"My dear, little. Old friend, my buddy," laughed President Osei his head off as usual seeing the man being ready to take over the Presidency during the next election. He liked to tease his opponent that was a true friend in taking overpower of the country.
"You are always playing the same dam old jokes with me!" was Nana Kwabena Adom looking angry and sour. "I wish you would come up with more interesting...a new once!"
"Do not be upset about me and my jokes...my best friend in politics!" challenged President Malcom Osei and standing side by side before the window looked over to the Army Barracks across the forecourt of Flagstaff House. The day before the Navy took charge of protecting the Presidency with their soldiers watching the gates of the Jubilee House day and night. The Presidency was once a donation of the good people of India to the good people of Ghana as Ghana was short of money and in need for an alternative to the old and historic Castle Osu that had served their many Presidents before well. Every three weeks the Armed Forces would change in a morning parade. The President would stand on the balcony before his office window and oversee the handing over of duties. Navy would hand over to Ghana Air Force, Ghana Army to Navy soldiers and so on. The soldiers during their three months serving the President of the nation right at his office was a great honour. In the underground offices beneath Flagstaff House soldiers were watching constantly TV screens to monitor any movements on the premises.
They had a seat behind heavy curtains President Malcom Osei had asked Victor Ataba to close. Biscuits and drinks were served by a young servant that came from Bole in the upper region of the country well familiar and trusted by the President. He was known to be a man incredibly careful about the people to be close to him. He preferred the people that knew his personal life too much to be changed consistently each year and being replaced by people not knowing his inside out.
"Tell me...my good old friend," started President Malcom Osei his conversation while everyone had left to guard them from outside the office and smiled, "I was hearing from someone you have the idea to build a National Cathedral, give land Ghana owns way and build the structures on that land somewhere else in Accra and to do all that you have the idea to take one hundred thirty five ministers into your cabinet to make all that possible. s that right?"
"My best friend...Malcom...,"explained Nana Kwabena Osei with a great smile on his face touching the President´s hands, "you know when someone wants to be big in the history book and well...I mean really well received outside Ghana...he must think big...very big. So, what you were hearing is indeed true. The Cathedral will be built by our own churches and private donors, so for that one we have no money to pay for."
"But the and you give for free and the structures on it you have to build new...so around forty Million US comes from us, Ghana."
"That is true...though...we need such a Cathedral as I have seen it in Washington and what they can do...why should do also...I mean why not?" asked Nana Kwabena Adom enjoying his chilled fruit juice with a close look at the Champagne they would have before departing for the day.
"So... only because Washington has it with all its money and we have no money at all as a handout...," laughed President Osei his head off even more. "You want to fool the people very well. Do you not see that here we have more churches in Ghana than citizen?"
"We have many...I mean too many churches and Pastors and Prophets and what have you not...but," paused Nana Kwabena Adom for a dramatic moment and said, "we have no landmark that is connected to my name. Once I am dead and gone, people will no longer remember me for the friend and family cabinet with all these many ministers, more than in any other country of the Western World...and they have lots of money, can you imagine. I mean we have no money, Ghana is highly indebted, but to feed our friends and family members very well...of course, for that we should further ruin our financial freedom and bring our currency down. Let us face reality and do no blind ourselves. I mean the Cedi is not only down because of our high import ratio but basically no one, especially foreign investors, have trust in our system and us, the people leading Ghana. But honestly speaking, who of us both really cares? No one, simple as that. But I care, to answer that point, I care that once I am gone my good name is connected to something big...."
"Ghana´s National Cathedral...do I guess right?" asked President Malcom Osei, walking over to his desk as a phone call was coming in. After ten minutes did he return to join Nana Kwabena Adom in the couch and reported: "This was the Prime Minister of Great Britain urging me to stop being corrupt and overspending a budget that we can never finance in good and real time. He said, what we are doing is borrowing too much and put too many burdens on the coming generations of Ghanaians. But both of us know, you and me, as we live in a so-called Democracy, we depend on voters to be happy especially close to election day. So, we must present whatever possible to get votes. Our people are not happy and will never give us votes when we visit them during campaign time in their villages and houses to present sugar, rise, cooking oil or a pick-up truck to the village community house. We must do more whether it is in our green book and for real or just a photo shop with the statement we need another four years in office to complete all our manifesto promises."
