to the diversity of the human experience and have a lot to offer humanity. I believe it is high time our society accepted that homosexuality is a fact of life and the earlier we lifted the stigma, the better. If we keep up with this gay bashing attitude, we only succeed in driving our dear, gay brothers and sisters underground denying them access to healthcare and other vital services and making it easy for them to spread disease among themselves and in the wider society.

But don’t take it all from me. Listen to Nobel laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who should be one of the most popular preachers on this planet.

“I could not for any part of me be able to keep quiet, because people were being penalized, ostracized, treated as if they were less than human, because of something they could do nothing to change – their sexual orientation,” he says in his book, ‘The Rainbow People of God’. “For me, I can’t imagine the Lord that I worship, this Jesus Christ, actually concurring with the persecution of a minority that is already being persecuted.”

Then in an interview with the BBC, Desmond Tutu says: “If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.”

God is not homophobic. He loves us all. He loves the gay man and he loves the straight man. He loves the armed robber and he loves the prostitute. He loves the priest and he loves the cheat. And he enjoins us to love one another. Christians, therefore, should be among the first to warmly embrace gay people.

That’s what God wants us to do. Anyone who professes to be a Christian but is filled with hatred for homosexuals and discriminates against them is failing in his duty as a believer. It’s that simple. Therefore, even though I don’t like going to church and I feel there is a place already prepared for me in hell, I am glad that in my heart I harbour no hatred for any man who enjoys anal sex with another man. My willingness to embrace gay people and my failure to condemn them might just be my saving grace. But then, it’s not for me to decide. God decides – out of His abundant, amazing Grace and his infinite mercies.

Amen!

Baaba Andoh Ato, nobody really cares what happens in someone’s bedroom and I certainly don’t think it’s a BNI issue. But it goes beyond apples and melons. Yes, all these societies have things we want but they have many others that we can live without. We should focus on the positive things that developed countries have. If someone wants to be gay they can go ahead, but I reserve the right detest what they do.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie No, you don’t! How does what they do affect you? Who said that being gay is from the developed countries and that 1000 years ago, African men were not gay?

Sammy King Baiden Ato, the problem is that the community in which we are has already declared their stand on this issue and will see those who have contrary views as opposed to the "norm"

Adolph Addison Righteousness exalt a nation and sin is a reproach – Proverbs 14: 34

Philip Arthur Most of these things start from the secondary schools boarding houses.

Edmund Amarkwei Foley Ghana, there are other things to focus on at this point in our lives than on this!

Abusuapanyin Kwesi Aikins They need to be confined at a place and be delivered of this evil thing that they are doing…

Papa Nii Ayertey Ato, I don’t think it is as simple as leaving people to choose who they decide to sleep with. If it was, then we should legalise wee, cocaine and the rest because if I decide to take cocaine in my body why should anyone care? It’s my body and it’s not affecting anybody – at least not directly. Why does the advanced countries try to prevent people from abusing drugs? Isn’t also against the right of those people to abuse drugs. There is a limit to rights everywhere and each society decides what the limits are. We as a society have decided that homosexuality is "bad" and should be detested – and that is that. BTW I don’t hate homosexuals.

Felix Appiah Ankuma Now everyone is turning Gay. Ray Boltz whose music I can’t stop listening to says he is now a Gay man! Elton John too! Thanks God that R. Kelly likes his with young girls but will quote Shaggy saying "it wasn’t me" in that sex tape!

Baaba Andoh Ato, there have always been gay people as well as prostitutes. They can do what they want but I am free to like or dislike. Very soon we will have male on male prostitution and then they would want to get married. We can not have it half and half

Ato Kwamena Dadzie Once again, Baaba, how does that affect you?

Ato Kwamena Dadzie ‎@Ayertey – why is being gay as bad? You can’t compare it with drugs because when someone abuses narcotics, they affect their mental functioning, they get so addicted that they’d come and rob you just to get a fix, in robbing you they might kill you. Even if they don’t come robbing you, a drug addict with an abnormality of mental functioning could just strike you dead while you are taking a leisurely walk in the park. How does a gay man harm you?

