As children, we used to accompany our grand-parents to the farm mostly on Saturdays not to do any serious farm work but only to keep them company, and also create some ‘fear and panic’ by trampling on some of their sprouting crops. After creating enough chaos on the farm, we often become tired and therefore go and hide under any shady tree we can find and sleep until we are waken up when it is time to go home.

What we always hated as children, was this idea of being asked to carry some load, be it fire-wood or food-stuffs, because we always wanted to have the freedom to engage in playful activities even on our way home from the farm. And grand-parents being what they are, they often allowed us to have our way just to make sure we were always happy.

My grand-parents used to employ the services of what we commonly call ‘by day’ people (farm labourers) during the clearing and preparation of the land in readiness for the planting season. This ‘by day’ people were normally paid according to the land area they are able to clear in a given time. For this reason, some of them used to employ all sorts of tricky methods to make sure trees and shrubs over a wide area are seemingly slashed down within a twinkle of an eye.

Fraudulent farm labourers

Having employed their tricks to cover a wide area, these ‘by day’ people will then come to the ‘asoe’(a place on the farm where food and other activities aside weeding are carried out)to consume large quantities of food ranging from ‘kokoo ase bayere’,plantain or cassava ‘ampesi’ with ‘kontomire abom’ spiced with ‘kako’ and the good-old ‘ewurefua fish’ and elegantly garnished with ‘ngo kokoo’(red palm-oil).And in the evening, they will come home for their wages which was always in cash.

This cleared weeds and shrubs are then left to dry after which it is burnt. Now, it is after this burning that the works of these ‘by day’ people are always laid bare. This is because, if the weeds are properly ceared, the burning will be thorough and therefore makes it easy to do the planting of crops. On the other hand, if the weeding is not well-done, you will find most of the ‘skeletons’ of the shrubs still standing even after the burning because these shrubs were not cut-off during the clearing stage and therefore did not dry-up for them to be burnt properly.

This kind of situation always present farmers with serious challenge in terms of land preparation and if swift action is not taken to deal with it in time for the planting, it will go a long way to affect the plans of the farmer by way of missing the right planting season all-together. And by this time, those who did the first clearing must have squandered the monies paid to them and are probably busily employing their tricks on some other unsuspecting farmers.

The already cheated farmer will then have no other choice but to employ other labourers to clear these shrub-skeletons at an extra cost in order to be on time for the planting season.

The farmer then comes face to face with the planting season after going through the land preparation ordeal. And here too, the farmer is never free from the activities of dubious farm hands.

You reap what you sow

Now, during planting of let’s say maize, the services of ‘by day’ people are often engaged if the size of the farmer’s field is huge. Here too, the farmer is not far from being cheated by these farm hands. As a matter of fact, I have personally been a witness to some of these tricks by farm hands who once assisted my very own mother on her farm, when I was about 10-years old.

It happened when my mother employed the services of these ‘by day’ farm hands to help her plant maize on her farm. Here too, the amount of money paid to these farm-hands is directly proportional to the area of land planted.

Now, those of you who might not be conversant with how maize is planted, here are some few tips; small holes are created with either cultlass,hoe or a piece of wood into which a maximum of 5-seeds are put.Howvever,because the wage paid to these labourers is directly proportional to both the quantity of grain and land-area planted, some of these workers tend to dump handful of grains into each hole so that they will be able to plant bags of grain within a short period of time.

Having done this, they will then go ahead and scratch portions of their so-called planted area in order to give the impression that these are holes that have been covered after grains have been put into them.

And here, the labourers will consume their Fante delicacy of ‘ampesi’ with ‘kako spiced abom’ prepared for them by the farm owner. They will then go home and rest and come to the farmer’s house in the evening to collect their wages.

Now, after these labourers have collected their wages and long gone, the field they planted will then begin to germinate. And it is at this stage that the true handy-works of the wicked and lying labourers will come to light when between 50 and 60,instead of a maximum of 5 seeds, will be sprouting from a single hole!!!.And here too, the farmer will be left no other option than to hire some people, at an extra cost, to replant the field.

So at the end of the day, the farmer ends up the worse off in both land-clearing, preparation and planting periods while those wicked farm labourers who perpetrated the wicked acts of naked fraud and deception on him will be sitting somewhere and gleefully enjoying their loot with equally deceptive and gluttonous collaborators.

Elaborate deception

The above elaborated scenario is exactly what Atta-Mills and his group of pseudo social democratic gluttons visited on the good people of this nation during the 2008 general elections, resulting in the citizenry currently groping in the dark and hopelessly looking for solutions to our daily problems.

In months preceding the 2008 elections, Atta-Mills and his NDC(farm labourers) came to the people of Ghana(the farmer) with an elaborate plan as how they would be able to turn a complete desert into a first-class food basket and our ‘ailing ecomini’ into that of Africa’s Liechtenstein where there will be no need to pay taxes.

They said our cities and towns were going to be transformed into those of Switzerland in the area of environmental cleanliness within a period of just hundred days. Fuel prices were going to be a million times cheaper than what pertains in nations as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Every school pupil was to enjoy a free ‘3-piece’ Versace-designed uniform that will make the kids of Milan (world’s fashion capital) open their mouths in approbation. Our security services were to be housed in Bajj-khalifa type of sky-scrapers that will make the security services of Dubai go green with envy.

The above mentioned promises were just a tip of a huge juicy iceberg of illusionist promises these absolutely incompetent and highly fictitious cabal dangled around the nostrils of some faint-hearted people of this nation in 2008, only to turn around today and hide their incompetence behind a now too familiar mantra of meeting empty coffers, when these very same liars left the nation with an infamous tag of HIPC after gang-raping our nation’s economy for uninterrupted period of 2-decades!!!!

Clean environment promised Ghanaians in 2008 has now become incubators of cholera and as we speak, nearly 70 precious lives have been lost with over 6000 others being infected. This is a situation that deserves the declaration of “red alert”.However,Atta-Mills is rather junketing across the country in a bid to woo NDC delegates under the guise of cutting swords,cutlasses,machetes,axes and so on for ghost-projects.

With the chaotic, incompetent, shambolic and visionless manner our nation is currently being administered by the Mills-Mahama administration, the noble thing for them to do in order to win a little sympathy from Ghanaians is to publicly confess and apologize for their grand deception. Failure to do this will continuously cement their nature as ‘enviable’ deceptionists just as these village farm labourers.

Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei

E-mail: [email protected]

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