Peace Songs & Election Aftermath

So after three hours of waiting yesterday, I voted for the first time. My left pinky finger is still stained, I remember a selfish irritating voter along with other noisemakers but all that aside I consider the process a peaceful and successful one.
What is not peaceful is these darn peace songs that populate my television.
Peace Songs
I loved the traffic free roads but I know it’s a short lived experience. The peace songs however are not peaceful at all! In fact some are irritating and can’t wait for them to get off air.
Who sponsors these works of art?
I applaud the investment and wonder why it can’t be done for other projects that boast a more promising life span.
Let’s face it, after today these songs will bear no relevance. I am actually looking for Ghanaians to witness to me that one of these songs inspired peace within them.
To me it’s a selfish enterprise not benefiting Ghana. A peace song is not really about entertainment and must have a deeper message than that of which I have listened to. 
A great peace song to me is Black Eyed Peas “Where is the Love”. A great song that stands the test of time. Here is a tip to peace song makers. If your song doesn’t sound like it will be played after elections then don’t bother. Refocus your efforts.
Can The Elections Be Improved?
Of course it can improved. Even if the election process saw no error there is still room for improvement. 
I personally was not particularly happy about my three hour wait to perform a two minute activity. The news of quick voting from friends via social media didn’t help my patient composure as well. I was however determined to vote and my resolve outweighed my irrritation.
My polling station name and code: PHASE 1, REGIMANUEL ESTATE EAST AIRPORT (C120320B) for some reason had an influx of voters from the beginning of the voting session. For future purposes, I believe operational procedures be revised to cater for such influx in an effort to speed the electoral process. 
Major Issue at Polling Station C120320B
The major issue that befell voters at my polling station was poor communication on the queues that they were to be in. 
I was a victim of this. I arrived at 8 AM and was advised by people in the queue to use my first name to determine my queue. My name being Paul meant that I was destined for the N-Z queue. At least that’s what I thought.
Once I reached my turn to verify my name on the list I was told I was in the wrong queue. The correct procedure apparently, was to use the first name on the voter ID card. The first name on my card is my surname, which is Forjoe. So I was to stand in the “F” queue.
Throughout my two hour wait in the N-Z queue I did not hear any advise by the electoral officers to prevent my mishap. Considering the number of people present, a PA system or mega horn was needed to advise on the correct queue for voters to join.
Electoral Commission Website
I have to commend the Electoral Commission (EC) for the great work done in ensuring peaceful voting. A lot of work has gone into ensuring that the voting process was successful. 
Not all areas were covered but I believe the future holds progress. 
(Okay, that was the compliment. Now for criticism)
My rant revolves around the EC’s website and the information that resides on it. 
I am a millennial who loves to utilize his smart phone and the internet. Social media, television and radio are good but in this day and age all information being broadcast on these platforms must first and foremost be on the website. This covers all bases and affords any individual discussing election, to refer to content with confidence because it comes from the EC website.

EC tweets screenshot
EC tweets screenshot

I saw the tweet assuring me of eligibility to vote as long as I had a valid ID or a copy of my voters ID and the short code to verify my polling station, just this morning. 
I applaud the use of social media to push this message but it should be on the EC website with a link directing people to more information, attached to the message on social media.
I believe a YouTube channel is equally important to advise Ghanaians and interested stake holders on proceedings, procedures and any other information deemed important for video. This should be linked to the website to enable easy access to the media.
Final Word
Well let’s await patiently for the final results. God has blessed us with peaceful voting and promises a peaceful future. The onus lies on you and I to ensure that we comport our selves at the result. 
We have survived 8 elections and 4 Coup’s. Let us survive another. Stay blessed and keep it One Hondred!
PS: The main illustration of the Black Star Gate at Independece Square was created by Jojo Conceptz 

My First Voting Impression

It’s Wednesday 7th December 2016, Election Day in Ghana. This is the day that the waakye, Hausa Kojo and other breakfast queues are transferred to polling stations and last till the evening.
I hate the sight of queues, even worse is standing in them but I love Ghana more. That means doing something I hate in an effort to make a difference.
Voting started at 7 AM. Its 8 AM and I am in the N-Z first name queue and it’s five times longer than the English alphabet. My polling station is the PHASE 1, REGIMANUEL ESTATE EAST AIRPORT (C120320B).
Please note you need stand in the queue that corresponds to the first letter in your first name. In my polling station there is no indication of this. I had to ask to know this. Don’t go standing in the wrong queue.
So far things look organized and for the past 20 minutes I have been at the same place, which makes me wonder as to whether it’s the voters or the voting officials that are slowing the process down.
Already amongst voters, commentary has begun. Talk of inefficient procedures, long lines and the like. A lady just passed me by with a camp chair and I am so envious. 
This being my first time participating in this national exercise I feel I should have been advised on some things to bring along with me to make the process more bearable.
If you have not left home to vote try carrying the following along:

  1. Your voters ID or identification document to enable you to vote.
  2. A camp chair or any item to sit on
  3. A cap, straw hat or anything to give shade. An umbrella is not a bad idea.
  4. Sunglasses – this is optional but it helps.
  5. A face towel
  6. A fan or anything to fan with 

Hondred Percent face towel shade cap
Hondred Percent face towel shade cap

Well it looks like I am going to be here for a while. I hear it is estimated that each voter will use 2 minutes to vote. There are about 60 people in front of me so my math tells me that I will be voting in the next two hours. I hope this is an exaggeration. 
Littering by voters
Littering by voters

It’s sad but just in my queue I have seen voters drink satchet water and litter their very surroundings. With attitudes like this how do we develop our country? This day will cause a shift but we have a long way to go to develop our GHANA to better standards.
Remember to keep the peace as you vote and keep it One Hondred!

Can I vote without my voters ID?

Ok so finally I found my Voters ID so I will be voting tomorrow. People assured me that without it I could vote, as long as I knew the ID number. I have a picture of the ID saved on my phone so that should suffice. 
But how sure am I that that would hold?
I was still skeptical because everyone kept saying “they say” and I was unsure as to whether “they” was equal to the EC (Electoral Commission)
Someone also asked about moving to a different polling station since she had moved to a different location. 
These concerns are valid and in my opinion should be adequately addressed. One could say it had been discussed enough on radio and television but in my opinion focusing on these mediums doesn’t cut it in these times. 
In 2016 where social media and the internet are available to anyone with a smartphone, I expect adverts and campaigns to be everywhere on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Viral videos should be all over addressing these concerns. I believe it should be done not only by the EC but also the political parties as well since it is in their best interest.
Well this morning I decided to give the EC the benefit of the doubt and visit their website to find if it could address these issues of mine. 
To my surprise the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section did not address any of these concerns.

Electoral Commission website FAQ
Electoral Commission website FAQ

Am I the only one who finds this weird? I mean there is nothing on the website addressing the, no voter ID but want to vote issue and the change of polling station for persons that have moved.
With all the funding that the EC has at their disposal I believe the least that can be done is to address it in the FAQ on their website. Political parties also have to address these issues via social media and websites to prevent people like myself shying away from voting. If I didn’t find my voters ID, I may not have voted. I believe there are many like me so that issue needs to be addressed.
Well I believe this is a late issue to bring up but better late than never. May we vote peacefully tomorrow and move the country towards prosperity.
Keep it One Hondred!

Toaso or Change – which is LOUDER?

Two days more to election and I can’t find my Voters ID. I better increase my search efforts because I really want to vote this year. 
Though I applaud all political parties in the final run towards the presidency, I am not sure what the the rest are doing in the race. 
By rest I mean all political parties aside NDC (National Democratic Congress) and NPP (New Patrotic Party). Sorry guys (the rest) but my vote goes to one of these two parties. That’s not to say that the two parties are the best but the odds are in their favour. It is between these two that the battle will be won so I want to aid in the decision process.
Speaking of aiding, last Thursday I had the opportunity to drive through 37, The Olusegun Obasanjo road, the highway leading to Pokuase, parts of Dome and Haatso. I was surprised to see billboards and various adverts of NDC splashed all over town. 
I must say that I am impressed with the marketing campaign used in the adverts. It is very clear and concise. When I compare this to what the opposition is doing I can’t help but feel that the competition is one sided.

An NDC advert at Kanda
An NDC advert at Kanda

I understand Accra is just a portion of Ghana and I also understand that other marketing efforts other than visual adverts are being employed. Despite this, in certain parts of Accra, it seems that NDC is better informing its voters and aspiring voters on who to vote for better than the NPP.
I had a debate about this with someone and they kept going on about whether the claims made in the adverts were valid. The question is how many people ask the validity question these days. Even in this Information Age when false news is propagated on social media how many people, educated or uneducated alike bother to verify?
Even if I were to ignore the above the thing is I get the agenda that NDC is pushing. NDC via their adverts are saying that they have developed Ghana to a point, they have provided infrastructure and jobs to many sectors and want the nation to allow them to continue and thus the slogan, “JM Toaso, Toaso”. 
An NDC advert at 37
An NDC advert at 37