Papa Nii Ayertey That is where those against gays may raise the procreation argument. Don’t forget, not long ago suicide was a crime in most advanced countries – how did that affect anybody. If your argument is right, then there shouldn’t be a blanket restriction on drug abuse. If I can prove I can afford drugs then I should have the right to abuse it. I rather think most drugs are banned because it is believed it destroys the "body" (user’s body) – that is probably why in some countries they NOW permit wee because they now believe it does not destroy. We, somehow, as a society, think homo is unnatural and destroys the body/society (which I think is quaint). If you are able to diasbuse our minds that that is not the case, that will be great but I don’t think that arguing that homos have a right to "choose" is enough.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie ‎"Not long ago", you said, Ayertey. That means they de-criminlised suicide. You know why they did so? Because if I kill myself it doesn’t affect you. If you can prove that you can use drugs you should be able to use it? And when you do and it affects your reasoning, how will you prove that you won’t pick an axe and whack me on the street? You are not making a coherent, well-thought-out argument. Think and come again.

Papa Nii Ayertey No need to get overly excited. Then why permit alcohol? It can have the same effect as drugs – isn’t it? The procreation argument is how it affects all of us. If we allow everybody to become a homo, humans will become extinct – wouldn’t we? Or we should allow it until we realise that we are becoming extinct then ban it.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie ‎@Nii – I am not arguing with you anymore. Stick to your beliefs, let me stick to mine. No need for red herrings. If you think alcohol has the same effect as cocaine or heroine, then you need to be speaking to a doctor – not arguing with me. I end my case. Thanks.

Papa Nii Ayertey My argument is that those who have de-criminised suicide still restrict certain acts people have a "right" to – and which does not directly affect their neigbour. Just arguing that people should have unfettered rights as long as it doesn’t affect (physically) the next person is not enough.

Papa Nii Ayertey Just came to say what I think! And if you think marijuana is worse than alcohol, then u are naive.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie So you smoked any today? You are arguing in reverse gear! I didn’t even say anything about marijuana.

Papa Nii Ayertey Ha ha! I just thought of another example: you think we should have the right to walk naked in public or have sex in public? It doesn’t affect anybody – does it? But I don’t think any society permits it because it offends most societies’ sense of …… just like homo offends ours. Sorry I didn’t blindly agree with your ideas but you are my man! Peace.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie You didn’t blindly agree with my ideas. That’s fair. Problem is that you blindly argued yours.

Baaba Andoh That a man will xxxx behind another man. The thought is frightening. Ebei. Then we will move slowly to boys going after sugar daddies and then we will have to lock our husbands/boyfriends because not only are they being pursued by little girls now we have to compete with men too. As far as I am concerned there is not enough men to go around so for a man to decide he wants another man is the height of wickedness!

Ato Kwamena Dadzie Baaba, you are funny. But then, you have one already. What’s the problem? The others will make their own luck and they will find their men. Don’t worry.

—–

www.facebook.com/atokd/posts/222474944448002

 

Frankly speaking, I find it difficult to understand why a virile man will want to have anal sex with another man. The whole idea of being gay baffles me. It’s one of the mysteries of life that I will never understand.

But does it really matter if I don’t understand? It’s a matter of choice. Some like apples, others love oranges. Yet more others relish biting into watermelons, which I personally hate. Like fruits, sex is a matter of choice.

With that in mind, I don’t give a toss who is having sex with whom, where and how. Mostly. When I hear a story of a pastor desecrating the inner sanctum of teenagers in his congregation, of course, that gives me cause for concern. But I don’t care if Kwaku Mensah in Fanteakwa, a full-grown man who works hard to feed himself, decides to have anal sex with Kwabena Bonsu of Atonkyini, another full grown man.

What they do in their bedroom is entirely their business and I don’t see why anyone should hate them for choosing how they derive sexual pleasure. It’s like hating someone who enjoys watermelons, simply because I don’t like watermelon.

Much as I don’t understand why people become gay, I also don’t understand all the hatred being spewed on people in this country who have chosen to be gay.

So, what’s all the fuss about men having sex with men? The Daily Graphic reports that 8,000 homosexual men have “registered” with an NGO in the Western and Central Regions and suddenly, we hear the BNI is going to “investigate” the issue. It’s the perfect opportunity for the BNI to show us once again that its agents have little to do. Has being gay suddenly become a national security issue?