"Ghanaians are funny people!" declared Nana Kwabena Adom and laughed his head off one more time. "They are so, so funny!"
"What do you mean?"
"They do not understand and see how much we fool them...that is the simple truth and what I mean!"
"You are right...they will never know that our show is perfect but...just a show!" President Malcom Osei walked over to the end of the table, took the bottle of Champagne into his hands, and opened it with grand gesture. "Let’s have a toast to ourselves!" Both men stood in the middle of the office facing towards the window and lifted their Champagne glasses. The pearls in the Champagne were bubbling and bubbling.
Together they said: "Let us celebrate ourselves and always be fears enemies in the eyes of the electorate that the best men might win and sit here in the throne of politics! Cheers!"
"Do you know, Malcom," said Nana Kwabena Adom, "I am so, so happy that we have made the decision and our parties agreed to it to announce election results latest after seventy two hours of closing of our polling stations and that the results should come to the EC Headquarters via internet. You know that makes me so, so happy?"
"You mean for both of us it makes it easier to tamper with the election results and change them to taste?"
"Now it is no more an issue to bribe at the polling station and the way for the pink sheets to reach the light of the day. Now it is much easier. Today it is only an issue who of you can collect more money from our supporters to hire hackers from around the world to come here and change the election results to taste. That makes our life all that easy." Nana Kwabena Osei knew that once he would be elected in that fashion his wife Ruth would stand behind him while he would accept the election results as a great sign of trust in him by the good people of Ghana and look very unhappy and depressed into the cameras of the International Press. She would know very well, like all his close friends and family members, that his victory would never be an honest one, just like the once of his predecessors.
President Malcom Osei emptied his glass and filled it up again, so the one of his best buddy and said: "So, let us have a good toast to ourselves and that the better one will win...I mean the better one will be able to collect more money for his campaign and tempering with the election results."
"Never forget friends, my friend," advice the old Nana his younger buddy, "in the end any help given must be paid back. So, people that give you money you should not disappoint but reward over time so that their investment made into you...you return back to them!"
"I toast to the best money collector and the one finding the best hackers!" lifted President Malcom Osei his glass a last time and enjoyed the sparkling wine filling his soul and body. "There is one thing that is increasingly worrying me, my friend!"
"What is it? How can I help?"
"For weeks now I have such a strange feeling in my stomach and have very strange dreams at nights," confessed President Malcom Osei looked worried and greatly concerned. "I have the feeling someone is in our country that will cause us big trouble."
"You know him?"
"No, do not know him...but I have this very unpleasant feeling in me that out there, someone is hiding that will eventually cause us great trouble," looked President Malcom Osei out of the window of his office and saw soldiers leaving the Army Barracks across the street. "You can see all these wonderful flags in the wind flying? Look how many countries we have relationship with. Isn`t that great?"
"You mean," wanted Nana Kwabena Adom to put the mind of his best friend back to his worries, "we have to be on alert and watch you for such a man...even we have no indication of who he is and where is right now?"
"We must send out our trusted people and search all the corners of the land for that man."
"But we do not kill any of the male babies as we have known from history so well? wanted Nana Kwabena Osei to make a joke but President Osei gave a serious and anxious look.
"We are a Democracy...at least that is what we proclaim and try to portray...so we cannot simply look for someone that we do not know and kill that one we’d not know off," corrected President Osei his best buddy. "We must be more working in the shadow, in the darkness of the day and trace that man down!"
"What is he doing that?" wanted Nana Kwabena Osei to know with wide opened eyes.
"He is about to find out more of the truth that we are hiding behind beautiful words. And when he has established that truth he will convince more people to follow him and allow him to manage their affairs...and the worst of all can be that what he is deciding and doing can easily expose our minds and overthrow us...take all the powers out of our hands. This we must prevent; we must stop this from happening."
