When the President misfired

Posted by By at 4 October, at 14 : 00 PM Print

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When the President misfired


What are you burning this early morning?

Can’t you see? I am setting fire to both my Voter’s card and my NPP membership card.
Oh, why the drastic measures? Is it not illegal to set government’s documents afire?
What government? Make dem come catch me!

But you have been a long time member of the NPP, why do you suddenly disown the party whose praise you have been singing over the years?

Me, I am leaving all politics alone. I’m giving up on all politicians. Let any of them show his ugly face around here, I bet you I shall become violent. Walahi!
That’s serious, what is going on?

Didn’t you listen to the President speech?

He makes a lot of speeches, which one are you referring to, specifically?
Yes, he makes lot of speeches, maybe that’s why he’s President; I am talking about the one where he call us lazy, ah!

Oh, no! The President didn’t call anyone lazy. What he said simply was that there is enough money in Ghana and those complaining of poverty are the lazy ones.
Have you now become the President’s mouthpiece?

Me, no! I leave politicians and their antics strictly alone.

So what are you talking about, or do you have money fighting in your pocket?
Me, I do not even have two Cedis to rub together.

Why then are you defending the indefensible?

I am sorry you feel that way; it’s not that I’m defending the President, I was just correcting the wrong impression his speech have apparently created in people like you.

Anyway, I do not blame you. Do you know what I find most galling about the whole speech?

You tell me.

Don’t you remember that I lost a dear brother during the ‘Kume Preko’ marches organized by the President’s own party to protest what they called hardship in the land when they were in opposition? Yes, yes, my younger brother died in my arm on the streets of Accra, and I have to bury the one who is supposed to bury me. His death caused my joining the NPP.

Yeah, I remember Wofa Yao. Good brother we had; good brother we lost! May the ancestors give him peaceful rest, Amen!

And today those for whom we marched and died ten years ago have the audacity to come out and tell us that we are poor because we are lazybones. Yes, today they have used us to get into power and drunk with all the appurtenances they have bestowed on themselves in their cozy offices, they can sneered down at us, the foot soldiers, that made it all possible for them to ascend power. What a SIN THING.

I think that you are taking the speech out of all contexts

What do you mean? What context?

Are you denying the fact that there is money in the system?
What money in what system? Maybe at the stratosphere where the President and his men operates there is plenty money in their system. But at my level there is hardship, and it is not due to laziness.

Are you denying that many of our folks are simply slothful? Don’t you see the young men playing cards and games all day instead of engaging in productive enterprises?
You are really talking like a cutthroat capitalist. There are too many condemnation of the poor and little understanding and no concern at all. The youth you’re talking about have no education whatever and they have absolutely no formal training in any trade, what skill do you expect them to peddle?

Is it the President’s business to educate the youth?

Don’t talk like a fool, my friend. I am not talking about the President’s educating or training anyone. What I’m saying is that a state that doesn’t care enough for its citizens to give them good education should not condemn them. Of course, there is enough money in Ghana. We all see the gleaming Landcruisers with siren blaring cruising our roads. We see the big mansions springing up all over the place like mushroom in good weather. We see our yesterday’s nonentities today riding 4-Wheel jeeps with ear-shattering sirens and bodyguards. No, we see it all, and we are not complaining but they need not rub insult upon our injuries. If we have all those money to buy all those cars and build all those mansions for our elite, why is our conscience not pricked enough to give all our children free education and free medical services. And don’t tell me that we cannot afford it; we have simply got our priorities very wrong. Tell me, in which of our cities do you find decent Public Conveniences? Where in Ghana do you find Public Library or Swimming Pool? Of course, we are lazy and we do not deserve any good thing in life. Let them continue to mock us? The judgement of history shall be harsh, very harsh on those who had the opportunity to make their society a better place and missed it.

You are really worked up, my friend, what have the President done that irked you so much?

It shows gross insensitiveness on his part to blame laziness for the abysmal, grinding poverty in the land. Maybe he should blame some of the Jurassic economic policies his friends in the West are forcing down his throat for our woes. It is all well and jolly for him to turn our nation into a begging, groveling vassal state; we begrudge him not. But he shouldn’t rub it in by blaming us for the failed policies of his government. Mr. President should come out and tell us how many manufacturing industries his government has established. He should come out and tell us how many jobs his government has created that Ghanaians are too lazy to do. No, Mr. President, several things ail us, but laziness is definitely one of them. Mr. President should take a trip to the Northern part of our country and see where folks are toiling for upward of fourteen hours in their farms in order to eke out a miserable existence. The produce of their labour cannot compete with those of his friends in the West. You know that my wife works in one of the rural banks; she works from 7AM to 8PM Monday – Friday and from 8AM to 4PM on Saturdays. That’s seventy-three hours a week. And for all that she gets paid Sixty-five Ghana Cedis! That probably cannot buy the President a bottle of his favorite Champagne. Oh, she also has our young daughter to care for. Would it not be sacrilegious to call that woman lazy? You remember that I took a loan to partake in the Presidential Special Initiative for Cassava and that the whole thing collapsed on us. I used part of the loan to start a tomato and poultry farm. They all collapsed because it is cheaper to buy European chicken and tomatoes in our market. I am still struggling to pay the loan back. We are now struggling to survive on my wife’s pittance. And to those of us not living on Mars, we know how hard the inflation is biting hard. The cost of living is literally killing us. Mr. President can take the time to find out how much a tuber of yam cost before he came to power and how much we pay for it today. He can also try the same with other items like Gari, Banku, Kenkey, Plantain, sugar and even ‘Pure Water. ’ Now you can understand why I don’t take kindly to the President talking out of order. History recorded Marie Antoinette berating the poor for protesting over, for her, mere bread. It is said that the Queen had about three thousand chefs to cater to her gastronomical fancies. It is therefore, difficult for her to comprehend human beings fighting over bread. In the President’s household, where everyone is well-fed, it could be difficult for them to understand that things are difficult for the ordinary folks. It might be difficult for them to empathise with us, but they should stop insulting us. We can do without it, thank you very much.

The President didn’t insult anyone.

No, he didn’t. He was simply saying: if they won’t join us, we beat them verbally.

He said no such thing. And you got the saying very wrong, it is: If you cannot beat them, join them

Whatever, the President’s handler should tell him to remember that power is transient. No condition is permanent.

PS: Would someone kindly educate me on what is responsible for the sudden profusion of ear-piercing sirens on our roads? I ask because in most sane societies that I know of only essential services like ambulances, police and the fire department use siren. Or are we having an Orwellian case of ‘all animals are equal, but some are more equal than the other?’

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.
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  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


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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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Femi Akomolafe




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