Insults, False Claims dominated political discourse in Ghana’s 2012 elections Will 2016 be different?

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Some political parties in Ghana

As a country, we pride ourselves in having successfully gone through six competitive presidential and parliamentary elections without violence. What is evident, however, is that these elections have always been associated with potential election crises, which have had to be managed in order to avoid full-blown election-related conflicts.

As Ghana prepares for its seventh consecutive elections in November, political tensions are already building up. It is the 2nd quarter of the year and already insults and propaganda messages have become common in political debates, discussions in the media and other public platforms.

Elections constitute one of the first steps in any democracy; ordinarily meant to afford citizens the freedom to choose their leaders in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately, in Africa, elections exceed just the competition of ideas and how best those ideas are communicated to convince the electorate in one’s favour.

Voting in Ghana

Clearly, underlying the kenkey and fish concerns or bread and butter issues (depending on your class) which politicians promise to deal with are the lofty capitalist ideals of winning power, forming a government and controlling state resources. In many cases these have led to personal aggrandisement rather than actual development and improvement in the lives of the electorate.

The partisan nature of elections no doubt divides society along such lines and in the effort to win over the electorate, politicians go all length, foul or fair, in their campaigning. Political discourse during electioneering periods gets heated such that the closer the Election Day, the hotter the political discourse gets.

As a result of the agenda setting capability of the media, they become the most influential platform for reaching the masses. Political parties, their assigns, serial callers and communicators more vigorously than ever use the media, especially radio, to reach the masses. Unfortunately, this is sometime done in ways that suggest that any expression can be used on radio without regard for the basic ethos of cultural and social values regarding public communication.

Indeed, the dangers inherent in mass communication cannot be overlooked and in a media pluralistic environment such as the one we enjoy in Ghana it will be naïve for us to think that all media are set up based on the much-coveted ideals informing, educating and entertaining towards the ultimate of ensuring social justice, peace and development.

Some political reps in a studio discussion on Radio XYZ

Clearly, ownership wishes and political party interests become glaring in such times making the ideals of truth, fact-checking and objectivity casualties in the process. Simply put, they are sacrificed on the altar of jarring penchant for intemperate, indecent, unethical language expressions and personal vendetta. The result is the resort to character assassination insult of persons, lying unsubstantiated allegations, unwarranted outburst of fury, provocation and inciting violence.

Perhaps Rwanda and Kenya have become a cliché in Africa such that they no longer invoke the caution it used to. But should Ghana become the next synonym for electoral violence on the continent? Certainly not!

In the 2012 elections, insulting/offensive comments, unsubstantiated allegations and provocative remarks were the three most frequently used types of indecent expressions against political opponents of a list of 10 of such expressions. There was an average of four (4) indecent expressions recorded on daily basis by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) between April and to December,.

For the nine month monitoring period, 2,850 programmes were monitored on the 31 radio stations. A total of 509 indecent expressions were coded on those programmes with as much as 404 indecent expressions by political party affiliates.

As the elections draw closer and political parties intensify their campaigning, Will these change in 2016? Will media discussions be focused on issues rather than insults? Do politicians and media institutions care enough about the brands and reputation so as to be measured and guarded in their remarks? Already,  there is on daily basis one allegation or the other; can the media help by doing some more fact-checking and separating facts from opinions, can the media also wear their gate keeping caps tightly so as to control such elements on the airwaves.

As remarked by a friend recently, “even in America, elections are characterised by these kinds of expressions and particularly for their 2016 electioneering process there is a certain Donald Trump rocking the boat”. This may be rightly so but how do we compare apples and oranges, contrasting social and cultural values of the two countries. We live in a country where culturally words such as “sebe” and “taflatse” are the expressions used when a communicator thinks his or her language will be deemed insulting. Our cultural modes of address simply frown on abusive language in public communication.

Again, some media practitioners ask “how do you expect our programmes be hot if we should only empanel people who will appear like saints; our programmes will lose their popularity and that will cut our advertising incomes drastically”. While this may also be a legitimate question, what is also important to remember is that ample evidence suggests that people can discuss issues passionately without insults or descending into the gutters. This is where owners and operators of media bear a greater responsibility of professionalism.

During the 2012 elections campaign language monitoring exercise, several individuals called the MFWA to challenge the findings put out. They however did not come back after they had received audio recordings of their voices and some of the unprintable remarks they had made on air. Of course, in the haste to outdo opponents politicians are often unmindful of what they are saying, how they are saying it and how what they are saying affects listeners.