In addition to that, it has been indicated in majority of the adverts the position of the NDC presidential candidate. As of Thursday I now know that  NDC is third on the presidential ballot sheet. It has been drummed into my head every where I turned whether I liked it or not.
Compared to NPP the only thing I am hearing is the word “Change” and in that department it seems as if “Toaso” is louder. As of today I am not even sure of which position NPP is on the ballot sheet. 
Will all this make a difference?
Maybe. It’s difficult to tell. For me what I have seen is only in sections of Accra. It doesn’t speak of what is happening in other regions and towns. 
If however the capital is anything to go by, I can assume that the marketing campaigns are similar in other regions. Maybe NPP concentrates more in other regions. Maybe other marketing strategies are being employed.
What do I know? I am not a political scientist, just your average observer. From what I observe, NDC has done a better job advertising in the sections of Accra I have visited. It will be interesting to correlate the results in these areas with the adverts to see the impact.
Maybe it’s a money thing. Maybe others want to follow suit but the funds are just not available. If that were the issue I would hope that in the future a budget of adverts be raised and controlled by the EC (Electoral Commission). 
Here all political parties that qualified to run for the presidency will be allocated the same budget to be used for adverts. The parties would bid for advertising lspaces through advertising agencies and the EC would control this to ensure that every party is given a fair shot at communicating to the people.
Such a utopian idea, maybe one day my wish will come true. Either way, let’s go out in our numbers to exercise our vote. 
Keep the peace and keep it One Hondred!

Nuse Concert Gallery

As promised here are the images of the Nuse Concert with Worlasi and friends last Saturday at Alliance Francais. Keep it One Hondred!

Worlasi and Manifest
Worlasi and Manifest
Worlamy in the building!
Worlamy in the building!
Worlasi and Wanlov
Worlasi and Wanlov
Worlasi reacting to fans
Worlasi reacting to fans
Cina Soul
Cina Soul
Poetra Asantewa
Poetra Asantewa
Torgbe Worlasi
Torgbe Worlasi
Six Strings
Six Strings
Worlasi and Six Strings
Worlasi and Six Strings
Worlasi and Safoa band
Worlasi and Safoa Band
Worlasi the belt man
Worlasi the belt man
Safoa Band getting ready
Safoa Band getting ready

Nuse Concert: A Hondred Percent Review

A confident Worlasi approached the stage strapped with what looked like safety belts for a parachute. He was prepared for the jump into stardom. 

Worlasi opening appearance at Nuse Concert
Worlasi opening appearance at Nuse Concert

With the amazing Safoa band, Dj, wonderful guest artists, an audience who just couldn’t sit down and a consistently smoke filled stage that warranted the band members wearing gas masks, I guess his fashion statement was justified.
I sat right in the front and loved every minute of this concert. They say if you want to visit a good Chinese restaurant, go to the one the Chinese visit. The same can be said for music. If you want to see a good musician/artist go to the one that all the other artists are talking about.Artists from all walks of life came out to support Worlasi and contributed to making the night spectacular.
Daniel Quist - Nuse Concert MC
Daniel Quist – Nuse Concert MC

Daniel Quist as the MC was perfect. He was the one that introduced me to Worlasi and champions his music passionately. No one else could do that job better than him in my opinion.
Worlasi was at home entertaining guests. He spoke about everything that came to mind like the confused state of fish when you buy Kenkey, his grandmother and the fact that everyone should grab a drink. It’s free but it can get finished, he said.
Each of the artists that graced the stage are a testament to how versatile the Nuse artist is. From Six Strings, Akan, Poetra, Cina Soul, Wanlov and Manifest, each artist held their own and proved to me that Ghana’s music scene is indeed diverse and evolving.
Cina Soul did something really creative to make the concert truly artistic. She made the audience, band and herself take part in the mannequin challenge. I thought that was really unique and bold. As a Ghanaian you would think people would not have participated, especially with all that Jameson around but she pulled it off. I can’t wait to see what that was like on video.
Alliance Francais was half filled by 8 PM before 11 PM it was filled beyond capacity with people forever glued to the front of the stage. There were so many hands in the air with the Worlasi hand gesture making a “W” that if Worlasi was to stand for election that day people will have voted twice for him.
Worlasi Fans showing the
Worlasi Fans showing the “W”