"You mean...," was Nana wondering and guessing, "you mean...unveiling the truth and our people following him into a better and great future...you mean...oh no, that man is a White Man...am I right?" he was scared and greatly concerned.
"What else can he be but a White Man?" took President Malcom Osei a deep, deep breath. "Only a White Man can tell the truth as the truth is!"
"In that case you and I we send out all our helpers to trace that White Man and observe all his steps...and when he is about to make a stupid move such as to better the life of our people...we strike!" suggested Nana Kwabena Adom with a great victory smile on his old face that was decorated with round glasses making him look like a matured Harry Potter.
"Yes, I will give the order to search for him and report back to me very, very soon for us not to lose control of the situation and our power."
"I know people that can lead us to Cotonou!" mentioned Nana Kwabena Adom with great confidence. His heart was at ease.
"To go to Benin, to strong Mallams that will give us strength and victory over our enemies in exchange for good money. Mallams that will perform for us, that will make us see blood on our streets as a sacrifice, so we stay in power again and again...that is what you mean?"
"I know someone that can lead us to a big, big Mallam even some Pastors and Prophets of our land visit to get their blessings. Leave it into my hands, buddy, I will arrange everything necessary and when the time comes, we strike," put Nana Kwabena Adom his arms on his best friend´s shoulders.
President Malcom Osei said into the face that was nearly blocking his eye site: "We always keep a close watch over each other and be each other´s helper and Stuart. But for now, we must first trace this White Man down that is out there somewhere and find out what he is up to!"
Princess was passing at the local public school and showed Mr. Karl around. Behind the classroom structures a block of toilets had been constructed for use by the pupils. It was a block that looked from outside with its roof tiles like most toilets around, nothing special at first sight. As they approached the toilet, four of them behind wooden doors with cracked paint, stench was hitting their noses and squeezed their taste for good life. Princess opened one door to let Mr. Karl have a good look inside. He was more than shocked but tried to keep his composure.
"That is so, so dirty," did he cry out loud and as much as he tried to calm himself down anger came up his throat. He massively complained: "How on earth...oh my God...how on earth can anyone allow students to come here for their toilet and think they would even want to use it! It makes them sick!"
Princess smiled at him and his anger and said with wisdom in her eyes: "That is Ghana for you, Mr. Karl. Here we girls therefore prefer to stand while peeing and no one likes to come here. For that reason, we, the students, the next generation of this country, find our ways into the grass and bush around to use such places of clean nature as our toilet. We all know that is not right, we know it is harming the environment in the end but look Mr. Karl...we have to pee and do our smelly somewhere...isn`t it. And as all our Governments, past and present, do not provide for us decent facilities to come and make out toilet...what can we do. They promise and promise from election to election public toilets should be everywhere available and clean, hygienic to use. But reality is many houses even have no toilet. And let me give you a nice story to laugh and cry about...shall I?"
"Can it even get worse?" asked Mr. Karl turning away from the dirt he saw inside the toilet constructed like in France with the WC on the ground.
"In Greda Estate, just close to us, there is a private school that has two hundred students and no toilet on the grounds. It is a newly constructed school for Primary students and even the teachers must make their toilet somewhere outside. Here we have no problem and no shame to make our toilet together outside, boys and girls close to each other, and even adults, men, and women aside by side. When you travel far by coach the bus driver will stop halfway on the road and the passengers will make their toilet in the bush each other clearly in sight of one another. You White People might feel ashamed of it, but for us here in Ghana it is normal. I can imagine this comes as a great surprise to you...right?"
"Each day I learn more what is going on here in this country as when we sit at home in the comfort of our homes and watch TV, reports of our own journalists on the ground, than this is a different piece of cake all together than coming here and see for yourself all that is to see...the daily life of Ghanaians and the reality they face in the light of about sixty years of independence and natural resources endlessly...I cannot believe what I am seeing...unimaginable in the twenty first century!"
