African viewpoint: Births, marriages and deaths
In our series of viewpoints from African journalists, Ghanaian writer and former government minister Elizabeth Ohene reflects on how some conspiracy theories and clock-watching would be unfathomable on the continent.
Birth, marriage and death, and of course a few things in between, mark the three main pillars of human existence.
All three have been very much in the headlines in these past few weeks.
I was not sure whether to laugh or cry as US President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, made his address on the release of what the Americans are calling his "long-form" birth certificate to stop the dispute about him not being a natural-born American.
I still cannot believe there was no collection taken, more than a thousand people in the church and no offertory taken”
I decided not to spend a lot of time on the weird phenomenon called "the birthers" that generated the dispute, because to borrow President Obama's words, I also do not have time for "silliness".
But I did think of what would have happened if an Obama had been faced with a similar situation in Ghana.
I suspect very few of the people who have been or would be president in Ghana have birth certificates issued at the time of their birth.
Fewer than 50% of current births are registered in Ghana and even less when it comes to deaths.
I just hope the rest of the world continues to accept our birth certificates that are often first issued when we are in our twenties and looking for passports.Pushing back the years
But then of course if we were to start registering all births, it would also eliminate the type of truly remarkable entry I saw in the official government gazette last November.
Catherine really should have protested about the invitation to the Swazi king just in case William is tempted to emulate his example and try to add 12 extra wives”
Published in this gazette was a sworn affidavit from a man who works with the fire service, to the effect that in view of fresh information that had just come to his notice, he was in fact eight years younger than he had always thought and therefore his records at his work place should be amended to reflect this new reality.
There is not likely to be any argument ever about the marriage ceremony that brought the whole world to a halt 10 days ago.
Like the rest of the world, I watched William and Kate's royal wedding.
Of course I was impressed by the pomp and pageantry and how everything went like clockwork.
Prince Charles was scheduled to arrive at 0942 GMT and he and his wife arrive at the abbey at 0942 GMT on the dot.
I think back on our functions and our inability to start or end at the scheduled time.
A big crowd at any function, especially a religious ceremony in Ghana, guarantees that the officiating priests will get carried away.
Here were these priests in Westminster Abbey being watched by more than a billion people and they are not tempted to bring down the holy spirit through the roof.
And I still cannot believe there was no collection taken, more than 1,000 people in the church and no offertory taken.
There was just the one African head of state on the guest list and Catherine, the new duchess of Cambridge, really should have protested about the invitation to the Swazi king just in case William is tempted to emulate his example and try to add 12 extra wives.
Oh yes, I liked the bride's outfit and the maid of honour was elegant but as for the guests, I believe Nigerian and Ghanaian women would have taught them a thing or two and brought far more colour to the occasion.
On the fashion front we are just so much better.
We were still trying to decide who had the tallest shoes when the announcement of the death of Osama Bin Laden came and ended all discussion on other subjects.
I think back to the first time the name of the al-Qaeda leader came to my consciousness; the day of the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 when some 224 people were killed.
Then I think of having to take off my shoes and being fingerprinted at airports and embassies and a quote comes to mind, which has been wrongly attributed to the author Mark Twain over the last week.
US civil rights lawyer Clarence Darrow said in 1932: "All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike someone they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed anyone, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction."