Wednesday, 8 June 2016


For over two weeks since I heard a playback of a lecture delivered by veteran journalist Cameron Duodo about Prof. Albert Adu Boahene and his bravery at inspiring Ghana's march towards democracy and media freedom, I have been on a quest to find exactly what the academic said in full.

I have asked friends on social media -Twitter and Facebook but nothing substantial has emerged. Google popped anecdotal texts about the man and his famous terror shattering speech. The closest I've read was a tribute by Cameron Duodo for the London based Guardian newspaper.

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a link to a speech with the title 'Freedom of Speech and the Culture of Silence' days after asking for Prof. Adu Boahene's speech. My first instinct was one of joy, thinking it was what I was looking for. However, it was a speech delivered by the learned Prof. H. Kwesi Prempeh, a speaker at the Prof. Boahene's lectures.

Both Cameron Duodo and Prof. Prempeh made some incredible statements about Prof. Boahene's life and activities-first as a renowned academic and later a politician. Like many other stories shared, they were selective references of his famous speech delivered at the British Council Hall, Accra in 1988 at the Danquah Memorial Lectures titled 'The Ghanaian Sphinx: Reflections on the Contemporary History of Ghana-1972-1987'

What made Prof. Adu Boahene's 'The Culture of Silence' speech, was that, it was the first time a Ghanaian have spoken harshly about a military regime which was governing Ghana at that time. The PNDC had usurped the administration of Hilla Limann on 31st December, 1981 and had been on a victimization spree, arresting everybody suspected of being against the revolution.

Ghana was under siege and the paranoid Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings led PNDC government had plunged Ghana into political and economic chaos. Food shortages, collapsing businesses, political victimization, stifled media and speech among other ill features of dictatorship was evident.

So, for someone like Adu Boahene, a history professor at University of Ghana to proceed on a 'we shall not sit for this nonsense to continue' coherent ‘rant’ shocked many present. I'm sure many feared he might be a dead man or be arrested and harassed by the PNDC regime. None of that happened. Instead, the PNDC picked the nuggets shared by the academic and step the country in motion towards democracy with the 1992 Presidential and Parliamentary elections as the climax of the process.

Prof. Boahene became the Presidential candidate of the opposition NPP and faced off with the transmogrified military junta to a democratic party, PNDC with JJ Rawlings, head of the junta as the lead candidate. NPP lost the elections. They disputed the results, boycotted parliament and wrote their epochal 'Stolen Verdict' book.

As my search found nothing substantial a la the full speech of Adu Boahene, it dawned on me how my generation has been robbed of that epic speech thanks to the obnoxious Culture of Silence he spoke about. At that time, there was no real private media as it exist today. The press at that time -Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times and GBC were under the control or thumb of the junta and took instructions on what to publish. They had no right to publish anything that offend the PNDC junta. Likewise GBC which could not broadcast the speech or make reference to it.

Tommy Thompson and his Free Press (private media at that time) were under constant attacks and perhaps publish snippets of the speech. And that is all we have now. Tales of the event, second hand stories of the epic and riveting nature of the speech is what is handed us interested in knowing exactly what Prof. Adu Boahene said either the full text or audio recordings.

Adu Boahene stood and spoke bravery against an evil that was eating into the psyche of the Ghanaian at the right time. Perhaps Ghana would have become a democracy without the speech anyway. What that speech did was to hasten the democratic march. Today, Ghana is viewed as a bastion of everything good about democracy within Africa. And we must be grateful to Prof. Adu Boahene.

PS: Please readers, if you come across the speech of Adu Boahene, kindly share with me, either on Twitter (@swayekidd) or Facebook (swaye Kidd) or mail (

Maybe Kweku Baako should be my last resort of contact.

Monday, 14 March 2016


Yesterday, Grand- Bassam, a tourist town in Cote D’Ivoire was thrown into a state of shock when 16 people were killed by, as we know now terrorists. An eye witness who spoke with the BBC claimed he saw a terrorist shoot a woman in the chest and a baby despite the woman’s fervent pleas.