The radio campaign language monitoring exercise defines indecent expression as any statement or insinuation that seeks to attack or damage the reputation of an individual, political party or ethnic group; or that could provoke the target of the expression to react in an unpleasant or offensive manner or that could offend the sensibilities of members of the public. These include insults, prejudice or bigotry, inflammatory expressions, hate speech, tribal slurs and stereotyping, provocative remarks unsubstantiated allegations and gender specific insults.

So here we are in 2016; the MFWA expects to monitor about 70 radio stations across the country with the first report released in April. The reports to be issued fortnightly will help us know whether we have improved as a people or gone from bad to worse.

No matter what we as a collective bear a responsibility to ensure our country Ghana is in one piece.

I sincerely wish all Ghanaians peaceful elections 2016.

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International Women’s Day 2016: Media Must Consciously Increase Women’s Visibility

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played extraordinary roles in the history. The Day als…

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International Women’s Day 2016: Media Must Consciously Increase Women’s Visibility

international-womens-dayInternational Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played extraordinary roles in the history. The Day also brings to the fore, commitments under the UN Women’s Step It Up Initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.

Several reports by the United Nations and other international treaties and conventions recognize the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment in advancing democracy, development, peace and security. Gender inclusiveness and the inclusion of women in decision-making processes have not only become an important indicator of good governance in many democratic societies but also considered critical for the overall empowerment of women.

Another global study has also revealed that women have seen only marginal improvements in the world of work in the past 20 years.   In countries where women access work more easily, the quality of their jobs remains a matter of concern. Even though several countries in the West Africa region including Ghana have signed and ratified several UN Charters and Conventions which emphasize women’s political participation and representation at all levels of power, women’s participation and involvement in governance processes remain quite low.

journalistsIn Ghana for example, while political parties endorse the UN mandated figure of 30 percent women’s representation in public offices in their manifesto pledges, such promises are hardly translated into action as the number of women in public offices continue to dwindle rather than appreciate. Despite efforts by women’s rights organisations to increase women’s representation in public spaces, the numbers remain disturbingly low.

Out of 133 women who contested 102 parliamentary seats in the last elections, only 30 were successful. This means, out of the 275 Members of Parliament, only 33 are women. This is despite the fact that about 51 percent of Ghana’s population are women.  It is widely acknowledged that the media sets the societal agenda, shapes public opinion and builds decisive visibility platforms for issues and people.

There is research evidence that also points to the influential role of the radio as an effective citizens-engagement tool in many parts of the region and thus an important tool to increase women’s voices and participation in governance processes.  Unfortunately however, there has been little effort on the part of the media to include women in their programming with the reason that the women are not available for participation.

media-2The inclusion of women in media programmes have often been pushed to the back burner  and left to the discretion or in some instances the biases of programme producers and content writers and editors. Such gender inequalities in media representation have continued to frustrate women’s ability to use the media as a vehicle for empowerment and participation in governance.

Quite regrettably also is the fact that the few women who have braved the odds to occupy influential positions in governance or public spaces are often too quiet in public discourse on national issues instead of serving as trail blazers and paving the way for greater women participation in national affairs.  Even in Ghana, which boasts of high levels of free expression, women face obstacles to participating in public discourse through the media.

This was evidenced in the troubling disparities in the gender of featured individuals, discussants, and moderators and in the quantity of governance issues discussed on radio programmes, as revealed in a study of women’s participation and voices on public discourse on radio between 2013 and 2014.

There is certainly no doubt that the media has the powerful ability to empower women to raise awareness about pressing issues in their communities.This is what makes it imperative that women have equal access to media platforms to seek, receive, and impart information in order to prioritise women’s issues. This, in turn helps promote good governance and development.

Women Aspirants in the studio

Aspiring women in Ghana’s local level elections in a discussion on local-based Radio A1 in the Upper East Region on Ghana

Media owners, programme producers or content producers and editors must make the conscious effort to fully and equally integrate women into their staffing and programming on all issues and not pidgin-hole women into discussing only women issues. While the media does it’s best to increase women’s voices and participation in public discourse, it’s about time that many more women stood up, and braved the odds to be counted.

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International Day of Access to Information: Baby finally delivered after 13 years

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International Day of Access to Information: Baby finally delivered after 13 years

Mama has been pregnant for 13 years; certainly past the ideal nine months of pregnancy for any woman. When she would deliver – time and date – has been watched with lots of anxiety.

