Kwame Agyemang Berko Writes: Ghana, Why, What Art Thou?

Killing of Maxwell Mahama

If I were a serving Police officer, stationed in some galamsey trodden and Godforsaken village, I’d be thinking mainly about my skin, hope for below average pints of palmwine in exchange for leniency and justice, and pray hard against proclamations like “Denkyira Boase, why, what art thou?”.

The most famous “ why, what art thou” looms large in Romeo and Juliet but  is of course not the rhetorical question by William Shakespeare’s Othello in response to this drawl by Desdemona. . . “ upon my knee, what doth your speech import? I understand a fury in your words, but not the words.”

Wake up Buddy, the drama that confronts us a Ghanaian people isn’t a love story. Neither is it one staged in an amphitheatre for its revelers. It is more dire and shall end worse than can ever imagine.

My thoughts however, and on this day, way before all goes up in flames, have been stirred up because of the flurrying and oft misplaced, illiterate and misguided tributes to Captain Maxwell Mahama which is being espoused with our usual weak and unintelligent approach to fatal or devastating opportunities that intermittently pop on our calendar.

I am not a judge. I do not even want to lie about who I shall call if an armed person mugs me at dawn when I am jogging to keep fit. Or when my mum is assaulted by any fool(s) brandishing a weapon or not. But in the heat of the moment, especially in the bush, I shall not call any member of the Ghana Police Service.

I’d call on my neighbors and we shall not give the assailant jollof or prepare for him, an English breakfast. If I have also suffered any near escape or fatality in the past, and the Police who were notified and duly commenced investigations, are yet to apprehend the culprits or bailed the suspects under very arcane circumstances, my next encounter with any suspect shall not include the might of the Police. And then, when I die in the process, or most likely, the assailant is burnt into ash, we shall come full circle. Again. But the bad news is, Vice President Bawumia won’t visit my surviving family to commiserate.

Either way, the Presidential tribute has confirmed what we already know. That If you are poor, or has a name like ‘Berko’ for a surname, find your lane and be in it for all our sakes.

The fallen soldier in the line of duty, should rest. And deservedly so. He is not going to be any less dead. May he do so in peace, if he has earned it. And may the perpetrators of the evil deed never know peace.

But, and taking a cue form Shakespeare, it is the import of your speeches that I currently struggle with. Yes, passions have been inflamed and is at an all-time high. . . Depending on whether you are cold hearted or not.

Emotions are been dished out with heads bowed and otherwise straightened and muscled figures have suddenly grown meek.

The elderly who had served this nation and have courtisied with their dignities intact, are gnawing at kola nuts up north and beyond. The distinguished and teeming Mahamas all over are most bereaved and are yet to come to terms. For they are family. Our men in the Army are no better.

But we must not seize this tragedy to fool beyond what is permissible and lawful. I understand the fury in your words, but I can’t be ignited nor be lit up like a headless chicken, by the words. For there is a larger conversation that leadership on all sociocultural and religious fronts must and can broach to be able to give the Soldier and his family a befitting tribute. Ultimately, Ghana must win in the midst of this fit of fury.

Let me further indulge you my dearest. . . The good Christian dominated but primarily and confusingly polytheist, and hitherto law abiding fools in the bushes of Boase Denkyira have committed the slightest mistake of casting the first stone.

The almighty proverbial stone of those who sin and are perpetual sinners against Ghana’s constitution.

The slighter mistake however, is, they have been caught. The all too familiar slight mistake is, and as reports suggests, they were coordinated/inspired by their political apparatchik – DCE/Assembly Man.

Worse, they have been caught for the sin of murdering an ‘Obi’. This ‘Obi’ aka Captain Mahama, unfortunately for all, and according to his pictures and tributes, is handsome. He is not poor, from a wealthy background , highly educated, from a prestigious and politically endowed family, has his own beautiful and young family (oh and they shall never want), and was NOT a effing soldier.

And so, as is embedded in our DNA, the hashtags have flown.


They flew eastwards, south, right, and all over. Fueled by our narcissism, they shall be further buoyed by our nostalgie de la buoe of the occasion.

these are some of the printable ones : #Justice4Mahama #Forkens #KillEmAll #WeAreDead #TheSoldierIsBae  #TheHandsomeNeverDies #iCry4MyCountry #OhWhatADead

One day, and that day is fast approaching, after all the varying levels of ‘playdom’ has ceased to be an amusement, ONLY THEN shall we realize that those whom it (Hastags) works on and for, and consider’s its effectiveness beyond a routine new craze, do things in a simplistic manner as part of their efforts to respect their own governing rules. For they have gone past the ‘Why, what art thou’.

But it is early days yet and besides the entire effing point.

The essence of our ‘hurray’ is because today, we heave a sigh and pretend to be better people than the fools in Boase Dankyira. Simple. Get a mirror, and ask some dispassionately sincere questions. Try it.

Well, I have.

We are roasting the poor fools because they didn’t get the memo and have cast the first stone. It is so pathetic that these our fellow savages spent some time and concocted a cool story to back the slay of the ‘Obi’. But of course we have seen through their lies and are hounding them.

In the presence of what is being meted out to them, we here in Accra and other major metropolitan sin cities, hashtaging  our ignorance via social media, are only soaring into a higher stupid echelon.

