"And you should not forget to mention that we did not do business among ourselves as trust was not there and...that is not to be forgotten," wanted to add the Minister of Cameroon who had already enjoyed drinks very well but was known not to lose control of his movements fast, "that we tried to produce everything in our nations. We did not understand that it is benefitting all of us more when our countries come together, allocate their different strength, one more for tourism...the other one more for agricultural produce, another one more for industrialization and so on. I mean to use the best a country has to offer and specialize in a few sectors is better than wanting to have it all. So, after we sat together, came up with a serious and well-thought-through strategic plan we all put it into place and here we are...we are better off cooperating as a team than blasting out sweet words that in the end were never true, never seeing any positive results...wasting precious time of our people."
The Finance Minister of Congo smiled and agreed with a heavy tongue ready for a late-night walk to have a good night sleep by saying: "Without the help from Ghana, the new Kingdom of Ghana, we would have certainly...yes, I declare here and now...most certainly...no, we would have never made it but... ."
"Enjoyed the deep dark days of our black mind...is that what you want to insult us with?" asked Minister of Finance Malawi with an angry face.
"But we have always known it, I mean the dark side of our black mind fighting the white man and blaming him for our wrongdoings holding old stories that he had...sorry, I mean...the bad things he did to us...now that is what I mean. I mean...."
"I mean," interrupted the Minister of Finance from Mali holding always to his orange juice while enjoying some salted crackers placed on their round table, "we should all go to bed right now as we were working hard, so many hours today. "We all know our black mind was not helping us in the past...but now we live in better days to prepare an even better tomorrow." He wished all his colleague a peaceful sleep and walked off.
"You mean, this year we will not have the tonnage of cocoa as we had originally planned?" asked Minister Lian Xi his colleague Minister Noam Cohen while walking through the cocoa plantation in Boana. The old trees just over thirty years old were no longer bearing enough pots, therefore, replaced on several hectares of land by new seedlings resistant to many new fungus species that had come from nowhere to harm the harvest. This was an ongoing process for many farmers that year. The summer was extremely hot and water hard to find. Farmers had done their best with the support of the central and local government, yet a decrease in the yield of cocoa that year was unavoidable.
"Here you can see what our farmers have done to ensure the trees have enough water...fresh water and not the one that once was poisoned by Galamsey...a tragic dark time of Ghana`s history, we better do not think of that anymore!"
"I agree...lets us move forward and never look back into the darkness of the Fourth Republic...my good friend," smiled Minister Lian Xi holding a yellow pot in his hand that was about to be harvested in the next few days. "Let us all enjoy the beauty of nature and the cash the beauty brings into our pockets."
"You are funny and I can see in a very good mood," laughed Minister Naomi Cohen while standing in a circle between the trees with the chief of Boana and his elders trying to find a solution to improve next years' harvest. "The water system we can see here on the ground is very effective, watering each tree only for as much as the tree really needs. I can see that chemicals are banned from this farm like most farms in the country have done it. My eyes are also pleased to see that you people here have left space every so and so many meters ensuring bush fire or harmful insects cannot jump from one sector to the next, so you can protect your farming very well. Well done, folks."
"We hear that better hybrid cocoa seedlings soon will be available, is that true?" asked Chief Mensah still a young man voted onto the local throne a few years back.
"Our Cocoa Institute performs miracles and therefore I can honestly say, yes, this rumours that have been in the system for quite some time is true. What they have worked on is not only that the new cocoa trees can resist more attacks from nature and bear fruits in just over two years only, but the pots are bigger while maintaining the same kind of quality as before and ensuring not only the June harvest is sweet but also the second harvest in October has the same kind of sweetness. What they are currently working on is to increase the sweetness of our cocoa so that the manufacturers have less sugar to add to their products which will give us as a country a competitive edge over our neighbours and on top helps the Kingdom of Ghana to be seen as the most innovative cocoa producing country in the world. Ivory Coast had been ahead of us for too long in volumes and innovation, but for quite some years now they stand far behind our farmers. Actually, I am very proud of what we have achieved so far not saying that this is or should be the end of the line. There are still more dreams ahead of us and with determination and patience we are all going to see the great results of our common labour."
