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Africa money - the absence and presence of money in our system

Posted by abocco on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 14:23 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

Many government projects in Ghana are not done according to schedule due to the absence of funds. It's sad to read about infrastructural projects being launched and then the beneficiaries have to wait extra long to benefit. Is there really no money in the system? We pay lots of taxes but we don't see the taxes at work. We see them buying the four-wheel drives, building the nice homes and financing the trips abroad. This is our money, Africa's money and some people are spending it in ways that do not benefit Africa at large. But who will say it? You bet it would be Barima, formerly known as Sidney. The most controversial hiplife artiste is out again and out to criticize the Ogas and bosses chopping Africa money.

Africa money follows after many current hiplife songs which seem to have much more 'life' than 'hip'. So people welcome this phenomenon, others don't. I love it and Africa money even has some French lyrics for good measure. Barima says Oga dey chop am (Africa money) fuga fuga or nyafu nyafu. Fuga fuga stands for carelessness or being spendthrift. According to him, the poor man is doing the work but the Oga (boss) is benefiting from that work. Africa money is the title of Barima's latest album and the fourth controversial single in a row after the likes of Abuskeleke, Scent no, and Obia nye obia.

There have been several allegations of corruption levelled against people in the government. The issue of kickbacks was brought to light last year and it seems a lot of state money is making its way into the pockets of many civil servants. Many projects are now being awarded to the highest briber instead of the highest bidder and the quality of these projects suffer since the best firm may not get the deal. As such many projects are not done well, the state has to incur high maintenance costs. We have to execute projects well, once and for all, and we need the money to do it. Consider the issue of taxes. We have a problem collecting taxes for national development but by the time the taxes travel from the tax payer to the national coffers, about a third of the funds have disappeared into the pockets of the tax collectors.

"Wonna money ei, our money oh, Africa money ei, Oga dey chop am fuga fuga". Look at the pomp and pageantry that followed the NPP presidential candidacy race. Each candidate paid 250 million cedis to file his nomination while spending some more donating to party offices and activities. Whether the money was raised through corrupt means is another story but how is our development stunting when many individual can raise such amounts of money? We no dey chop the Africa money well. We are not using our meagre resources wisely.

We are not executing development projects well because we keep on reducing public budgets while we use the funds to buy SUVs for our civil servants. Instead of building railway lines and more trunk roads at a fast pace to ultimately reduce the number of road accidents and maintenance of existing roads, we feel the best solution is to buy cars that can steer our roads well for the comfort of the 'Ogas' and 'bosses'. Do we collect taxes to serve our bosses and their families? No! "Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop. Oga and me na who dey job?". "Aayefe notse, notse fo"

Sidney (Barima) understands that this nyaga nyaga chopping of money is an African problem so he has some French lyrics in there to reach out to fans in Francophone countries. I hear some of the political parties in Ghana are fighting over the rights to the song to use it in their campaigns for the Ghana 2008 elections. The song is becoming very popular and an anthem for the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana. The infrastructural development in the run-up to the Ghana tournament is a good use of Africa money even though a few things could have been done better.

"We no go sit down make them trick us everyday, Everyday for thief, one day for shef (sheriff)". Barima and Morris Babyface have this to say but do we mean it? What does 'not sitting down for the powers-that-be to trick us' mean? Demonstrations and civil actions? Pressure group conferences? Bashing on radio? Barima should have told us what to do because I am looking for answers as well. What will it take for the nyafu nyafu chopping of Africa money to stop? Statesmen who have a better conscience and care for the community? I think so. It's funny how Barima refers to the boss as the thief and the common man as the sheriff. Barima is always trying to be funny but he has a serious message. I hope the bosses are listening - the money chopping must stop. We are not poor, the yellow colour in our flag signifies wealth. Think about it.

Before I forget, Barima mentions waa waa and buum buum in the chorus. Just a sign that chopping Africa money comprises both the NPP and NDC governments respectively.

Full Africa money lyrics.
Photo by Databank Group