Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where are the Ghanaian Crime Writers?

As a budding crime writer, with already three chapters under my belt (thanks to a creative writing class at university, where I penned my "Usual Suspects"-style crime thriller, and used the lyrics of a song by Catatonia to frame my chapter titles), I just realised that it has been a good three years since I started making bombastic claims about my thriller!

April 3, 2006, in this post, revealed a very excited E.K.Bensah Jr waxing lyrical about writing a novel.

And write he did, but it has waxed and proverbially waned.

I picked it up last Christmas, but have continued to postpone its writing because of work "pressures".

Then I think of a Ghanaian lawyer I saw on KSM's "Thank God it's Friday" programme on Ghana's Metro TV last two years who won a Commonwealth writing prize--despite his heavy schedule as a lawyer!!

Thing, though, was his book was on the usual African style of fiction--you know, set in an African village, traditional customs, conflicts, etc. That's all well and good, but I want more!

Can you imagine that I did a Google search for "Ghanaian crime writers", and I came up with "Youth crime" as the first entry; it's virtually non-existent! Contrast that with "British crime writers", and you find a LIST and even an ASSOCIATION!

Where are the Ghanaian crime writers?

Perusing further, I came across one Kwei Quartey (Afro-American mother, Ghanaian father) who had this to say about writing crime about Ghana:

"As a mystery writer, I'm drawn to Ghana because it provides a compelling background to any crime. The society is in rapid flux. Traditional clashes with modern. As affluence increases, so does the gap between the rich in their mansions and the poor in their shantytowns. Young people surge in vast numbers from the rural areas to the big cities in search of employment that often never materializes. Add to the mix drug lords, corrupt politicians and the mores of Ghana's generally conservative society, and we have a rich tableau indeed."

I don't know if it is "regrettable" as such, but my characters have no whiff of what Quartey calls "the physical world coexist[ing] with another realm of gods and their magical powers.". He is write when he opines that "These beliefs can considerably complicate a murder investigation"!

I might just be the first crime writer to go the atypical way of setting my story not in the traditional African setting! We'll see!

Some wise person once said "go where there is no path, and blaze the trail".

I guess I might just have to hurry up and finish that crime thriller I've been banging on about, no?

labels: ghana crime, ghana crime writing

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ghanaian Drivers, Climate Change, and Irresponsibilities Thereof

To claim that Ghanaian drivers are irresponsible without giving a reason as to the blanket finger-pointing is never a good idea, but neither is it a great idea to witness the following scenario: a car parked outside a neighbour's house--with driver not just waiting with a running engine for more than fifteen minutes now, but with no less than the air-conditioning on as well?

To boot, there is a cool wind blowing because of the harmattan winds, so there is no need for air-conditioning.

What is one to say about a scene like that?

With the basics we know of climate change, is it not categorically irresponsible to pollute the atmosphere with a running engine that is running air-con, when in waiting, you could switch off the darn engine? Set against the backdrop of cool winds thanks to the weather, why air-con at all?

I suspect the person waiting might be a driver, because I cannot for the life of me fathom any private driver behaving this way, when he would want to be prudent with his petrol! If he is the car-owner, then I seriously fear for Ghana.

We have come a long way, but time and again, our occasional ignorance and/or illiteracy on dynamics of global affairs can precede us in horribly ignominious ways.

Is this where I castigate the Environmental Protection Agency (with a pitiful website on for not sensitising Ghanaians sufficiently on the perils of climate change?

LABELS: ghana climate, climate change ghana, ghana epa, ghana environment, ghana regulation

___sent: e.k.bensah (OGO device)+233.268.891.841/

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Monday, March 22, 2010

As the Week Opens in Accra: On Taxes, and Why Obama's Tenacity is to Die For...

I spent the better part of the weekend monitoring the debate on the BBC World service regarding Obama and health care.

So, I don't quite understand why Europeans do not have a major problem paying tax (I even re-call once hearing on the BBC that Sweden is the country where they pay the highest tax, and rarely complain as they know where it goes to!) but the Americans do.

I re-call that just before we came back home from Belgium in 2004, the what Belgians called "TVA" in French--simply VAT--was around 20.5%. Whether you were exempt from taxes at some point because of the work you did or not, there was some tax you could not avoid. And really, there was no need: insurance companies almost-always reimbursed a large part of costs incurred at the "Pharmacie" on most of the drugs. It was always a joy to see the folks with receipts going to have money reimbursed at our insurance company. Even though I was still rather young to understand some of these intricacies of tax and its use and whatnot, the process spoke for itself.

Back in Ghana, when the government -- some weeks back -- decided to raise taxes on the toll booths, I understand it was problematic as many felt it was too much, too high, too soon. Fast-forward a few weeks later, Ghanaians have veritably put up and shut up.

