"When the people here wake up and rise to the occasion?" repeated Jean-Claude Vaughn the words of his German friend. "The answer is crystal clear...then we are doomed. You must consider profit is not in growing cocoa beans but in trading and processing them. And both aspects are in our hands and not theirs here. They simply do not understand that and do not focus on the right issues in Ghana. They waste their precious time...and we make big bugs with it, money and money and money. For over sixty and more years now they do not understand that with finished products people do not speculate...only its raw material. So, while the people here still allow us to take their raw material, trade on them and process them...they depend on us. What we tell them...I mean when we say the price has to come down as the consumer in Europe has a problem to pay the wanted price...it is of course not the consumer that determines the price...but it is us...and us only. We look into our profit margin, calculate and calculate until we get the maximum profit out from here. When we saw sweet works of development, of growing more trees and healthy trees with Bio-Certificate to get more profit from the consumers, when we make big stories that we want the farmers and their children to have a better life as this sound so sweet in the ears of our consumers that they rush to our supermarkets to buy more and more believing they do something good for the farmers and their living conditions here...oh, gosh...I praise the name of the Lord that they do not see what really is behind our sweet words and do not look into our books who much our profit margin is skyrocketing through the roof. These people here and back home do not understand the mechanism of this business and its rules are in our hands and our hands only!"
"But just in case...I mean just in case one day...one golden day the people here and in Europe will wake up and see the game that is played with their minds...what will happen then with your business?"
"Oh, Mr Karl...do not be so naive and ever think that our position can get shaken. We are so strong, so powerful...nothing will ever happen to us!"
"I mean...just imagine something will happen to your business idea and policy!" challenged Mr Karl his Swiss friend.
"Let me tell you a story," started Jean-Claude Vaughn to explain while looking over the huge parking lot right in front of The Junction Mall at Nungua Barrier alongside Accra-Tema Beach Road not far from Sakumono Village. "One day I had the interest to take up the opportunity and lease land, around one hundred forty hectares in the Brong-Ahafo Region, near a village called Boana close to Techiman. The old chief had invited my wife and me to have a closer look at the place in which three small rivers were able to water the plantation. The area was covered with forest, not huge trees yet much work to convert the land into a cocoa plantation of the latest standard. The old and sick chief had invited us behind the back of his people. The Elders of the village were not informed about our coming only that we were White People willing to possibly take on the responsibility for the land and improve also their living conditions. Now when we arrived, we were greeted with snaps poured to the concrete floor of the small palace that was the centrepiece of the tiny little village to which the land belonged. The old and sick chief prayed to the Gods of the village, gave them snaps and asked them for their blessings. To me, all these snaps and paying to Gods was very peculiar, to say the least. I felt like in a bad movie of the old days, but it was only a few years ago. So, we agreed on the lease condition and the price. We were told that once the deal had been agreed the Paramount Chief needs to be visited and he must of course also get his share of the deal after which finally the land would be for us on a lease period of close to fifty years. When I heard that a Paramount Chief was supposed to get involved also and take his share, I got more and more scared. I looked at my wife and asked err with my eyes how many more people once captured in the trap would chop from the land we would invest so much money from which part would be used to help the village with a school, kindergarten and other interventions. The whole talk of that old and sick Chief made me angry to say it straight forward...it simply made me angry. I mean the structure of to whom the land really belonged, legal issues involved and the uncertainty who in the end needs to be compensated for what and why...no, there was no clarity in this venture, everything so vague. And I am not a fool but know that the law system of this country is not working and working very slowly. I came to understand once sitting in this trap the unseen network of relationships these people traditionally have would eventually kill any serious and honest business. I mean how can you make business when things are not straight forward but many people are involved and their part in the deal is not really clear and in the event of a law case you know right from the start that you would lose all your investment. On top of it, we were informed back in Accra the Elders had found out that we had the meeting with the Chief, and they got incredibly angry. They smelt the danger that the Chief had wanted to take our money advance all for himself leaving the villagers with no benefit. So, we backed down from this idea."
"That`s why your business model will always be the winner?"
"Yes, that is why...Mr Karl!"
"That is strange!" said Mr Karl thinking and thinking. He looked up and straight into the eyes of Jean-Claude Vaughn saying: "When Ghana has no natural resources anymore, cocoa will always be there for and with them. I mean it is not oil, not gold, not bauxite that is the identity of Ghanaians...it is cocoa!"