Just yesterday, the well paid owners and members of staff of GhOne TV news even managed to re telecast the video of our fellow citizens lynching the poor Cpt Mahama.

Yes. The wise people there aired it like they did news of the weather.

And afterwards, went back home to their stalls as free, professional, and all-knowing-Bible-believing-Quran-hoisting-ethically-pious-Jollof-eating-SSNIT-contributed competent citizens. And slept soundly.

Guys, the camera crew didn’t go into the wild to film the savagery.

No, they are way too smart for that.

They sat in the comfort of their homes and downloaded the footage and shared it with their cherished viewer yesterday 30/05/17 – in broad daylight during their midday news bulletin.

These good people at GhOne shall wake up tomorrow, and also seethe at the savages at Boase Dankyira. And rightly so.

They, in the name of all their citizenship, morality and ethics as fit and proper persons, were doing their jobs and are the good guys.

For when the die was cast a long time ago, when our fore fathers worked hard enough for us to end up this way – full of bile and spite and no respecter of life – they chose to pursue the art of hypocrisy. Let’s all clap for them.

Listen, there is a science to how far we have come, our callousness as a very pathetic people didn’t start today.

It started a very long time ago and we are only beginning to harvest the evil toils.

Maybe we all must brace ourselves for our day(s) of reckoning.


You should revel and post all the illiterate comments in your walls on Facebook and elsewhere, and pretend you are any better, than those who murdered the fine Soldier, and those geniuses at GhOne, and pose the one liner “Why, what art thou” in askance of the heinous crime that has already dogged Cpt Maxwell Mahama and his comrades who are yet to find their pistol.

The soldiers are in the bush as I type, looking for the pistol. Maybe they have found it and are leaving. But what human rights footprints have they left or are they going to leave the poor people with?

All of them are there.

Looking for the valuable gold forged diamond crusted nuclear launcher pistol so important that they left it in the safe hands of the all powerful 8ft 250 pounds weighing gorilla Cpt Maxwell Mahama. It must be.


I have seen the worrying pictures. Not ‘the pictures’.

Not the very painful ones that features the man and his kids.

But the most painful ones that captures women dumb enough or poor enough not to have fled the crime scene and are ‘questioned’ by the soldiers.

We have a moral obligation to support the living!

Including, of course, suspects who are innocent until proven guilty!

And we have a lawyer President who is also a battle scarred human rights activist ?

President Nana, why, what art thou? Really.

What impudence. . .

What civil or constitutionally mandated powers hath the military suddenly nicked in the Constitution of Ghana’s 4th Republic, empowering them to overtake the village, ostensibly to look for their missing pistol?

When did the kangaroo era of 1976 – 1991 revisit us and I, Kwame Agyemang Berko missed the funeral?

Listen, all the members of the village population are innocent of all allegations until proven otherwise.

Until the ever efficient Ghana Police, as decreed by law, suggest and processed to appear in the courts, and have argued their case before a judge and a jury have condemned them, no body should pretend that the 2nd wrong being meted out to innocent, dumb and illiterate fellow citizens are justified or any better than the heinous crime against the now dead Cpt Mahama.

According to, “Lynched soldier shot and wounded one attacker” is a Hon. Minister of Defense Nitiwul quote. But according to the evidence on the grounds, we have a very dead body which belongs to the former human being cum former soldier which doesn’t look like it shall resurrect anytime soon.

According to the soldiers who are now swarm the area in excess of 300, they are there to protect the Chief of defense staff who paid courtesy call to the suspects and that are not in any way harassing the villagers.

According to commentary on social media, the town must be wiped off the face of planet earth and turned into a training camp for our Armed Forces.

According to the opposition politicians, we should look for the president and his cabinet and his livestock and his grandparents and hang them. Till they die.

According to the non God believing and the believers across the aisle, this death is testament to the a joke or the Armageddon. All lumped together, these omnium gatherum from the branches of the same Ghanaian tree confirms a larger malaise diagnosed earlier in these piece – we are very sick and en route total anarchy. We don’t understand what life is supposed to mean and are living miracles.

“Mr Nitiwul said the late officer was posted to the area about three weeks ago to relieve the Commander of the military personnel who were guarding a local mining company.”

Our Minister for Defense, Mr Dominic Nitiwul has also said the lynched Captain Maxwell Mahama shot and wounded one attacker in an attempt to defend himself, when he came under attack at Denkyira Obuasi on Monday.

Captain Maxwell’s father, a retired army officer, Twumbi Mahama is ravaged by the news of his son’s death. And the Minister believes there is more to the story than meets the eye” the website reports. . .

I do not care so much what meets the eye in the case involving a dead man and the resulting tributes.

I am worried about the cases of abuse that shall go unreported and the sufferings of innocent citizens who are being bastardized by an entire malfunctioning system of hate and illiteracy. A sorry and bullying system that begs the question, “Why, what art thou’.

Maybe you, like Shakespeare’s Desdemona, still do not understand a fury in my words, but I hope not the words. For at this stage, all I have to remind you of our dire situation, are words.

Just like God did, according to scripture, in the beginning.

#LiteraryForce #StillWeRise

By Kwame Agyemang Berko

*The writer is an apprentice-writer currently working on his anthology of poems and debut novel. He is a member of #LiteraryForce and tweets @uhurubardman


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