That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh! I like that! Uh-huh, uh-huh!

Seriously speaking, I pay income tax of around $200, but I don't bother to think about it, or even imagine what I could do with that money. At the end of the day, it is my trump card to hold the government accountable for what it is doing with my money. Is it not?

Back to Obama, reports in the media indicate that the biggest reforms include:

 1. Democrats say the overhaul will extend coverage to 32 million more people in the United States

2. Americans will be obliged to buy health insurance by 2014 and in 2016, if they have not bought coverage, they will be fined 2.5% of their wages.

3. By 2014, employers with 50 or more workers who do not offer coverage face a fine of $2,000 for each employee if any worker receives subsidised insurance.

4. Dependent children are permitted to remain on their parents' health policies until they are 26

5. The richest will be charged a higher rate of tax to pay for the government health insurance plan for the elderly, Medicare

If I am at all impressed by Obama, it has everything to do with how he has kept his steely resolve by working hard to get more supporters. That he failed to get even one Republican vote beggars belief, but him missing a trip to Australia (despite the lure of a Free Trade area) to ensure this domestic agenda is passed speaks volumes not only of his tenacity and steadfastness, but, in my humble opinion, continued commitment to the social, which the slip-ups in the first year seemed to have knocked.

I hope this victory provides sufficient fillip for him to work on other pressing areas he set out to work on!

labels: Obama, health care, ghana taxes

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why, Thankyou, but Sorry!

It's a cool, Friday afternoon and I am feeling rather bad: I am no longer unable to comment on my favourite blogs at work. Not that it distracts or anything, as most of the time, I sacrifice my lunchtimes to do commenting and whatnot. The truth of the matter is that given the execrable bandwidth provided by VODAFONE GHANA, our IT officer has seen it fit to "temporarily suspend" social networking sites, and! It seems like since this was done w few weeks ago, the speed at work has greatly improved, so I suspect it's going to stay! This means that short of running across the street to a hotel, where I can get unlimited access to blogger comments, and the weekend, where I do other things than commenting on blogs, there will be a lapse in commenting. Just wanted to say "thanks" to all those who have been commenting, like DANIEL and MIKE of GHANA Hall of Shame, and ESI CLELAND. I shall be your way in hopefully more-innovative ways soon. Sadly, the mobile is not very friendly to, and it takes quite some time to load pages.

We shall see!!

Am currently listening to BBC Worldservice's "Business Daily" programme, referring to the BBC Season of how the Internet as transformed our lives. If you have not checked their site out yet, do so; it's a wicked read:

I took a picture of that police dispatch rider to indicate how increasingly well-behaved the Ghana Police is becoming. Yesterday, they had police directing, and disciplining (yes, even this morning, they ordered an impatient driver to return from the long queue he jumped!!) drivers--private and commercial vehicles alike--to the extent of providing the much-needed sanity on that legendary strip they call the Spintex Road!

Labels: spintex road, ghana police,

Friday, March 05, 2010

Happy Independence Day (March 6 1957-March 6 2010)!

I believe the pictures speak for themselves, but let me say it anyway: Ghana obtained independence from Britain exactly 53 years Saturday 6 March, 1957, with the memorable words ushered by great Pan-Africanist and founder of Ghana Dr.Kwame Nkrumah:

"At long last, the battle has ended. Ghana--our beloved country--is free forever!"

There have naturally been reminders of this on television and radio, and for those alien to Ghanaian culture (am unsure how you can be if you've been following this blog for almost 4 years now;-) ) there's a website to find out more:

culled from:

You can view some of the upcoming and past events here:

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

My March Mission: Monitoring Ghana Police on Twitter

I have been tweeting a lot for the past week.

For some strange reason (or maybe not so!) my growing affection for Google Buzz has probably taken me in that direction as twitter feeds into Google Buzz "status". Whatever the case may be, I thought March--the first day falling on a Monday and all--was an optimal time to make a New "Month" Resolution, which includes more tweeting; more buzzing; and less Facebook!

Far be it for me to pronounce the death-knell of the latter, but I seriously think Google Buzz has in many ways come to steal its thunder. Its fallout will not be seen now, but it is clear new legends will be created!;-)

In any event, I have always carped elsewhere about the marvels of technology and how Ghana Police ought to be on the social networks. I'm sure someone will say that it's about "priorities" and "resources".

I was brought up to believe that where no path is set, you create it, and blaze it. Clearly, the top people at Ghana Police are not thinking that way. And because they seem not to, I shall continue, in the manner of my annoying National Road Safety Commission, to monitor their movements (when I can) for the twittersphere.

If you are on twitter, watch out already for the #spintexroad #ghanapolice search tags!

Labels: google buzz, google, ghana police, twitter


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