But Bingo! Here comes good news: Mama finally delivers on November 17, 2015. Baby is healthy and sound, and brings lots of joy and hope to family, friends and loved ones. It is named “International Day for the Universal Access to Information” to be celebrated annually on September 28.

unesco-sign-and-buildingThat is the story and journey of the global civil society campaign towards the declaration of September 28 as Access to Information Day. The 13-year campaign was finally delivered when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) General Conference voted on November 17, 2015 to designate September 28 as “International Day for the Universal Access to Information”.

The Joy and Cheers

For global civil society and like-minded organisations across the world this is indeed welcome news and precisely so for the significant benefits such a day brings. The International Day for the Universal Access to Information does not only to seek to raise awareness about the importance of the right of access to information but also provide a framework for the enjoyment of the right of access to information by all people.

As succinctly captured by UNESCO’s Executive Board “the establishment of a specific date provides a coherent message at the international level and facilitates coordination of joint initiatives on public awareness and elucidation by organizations in the coherence of a universally recognized day.”

indexFurthermore, Access to information is a fundamental human right – to seek, access and receive information. It establishes a legal process by which requests may be made for government-held information, to be received freely or at minimal cost, barring standard exceptions. It is guaranteed by several protocols and charters such as Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and Article 4 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.

The Bated-Breath Moment

Already, international civil society advocates celebrated September 28 as “Right to Know Day” since 2002 when the idea was developed at a conference in Sofia, Bulgaria. Many more civil society platforms such as the African Platform on Access to Information (APAI), African Freedom of Information Center (AFIC) amongst other regional and national level organisations and coalitions have engaged in several activities and vigorous campaigns to push for the adoption of the international day.

On October 19, 2015, the news that the Executive Board of UNESCO adopted a resolution recommending that September 28 be recognized as International Access to information Day was a good one and huge milestone in itself. The commitment by African civil society groups and African countries to push the UNESCO resolution was highly instructive.

As remarked by Nigeria-based Freedom of Information Campaigner Edetaen Ojo the adoption of the Resolution represents a major advancement in the 13-year quest by global civil society to have a day set aside annually to raise awareness about the importance of access to information throughout the world”. He said “When the Resolution is finally passed by UNESCO’s General Conference, it will be a gift to the world that Africa can be justly proud of.”

So with the baton handed to the 38th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris on November 3-18, 2015 came the real moment of bated-breath. Will the baby be finally delivered or another long wait lay ahead?

But alas! the International Day for the Universal Access to Information has been adopted. The approval by UNESCO’s General Conference came during its meetings in Paris and follows on support from a UNESCO Committee on November 11 and the UNESCO Executive Board on Oct. 19. 2015.

Certainly, this is a great milestone. But it also signals the beginning of more work ahead. International civil society still bears the onerous task of translating activism into real adoption of ATI legislation by many more countries and also ensuring that there exist implementation mechanisms for such legislation to become meaningful to the ordinary citizens.

Kudos to international civil society and more grease to our elbows for the task ahead!!!civil-societyAbigail Larbi

Programme Officer for Media Development and Democracy

Media Foundation for West Africa

Accra-Ghana

 

 

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The rains are here; Time to play the Oware game again

The rains are here; Time to play the Oware game again.

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The rains are here; Time to play the Oware game again

It is indeed another year and like the merry-go-round, the ‘visiting scholars’ have started showing up. I choose to call them the ‘visiting scholars’ for reasons I will tell you shortly. In the coming days these ‘visiting scholars’ will be arriving in droves and soon will be the talk of town because we will begin to feel their presence (if not pinches) strongly. Call it punishment for our ‘irresponsibility’ or failure on the part of leadership, the reality is that they are here again. Last year they were; this year they have started arriving. As a matter of fact, it’s become a yearly affair with no end in sight, perhaps not now.

…..And if I am reading your mind correctly, sure, a Visiting scholar is very much associated with academia – a scholar from an institution who visits a host university, where he or she is projected to teach, lecture, or perform research on a topic the visitor is valued for. The visiting scholar is often invited by the host institution and such invitation is proof of regard that the scholar is prominent in his or her field (whichever that may be).