Chief Mensah picked up soil from the ground, smelled on it and proclaimed: "God has blessed our soil and God has blessed our minds...with both we make always sure Ivory Coast and the rest of cocoa-producing nations will stand far behind us to admire our good works." Minister Lian Xi applauded Chief Mensah, a man who worked as a Pastor in his own local church with eighty members mostly coming from surrounding rural communities. He looked besides Chief Mensah far beyond the big palm trees once planted around the plantation by the old Chief. He saw a hut build between trees and made of mud and straw enforced by thin branches from trees around. Seeing a woman, a man and three children sitting outside the mud hat he asked himself how that would be possible in a time that was no more of the dark age. As the meetings were not yet over, he had no chance to get closer to the people and asked them about their situation.
Chief Mensah saw the puzzled eyes of Minister Lian Xi following his looks and explained: "Yes, this is farmworkers. I mean we have tried to integrate them into our community and make them understand modern lifestyle. We were even ready to provide for them a stone house in our village, make their children play with ours...but they refused. The couple said to us they prefer to live the old way and not to adapt to modern times. They said, they would have fears facing our computers, our improved good road network, the machinery we use, the new technology we put to good use for ourselves to make our life easier. No, they said, that is not what they want. And we said to ourselves, let them live their own life as long as they do their work and are peaceful people...we must respect that. Not all of us want to pay the price a better life cost...a changed mind. Some of us feel content and happy with the way they live. I mean, they know what they have, even it is bad and so hard and so uncertain...but they are comfortable to know their life and what to face...so any new change is scary for them, something to reject and not to look beyond what can be a better life for them. Some of us are like that. I mean witchcraft is the basis of such thinking and acting. We all know how bad witchcraft is but still in the Fourth Republic of Ghana we had several witch camps and even lynched them when we had wanted so. Other people were flying to moon and mars opening hearts to give it to others...and we were in line with witchcraft. Always remember it was not the white man that brought us witchcraft and forced us to practise it...we ourselves invented it and maintained it. Let's not forget about this simple truth, it is by facts."
"The bubble of darkness with witchcraft has been not completely eradicated...for that it needs more generation to work on their blood and minds...but we have come far and made it not the centre of our nation by a small, slim side-line," reminded Minister Lian Xi proud to have fought a fight ending in victory for the country.
Chief Mensah suggested while washing his hands inside the courtyard of his humble palace, an ordinary structure that foreigners would not recognize as the residence of a local chief and said: "Let us all get into our cars now and pay Lionel Lombardi our courtesy visit. His residence is not that far from here."
After fifteen minutes’ drive on well-maintained tarred roads the convoy of a handful of cars stopped before a huge iron gate designed with iron rods portraying artistic forms not everyone was used to. Chief Mensah walked towards the guardhouse, saw the CCTV cameras taking shots of all of them, was asked to wait. The Guard made a call to the white Manson located at the very opposite end of the property. From the road the house of not visible. The land was fenced with high trees and low stone walls each one meter one solar-powered lamp to light the property at nights. After a few minutes, the guard pushed the button and the gate opened wide. He gave instructions on how to drive through the park to reach the house. The convoy drove very slowly and cautiously. Flowers all along the way like soldiers protecting the eyes of the excited visitors. It felt to the Ministers like being driven through an Opera House reaching far into the backstage. Bushes, palm trees, small rivers and ponds with goldfish, statutes of all kinds made of different material being like an open exhibition seen in Kassel at the Documental each year. The cars had to turn left and around a small round shaped inner garden with an amazing and most impressive fountain protected by high trees, so eyes were not able to see people sitting around the silver tables inside. Right across the inner garden an impressive white mansion, close to being called a palace of a great king, rose before their eyes. The owner had asked his architect to come up with a modernized version of German classicism and he did. The building itself was more than a sculpture, it was an impression of elegance and grandeur, classic and at the same time not over the top. Anyone standing right in front of the building could feel the spirit of the owner, a man with distinct taste, yet humble in all the richness that surrounded his life.
Lionel Lombardi stepped out the house through the heavy wooden door with a door handle someone had to push and pull with hand stretched out up to his chest. Normal door handles were placed much lower on doors, but the house owner wanted to celebrate entering his private kingdom giving anyone visiting him a clear signal that house and he himself deserved respect more than any king. He stood under the porch that was on top a balcony overlooking the inner garden that could only be looked into from that angle. The sun was shining bright. Security personnel oversaw the scenery discrete from around the two front corners with dogs by their side. Peacocks run around everywhere, so did the three cheetahs he once had gotten as a gift from the President of Namibia, cheetahs rescued from the wilderness unable to be released anymore back into it.