"Mr Karl...I beg...please do not say it so loud...not in this country...people might hear you and then we are finished!"
"Chocolate City...a trail like the Wine Routes in France and Germany all across Ghana bringing tourists for one week chasing the story of chocolate form city to city and resting for one week at the beach...oh, I can see it right before my eyes...so great, so clear, so mighty. What a dream...what a great dream indeed. Places for many people in this industry...good jobs to feed families well. And the country at large will be on the world stage as the Chocolate country of the entire world and universe. Oh, what a wonderful dream that can be a reality if people just understand and want it!" was Mr Karl visionary looking up into the skies breathing in and breathing out, feeling a glorious future in his mind and soul, a country great and strong, a country able to give and not only to take, a global player.
"Mr Karl...please, I am here!" smiled Jean-Claude Vaughn at his German friend. "You and I know that this is not just a dream but a potential reality...but we also know jobs to lose in Europe to Ghana...that is not on the table, no subject for discussion."
"If only Ghanaians would understand how they really are!"
"It is to our advantage...that they do not understand, that they do not know but take our loans with increased interest so that we can always keep them under our feet in poverty!" laughed Jean-Claude Vaughn his head off, finishing his coffee and got up ready to drive home. "You must never tell these people here what we were just sharing...I will call you a liar if you do! And with these words let me wish you a pleasant late afternoon, Mr Karl!" Off he went Jean-Claude Vaughn from Switzerland.
"So, you are telling me you created the people in your own image, isn´t it?"
"How else could I have created them as this is all I know and have no other raw models that I could have used to form them. I mean I can only create what is in me and what I know off. I am not a fortune teller or fairy-tale teller. I am the beginning and the end."
"But to create people...was that really necessary? Plants, flowers and animals would have been enough, guess!"
"Then we would have never had the opportunity to sit here around under the beautiful sun and have a great conversation!"
"There you got a point!"
"In which case let me ask you an important question. You have created people in different shapes and sizes. There is a great variation of races, most prominent black and white...so Africans and let us say Europeans...am I right?"
"Your observation is on point, my son!"
"Great that we agree on this issue. Now, the Blacks here around us were we sit with the White People in mind over there far away. What we can observe is a dark and bright history...but history is still nothing than history."
"You mean...history is past and gone cannot be altered, never changed, and facts are facts that can only be interpreted but stay in the history book as facts."
"That is what I have in mind, yes. Now history is gone and only in our memories and golden statues. But today is today and needs to be alive by which I mean needs to be managed well...."
"As it is a preparation for the future, isn`t that what you have in mind?"
"Exactly...that is my thinking. So, when today prepares us for the future, why on earth...please explain to me...is it that this continent that we stand on is still so much thinking and living in the past with all its excuses that have not to do the right things and overcome issues that hold them back in the past?"
"For you people to shine brightly into my eyes!"
"Does this mean, please correct me if I am mistaken, that all the issue of Black and White, of progress and going backwards...in the end is only a competition which of both parties stand tall before you?"
"That is the point!"
"So, when we or these people here do best in all aspects of our own societies...then you will love one of us more over the other one?"
"It should be so that in fact parents and a creator for which reason, in fact, I am also a kind of parent, at least a single parent...so now that this one should love all his children equally. But let us face reality for you and me. It is nearly impossible that at the same time someone can love his children equally. He can try and always should do his best to love children of his own equally...but in the end, everything comes down that the children must prove themselves through what they do and decide and how they talk to their parents and their creator to be worth more than the other children. In this up and down, a form of competition in time, love goes more to one side and when time changes, conditions are different, love goes to another child."
"You mean when Africa understand what it is supposed to do and how to behave well your love and favour will come back to them as it was at the beginning of mankind and humanity for that matter?"
"If Africans stop their foolishness and not only pray to me in endless church services...why not. I mean, after all, I created them for what they are and supposed to do...ruling the world."
"The mark you have set is high, but I think I understand your intention. The coming overpopulation, a decline in revenues from natural resources and higher production cost for farming of vegetable and fruits plus providing clean and healthy drinking water will push them eventually to the surface of history again!"
"It takes only one man or a handful of them to change the world. As the numbers in Africa are rising and will increase gigantically the immense figures will also produce the very few people needed for a chance, a drastic improvement and dominion over the affairs of the world, a power to rule the waves. But...."
"I knew it...there is always a hitch...always a but!"
"My people will not be able to jump over the bar set right before their destiny without someone showing them the way. as for now, my people are blind and death and ignorant. Once they can see, open their ears to the new bells ringing and trumpets playing the new music and see and feel what the future holds for him...they will be blindfolded for another generation to come and miss the time I have given them."
"You mean time is ticking and when they miss their chance to stand tall over others again they have to wait for a very, very long time again and accept the shame that will be put onto them."
"The future is in the mind of my people here. I cannot decide for them. All I can do is when they do not perform well in the time frame I have set for them I will give the mandate to rule the world to other people of my choice and these people around us here will have to obey their instructions. I have a certain agenda for this world that after all I had created and I cannot and will not waste my time with people that tell me sweet words into my ear each Sunday morning but do not change their minds and do not do the right things. Sometimes to be honest with you I have the feeling these people do not take me seriously. They pray, read my scriptures but in the end do not understand me at all. For this reason, I do not feel really well connected to them. But as children can change when they see favour a love of their parents have been taken away from them, then this can push them to great and greater achievements even above their other siblings. But to be noticeably clear it is not in my hands what will happen and if the time passes these people here around us. This is entirely in the hands of the Africans. If they miss their set time, they should not come to me and ask for forgiveness and mercy. It is the time now to see what is needed and to do the right things...otherwise...."
"They are out of time, their time, and out of touch, the touch with you!"
"That is the point and the ball is in their hands now!"
"Please, Mr President, if you may follow me around here. It is no longer far to meet your man," said Victor Ataba guided by Justice Mba his friend from Lagos that had to arrange the meeting with a strong man of the underworld. "I know it is a bit off the beaten track...but for his own good and safety, this man is hiding a bit far in the bush. No road that can take anyone closer to him. Where we got off the car outside of Cotonou there is the only chance to reach him by walking deep down into the bush. But rest assured as I say...we are getting closer and closer."
"Victor, "smiled President Malcom Osei holding his Ice-Water bottle in his left hand using his right and to fight his way through the lush green vegetation of the Benin bush even not knowing whether they were walking North or South, "I am only a bit concerned about my good friend here just behind me. He is no longer that young and I fear the long walk might exhaust his strength too much so that in the end he might fall sick and our trip to this place will get exposed by our media houses back home!"
"What do you mean by that.... that I am too old, and you fear for my strength?" got Nana Kwabena Adom annoyed. "You might ride a bicycle with your kids and demonstrate physical strength but as for me...," he laughed holding his opponent by his t-shirt to make him stop and turn around looking into his eyes with fears look, "my age means wisdom and with that wisdom, I will always be able to beat you...and beat you up very, very well...my good old friend?" Both were hugging each other as a sign of peace and comfort across party lines.
"May the best always win!" smiled President Malcom Osei and walked into the direction for which reason they had made the undercover trip from Accra into the bush of Benin.
"The battle is the Lord`s," shouted Nana Kwabena Adom behind the President for all to hear. "The battle is the Lord`s."
"But that is always my slogan too...The battle is the Lord`s," insisted the President while avoiding a green snake crawling along the dusty path. He stood still for a moment and looked at the little green snake that did not seem to be very old saying: "You see...this is a poisonous snake, light green...and crawling...while we walk upright on the same level as our people."
"Oh...my friend...what do you want to say by that?"
"I leave it to your phantasy...but I guess you know what I have to say!" answered the President following Victor Ataba and Justice Mba that where holding banana leave aside for free passage.
"This snake...oh, cannot we have a rest...even only for a few moments?" was Nana Kwabena Adom begging. He took a sip of Special Ice water and a deep, deep breath holding his arms to his chest.
"When we stop walking," turned President Malcom Osei around seeing the agony through which Nana Kwabena Adom had to go, "the light green snake will bite us and poison us that we may die. But you, my best friend, should now this form politics. When our people realize what we are really doing and no longer believe our words and we start resting along the way in our campaign...guess what they will do to us. Like this snake here that is smelling us very well, that even can see us so close the snake is to us...at any moment when we give the snake the opportunity to see we are weak and stand still in our endeavour...she will come and bite us to death. In politics, it is all the same. Is that what you want?"
"No, my friend," pulled Nana Kwabena Adom himself together and walked on, "that is for sure not what I want. after all, what should we do without our mind that we have set on victory at any cost?"