Here in Ghana, we are each year “blessed” to receive a crop of ‘visiting scholars’. They are indeed knowledgeable and prominent in their field; they do not just come to teach, lecture and perform research, they also come with their annual verdicts on the very field they have expertise in. The interesting thing is that we (as the host institution) do not invite them; they are naturally orchestrated.

Their sizes, width and depth are enough to tell how good or bad one is performing in that particular field for which they are orchestrated. They suddenly throw us into a moment of reflection and accountability as they expose the shoddy work of road construction in this country – Contractors and semi contractors who take huge sums of money only to produce roads that do not even last a year; the weaknesses of supervision and just how we care about road maintenance.

These ‘visiting scholars’ and the discomfort they pose to motorists will soon send our politicians and duty bearers into frenzy again running from one loud speaker to the other in attempts at explaining why it is the case and yet all you hear is a regurgitation of the same lines.

Indeed, if we had our way we would never ever extend an invitation to these ‘visiting scholars’; never! But can we say we are unaware of their regular visiting periods. Is it not widely acknowledged that they usually commence their visits in May/June/July? Is it also not common knowledge that these ‘visiting scholars’ sometimes stay with us for a long time until the road maintenance vans start patching the roads? Or that some area boys decide to cover the pits while exacting coins from motorists?

Well, in case we are oblivious, or have blatantly turned a blind eye or feel too constrained and helpless of the situation or simply not bothered, these ‘visiting scholars’ are a clear verdict of how we are doing with our roads. They still beg the following questions:

  • Why are our roads still bad, full of potholes and do not last
  • Why do we spend resources only to be shortchanged by contractors?
  • Who monitors road construction to ensure that they are of the right quality and standard

In seasons like this, majority of our roads begin to look like the typical two-row board of an Oware with varying number of pits. Some of these pits are huge enough to be called manholes. They are so spread out on the roads to the point that you dodge one and fall in three others.

Now in a usual Oware game, players take turns moving the seeds in the row of varying pits called houses. A player removes all seeds from one house, and distributes them, dropping one in each house counter-clockwise, in a process called sowing and the game goes on and on. The potholes (visiting scholars) are here again – so so discomforting if not annoying to drive through potholes. It’s obvious we haven’t done well with our roads.

So just like playing the Oware game, motorists will need focus, tact and patience to drop their seeds (wheels) in the pits as failure to do so will earn you constant appointments with your mechanic.

Perhaps those who drive the green and white GV number plates may have little cause to worry because after all, there is some tax payers’ coins for maintenance. But if you belong to the lot others, it’s time to play the Oware game again and play it well to keep the wheels safe until the visitors are gone back or some help comes.

As they say there is light at the end of the tunnel but you can never tell how long this tunnel is because the end does not seem in sight.

Abigail Larbi

Twitter handle: @AmaSekyibea

Blog:abigaillarbi@wordpress.com

– See more at: http://www.myjoyonline.com/opinion/2015/June-3rd/the-rains-are-here-time-to-play-the-oware-game-again.php#sthash.kCpmFvSU.dpuf

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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My humbling Experience at BarCamp Accra as a Mentor; Barcamp is simply a one-stop shop

barcampI have always wondered what Barcamp is about and why the craze amongst lots of individuals in the virtual community of the event. Often, my twitter handle gets inundated with notifications and postings from my friend @KofiYeboah on Barcamp this; Barcamp that; Barcamp here; Barcamp there -Ho, Sunyani, Kumasi and the list goes on;

One day, I made time to click on a hashtag to one of the events; I saw conversations from passionate youthful individuals cheerfully expectant of the event almost like a mother awaiting the delivery of her first grand-child by her only daughter.

I only realized later that there are even more others in the real world caught up in the craze through the hype of the event on traditional media. When I checked the list of mentors to the speed mentoring session of one of the events, I just knew there must be something exceptional about this event; though couldn’t figure out what exactly.

I got an invitation to mentor at the speed mentoring session of the December 20, Barcamp Accra and my experience was simply humbling and amazing.

  1. First, the Event Organisers – my sense of division of labour

Organising an event can be hectic. However, there is nothing like making your resource persons feel so important, respected and badly needed, such that they cannot but only prioritise your event. In my case, it started with a tweet direct message from Kofi asking that I be a mentor at the speed mentoring session. I was then told Bubune will get in touch with details of the programme (baton handed over). Few hours later I received an e-mail from Bubu with details of the event. Another (Ato) later sent another mail requesting my profile and picture. I continued to receive updates on the event via mail and twitter. On the morning of event, my biggest challenge was how to get directions to the event (MEST). Just there and then I got a beep on my phone – another email from Ato – detailed direction to the event. Wow! such useful information and so timely and off I left for the event. I loved the coordination.