As Hondred Percent, I was inspired to keep striving and believing in my art. Worlasi is an effective communicator on stage utilizing pidgin in a manner like no other to address social issues as well as add commentary on things we go through in life. It is difficult for a Ghanaian not to relate to his music. 
The artist embraces his creativity head on and goes with the flow to create one of the best concerts I have been to. His fashion from harness belts to a northern attire and finally a red shirt and black pants give you a feel of the artists taste and style.
Manifest defined it right.
“Everything Nice For Worla”
On that night everything was good for him. I was proud and happy for him. As an artist one of most beautiful things is to perform and have people perform your track with you. When you penned down the lyrics to that song, no one was around. The impact those words will have was untested and now a crowd is jamming with you giving you back the very words you strung together. It’s a truly humbling experience that also has the capacity to giving you a big ego. I however feel with Worlasi we will be seeing more of the latter.
Worlasi and Manifest performing at Nuse Concert
Worlasi and Manifest performing

Indeed everything nice for Worla. If you don’t believe me you should have been there to witness it. There was so much love from his fans that he insulted his fans they insulted him back and they all had a laugh. It was that good.
Thank you Worlasi for keeping it One Hondred!
PS: Gallery of images taken to follow soon

Don't Use Your Left Hand

“Don’t point with your left.”
“Don’t give stuff to people with your left”

Should I stop taking left turns as well? What’s the big deal with the left hand? Did someone do something that bad that Ghana is stuck with this practice?
Introduction
On my birthday in 2014 I decided to do stand up comedy. My wife thought I was crazy. I thought it was an interesting challenge.
The material I had focused on bathroom behaviour, of which I will discuss in another post. I however want to focus on the part that dealt with the use of the left hand in the bathroom and the cultural practice that forbids us from using it to do a number of things.
I am hoping this post will shed light on the issue and get me to comprehend what the fuss is all about.
What’s The Problem With The Left Hand?
Rumor has it that this all had to do with bathroom etiquette. Apparently we don’t give things to people or point with our left hand because when we use the bathroom, we are to use our left hand in wiping our business.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I pray this is not the only reason. I have been looking for a better reason yet the same story keeps coming up.
Why Don’t I Buy Into The Left Hand Culture?
I don’t know which authority came up with this narrative but I have a couple of concerns that make it difficult to accept the practice.

  1. Is there an empirical study showing the benefits of using the left hand in the bathroom?
  2. Even if a study existed showing that there are benefits (which I doubt), who checks as to which hand people use each time they use the bathroom?
  3. Isn’t the advent of soap supposed to eliminate the danger of wiping as a problem?
  4. The ring finger is on the left hand. So should we change that to the right?

Should I use my left or right to wipe?
Should I use my left or right to wipe?
 
NEWS FLASH: I am not sure which hand I personally use to handle my business in the bathroom. I think I am ambidextrous in that respect. I mean even if I said I use my left would you believe me?
Even I wouldn't believe you dad
Even I wouldn’t believe you dad
 
Politics alone should tell you that people say one thing and do another in the polling booth. How much more when they are in the toilet.
Left Discrimination
When growing up I realized all around me that the left hand was frowned upon. People were forced to learn how to write with their right hand when they were left handed.
(And it wasn’t to make them ambidextrous)
How can such a practice be accepted?
God created a child and blessed them with the ability to do things with their left hand. Culture then bars that from being developed?
In sports left handed people are a gem. I am sure in other respects they are treasured. So why do we discriminate against treasured individuals all because of a bathroom issue?
Conclusion
I don’t agree with the left hand culture. However, I adhere to it in the company of elders. I do it for the peace and also because I believe that there is a stronger cultural reason than which I keep hearing.
Even if the reason stays the same I will respect culture and use my right amongst my elders. In such scenarios that’s not the time for such a discussion.
That’s why I am blogging about it. So help me out in understanding this Ghanaian practice.
Is it good or bad?
Keep your responses One Hondred!

Vodafone & Tigo – I can't "Twi Kɔ” cos "Mi suro"