"Now you will understand, Mr. Karl, why most Ghanaians suffer and sit on ready packed bags to leave a country we use as our toilet. Lavenda Hill...Mr. Karl, please go to Lavenda Hill. This is not a place to smell beautiful flowers but shit and pee...simple facts."
"Princess...what do you mean by that...I do not get it!" asked Mr. Karl to explain himself further while making head wave towards Sakumono Beach where she wanted Mr. Karl to meet one of her interesting friends.
"From private houses contractors bring pee and shit to Lavenda Hill. There the trucks off load their cargo into the Sea for fish to eat and our folks to swim in. That is reality and nothing done about it...while you people as I have checked on the internet treat these toilets very well and make even good use of it as fertilizer...can you imagine that?" asked Princess and stopped before the fish monger standing with her table top close to the railway line at the guard house with no guard inside. As soon as a train from Tema to Accra would be about to approach the Guard would jump out of his house, run to his post and make sure no one would do the crossing of the tracks bringing out all the authority invested in him to the best possible.
"In Toxic City on the other side of Accra they burn toxic plastic and wires that young boys bring out of old, old fridges and TV and computers to make a living. They burn the wires to get the copper out of it and sell it for good money to dealers that are in recycling of goods from your societies. The air there is polluted, the soil poisoned, the children sick having to use all their earnings for a bit of bread and sachet water and the rest to cover hospital bills again and again...and Politicians make big noise to stop that disaster...but believe me by facts...they will never ever do something about it as it does not benefit them if they do...that is the simple truth."
"Is Ghana a civilized country or a shit house...let me be clear?" was Mr. Karl so angry about a country so beautifully made by God, so blessed with all imaginable natural resources, yet the people in it that have to manage what God has given them, are not performing but ignoring the reality by blinded eyes. "Sorry to have used such a drastic language...but my heart needs to cry out about what I have seen and heard so far. I am... a person with sense and humanity in his heart...how can such a person ever keep quiet and be polite? Only a person that speaks out its frustration that acts against the evil minds that are in charge here...that goes beyond works and into actions...only such a person can be called an honest man that loves people and a nation. I guess, and I feel sad about it, many of my White Fellows come here, see what is going on, stand in their houses behind closed doors, lambast about you people but never share their real thinking with you...for which reason never their real ability to assist and make your life better. Surely, they are afraid to be called White Racist only when they speak their mind against the mess here on the ground...but are in fact not better at the end of the day than any of your people in power. When I can see a problem, even in the far distance coming, I am as a human being with understanding and a strong heart to fight injustice and stupidity...I mean, I simply cannot hold it to myself but have to speak it out and act!"
Princess took Mr. Karl by her hand and made him look into her eyes very clearly: "Mr. Karl...I do understand your intentions and your frustration...trust me on that. But here we are in Africa, in Ghana...and here things work very differently, believe me. When you would ever say such world in public, you will face fears opposition from the establishment and as politics in Ghana is dominated by two parties only that give each other heartfelt hugs each four years during election time...you will be easily their target. They possibly in secret know what they are doing is wrong...especially those once wanting to leave the country themselves of which there are many...but in the end they are lazy people to make a U-turn and things much, much better. Such people, trust me, can not only call you a White Racist...but more so can put you behind bars in prison or secretly get you killed. That is how politics works in our country. Everyone knows the truth, but everyone does not want to know and to do the right things. So, all these party members, Mr. Karl, as they see no other alternative, will stand united behind their party leaders and support whatever they decide; whether they think it is right or wrong...only the logo of the party matters...and they die for them with their hearts and souls. That is for a fact. The chains have not been broken as for now! So, as much as we call ourselves Democracy...Mr. Karl, be careful about this propaganda word...as we are only a so called Democracy as much as it pleases the people in power and benefits them...otherwise we are not far from political dictatorship...and I chose my words wisely and very carefully!"
"Princess, you are still so young and you are already that wise and...," was Mr. Karl saying while they passed the fish monger that had bought fresh fish the same morning from the fisher folks having their boats just across the street from her.