"To bring us profit!" said President Malcom Osei.
"To bring us profit, good life, and a nice cosy place in the book of history...yes, Sir...that is very much to my taste."
"After all," turned President Malcom Osei around to give Nana Kwabena Adom a helping hand while having to climb up a rock, "we are just the same. The only difference between you and me...wait, make sure you do not slip...mind your step...please be careful, I need you as I know you and know what you can and what you can't do...while with others...mind your step...just up there...put your feet down there...no, not there. I mean just here where I show you...right, just there...well done." They were standing on top of the rock giving President Malcom Osei the chance to end his idea: "With anyone new in the political system...I do not know whether I would be able to handle the situation quite so successful as I do it right now!"
"And you rigged your own election!" commented Nana Kwabena Osei smiling while finishing his water. He handed the empty bottle over to his Assistant, one of his family members that had the idea to help his Uncle would one day reward him with a position in one of the state-owned companies and give him reputation and a great income.
"You will do the same if you have all the money at your disposal...I mean, that is how it works here in Africa."
"And the world is learning from us," laughed Nana Kwabena Adom his head off. "When I look around the world...election and election results...oh, gosh...honest times have passed mankind long ago!"
"We are now the raw model in that field, and many can learn from us," laughed President Malcom Osei his head off also shaking the hands of his opponents. "We are the inner circle of politics and fortune or misfortune of our people...and we will not allow anyone to come between us!"
"Promised...you can always count on me on this issue...my President," smiled Nana Kwabena Adom while being lifted up by his President.
Victor Ataba was shouting with great joy and lifted up his hands: "Please Sir, Mr President...the house is just over there...can you see? No more far...only a few steps!"
"The time is right...for us to come here. It could not have been later than now," was President Malcom Osei released to see the house finally for which they had made all the exhausting trip to Benin.
They stood before a simple white structure, a two-bedroom house, square shape, nothing special about this place to eyes that only saw the obvious. Massive trees and bushes surrounded the house like great big walls protecting a fortress. No garden was to be seen, only green vegetation as nature over the years had planted it around the house. Victor Ataba knocked at the walls of the house as a doorbell was not attached to the door, massive made of wood carvers with symbols unknown to the guests from Ghana. The door got opened and they were allowed to walk in.
Mallam Live as he was known to many in and around the country welcomed the delegation. He greeted the President of Ghana, the Leader of the opposition, Justice Mba that had been a follower of his works for years and Victor Ataba overseeing the personal safety of the group. The rest of four more bodyguards and advisors had to sit outside and wait of their President`s return. All inside the house in a small room painted in white had to sit on thin red and black designed cushions their legs folded to themselves. The walls were empty, no paintings, no drawing, no furniture in sight, naked as a wall can be. It felt like a scene in prison only that the walls were not grey but painted in bright white, matt not even glossy. At one end of the room a small distance away from the group was he sitting, the Master of the House, Mallam Live. He did not smile at his guest, nor did he look angry. He was not showing any emotions in his facial expression. He had himself well under control. Sitting on a higher cushion was he sitting like a King before them. The guest did not dare to say anything or to move in any way. The Mallam was impressive not by his figure, not by his looks, but by the atmosphere, he was able to create around him by who he was. He knew about his powers and in every gesture, in every breath he took; he power was visible, able for all people around him to feel the strength in his mind and the power of his spirit reaching hearts and minds of people around him easily. Curtains before the two windows were lost. Only a small light that came underneath the door which did not close completely with the concrete floor was giving people the chance to see each other.
"I can read in your mind that you wonder about my name!" said Mallam Live and looked at President Malcom Osei.
The President was carefully choosing his words and spoke in a humble and quiet tone: "Life is for a Mallam not really a familiar name, if I may say so...Sir!"
Mallem Live knew that people hearing about his name would always wonder that he had chosen such a significant name and explained with a clear voice: "When you spell Live from behind...it reads Evil!"
"Live...from behind...Evil!" was President Malcom Osei spelling and thinking. "Oh...I guess you are right. That is what is reads from behind. I never knew that! Great to know now!"
"And when you think further...much further...much further...," was Mallam Live saying to President Malcom Osei bending over to him only a little bit.
"So..that means...you can read my mind?" asked President Malcom Osei and tried to smile while looking around into all faces in the room.