  1. Attendance and Participation:

Simply impressive! That is what it means to have an event or platform that is trusted; credible and most of all resourceful. Students, young CEOs of small scale and start-ups etc. having converged to share knowledge and skills and also meet industry players on how to excel and attain higher heights. It was just the place to be especially for anyone who wanted to be coached, mentored and even network exactly as I saw them do.

And oh, on a lighter note, I finally met my virtual friend Kofi Yeboah -There he was with his colleagues; so cute but such a gem. Yes, Kofi’s name had come up a year ago in a conversation I had with a renowned blogger all the way in the Zambia.

  1. The speed mentoring session

I saw mentors who are masters of their craft – from technology to data management to entrepreneurship to media to business to what have you. As a matter of fact, I saw persons I personally admire also, Dr. Esi Ansah of Ashesi University and Gifty Bingley of Tigo-Ghana, so willing to impart knowledge. It was inspiring to see that the media team of which I was a part of, had all the mix of media – advertising, media production, new media, mainstream media and ethics, public relations and corporate communications; more like a one stop shop for anybody interested in media.

  1. Now my mentoring session

I was privileged to mentor four people:

First, a young CEO doing great things with Sanitation management in Tafo in the Eastern region of Ghana. Our conversation focused on branding and building media visibility for his start-up. On leaving, he said “Fantastic Abigail, I never thought of this idea – solid and cost effective way to build the media visibility; so useful I will definitely keep in touch” .

Next was a Senior High School year two student; I was thrilled to learn that he was already a youth advocate, had experience in documentary development from NAFTI as well as some radio production and programming skills. So we discussed how to make the most of these; more like turning raw materials into tangible useful products. My first words to him – “you look so unassuming and yet a dynamite”. He obviously left happier and clearer in his mind.

Then was a statistics and mathematics student; yes statistics and maths! who also has a strong passion for writing poems and articles; such a rare combination. After our conversation, he was inspired to start a blog and hone the skill no matter the distraction. Soon, you should be reading from him, perhaps, on Izzat passions (blog), thanks to Barcamp Accra.

Kingsley was my final mentee. Graduate of journalism; I was happy to be part of an Anas or Manasseh or any other distinguished journalist in the making. With his permission, I share this email I received from him the evening after the event:

Hello Ma’m Larbi,

While I apologise for having not pushed hard enough to get mentors in the field of journalism and media work, I write to show appreciation for your time earlier today @ the #bcaccra event. It’s been my first appearance on this platform (ghana think foundation) and it’s numerous mentorship programmes and networking opportunities. I hope to, from today push harder and be active in my writing and social media presence. I hope that the meeting will be the beginning of a transformation in thought processes, opinions, deeds, and the journalism narrative I have always harboured. I am happy to learn from you and also happy to be of help to you if the need be. Thank you once again!

Regards, Kingsley Komla Adom (Mentee, #bcaccra)

At Barcamp, I see seeds sown; I see plants watered and tendered to grow stronger and healthier; I see strong trees being prunned so they bear more fruits and I also see that these fruits are plucked, stored, managed, marketed or processed for today and future generations. It is obviously a great platform to utilize.

seedswatering 2prunnedfruitsjuice

Ghana Think Foundation, more grease to your elbows. You guys rock. You are indeed touching, changing and impacting lives and its quality not just in numbers. A great quality harvest surely beckons.

Kudos!!.

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To do or Not to do: My Wedding Conversation with the Family:

gown 2Wedding planning can be hectic. Yes very hectic. No wonder it’s an enterprise on its own. Usually, it starts off with your own idea about what it should look like, how it should be and then when to implement the ideas. The stark reality in all this (perhaps often underplayed) is that there are very many other interested parties and stakeholders in this. Yes! they want to take your wedding “personal”, they want to “collect” their name, launch themselves or show their level at that opportunity; which means you must lift your game or have the span of legs to jump over a certain height.

In 2011, I watched the movie titled “Our Family Wedding” written by Wayne Conley and directed by Rick Famuyiwa. The movie touched on the wedding of a young couple and all the drama that came with it from both families; the weeks leading up to their wedding were comic and stressful, especially as their respective fathers tried to lay their long standing feud to rest.