Soon after, the terror group, Al-Quaida in the Magrib (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack in which 14 civilians and two Ivorian forces were killed. It was announced that six of the terrorists were killed in the ensuing attack.

This brings the total number of attacks by these terror organization to three in West Africa alone since November, 2015. The countries of Mali (in November) and Burkina Faso (in January) had all been targeted by these terrorist group and the prediction was that other countries along the West African coast might be hit if their security surveillance is not intensified. 

What is of concern is that, these terrorists seemed to be three steps ahead of the security forces of targeted countries. In the case of Cote D’Ivoire, they undertook this dastardly act before the Ivoirian security forces could crackdown on them. Tensions are now high and many other countries would be on the lookout to avoid getting outwitted and becoming victims of such atrocious deeds.


Security experts have forewarned nations about the spread of terror attacks following the conflicts in North Africa-notably Libya and Tunisia. In Ghana, Dr. Kwesi Aning of the Kofi Annan Centre International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPC), following the insurrections in Libya, cited the many weapons in civilian hands as a potential threat to security.

Coupled with the marauding and increasing ‘arrogance’ of terror power exhibited by Boko Haram in Nigeria, Dr. Aning advised for a concerted action by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) to halt the spread of this cancer called terrorism.

 It is worth stating that, the attack style employed by these terrorists in recent times follows a particular model. They attack resort or tourist sites or places patronized by foreigners and locals alike.  Here are three examples. When these terrorists attacked Tunisia recently, it was a beach resort patronized by both locals and expatriates. They attacked a holidaying grounds in Mali and hotels in Burkina Faso. The template of attack was repeated once more in Cote D’Ivoire yesterday. Coincidence? Not as I see it.


A lot of concerns were raised when Mali was attacked by Ghanaians about the safety of Ghana and whether the security forces are putting measures to ensure the safety of her citizens. The talk intensified when Burkina Faso was hit. Now, our western neighbour has been attacked and the need to ask how prepared our security operatives are at curbing or halting any of these misfortune from happening in the country.

Ghana has, fortunately been spared of any major misfortune that affect its security, survival or people. The country has been spared of any civil unrest or terror attack. Ghana was not affected by the Ebola scourge that swept across the West African regional belt.

This fortunate credits should not delude us into thinking we are special or a favoured country. One is not praying for any misfortune to happen but alert those with power to make decisions to wake up; be alert and institute measures, through education and continuous conscientization of citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious persons or movements.

The police must also be proactive and not assume a sit- and-watch tactics when reports are made to them by citizens. Yes, not all the reports would be true; there are bogus informants in our midst as former Security Chief, K.B. Quantson would say. However, all reports must be heeded to with seriousness since the day one would pay less attention may be the day these terrorists might execute their heinous crimes. 

What makes this whole situation very frightening is that the terrorists who undertake these crimes are ordinary, everyday folks who are part of us; they live among us. They are locals-homegrown whom may be colleagues or neighbours and even friends. They are not foreigners who travel from a different country, enter the country and cause mayhem although it is the case sometimes.

I would end by sharing a tweet by a friend Jemila Adbulai (@jabdulai) that sums up this essay.

 We should all be on the alert.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Now, to today’s post. The topic has been twirling in my head for a couple of days as I try to find answers. The issue is simple: why do some women provide ‘domestic help’ to their boyfriends and end up citing these 'help' as regrets or a bargaining chip for a come-back when the relationship ends? It is unusual to hear, after a breakup- between lovers- what each party did for the other. Most often, the complaints are not much on the ‘big’ things the person did but the ‘smaller’ things they did freely for their lover.

Often, after a break up, one does hear some ladies whine about the domestic help they offered their men (among others) during the course of the relationship. These domestic help run from cooking, ‘providing’ him sex, washing and cleaning for him.

I don’t quite get why such ‘I-Did-This-For-Him’ list is often put on the table. Is it to win sympathy from the listening ear or it is to prove how ungrateful the guy is in breaking up with her?

