A Blueprint For Ending Galamsey


K1 – Koo, you seem to be extremely serious today?
K2 – I should be! All week, I’ve been going through an emotional crisis!
– Because the apple of your eye refused to come to you?
– Ho—you have a one-track mind. If I had an emotional crisis every time a fair one rejected my advances, I would be renamed “Oto!”

– “Oto”? Who or what is Oto?
– Oh, you haven’t heard the story? When I was going to school at Kyebi, there was a man with diminished responsibility, called Oto, who used to hang around the town’s market. He had his eye on one of the women who roasted ripe plantain and sold it there.

– You mean roasted plantain, as in ‘Kofi Brokeman’?
– Yes! Well, Oto decided that because the woman offered him unsold plantains every evening before she went home, she was in love with him.

– Agyei! [Good Lord!] Do I hear the bells tolling a coming tragedy?
– Indeed you do! Oto eventually made regular advances to the woman, which she not only rebuffed but bruited about, for the whole market to hear!
– Trouble?
– More than trouble. You see, the other market women began to mock at Oto. One of them even went as far as to ask Oto: “When you look at this beautiful colleague of mine, what is it about her that suggests that she would ever go to bed with you?”
– You don’t say? She called Oto a madman to his face?
– No – it was worse than that. She asked, “Do you think she would go to bed with…with….an uncircumcised man like you?

– Hahahahaha! That must have hit Oto very hard? That particular bit of their anatomical status makes some people very prickly? I mean, it’s something that’s customarily carried out in certain areas, while being considered an abomination in other parts of the country. Yet each side laughs at the other, for either having done it, or not done it! Madness!
– Yeah! Especially as the practice is usually wrought upon babies, who can have absolutely no say in the matter!
– Ok, so what did Oto do, on conceiving the idea, that he might have the woman, if he went and got his thing cut?
– He looked for a sharp razor blade and circumcised himself!
– Hahahahaha!
– Hohohohoha!
– Mercy! What happened to him?
– He nearly bled to death!
– Who or what saved him?
– People noticed the blood on his rags and alerted the police, who picked him up and sent him to the hospital.

– So Oto didn’t die?
– No, he didn’t. But people learnt not to crack jokes at depressed individuals.

– So, are you hinting to me that – that — you have reached Oto’s level of depression?
– To be truthful, I am close to it!
– And no woman is involved? Then it ‘s – – – paucity of cash?
– No.
– Hmm! I reckon that maybe eighty to ninety percent of depression cases arise out of the one emotional stress or the other. But you say it’s neither?
– Yeah! Not everyone is self-obsessed, you know?
– You’re not implying ….
– Well, what else can it be? Please tell me.

– Okay listen and listen well. I have all my life believed that we Africans are as capable of thinking, as people of other colours. We were conquered or colonised by the whites, in the past, largely because of our good nature and relative naivety.

– Yes?
– But that when we realised how deceitful white people had been to us, we fought back and won our independence.

– Cool?
– Well, look at Ghana now! We boast of being the first British colony, south of the Sahara, that did not need to resort to armed struggle to win our independence. We used a good knowledge of Britain’s own laws to get the British to leave our country to us.

– Yeah?
– We argued our case at the Coussey Commission, which, incidentally, was headed by a Ghanaian judge who had learnt his law in England.

– Yeah?
– Under the Coussey Commission’s constitution, we elected legislators by universal adult suffrage, and one of our MPs was appointed Leader of Government Business.

– And later, Prime Minister?
– Correct!
– Then on 6th March, 1957, we became independent!
– Yes, who can ever forget that date and call himself a Ghanaian?

– And we have been ruling ourselves ever since.
– Yes, there are some among our populace who do not even know where Whitehall is, let alone know what it used to do to us. But so what?

– So, we wake up one day, after over half a century of not having had any white person interfere with how we do things, to find that we have allowed selfish gold-seekers amongst us to use excavators, bulldozers and other machinery, to deliberately mine gold from our riverbeds, thereby destroying our water bodies. They’re also threatening our cocoa and food farms! If such monumental stupidity on the part of my own people, does not make me go mad, what should? I ASK YOU! Or should I perhaps go and ask Oto?
To be continued