As I watched the movie, this repeated advice to the would-be couple – “Always remember it is your marriage but their wedding” really struck me because very often this advice plays out in reality all the time; though in different forms.

Growing up can be so interesting especially when at that age, you start getting the reminders: Ei Ama when are you getting married; my cloth has been waiting o”; “Im really waiting for your big day ooo ……. blah….blah…. blah. I would often respond – Good to know, just let it (cloth) wait or just get a new one; because it is coming soon to a church near you; and depending on the age bracket you find yourself, these reminders keep pouring in from all angles – parents, siblings, friends, church elders, colleagues at work etc. and on occasions you even least expect them.

So, here finally comes my big day – and the wedding planning conversation with the family starts:

  1. First, the type of Wedding

Amidst the lots of ideas coming up, I blurt out “I will do a garden wedding; I like it, it’s nice”. In a split of seconds after that, Big brother (looking all surprised) retorts “what do you mean by garden wedding; the telenovelas and soap operas you have been watching have finally gotten into your head huh? Why garden instead of being blessed in the church; You will do no such thing. You are a Reverend Minister’s daughter and it should be in the church”. So I asked “cant the officiating ministers come to the garden too? “No” he replies “the church is the most appropriate place, period!”. Huh?, how?

Garden-Wedding-Decorations-31wedding - church

  1. Time and duration of the Wedding programme

Time is of essence and so I do not intend keeping people for too long; actually, I do not want the Ghana-man time phenomenon where people attend weddings two hours later than the scheduled time because weddings in Ghana in some churches like mine (Pentecostal) can last all day. I want the entire ceremony over in two and half hours. As such it should be indicated on the invitation card – Time: 11am to 1:30pm sharp.

Ooops! seemed like I pressed another wrong button as my sister sharply replied: “What at all is wrong with you? How can you do that, have you seen some before? It is your big day, all you have to do is to indicate when the programme starts and leave the rest to nature. Infact, as a former choir director in church, people will sing and sing and sing and we will dance, dance and dance”. Really?

  1. The Invitations and the numbers

Yes it may have been the earnest expectation of many – those I know and those I do not know alike but really I do not intend inviting too many people. This did not sit too well everybody. So Mummy starts: Errrrrm…. I can agree with you my dear, but you may have to make some considerations; you know I’m in-charge of the Young Ladies Wing in the so-so and so branch of the church (some distant branch I had only been when I was a toddler) and these ladies will obviously represent in their numbers at my only daughter’s wedding. Also, remember that church members from the other branches your father has pastored will love to be there at his only daughter’s wedding. Not to mention your own following as a committed member of the church plus friends, work colleagues, mates” blah …blah….. blah…… blah. At this point my jaw had dropped – What a wow?

  1. Now to the Engagement Presents

I intend to distribute “A, B, C” as presents/gifts at the engagement as its mostly done at traditional weddings…….. “Oh no”! quickly retorts another Such gifts do not suit a lady of your caliber, stature and fame. Really? Well, if you ask me I think an educated and near celebrity like you should be ready to distribute pieces of cloth (GTP) amongst other lofty products at your engagement. No bowls and buckets and cups!!!. Girl it’s your big day, just once in a life time and so you must do it well and never regret it. What? I exclaimed;. Fascinating!

  1. Closing the Conversation

Now, time to end the conversation. I could not but thank lovely family for the beautiful ideas and suggestions. Then I asked “shall each of you now indicate how much you are contributing to all these lofty ideas – in-kind (what exactly) cash (exact amount)?

Chorus answer: Ah don’t you worry at all. As for money it will come before you know it. Really? From where?

Another Chorus answer: Sure it will come; just have the ideas and money will come.          Off course we are behind you.

Behind me? why not in front? ha..ha. It’s amazing how everyone from either side of the family, except the would-be-couple seems to know the most-right thing to do and the best decision to take for any situation in such circumstances. Goodness!

Well, these are but only four. We are still haggling out some more and shall soon see who wins at the end. But if you ask me, I think lovely family is 55% in the lead. Perhaps, it is true: It is my marriage but their big day (Wedding) and as they will always put it during our conversations “we are not trying to pressure you; it is your big day and we are only offering harmless ideas and suggestions”. Harmless?

Well, on that “harmless” note, just keep your fingers crossed because I will certainly update you on my jolly walk down the isle. In the mean time you are specially invited.        Ta-ta

greenbouquetIMG_0987[1]

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