And to the question on my mind: why do they do it-the chores? Is it something on or part of the ‘courtship’ broucher? Or it is done to prove how ‘marriageable' a material she is? Or is something that is deemed a custom to behold once you are in it? Or is it to prove how much they love the person?

I’m just asking questions. I might be called Swaye but I got no answers people.

As far as my opinions holds, there is no construct that binds or dictates to a lady to undertake such domestic chores for her man, a man whom she is not married to no matter how much she loves him. Anything one decides to do for their partner is their own decision and whatever the consequences during or after the relationship is their own to shoulder.

Unless you are cajoled or acquiesced into doing it, you have no business to complain, slander, and insult the guy for taking advantage of you. Remember, no guy would close his mouth when honey is dripping into it, as the Akan adage goes. As selfish human beings, we want to have people who would serve as even when we don’t deserve it or know it is unjustifiable.  

Making and warming his bed, cooking for him, sleeping with him, doing his laundry is not a measure of how much you love him or any justifiable reason for him to wed you. It is something you choose or decide to do so there is no reason to trump it up when the relationship goes south. You decided to play his ‘wife’ when indeed you are not his legit wife. Stop complaining! 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Prez. John Mahama
 Since news broke that our government has in a ‘secret’ meeting accepted to house two former Guantanamo terror suspects now declared ‘low risk’ suspects, the media, political opponents and the country’s conscience has been pricked. A lot of talk, some based on genuine concerns, others for political advantage and others joining the chorus, has gone on for weeks unending.

I’m not interested in the debate as to whether the two ex-detainees, Khalid al-Dhuby and Mahmoud Omar Bin Atef, are terrorist at all or ‘low risk’ and it’s defined. According to the government spokespersons, who seem to be singing from one ‘this-is-what-you-must-tell-the-people’ note pad and quoting a 2010 US Security document, these two have been cleared of any wrong doing thus are innocent.  According to government spokespersons, the often quoted 2007 US Security Report on the detainees listing them as ‘low-risk’ terrorists is inaccurate.

The former GITMO detainees
I’m not interested in the palpable fear these two may pose to the security of Ghanaians. The argument has been made that their alliance with Al-Qaeda-which we are told is far-fetched, could put the country at risk of future terror attack.

I’m not interested in the question of whether the government is footing any bills for hosting these two individuals. The explanations to this question has been, for lack of a better description, akin to an agbadza dance (two steps forward, two back).  Earlier, the Communication Ministry through the Deputy Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu said the government is not bearing any cost in hosting the GITMO 2. Later, the US Embassy official contradicted the government position saying the government of Ghana is bearing a fraction of the cost. Later, the US Embassy came to retract its statement.

Who I’m I to doubt the President, when he said at his meeting with journalists’ fortnight ago, that he accepted to host the GITMO 2 based on his Christian principle of compassion. As a Christian, it is your duty to express compassion to the suffering. Legitimate.

In the whole GITMO 2 conversations, one point I keep hearing is why the government or president didn’t inform the people of Ghana before taking this action. In other words, why wasn’t the views of the good people of Ghana, who have elected the president to its position and for whom he should be accountable to, decided to side step us; keep us in the dark about the whole affair with the US.

I chuckle whenever I hear such point made by political opponents, opinion leaders and ordinary Ghanaians. My chuckle is born by this: whether if those making these request really know a time in our history when the governments we have had had ever consulted us on any of its actions.
The only time the government(s) come to ask of our views or opinions on any subject is when it is time to elect a new government, which is every four years. That’s the time they remember how important we are in shaping the destiny of the country.

I won’t attempt to know the reason why the framers of the Constitution chose for us a hybrid system of government-where there is an Executive and a Legislative branches exist independently. But, I’m tempted to think it’s to ensure that the chosen Parliamentarians, who are our representatives-would speak for us (their constituents). That is, when there is a serious matter at stake, these Parliamentarians would consult their constituents and would communicate the consensus reached by their people.

But again, wasn’t the Parliament of Ghana side stepped in this arrangement? And they heard it via the Fox News reportage about Ghana accepting to house these two Yemenis like all of us?
Isn’t it the usual occurrence that many a times, when serious national issues are to be discussed in Parliament, our representatives choose to put forth their political parties cloak rather than that of Ghana? That’s they vote based on their political party sympathies rather than consider the national interest? There are a lot of issues to give credence to this issue. Recent example; the Ghana and AMERI Power deal.

Truth be told, this brand of democracy we have been practicing since 1992 has many positives which as people, we are very proud and happy to continue advancing. But, when the people feel they are being treated with contempt, their views not considered; their government lying to them and making excuses for their actions, then the tenet of democracy is being defeated. And that could be dangerous.

But, we are told the President has a record of taking very unpopular decisions. This is not the first. These unpopular decisions, according to government spokespersons, yield positive outcome at the end of the day. After all, the mark of a great leader is your ability to take bold, calculative and far fetching decisions when the time comes.

We dier, Ghana We Dey.  

Monday, 25 January 2016


How Are You?

We all have been asked this question uncountable times and have responded a much as we have been asked. I bet in a day, you hear this question more than you can count. We shall be hearing this question asked many times and we have no excuse but to respond.  

How Are You?

It’s a simple, easy, everyday question that everyone answers with ease every time. The obvious response ‘I’m Fine’ rolls off our tongues effortlessly; without even thinking, sometimes. Is a response that is delivered naturally even in one’s sleep.

On the face of it, the How Are You? question is simple to respond to. But a closer look would reveal it is not. Why do I say this? Because the response has no real value, doesn’t really capture exactly how we are doing or feeling and we most times don’t believe in what we say.

Simple, the I’m Fine response to the How Are You question is nothing short of a lie we tell 
whoever asks us and ourselves to feel ok.

Why do we continue to give the I’m Fine response?

Perhaps it’s borne out of courtesy to whoever is asking us. Going out to say ‘I’m not well’ or any other response beside the expected would be greeted with some coldness.

Or it could be to avoid further probing from those who don’t have the right to ask further questions thus drawing a long, inquisitive search into your life for that day.

It could also stem from our religious background, where even if things are going off rails in your life, you trust God or whatever spirit that guides you to fix you by the end of the day. Power of positivism or optimism.

Could it also be that we just don’t care much about the response knowing even the one asking after you don’t really care. They ask because it is something expected- a casual question eliciting a casual response.

I recall listening to a BBC Radio programme ‘From Our Own Correspondents’ two years ago in which the reporter, newly posted to Russia, declared the Russians the most honest bunch when it comes to the question How Are You? They would, instead of ‘I’m Fine or Okay’ response, list all that is well with them.

Saying I’m Fine has become a default response too strong that we fail to express a contrary answer. Granted, if you are fine on that particular day or time, surely your response would be I’m fine. But, if the opposite is true, saying you’re fine is an act of deception, unless the question is a casual one which is soliciting for a casual answer. And I guess that’s what it is; a casual question deserving a casual response.

Or could it also be a question not about our ‘state’ or being but something which shares same weight as the regular Good morning? Until the respondent realizes that whoever is asking the question genuinely want to know how the person is doing, the question would surely receive a perfunctory response.

So, How Are You though?!!

Friday, 15 January 2016


If there is one trait I love about kids, it is their ability to ask questions even if they know the answer. Some of their questions are frustrating and annoying but your refusal to answer them won’t stop them from asking. Neither would your answers end their quizzing.

The continuous questioning not only help grow their understanding of things (knowledge or insights), it does mean they respect your opinions and hold it in high esteem. They also help you learn more as it would seem embarrassing not to know a question to an answer.

Often times we see the kids in us-the constant badgering for answers to ‘unserious’ questions. But as we grow and age, we stop questioning, even when there is the need to and pretend we know it all. What accounts for this lack of questioning and seeking answers and further clarifications?

