Confessions of a Party Activist

My name is Armah, I am a 37-year-old unemployed. About 10 years ago, I became a die-hard supporter and political activist of one of the major political parties in the country when I was at the tertiary institution. No rally went on without my presence. I was basically a ball boy for one of the top executive members of that political party. I used to go with my boss to many political functions. I did no other work; this was virtually my source of livelihood. I was always carrying party fliers, t-shirts, manifestoes and stuff like that to and from party functions. I have been a loyal supporter for about a decade. Sometimes, I sit down to count the number of years over and over again to be sure that it has really been ten years so soon. Until recently, I always thought it was a privilege to follow these big party wigs around. Sometimes, after each roving around, I was given some money to buy food, and pay my bills. This is how I survived for the first five years and most importantly, took care of my fiancée, children and parents. It was a lot of fun, especially the part which made people see me as a friend of the big men. It gave me a lot of recognition. It was not strange at all to see the young men in my neighbourhood come around to do very odd jobs for me. I could slightly take the law into my hands because I knew the right buttons to press when I found myself in trouble. Soon, luck smiled at me when one of my bosses had a ministerial appointment. That was when my life changed for the better. My allowance was increased by about two hundred percent from that moment. The next three months, or so, I had a brand new car and a well furnished flat for my family and I immediately changed my children’s school to one that befitted a big states man. After all, I rolled with the big men. I gained a lot of respect from my family, friend and the entire community. I could now speak in public and also make huge donations at funerals, church and other social gatherings. All I had to do was to open my mouth and I had all the audience. People were even ready to understand and further agree with things I was yet to think of. As may be expected, soon, some discerning members of my community began to question my profession and position. As soon as I began to read suspicion in people’s faces, I made a thousand complimentary cards with my political party logos boldly displayed on it. Just below my name, I wrote special advisor and assistant to cabinet ministers and party executive. Believe me, anytime I gave anyone my complimentary card his facial expression changed. The reason was simple, because they had met a ‘big man.’ Both my family and friends were always calling my mobile phone and sending me e-mails simply to remind me not to forget them whenever I got some money. Two years into my party’s term of office, I had my wedding. You know, my fiancée and I had been co-habiting for years and I felt that period was the only opportunity for my fiancée and me to have our relationship officially recognized by my church and society. Almost every two months, my boss and I travelled outside the capital and our per diem was always “thick and tall”. It was a very nice chance for me to know people and places. I can recall that we even travelled outside Ghana on countless occasions. On one of such trips, I even went with my wife, children and even my junior sister in the company of the Minister. Trust me, by the end of the first four year term of my political party, I had added three more children to the three my wife and I already had. I had a special girlfriend with whom I always went on my trips with. I had good fun. I always thanked my stars for giving me such a rare opportunity. I bless the day I met my first boss.