Even before I continue with my story I must state that I chose to use the picture of the first runner-up of the just ended Miss Malaika 2011, Alexandra Ayirebi-Acquah for my post simply for the fact that if I use that of the winner, it would make nonsense of the point I want to prove. I know that if I show the face of the winner, Geraldine Partington many people would ask, what is the big deal of what I’m about to write – after all, Gerry is a very pretty young girl!
We have been saying that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder for ages and so I am not about to question the integrity of the people that judged Saturday’s competition, but only raise questions about the seemingly obvious travesty of justice being referred to as ‘a stolen verdict’ by majority of Ghanaians at the moment. My followers on Twitter would notice that as part of my live coverage of the pageant, I first announced Alex as the winner and then came back to declare Gerry as Miss Malaika 2011.
After preliminary rounds and a prejudged session the judges’ score and public votes were tallied resulting in Emma, Smallie, Gerry, Alex and Daisy making the Top 5. As is customary with Miss Malaika, the Top 5 then had to answer the ‘make or break question’, a common question to all 5 delegates. Although it was announced this year, it has been a Miss Malaika tradition that at this stage all previous scores are erased and judges make their decision based solely on the delegate who answered the question most confidently and intelligently. If confidence, coherence, eloquence and intelligence were indeed a decider for Miss Malaika, then the obvious choice out of the 5 was Alex and Gerry was the least impressive.
However, when it was time to announce the winner, it was declared that there was a tie between Gerry and Alex for the first place position; the first in the 9 year history of the competition. At this point the people seated close to me were all of the opinion that the tie was deliberate in order to give Gerry a second chance to redeem herself. Accordingly, a tie-breaker question was asked and again Alex was more on point than Gerry and even a blind bat could tell that.
At this point the dilemma for the judges was clearly whether to pick the best girl on the night who showed the most brains and confidence, or the prettiest girl who failed to deliver when it mattered most. Quite frankly, for a pageant like Miss Malaika that claims to celebrate beauty and brains, the former was the best choice; after all Alex doesn’t look like an ape and if she made it that far, it must be because she is beautiful. This was a chance for the judges to make a statement for all young Ghanaian women that brains is enough to get a young woman places and not just looks, but sadly they failed. I could understand if D-Black, a male judge and a musician for that matter, gave his vote to the prettiest girl but I cannot pardon the female judges if they swayed towards looks over brains.
Enough of the subjective matters for now, because as I indicated earlier beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and in the case of Miss Malaika, it’s in the eyes of the judges. Now to the reason why I think crowing Gerry was the biggest faux pas in the history of beauty pageants in Ghana. After Gerry and Alex had answered the tie-breaker question, the 5 judges scored them either 1st or 2nd on their sheets. In a bid to prove to Ghanaians how open the process was, Naa Ashorkor and Chris Attoh, the hosts read the judges’ score cards live to the audience. The two hosts announced that Alex had won on 3 of the judges’ cards with Gerry winning two. In fact Naa Ahsorkor almost read out the names of each judge before giving out their decision but one of the judges signaled her to go ahead with the scores without mentioning their names (I was a bit far so I may have interpreted it wrongly). After reading the score cards out, Naa Ashorkor and Chris Attoh called on the body responsible for tallying votes on stage to confirm the results. The rep from Media Edge confirmed that indeed the results were accurate. However, when the winner was being declared, Gerry was mentioned as Miss Malaika 2011.
The question that needs to be answered now is what went wrong? Did the hosts announce the wrong scores to Ghana? So it is more a question of who really won Miss Malaika 2011 than who deserved to win. I must however say that, until the final stages of the competition, this year’s Miss Malaika was quite exciting with performances from: Sarkodie, who performed with Efya and Kesse; R2bees; Stay Jay; and Nigeria’s Dr Sid. The talent segment was prejudged and only the top three performed their acts on stage, with Emmanuella Esinam Awunyo winning Miss Talent ultimately. Magdalene Ankrah was voted Miss Congeniality by her mates. Deborah Melissa Lomotey, alias Smallie won the third place position.