Akyere Mensah walked with pomp and pageantry as she entered her campaign headquarters. The parliamentary candidate of the Ayawaso Central Constituency could not have had a better morning. People from the neighbourhood lined up to hail her as her convoy cruised through the township on their way to the office. They chanted her nickname, “Iron Lady”, and showered all kinds of praises on her. She did not like the moniker but what could she do about it? Her constituents thought she was a strong lady to have decided to compete against the incumbent Member of Parliament for the constituency hence the name.
If the attendance at the launch of her campaign over the weekend and the love she was receiving that morning was anything to go by, she was sure she already had the elections in the bag. However, she would not rest on her oars until it was all over. So, the business had to continue.
Before the campaign team meeting that morning, Akyere decided to check her mail and social media messages and respond to some of the notes and motivational messages people had sent her. It had been like that all since Monday. First, she checked her Facebook timeline. She and her personal assistant, Akuvi, had a good laugh over pictures with the “No Bra Day” hashtag.
Rick Ross’ tattooed body and man breast made them laugh the hardest. About some of the ladies who were bold to take topless pictures of themselves and post on Facebook, Akyere remarked, “This is gross! And shameful! I can’t believe girls of today will do this.”
Akuvi nodded a thousand times in agreement with what her boss said as she sharpened her mouth to have a go at the topic. “Madam,” she started. “Can you believe what a useless boy sent me today?”
The older woman smiled and said nothing as she avoided the temptation of indulging her talkative assistant. Luckily for her, Jojo, the campaign strategist, knocked on the door and announced that all was set for the meeting to begin.
Everyone rose when Akyere entered the conference room. She smiled gleefully and motioned them to take their seats. Pastor Gbormittah, the spiritual enforcer on the team said the opening prayer for the meeting to start. In his characteristic way, the prayer lasted exactly thirty minutes. Sighs of amen went around the table when he was done.
Then, the delectable Maudlin Asamoah took over the meeting to lead the discussions for the day. Maudlin was Akyere’s best friend. She was the latter’s maid of honour at her wedding and volunteered to be the campaign manager for her friend’s bid to go to parliament. Akyere allowed Maudlin handle everything pertaining to the campaign including chairing the meetings. The truth is Maudlin was good at what she did and Akeyere was not going to stand in her way.
“Once again, God bless all of you for a wonderful work you did on Sunday. Today is Thursday but we are still basking in the glory of that splendid performance we put up on Sunday at the campaign launch.” Maudlin started and received applause from the team members.
“The presidential candidate wants us to plan the last campaign – the biggest one – for the party in December. Way to go guys.” Another round of applause
“Now, feedback from our house-to-house campaign has been awesome. I think we should continue on this path. This week, I have lined up a couple of communities for us to visit. But before we look at the map, I want to show you some of the emails we have received so far. Some of them are very touching, I must say”. Maudlin paused and clicked her computer a few times to connect to the projector.
“Oh! Here is a new mail!” she said in an animated tone. Most of the people chuckled. The title of the mail as visible from the inbox was, “AKYERE, YOU MADE MY DAY!”
Maudlin went ahead to click the mail to open it. What appeared on the screen next drew interesting reactions from everyone in the room.
“Jesus!” that was Akyere.
“Aska-tan-lon-blan-ga-dosh!” Pastor Gbormittah could not help but speak in tongues.
Jojo and some of the other young guys froze with smiles of satisfaction written all over their faces. Akuvi’s jaw was literally on the floor. While all these were going on, Maudlin tried to shut the PC down or turn the projector off but it seemed the gadgets were also enjoying the view. Nothing she clicked, pressed or punched worked.
Tired, she exclaimed, “Akyere! What is God’s name is this?”
Instinctively, Pastor Gbormittah responded to the question in a dreamy voice. “Boooooooobs.” The guys in the room stifled their laughter while the ladies shot the man of God a killer look each.
Right there, in front of them, on the projector screen, was a picture of the MP aspirant. She had bared her chest and smiled lustfully at the camera that took the picture of her. The picture was captioned, “Free The Tatas!” There was another caption, “No Boobs, No Votes!”
Before anyone could think of the next word to say, Akyere’s phone rang. She hesitated about picking it up but almost everyone in the room encouraged her to answer it.
“Hello”, Akyere responded.
“By the tone of your voice, I am sure you have seen my mail,” the male voice on the phone with a suppressed excitement in his pitch.
“Who are you?”
“It doesn’t matter. What does is that I’m impressed by your boobs. I wonder if they have lost the firmness and are sagging now.”
“Please, don’t do this,” Akyere begged.
“OK. Don’t beg me. All I want is another picture of your boobs. I’m sure you know today is “No Bra Day”. Why don’t you show your solidarity with all women across the globe and set those tatas free and flash them to the world.”
“Hey, I was young and silly. I know better now. I know that the point of observing of this day is not to flash nudes on social media.”
“Look, I don’t care what you were before and what you are now…”
Akyere interrupted him. “My brother, please…”
“Look here. Don’t brother me. You have 30 minutes to make your mind and take a nice topless picture of you and send it to me. If I do not hear from you after 30 minutes, I’m posting this on all social media platform” He ended the call.
The room was quieter than that awkward moment when God asked the people in heaven, “Who do I send and who will go?” Akyere dialed a number on her phone.
“Nii, what is the meaning of what you are doing? You think playing foul will make you win this election? You will not succeed. In fact, you will not get away with this! I will make sure you are punished and brought to book for this if that picture goes out to the public domain!”
“What picture?” Nii Adjei, the incumbent MP who was silent through all of Akyere’s rants asked.
Sensing the sincerity in Nii‘s voice, she realized that he really had no idea what she was talking about. “Never mind. I’m sorry. Forget everything I said.” She ended the call before the man at the other end of the call could say another word.
All this while, all the other people in the room did not know what to do. When Jojo tried getting on his feet, Akyere screamed at him to take his seat. She dialed another number.
“Hello… Kwesi… Are you that desperate to get back at me for choosing another man over you? Is it my fault that you are a good for nothing man who could not put yourself to any good? OK… Let me not be harsh. I am sorry. Kwesi, please if you are the one playing the prank on me, please stop. You are going to jeopardize my campaign, my dream, and my future. Please, if not for anything at all, think about my children. How will they feel if they see this? Eh? They will be devastated and scarred for life. You don’t want to put them through that. Please, we can talk about this. I will give you anything. Kwesi… Kwesi… Kwesi… Are you there?” She looked at her phone and, apparently, the call did not go through. She slammed her hands on the table and cursed!
Akyere was already beside herself. Maudlin moved closer to her friend and hugged her. “What do I do now?” she asked in sobs.
“Yes ooo… We have only fifteen minutes more,” Pastor Gbormittah could not control himself again. This time, Akuvi was not afraid to smack the older man on the head. It was so funny that even Akyere managed a smile. All the others laughed.
Just then, Akyere’s husband, Jude Mensah, entered the conference room. “Honey, what are you doing here?” the surprised Akyere asked.
“I’m here to put an end to this nonsense. You should have called me the minute you saw this. No one messes with Mrs. Mensah!”
All the ladies except Akyere went like, “Awwwwwwwnn.” She asked, “But… who told you?”
“It doesn’t matter, my dear. Let’s do the needful first”, Jude answered and winked at Akuvi. Everyone saw it and they were not surprised at all. Akyere looked her assistant and whispered thank you to her.
Jude was an IT Solutions Officer. He set up his PC and tracked the IP address of the sender of the mail. In less than ten minutes, he found something. He clicked a few more keys on his keyboard. “Son of a bi—!” he exclaimed, holding himself from saying the last word.
“What?!” Almost everyone reacted.
“Honey, can I talk to you for a moment?” Jude said to Akyere.
They moved to an adjoining room. “Jude, you are freaking me out. Who is it?”
“Do you remember my cousin, Emmanuel? You gave him your old phone before we got married. I think he recovered some of your deleted files”
“Oh, no! Not him!”
“I will kill him!”
“No, don’t. I should not have done this in the first place. I have learned my lessons. Let us just make sure he does not send the pictures… Oh, no! He gave us a thirty minutes ultimatum. It’s past. Call him now!”
Before Jude could dial the number, Akuvi rushed into the room. “It’s too late, Madam. The picture is all over Facebook and Whatsapp.”
And Akyere collapsed.