As the BNI launches its spurious investigation, I hear a doctor from Kumasi proclaiming that homosexuality should be checked otherwise it would destroy the moral fibre of our society. He says homosexuality could also lead to a decline in population because people will stop giving birth if men decide to have anal sex. Give me a break! The moral fibre of our society is constantly on the decline and it has nothing to do with men and women choosing to be gay.

I also don’t see the correlation between the increasing number of gay people and population decline. In any case, the national population is growing way too fast and so if the claim that gay men and women will contribute in any way to reducing our burgeoning population is true, shouldn’t we be thinking of conferring national honours on them?

We also hear all sorts of religious mumbo about how God will not bless us if we do not stop the homosexuals or discourage homosexuality. Really?

If that were the case, no Western country will be blessed and they would wake up every morning to face the wrath of God. Holland, America and Italy have large communities of gay men and women, yet if you asked me I’d say they seem more blessed than Ghana or any African country has ever been – or will ever be.

I don’t know how God chooses to bless nations but I don’t think he uses any gay index to determine where to pour his bounties. The Vatican is in Rome. Have the homophobes in Ghana ever wondered how many gay men and women there are in the so-called ‘Holy City’. Perhaps, we should send Reverend Monsignor Raphael Owusu of Kumasi to go and do a head count. After that, he might just shut up and stop urging our government to ignore human rights campaigners who say society should leave the gay people alone.

No doubt homosexuality is taboo subject in this country. But the rising tide of hatred for homosexuals must be stopped before it gets out of hand. The BNI’s decision to get involved in this matter doesn’t help matters in any way. They claim it’s even against the law because it amounts to “unnatural carnal knowledge”. Who decided that putting a penis in a vagina is more natural than penis-to-anus? If anal sex is taboo, what do we do about the men who have anal sex with women?

I don’t care about what any man decides to put in his anus or where he chooses to put his penis. Neither should anyone else. The state should get out of people’s bedrooms and let those who want to be gay be gay. All the religious mumbo-jumbo that is used to just heap hate on people simply because they are not having sex the way we expect them to should cease.

The problem is not with the gay people. The problem is with those who want to blame their problems on the gay people. Let those who want to be gay enjoy their sex just as much as those who have anal sex with their female partners do. We can’t all have sex the same way just as we all can’t be munching on watermelons.

Nelson Mandela’s autobiography is the best book I ever read. I just finished reading it a couple of hours ago and words cannot describe the feelings it has stirred in me.

All I can say is that it has been a real education.

It has shed more light for me on the courage, character, humanity and leadership of the man I consider to be the greatest African ever. I think the 625 pages of ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ should be required reading for every African politician and anyone who aspires to lead on this continent. It’s absorbing, insightful and humorous.

Madiba has some very useful lessons in that book about nation building; lessons which cannot be taught in any university but can only be imparted by someone who’s been there and done it all.

The book is replete with wise words and very useful lessons, the most important of which, for me, has to do with what we call skirt-and-blouse voting. I believe we need to have at some point – in fact, for very long periods – a parliament which is not dominated by any one party.

Madiba says he was more than satisfied that the African National Congress didn’t win an outright majority after South Africa’s first general election in 1994.

“Some in the ANC were disappointed that we did not cross the two-thirds threshold, but I was not one of them,” he writes.

“In fact I was relieved; had we won two-thirds of the vote and been able to write a constitution unfettered by input from others, people would argue that we had created an ANC constitution, not a South African constitution. I wanted a true government of national unity.”

Ghana needs a government like that.

The shambolic governance of NDC-this and NPP-that creates too much heat and not light. It is leading us nowhere. It is only strengthening the hands of a new bunch of oppressors – selfish politicians, poverty and squalor.

I hope one day, we get a true government of national unity with a leader who will constantly urge all of us to put our shoulders to the wheel; not a leader who will just set out to purge every institution of elements he considers to be on the ‘other side’. From Madiba’s book, I know we are all on one side and if we allow this ship to take in water, we will sink together – NDC and NPP and all the little ones in between.