A few weeks ago, I spent an evening in Sakumono with some old friends.

We sat on the balcony overlooking the sea and spent ages catching up. A woman came by carrying bread.

In fact, we heard her before we saw her. Her loud cries of “yeeees.. hot bread” could be heard a mile away.

It made us all start craving for hot paanoo, so we called her over, only to find that the loaves were a day old, super stale, and by no means hot. 

You can guess how disappointed we were – especially my son, Fiifi, who could easily represent Ghana in the bread-eating Olympics. So we asked her why the false advertising.

She said, s3 3no de3, y3 ka no k3k3 – y3nnfa nny3 edwuma. (Loosely translated: that’s just something we say – we don’t work with it). Hmm…

Anyway, we sent her packing to deceive someone else, and one of my friends made the inevitable “Ghanafo dze y3 p3 d3madzen dodo” comment.

As usual, I started wondering about the truth in that statement: how many of us are engaged in “false advertising”? How many of us are not who we say we are? How many of us are not doing as we advertised?

When you made your marriage vows, you said “to have and to hold”. So what has that got to do with beating your wife and cheating on your husband? 

And I thought you said you were born again. You only play gospel music in your car now. So when you’re in traffic and that other car is asking permission to join your lane, and you act like you haven’t even seen them, and you just close the gap between you and the car in front, is that what you meant by Christian? Is that what Jesus would do? 

And you, Mr. /Mrs. Politician., when you were sworn in, you said you would “well and truly serve the republic of Ghana”. So when you fill your v8 with petrol paid for by the people of Ghana, and you leave the engine running, with the air con and radio on all day while you’re in a conference, is that how you’re well and truly serving the republic? 

And how about you, Mr. Journalist? So when you took that envelope full of money, and sat on that story, was that your way of illustrating that neutral and impartial reputation that you keep talking about? 

Now, I thought you said you were a doctor. Do you not understand that society depends on your skills and abilities? And I thought you said you went into medicine “to help people”? So when you tell the patients at the government hospital that you can’t save them unless they buy their own surgical instruments and come to your private hospital for treatment, who exactly are you helping? 

And oh, finally, have you guys read the presidential oath? It’s online. Google it when you have time. And then ask yourself just how much of that pledge do presidents live by in Ghana…

So you see, whoever you say you are – whatever you do, you’re fulfilling a purpose. You’re playing a role in society. And whether you swore an oath or not, your role is clearly spelt out.

Are you playing that role? Are you doing what you said you would do? Or was it just false advertising?

My people, today, let’s resolve to realign who we are with what we do. Let’s check the choices we make to see if they match the person we advertise ourselves to be.