Feeling sorry, unsorry for Mr. President

Posted by By at 5 April, at 12 : 54 PM Print

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Feeling sorry, unsorry for Mr. President


Why are you guys so merciless, even cruel and so totally heartless? Don’t you guys know that you are dealing with a fellow human being, an ordinary mortal like you and I, with blood coursing through his veins? Don’t you guys know that the man also has feelings like you and I? Or do you want to send him to an early grave?

Simmer down, mate, simmer down. What are you talking about; what is bugging you?

You guys are what is bugging me. You are always so full of venom with your poisoned pen of condemnation. To you guys, the man can do nothing right. He has just been elected, for crying out loud.

I still don’t know who you meant by this ‘you guys.’ What exactly is bugging you, to whom do you refer as ‘you guys’?

I refer to you sanctimonious journalists with your holier-than-thou attitudes. All of you, to borrow Agnew’s colourful, but apt description, “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

But I am not a journalist…

You are not what? Don’t deny it. You always write those venomous polemics and satires to make the president look inept and ridiculous, and now you tell me that you are not a journalist.

I am a writer, but not a journalist…

Same difference. You always write those nasty stuffs about the president, and now you are splitting hair telling me that you are a writer and not a journalist. A world of difference it makes.

I honestly do not know what troubles you. And to be honest, I’m not in the mood to start a lecture on what the differences are between a journalist and a writer. I have never insulted the president and I have never dabble into his private affairs. I only commented on some of his performances in his official capacity as the president of my country. I am perfectly entitled to criticize any shortcoming I see in the governance of my country.

But can’t you see that the man is trying?

To be honest with you, I’m tired of that silly excuse. I’m tired of leaders who claim to be trying. I care only to see leaders whose performances are so good and so self-evident that my criticism will be misplaced and unwarranted. Do you know what? Part of our tragedy in this part of the world is that we are so tolerance of those that govern us. We give them too much leeway that they do not deserve. Our tolerance threshold for the ineptitude and leadership deficiency in our country is too elastic for my liking.

That is what I meant; what leeway or ineptitude or leadership deficiency do you talk about? And don’t you consider that as an insult? Do you want leaders with super-human abilities?

No, I do not want leaders with any super-human anything. I do not ask for super-human achievements from any leader. All I want are leaders that do purely human things, that other human being elsewhere have successfully accomplished. Nothing more, nothing less.

But the man has just been elected into office.

That is not so correct. The man was a deputy president to close to four years. He was a MP and a Minister before then. And let’s not forget that his party has ruled the country for about twenty-three years. And don’t forget that the two major parties have between then rule us for thirty-one out of our fifty-six years of self-government. I hope that you now understand why some of us have little patience with claims of trying? I am tired of leaders who are always trying; I want leaders with can-do-mentality.

That is not fair. Every leader brings into office new style. And are you not forgetting that we no longer operate a military dictatorship which you, so ingeniously, lumped together and counted? Our president cannot command things with presidential fiat.

I did not ask any president to command anything with presidential fiat or whatever. All I ask is that our leaders, whether military dictator or elected president, provide us with life’s basics like water and electricity? It is simply untenable that in this age we still struggle to get water and light?

But you appeared not to have heard the explanation about the rapid growth in our population which has put serious strains on our water and electricity supply system.

And you appeared never to have heard of the word: ‘planning.’

Meaning what?

Meaning that serious people plan.

Do you mean that we don’t plan or that we are not a serious people?

If we are capable of planning, we will not find ourselves in situations where we cannot generate and distribute enough electricity and water. If we had plan, we will not have to listen to jejune excuses like what our officials tell us about population rising or what not. And we certainly are not a serious people if in this Internet age, we still cannot provide ourselves with ordinary water.

But do you think that planning alone would have solve the problem; where would the money come from?

Gosh! I thought the water and electricity companies have been turned into commercial entities for many years now. They are no longer providers of social service; they charge commercial rates for their services. Methinks that any serious business should be glad to see his customer base growing and increasing. Why should the water and electricity companies bemoan the increase in population instead of seeing it as a source of joy?

But what has that got to do with the president; what has he got to do when things like water and fail?

I fail to follow your logic; who is the CEO of the country?

The president, of course. But does that mean you guys have to abuse and insult him every time something went wrong in the country?

God knows that I have never, ever insulted the president…

And what do you call all those big, big grammar you write about him?