Is it the society which as conservative as it is shut you up from asking questions? Is the school systems which labels a child (teen) ‘too known’ for probing and sometimes challenging teachers on certain grounds? Is it the work environment which doesn’t tolerant the culture of asking and putting in your one pesewa thoughts on the table? 

Or the fear of the boss getting livid and describing you in contemptuous manner as ‘not smart’? Or the friends who mock you and make you feel intellectually inadequate or sarcastically tag you ‘too known’ when you try seeking an explanation, asking (a) question(s) or challenging a position?

The ‘Whys’, ’What’s’, ‘How’s, ‘Is this ok? Did I do it right? Do you like it? Can you explain further? These questions might seem annoying and unnecessary but go a long way to enlighten the one asking the question as well as building the confidence of the ‘asker’.

Questions, Questioning and Questioning.  Answers, Assurance and Re-assurances. These are the pot of growth water which one drinks from in other to grow and survive and become a complete human being.

The educated mind is one that continues to ask and probe further even when the answer is clear as daylight. A man who refuses or stops asking questions is dead and a lost soul. And a society which does not encourage the asking of questions is one at the throes of decaying for beneath the strong foundations of  all great nations is the culture of asking, of probing, of challenging notions, dogmas and norms.

To choose between a society where citizens chose silence over questioning or one where asking questions is a past time despite the consequences won’t be a difficult task. I know which one I’d love to live in. So, let’s go back to the days when we were kids and ask questions without any fear or reservations.   

Thursday, 7 January 2016


Each year, since 2013, I have always set a target for myself when it comes to books to read. I resolve, each year to do better than the previous year’s target. Since 2013, I have achieved this feat not with ease judging by the numerous activities one has to juggle along with reading.

I look at 2015 with a sense of disappointment (failure was the word I wanted to use but it’s me being too hard on myself). I say disappointment because I did poorly as far as reading novels was concerned.

I read a total of Eight (8) books in 2015. 8 BOOKS! (I wish you could see the shame on my face).  I however, read in addition few non-fictional work including academic papers and articles shared by friends online.

Here are the books I read:



We Need NEW Names by Zimbabwean author revolves around Darling and her friends living in Paradise and later went to the US where she came of age. The story touched on teen pregnancy, rape, activities of NGOs. W hen Darling finally visited the US, she realized the cultural shock - actions of her cousin and school life.

The novel was a present from my brother, Moshood Hamza on my birthday. A big surprise from him.


I know how much Ernest Hemingway is adored within the literary circles. He’s a cult figure. And the first of his book I have read was The Oldman and the Sea. The inspiration to read this simple, easy to read-the language is ordinary with a poignant message about life- came by after watching the Antoinne Fuqua directed and Denzel Washington starred action thriller The Equalizer. The movie seems to draw inspiration from the novel.

The Oldman and the Sea touches on life and ambition/desire and how we sometimes lose it when we achieve it due to our desperate attempt to protect it. A good book to read.


I bought the book as a present for a friend but I ended up reading it before giving it out to her. I couldn’t help myself since it was one book a friend described as ‘one to read’.  The story is a true reflection of Ama Ata Aidoo’s strong views on feminism, women’s independence vis-à-vis the patriachical Ghanaian society.  

One of the standout quotes in the text is ‘Love is not safe; love is dangerous; the last man any woman should think of marrying is the man she loves…’  A very debatable view point, methink.


Ayi Kwei Armah is a revered figure within the African literature circles and this novel and his other works clearly proves why (I hear Hamza Mooshod scream YES). Deep thoughts, prophetic predictions, grief and pain; these are all found in this well woven story that is The Beatyful Ones Are Not Yet Born.

A good man who became corrupt when he entered politics, ending up a fugitive when his government was overthrown in a coup is the theme of the story. The savior of this politician was his poor in-law who was treated with contempt by his mother-inlaw for his steadfastness- not to be corrupted despite a glaring opportunity to easily become a victim. It is one of the books you must read by all means.


A brilliant story told by Mariama Ba through Ramatoulaye’s letter to her friend Aminatou  capturing the position of woman within the African society in broader terms as well as the direction of her (Ramatoulaye) life and how the few who are brave enough to take charge of their life are regarded.

I had to rush read this small book (84 pages) which I borrowed from my good friend Hamza Moshood since he needed to read for a paper. So Long A Letter is a book I would be reading again this year. The issues tackled are still relevant in our society.


The reason I bought this book, despite recommendation from someone I consider a friend, was because of the title. Unfortunately, this novel wasn’t set in Accra (as in Ghana). This novel by the Brazilian author is a philosophical writing about how one could live a fulfilling life.

A priest who has seen death approaching chose his final days to teach his townfolks especially the youth about how to keep the traditions of their town and the nuggets of life from destruction.


The Great Gatsby was one book I revisited this year. Considered one of the best among the Scott Fitzgerald collections, The Great Gatsby is set in the jazz era of the American history where debauchery and money met at a crossroad.

J. Gatsby lived for the green light and the day it dimmed, he died; murdered by a man who was made to think he was coveting his wife.  A beautiful story of an untimely and underserved death of a man with a good heart.


No Longer At Ease is the second installment of the ever popular Things Fall Apart.  Obi Okonkwo upon his return to Nigeria with his degree got a good government job and it was not long before his ‘innocence’ was robed.  A sad end of a young returnee determined to cause a change in his homeland soiling his hands with corruption.


This one by Chinua Achebe has been sitting among my books for two years. Finally, I made time to read about Nigeria, as a society and country; the ethnic tensions, the political system and who it seeks to benefit the most. It is an engrossing read despite the criticism that Achebe painted his Igbo clansmen as the good ones and victims of a Northern progrom to diminish their influence in Nigeria.


This book was a gift from Amma Konadu (one of the few ferocious readers I know). Karen Armstrong is an authority on Islam and this book explores the history of Islam, the Shia and Shi’te dynamics and well as the Ahmadi subject and more importantly how the Shia and Shi’te nexus has become an acrimonious one in the sphere of global politics (Iran and Saudi Arabia as the primarily players).


This was an academic research paper supporting the notion that elite integration is what sustains the growth of democracy. That is how the elites in the various political camps despite their different political ideologies unite with each other when it is most important as well as the relationship they have with the ordinary voters (citizens) to forge a formidable democratic society.


Kofi Agyekum (Opanyin Agyekum) is a foremost linguist and in this presentation gives a detail analysis of how the Akans name their children, importance of names, circumstances under which names are given to children and what the effect of these names are on the bearer.

He also makes the case of how the introduction of Christianity and Western education impacted on how parents name their kids and more importantly how the concept of a parent (father) naming a child after himself is a colonial or western concept.


This was a research carried out by the author in 2004 after the General Elections exploring the question of advantages of ethnicity and voting trends in determining how a candidate wins an election(s). The research was necessitated by the voting pattern of the people of Central Region who heeded to the ‘Adze Wo Fie Oye’ (I’m a son of your land so vote for me) slogan that the late Prof. Mills used in 2004, helping him clinch the 2004 Presidential Elections. An interesting analysis and conclusions.

As to how many books I would end up reading is one I have not decided on. But, I know I will beat my 2015 efforts. I will definitely make time to read more than I did last year. And the subjects surely would be very diverse-more about politics, religion and some autobiographies. Also, I’d read more female African writers and anything that falls on my path.

And yes, I will be blogging more on this platform than I did last year. My other blog took more of my time which was not very cool. Managing two blogs isn’t easy. Lastly, I’m planning to go back to writing poetry again. My confidence has been given a boost by a friend I met who made me vow to him I would be writing and publishing my poems more this year.

Before I end let me share with you something Matt Haig, a writer said about reading.

‘Read books. Always read books. Everytime you can. It makes the world better. It is how humans merge. Empathy. Reading is love in action’