My hopes of winning over 10,000 GHC in cash are over. 
My crime? 
I don’t buy scratch cards.
Am I the only person feeling ripped off?
As a user of both Tigo and Vodafone services I feel their current scratch and win promotion doesn’t favor me. I believe there are others like me and thus the reason for my rant this morning.
Vodafone and Tigo have both launched a scratch and win promotion which is ongoing. Vodafone’s “Yee Twi Kɔ”and Tigo’s “Wo suro aaa wondi” are set up to get their customers buying airtime in the hope of winning a prize.
Unfortunately my chances at winning any of the attractive prizes, which often are in the form cash, is non existent because I do not purchase scratch cards to attain airtime. Either postpaid handles the airtime or it is transferred via mobile money or Express Pay.
Considering that the digital methods of accessing airtime exist and save the networks money, I find it difficult to understand why users who purchase airtime outside of scratch cards can’t participate in the promotion.
I feel that in a Ghana where a cashless society is being pushed by the banks and even the networks, that it is important to to level the playing field rather than make one method of accessing airtime superior.
The reward for scratching a card can win you over 10,000 GHC. Meanwhile purchasing airtime digitally just offers you convenience. If you ask me it seems as if both companies prefer customers buying scratch cards than purchasing airtime digitally.
I just think that both Tigo and Vodafone should come up with a scheme to allow their customers who purchase airtime digitally to benefit from the ongoing scratch and win promotion.
Post paid customers can be given tokens or sent at random, a digital ticket that puts them into a raffle to win one of the prizes. This can come with conditions such as early payment of bills. 
For those who purchase digitally, each time a purchase is made a digital ticket can be sent to the user to enter a raffle to stand the the chance of winning.
What do you think about my suggestion?
Stay winning and remember to always keep it One HONDRED!

Ehalakasa Slam Final 2016

Ehalakasa is an organization promoting performance poetry since 2007. Since I begun my poetry journey in Ghana in 2011, Ehalakasa has helped in making me who I am today as a poet.
Ehalakasa runs an annual slam of which I have won twice. A slam is a poetry competition where slammers (poets) battle out by performing and having their performances scored by judges to reveal a winner. 
Ehalakasa’s slam takes place in three rounds with each slammer having three minutes to perform. Going above this results in a penalty. Judges are chosen at random and are given a quick tutorial on the judging process and given score cards to rate performances.
It’s a very interesting experience for both the contestants and the audience. Some of the best poetry is performed at these slams.
This year I have the honor of being the slam master (host) of the final. With the experience gained over the years I am sure I will do a wonderful job. I will also be publicly announcing my album release date on that day. 
I urge you all to book the date and be there to support the finalists and the movement all together.

Mobile Money Fund Raising in Church

How many of us have sat in church and witnessed fundraising turn into an auction? Starting at about 1000 GHC all the way to 1 GHC for a worthy cause. 
During this auction, members of the congregation usually walk up to either receive envelopes, to bring cash later or drop cheques or cash in baskets. One can describe this as a social class exercise, a status walk or the physical manifestation of the social ladder.
When I find myself in such situations I either give my contribution after church is done or give it to someone to drop in the basket for me. 
I am not here to discuss whether the cause for such funding is worthy. I am here to offer a proposition for conducting this exercise in a more covert manner.

Matthew 6:1 - Don't Do Good Deeds Publicly
Matthew 6:1 – Don’t Do Good Deeds Publicly

Matthew 6:1 emphasizes the need for us to go about doing good undercover. The goal is not for us to receive praise but for God to be celebrated for using us to do good. Churches should encourage such giving and have faith that the congregation will give. 
As mentioned in God Loves A Cheerful Giver, I believe mobile money technology provide churches a means to go about collecting money efficiently and offering convenience to its members. 
I personally feel that the advent of social media, email and the Internet provide churches a means of communication with their members that go beyond Sunday service. 
In my view, churches conduct fund raising on Sunday’s because they feel its the only time they can get memebers attention and money. Many pledges have gone unpaid for as a result of this notion.
Mobile money changes this narrative from a “Sunday only” venture to one that can be conducted anytime. It thus provokes churches to gather details of the members and visitors in order to continue communication after Sunday service.
To showcase the above in action let’s assume that a church on average has a thousand members. It’s trying to raise funds to assist in the paying of hospital bills for a members surgery which is estimated at 4000 GHC.
The church makes an announcement in church on Sunday appealing for funds and continues to engage the congregation via SMS, whatsapp, email and its social media platforms. 
The campaign is simple: 
Donate 2GHC or more to help pay for John Doe’s surgery of 4000 GHC.
Everyday the word should go out including a report of the current state of the fund raiser, informing members of how far their collective efforts have gone.
If half of the members give 2 GHC each week, that amounts to 4000 GHC after a month. This is less intimidating and allows the church to work collectively.
I don’t know about you but I am more than willing to give 2 GHC every week for a worthy cause. Unfortunately this opportunity is untapped and thousands of 2GHC are up for grabs each week without being claimed. The variables can be changed but I believe the message is clear.
Churches should utilize mobile money and digital marketing to enhance their activities. It’s the way things are done now and probably the way of the future. The earlier churches start the earlier they reap.
Keep it One HONDRED!