There is criticism and there is abuse…

Same difference. What about your colleagues who call him names I cannot even repeat here.

I hold no brief for anybody, colleague or no colleague. As a citizen, who obey the laws, pay his bills as well as his taxes, I feel entitled to some very basic services among which is water and electricity. And I feel perfectly entitled to challenge the President to sit up and ensure that we get enough light and water in this country.

And what has the president got to do with water light and wate?. Did he tell you that he is an electrical or Hydro engineer, ehn? Why don’t you take your case to the ECG and the Water Company?

Are you not forgetting some things here, my friend?

Forget, things like what?

That leadership goes with responsibilities…

Are you now saying that the president is irresponsible?

You have a way of twisting things into meaningless jumble. I didn’t say that the president was irresponsible. What I said was that people in leadership must accept responsibilities when things fail under their watch. An American president famously put a sign on his desk that says, simply: THE BUCK STOPS HERE. What it means is that in a republic, such as ours, there is no authority higher than the presidency. It is the president that must accept responsibility when things do not work as they should. It is to him we must direct our anger and criticism.

And insult and abuses?

God knows that, apart from parasitical priests, I have never insulted anyone in my writing.

But don’t you see the president moving all over the place. He was at Weija, and he went around all the electrical plants in the country. Don’t you see the president is doing his best? Why don’t you guys give kudos when it is deserved; the man is trying his best.

I honestly do not know what your beef really is. You talk as though someone force Mr. President to occupy the post.

What do you mean?

I meant that the man brought himself forth and asked that we vote for him. We did not beg him and we certainly did not dragoon him into service.

That is patently unfair.

No, what is unfair is to listen to people like you giving us imbecilic excuses when leaders failed woefully to perform. If a man come out of his own volition and begged us to vote for him to lead us, and promised to solve our water, light and other problems. By voting for him, we fulfilled our part of what I considered a bargain, even a contract. And two months into his presidency everything went kaput. Whilst I slept at queues at filling stations waiting for gas, the wife and the children have to wake up at ungodly hours in search of water. In the meantime there is no electricity, and you come here to tell me not to blame Mr. President. Whom should I blame then; who is in charge?

I said that you should take your grievances to the head of the water and the ECG.

And who appointed the heads of those bodies? Why talk to puppet when you have the puppet master around? Sorry, but I do not share your sentiments. Just as heads of corporations must fully accept responsibility for the failure of the company they head, the president must accept full responsibility when the country went back into the Stone Age under his watch. He is the Executive President of the country, for crying out loud. He is the only one empowered by the constitution to take charge of the nation’s affairs. It is his job to appoint competent people to assist him. He should also have the courage to fire any assistant that did not measure up. If Mr. President have competent people around him, he will not need to be jumping from water dams to electricity plants. When I see the president performing the tasks of Junior Ministers, I don’t dance with joy. In fact I feel very sad. I feel sad because it shows serious institutional failures when the Presidency has to be dragged into mundane tasks. I feel sad when I see my President been dragged into a Teacher’s strike palaver, when there are two or three State institutions that were set up specifically to address those issues. There are also two or is it three Ministers at the Education ministry. The President’s job should be to create a strategic vision of where he want to take the country, and assemble the people to help him carry his vision out. But where would Mr. President get the time and the peace of mind to set out a strategic vision for the country if he is daily engulfed with matters like strikes, and lack of filters at water treatment plants? I do not see it as abusive when we tell our president that we feel ashamed that, over fifty years after independence, we still find the provision of water and electricity major productions.


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

  1. Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
  2. The Daily Dispatch Office, Labone – Accra
  3. WEB Dubois Pan-African Centre, Accra
  4. Ghana Writers Association office, PAWA House, Roman Ridge, Accra.
  5. African Kitchen in Amsterdam Bijlmer

Where to buy them online:

On Lulu Books:

18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories https://goo.gl/Skohtn

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Africa: It shall be well: https://goo.gl/KIMcIm


Africa: it shall be well

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Africa: Destroyed by the gods

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on Lulu Books: http://goo.gl/KIMcIm


My Lulu Books page: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/FemiAkomolafe

Get free promotional materials here:

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A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: It shall be well’ could be downloaded here: http://alaye.biz/africa-it-shall-be-well-a-free-chapter/

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A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: Destroyed by the gods’ could be downloaded here: http://alaye.biz/africa-destroyed-by-the-gods-free-chapter/

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Femi Akomolafe


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