Winneba Fancy Dress Festival
It has been several weeks of grueling preparations for the Winneba Fancy Dress Festival. I think I should rest; you don’t think so?
But when you have your MP constantly reminding you that he has been reading your articles, when your Municipal Chief Executive calls you at dawn just to inform you that he had just finished reading your article, and demand to read the previous one he missed, when you have people you so much respect cheering your column on, when you have your editor sending you text messages, reminding you of the timelines, just making sure that he does not deny his readers the column they so much love, then you feel the obligation to do more.
So it all went down in Winneba. I was hugged, I was mobbed. I was forced to give autographs, but I was also insulted for nothing. I obviously did a massive publicity, so several hundreds of people came to witness this year’s event.
Over twenty thousand people on one park, to witness the Festival. The gods came down, and I will like to congratulate Tumus (group number three) for winning the most coveted trophy in Winneba, the Winneba Masquerade trophy, for the 2017 festival year.
I would like to pay a special tribute to the team at NYCE MEDIA, the media company rebranding some festivals in Ghana, for their effort, so far, in rebranding the Winneba Fancy Dress festival. I don’t see any reason why NYCE MEDIA should not win the tourism media company of the year award.
Let me pause to acknowledge our great sponsors; Yabmaud Enterprise, retailers of musical instrument at Zongo lane who provided the program with clear, gripping sound equipment, Fan Milk Ghana Ltd, who refreshed patrons with their new refreshing FanYogo (mango and passion), Guinness Ghana Ltd who supported the event with their Orijin Zero and Tappers, while Run-Off Ltd provided support.
So group by group, color by color, glamour after glamour, all the groups poured onto the park, roll by roll, each one of them was a delight, each one of them got the royal celebration that the audience felt in them. Although I was busy helping with issues, I could not resist the temptation to once in a while stop to bow to them, to celebrate the heroes of our time. I got wet many times along the line, and I felt proud that I had the privilege to be part of it.
I felt really worn out. Several times I felt sick, really sick, but when I saw the thick crowd inside the park, when I saw the big crowd of people who wished to enter the venue but were unable to do so due to lack of space, when I saw little boys and girls in their costumes, standing and dancing long hours, then my strength knew no bounds.
At some point I wished I was asked to just do nothing other than celebrating the masqueraders. I wished they had asked me to clean their feet, just for me to feel important. I wished they had used me as their errand boy. These are young boys and girls who carried the entire town on their shoulders, so high, that I felt so little, so small to be associated with them. These are individuals who, year after year, sacrifice their own resources, invest their energies into creating glamour, glamour in dance, glamour in costumes, and they go through several weeks of designing heaven on earth.
As all the groups poured onto the Winneba Advanced Park, I rushed to the front; I left all that I thought I was doing, just to celebrate them. And as I surveyed them, individual after individual, roll by roll, group by group, as they stood there in military fashion, I looked at the efforts that had gone into their own creation, and as the sun came down on their little glitz, little crystals, the sparkling that unfolded, I just smiled, bowed, thanked Winneba, and walked away.
So when finally the curtains were brought down, and I saw the thick crowd moving, with the convoys of the dignitaries struggling to navigate their way out of the crowd, I saw the fruit of determination, and I said to myself; Winneba, the land of my birth.
So with Winneba Fancy Dress behind me, I have to come back to realities. I momentarily forgot that I have a column to write, and in fact I even forgot that we are having a new song, Onaapo! I was lost in all the conversations. I had even forgotten that Simpa Panyin column needs to wrap up the year 2016.
So here I am, back to Simpa Panyin. I think I did some of the fine articles in 2016. The Simpa Panyin column started early in 2016 with the first article titled “I see Zenator Rawlings becoming Ghana’s President”. It was only Peacefmonline which was publishing Simpa Panyin. I was attacked profusely, although the article itself enjoyed one of the biggest readings. People seem not to like my prophecy, that Zenator Rawlings could become the president of Ghana.
Well, today Zenator Rawlings is a Member of Parliament, and possibly, I dare say, that she is on her way to the presidency.
My second article was equally controversial. The title was “Nana Akufo-Addo Reloading Atta Mills”. For four weeks this article maintained its lead, as the most read, the most discussed, and the most emailed online publication. That article basically predicted that Nana Akufo-Addo could soon become the president of Ghana.
Well, today Nana Akufo-Addo is our President-elect. I am not sure if I am becoming one of the prophets on the land.
So it has been one short year of writing nearly every week, and one short year of using the pen name Simpa Panyin.
I have had very good reviews on my pieces, and some really bashing comments as well. Most people I have spoken with chose “Should I Heal them, or I should Kill Them?” as their best Simpa Panyin. I admit, that, that article was dangerously humorous. Some described it as a movie scene in print. It was related to the Montie 3 saga, and their Kpokpogbligbli syndrome, the disease that made them lose their minds, and made them looked like diseased.
Honestly, I foresaw that President Mahama was going to lose the election, and he lost it. The handling of the Montie 3 issue, the obvious complicit on the Woyome money, the general body arrogance of young ministers, and the never-ending corruption in government circles; I had not done any scientific research, but I used my street observation, and I, painfully, had no doubt about the level of lost that was coming the way of our president.
Nana Akufo-Addo has won the presidency, and I believe he has earned it. But I have mixed feelings; is it time for another group of people to make money out of government, or it is time for us to witness positive change in governance? I would like to take advantage of the new feeling of positive business environment. How much of corrupt hurdles would I have to overcome before being able to establish my businesses?
It will be a grave difficulty for me if I do not see change in its real sense. Change, not in one District one factory, change, not necessarily in one village one dam; for me, change has to come for the passing of the Right to Information Bill, change has to come for transparency in procurement, change has to come for mortal people to remain mortals, as God remains God, that for me is change.
Change, for me, is the predictable treatment of all citizenry as equals; that the law has to work, and has to work equally. We cannot continue to apply the law only when it suits the selfish interests of the law enforcement agencies. That is not rule of law; that is rule of men.
Personally the most difficult article I wrote in the year 2016 was “…and I realized I was dreaming”. This was my personal lamentation on how our Judges were handled during the Montie 3 Saga. I felt so sad, so low, so weak, so much so that I wrote that article in tears.
James Kofi Annan