December 7th’s are best spent in compound houses. All the characters would be in your full glare, and you can actually have one of the most amazing times in your life during this period.
Before Elections are the best, you can actually argue out points and policies, make fun and tease others. Usually the minority of the other party in the house do not make much noise, worse is if you and your landlady or landlord are on opposing sides. You dare not argue out loudly or even attempt to win the argument and keep his / her roof over your head.You argue out quietly or even decide to agree with him/her just to keep sane (and of course you don’t want to upset him or her especially if you owe rent)
During elections, you either help or get helped during the electoral process based on your party affiliation and your general conduct in the house. When one tenant joins the queue on election day, all members of his party from his compound house, will be said to be before him/her.
After Elections, the whole atmosphere becomes charged as all members of the various parties dare not make fun of each other. It becomes a battle of emotions, one wrong word might Mar your day in entirety.
Usually die-hard fans of the various parties begin to collate the votes based on the reports from the media houses.
You quietly resign to bed when you realize your party is losing. You don’t wait for your other co- tenants to taunt you.
(my personal experience in December 7 (a recount of what I experienced on December 7 2008 and December 7 2012 respectively)
December 7, 2008
I was not eligible to vote in this election, I just observed and enjoyed the whole atmosphere of this election fever.
The Compound house I lived in was Npp dominated, in fact my whole neighborhood was. My landlady is not tolerant of other party views at all. It was Npp or nothing. Almost all the tenants in her house were her family members except for my family and another tenant.
My family had lived in this very house ever since I was born, the other room available for non-family tenants of our landlady always had people moving in and moving out. I had the privilege of living with different people for a long time, most of whom were Akans.
Somewhere along the line, (I don’t remember which year it was), our Landlady who had sworn not to admit any other tribe apart from the Akan tribe, grudgingly admitted a Krobo man (this was because he was her church member) and unknowingly to her, the Man’s wife was an Ewe and an Ndc sympathizer as well. Let’s assume the lady is called Afi.
Afi could not even speak her language with her son as much as She wanted to for fear of being accused by Landlady of indirectly insulting her. (Just imagine her trying to talk about Ndc or holding an opposing view to Npp in our house)
We shared the same kitchen with Afi, and usually when I am in the kitchen with her, the insults she metes out to the landlady undertones in so dehumanizing. She dares not talk about it. She praises Atta Mills in the kitchen and actually listens to Ndc adverts and programs in the kitchen with her radio on the low.
My landlady can stand in the middle of our compound and actually insult all Ndc members, and call out Atta Mills as “Atta Miliki”. It was that bad. She would put her radio on a loud volume and dance to Npp songs, sometimes with her family members joining her. They will sometimes sing and hoot or taunt Afi, without necessarily mentioning her name.(who the cap fits let him wear)
Post Election 2008.
Atta Mills won after the run-off and the “Tein Decides” votes were counted. Afi could still not jubilate. The atmosphere in the house was tensed as almost all the members in our household were tensed. Hopes were shattered and emotions were flared up. Even the Ndc members in my neighborhood got hooted at when they tried to jubilate outside our house.
My Landlady shouted at them Akor)nfo (thieves!) huuuuuu!!!!!!!!!! She never gives up. She never accepts defeat.
Afi still didn’t have peace. Rather her case got worse, as the family members in the house found faults with everything She did, including how she swept and how she scrubbed the washroom.
They kept taunting her, till She moved out with her family.
December 7, 2012
We woke up around 12 am to queue, and as at that time some members of my neighbourhood were already in the queue. Some had their plastic chairs with them, others had stones standing in their stead. When you see one person in a queue around that time, just assume you are seeing about 7 people or more. We sat down on our stools and chat, sometimes we just walk about and stretch our legs. I was in the queue in with my cover cloth and stool.
Most of the adults in my household had requested that we stand in the queue in their stead. I was eligible to vote in this election and impatient to cast my votes. Some adults who came later on, sometime at dawn actually bullied their way through. Some actually claimed that they asked some friends of theirs who were already in the queue to stand in their stead.
All too soon, my number 7 position in the queue had moved to 4o something, even with that position I had to be firm and stand my ground. Talk of queue corruption.
What hurts the most was, when the Electoral officers came in the morning, they asked us to make way for the elderly ones above 60 to vote first, and it’s then you see able-bodied pensioners act all frail so as to enable their children and grandchildren accompany them and in so doing cast their votes as well. Some friends of mine who had actually slept off in their bed, whilst I was standing outside in the queue all night voted before I did just because they had a pensioner Dad or Grandad.
5pm and Beyond
We went back to the electoral polling station after the votes were casts and witnessed the vote counts. After we were certain Npp had won for our area, we started calling our family members to find out how the Npp had fared in their area. We then went back home and had all the radio sets in our home in action.
We had pens, calculators and note books ready. We recorded the votes counted from the radio stations. We call out to the other sides of the compound to confirm what other radio stations are saying as well.
Eg. Someone will shoutout to another person to confirm whether Joy fm had called out Ketu south as 91,000, just as Peace fm had. If it was confirmed we scribble down quickly and wait for Manhyia.
After doing this all through the night, we realized that the “going was getting tough”
Nobody had to tell us to go to bed.
We always listened to the radio with some sort of hope we didn’t hear right and hoped the results will change.
Quite an experience it was! Let’s see what December 7 2016 will be like.
Ps. This is just my experience on December 7. This is not a post for any political party.
Hw3 wo asetena mu na to wo aba!
Image Credit…Yaa Frimpomaa Ayim Apeatse