While preparing this month’s feature, there were many incidents in the motherland that served as useful distractions. Notable among them was the bribery scandal expose in Ghana by ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. It reignited interest in corruption, a subject continuously exhausted by African writers and poets. It surfaced in my interview with our poet of the month, Elikplim Akorli. Apparently, it has become the rehashed spice of every conversation between Africans on social media. It saddens me that, in this age of philosophical and technological advancement, our leaders still dabble in the obscene art, of what Professor P.L.O. Lumumba terms as, 'primitive accumulation'. Even heartbreaking is the reality that those entrusted with the last weapon of justice, the law, are shoulder-deep in the dung pits of bribery. Inasmuch as these developments dishearten some of us who pray for a better Ghana (and Africa), there are creative outlets to vent and to investigate why corruption is comfortable among us. In introspection, the age long question resurfaces again and again: what is corruption?
The poems featured this month are succinct, serious and searing. Akorli does not waste time in addressing what bothers him as a poet: the lack of truth and leadership. He uses repetition to drive home his intentions. He wields imagery as a weapon of caution. In the interview, which can be found on OGOV’s Youtube and SoundCloud channels, Akorli comes across as a sage, prophet and peacemaker. His take on Ghana’s social problems is on point and he does not mince words about what needs to be done.
I asked the question: what is corruption? That is one of the few questions with a lot of answers. I have heard both apologetics and antagonistic statements about corruption. Though many societies have had myriad discussions about it, the panacea to this social ailment is ever elusive. One would hope that with the social impact of young and vocal poets, like Akorli, that panacea would be found. One retains faith that a generation will rise that will purge the accepted evils of their forebears. One loves to reread the words of Akorli when he posits truth as a 'hammer /on an anvil'.
Prince K Mensah