"And a woman?" looked Princess out of her left eye so watch her friend`s reaction.
"Not because of that," laughed Mr. Karl his head off, stood still and looked intensively at his young friend, his tour guide through an unknown world. "I was raised by a single mother and I have two sisters...so I better respect them a lot...that is what I have learnt from early on!"
Princess took his hand and laughed with him. She guided him over to her friend, Frederic Ansare, a worker for a young boss producing under a high canopy alongside the Tema-Accra Beach Road just at the junction of Sakumono Village chairs, couches, and beds. Foam of all shapes and sizes, textile pieces and plastic covers laid all over the ground. Tools for carving and fixing the strong plastic foil to the wooden structures of chairs and couches were scattered all over the place. She introduced both to each other and while Frederic Ansare was working, they started to have an interesting conversation. Frederic Ansare was not a professional carpenter or furniture maker at all but had learnt what he needed to do on the job. His boss took him on and kept him as he had demonstrated great interest in the work to be done and shown great skills in what he was doing.
"Before that I was part of a Task Force set up by the Government," explained Frederic Ansare pausing for a few moments knowing his boos would always have a close eye on him. He went on to say: "The Government realized over time, even it had already been common knowledge and complaint about by many, that our traditional Ghanaian fabrics, our Wax Prints that makes us look so beautiful all around the world, was a counterfeit. I mean Chinese copied our designs and brought it illegally for cheap money into Ghana and onto our markets; even with fake labels of expensive brands that we Ghanaians traditionally trust a lot. So, they one day woke up and decided to stop the influx of these counterfeits. So, we were set up as a team of one hundred people to go out into the markets, find these fake Wax Prints, bring them out and give it for free to Kindergartens and Orphanages so they could cloths their children with the fabrics. And in the Port, we were supposed to stop the fabrics to enter Ghana in the first place. Now, these Chinese are not stupid, they are very business minded people. So, they simply came out to bribe us. So, what to do? You get paid by the Government as small as the salary is, but it is stable at least and then the temptation sets in and a Chinese even gives you more to close your eyes and ears for good...and that is exactly what we did. So, after about six months the Government realized what is going and dissolved our Task Force for good. But the funny thing is...and we are funny people indeed...there is no replacement for us. I mean, they have not put other measures in place to ensure their original intentions would ever see permanently the light of the day. It is back to square one. And whoever things bad about the situation...oh, my God, in this country you better stop thinking and best not to think too far...most of our school uniforms here we import from China. We have collapsed a whole textile industry by allowing used clothing’s from your side to enter our economy and destroy the livelihood of thousands of families. Once in this industry we had about twenty thousand job or more. As we speak now, no more than about two thousand jobs in this industry are left. While other countries close their economy for certain products to give these sectors in their country a chance to grow and become strong to compete on the local and international market...we simply open our doors and see how our economy gets destroyed. I mean, Mr. Karl...the fact that our currency, the Cedi, is depreciating each month, going down onto its knees, it is not only as our Politicians want to make us believe...because of the ratio of import and export of good and services...but the other side of the truth and coin of the matter is...when foreign investors and even us have no trust in the country Ghana, they simply do not invest, they only do trading as trade is a very short lived money making intention. Trading you can stop from right now and not lose too much money. But investing is a long-time commitment, over twenty, forty and even more years. When investors, and we ourselves and Ghanaians, have no trust in our system, in our politics, in our Police Forces, in the Justice System and so on, than we will not invest, only make sure to survive and feed our family. So, that trust by the international community is simply not there. Only foreign Governments tell their companies to open business here not because of good intentions...they simply only want to ensure that not more economic migrants will hit their shores and eventually destroy their societies. I mean, Mr. Karl, our Government thinks and trust we the good people of Ghana are stupid, not well educated. But guess what! Underneath their horizon of thinking about us...we the people of Ghana watch TV, see what is going on in this world via internet and social media. We see what in this world is possible and what causes problems, and which problems can be a great opportunity for us...we know all that...as we are not dumpsters, not fools."