They were invited to follow Lionel Lombard into his private home passing an impressive hall with high ceiling, the music room to the left, the dining area on the right, in the far back right corner of the ground floor the kitchen with a stairway down to a cool cellar the place for expensive wine and storage for vegetables and fruits. The souterrain was accessible from the right side of the building through a special door used by the servants to reach their private apartments. Most of the people employed to run the household did not live on the property itself but returned back from their own homes in nearby villages each morning. The owner of the house wanted to make sure that only a very few people had the opportunity to watch over his private life and gossip stories to others and the media. As much as he was a famous and very rich businessman Lionel Lombardi tried to ensure as much as possible to keep a low profile focused not on tabloid magazine stories but his work. He was more of an observer and listener than a talker. In fact, to describe him as a rather shy person would not be far from the truth. To fight for his ideas and convictions that is what he was good at, a lion in his own way, but to stand out among equals or standing above others less fortunate or on their way to make it in life, that was far from his character.
On the opposite side of the kitchen, a door was leading into Lionel Lombardi`s home office. He was able to overlook the back garden through the windows reaching from ceiling to the floor. The glass was tainted, and he was able to use the remote control to make the windows look black or transparent. Tables and chairs were prepared for the guest on the veranda. Snacks, cakes, freshly squeezed juice, coffee, and tea were all served by busy hands smiling at their guest being proud to represent a rich man. Far in the back of the property, just before it was ending, a chicken shed with over fifty chicken fed on organic food took centre stage making his owner proud always. He refused the idea that a swimming pool should be part of the composition of his property having no time to use it and for image reason to have one he saw as the madness of a poor mind.
"When you look around this place and consider that I came here as a man with a normal income...and with hard work and determination made it to what you can see around you...then I know anything in this world is possible no matter where you came from," started Lionel Lombard to share his life-story his guest that were eager to hear from his mouth how he had made himself rich and famous. "The saying was in Europe one day robots would take many of our jobs, machines that do not get paid and do not pay tax. This would, as many were saying lead to a high unemployment rate of around twenty per cent. Not only low qualified workers would lose their jobs also people at the high end of education like a chartered accountant and bank managers. Many so-called Philosophers and doomsday believers claimed that such highly educated people cannot be social care workers in homes for the elderly and so on. Their little minds did not realize the numbers of Europeans are at the decline, they simple are simply less and fewer people only be kept running, their social system that is mostly, by foreigners taken their countries over. To believe like is always an upstream event, is very naive and sad to hear. Asa ace to earn back then let's say one thousand Euros each month to earn thirty or forty years later as CEO several ten thousand...come on, be serious...such a life was no longer possible and the people knew it. The clever folks knew the future is in Africa as the population of Africa is rising always immensely. And as that was the case, and still is, the increasing populations of African countries need more food, more, water, more products, and services...made not outside the continent, but right where the buyers are. So, these intelligent people moved down here, saw their opportunity, got their sleeves up and started to make a fortune for themselves while at the same time helping the local workers to work in stable companies with job security, good treatment and payment. Let me call this time not long ago the time of the second settlers, people willing to fight their way through the jungle of Africa, corruption and inefficiency of the African mind, never gave up even mentally and emotionally often drained out...but they pressed on and on. Until finally you people come here to Ghana, changed the darkness of the Fourth Republic of Ghana to the new Kingdom of Ghana, a time now that makes all our lives so much easier."
"I certainly speak for all of us in the cabinet when I thank you for your kind words, Sir," smiled Minister Lian Xi. "We are all here not for our nations but for this Kingdom and to prove that Africa, especially Ghana, is truly a paradise. And yes, I have seen many white people coming down to Africa to make it over time even better than staying back home in unemployment or the threat of it. These are truly clever minds that need to be applauded. "
"I think," smiled Lionel Lombardi asking for another coffee and his special cake with lots of cherries and cream, "that you have done a great job on your part in politics and we, the business folks, have contributed our part. What all of us hate is taking nonsenses and not to perform on our promises but play the blame game. I also see that the local people here know we white people are less corrupt than their own and when we see corruption among ourselves, we deal with it swiftly regardless of the status and money someone has. I have the distinct impression the people here are convinced of that."
"Most certainly," mentioned Minister Noam Cohen and was pleased with the ice-cream he was served with.
"When King Thomas gave his most impressive speech a few years ago, a milestone I think in the development of the African continent, to highlight the importance of agriculture for the nation in balance to industrialization, my heart honestly opened up and embraced each word spoken. When he advocated that it is not the time to focus too much on setting up of factories but farms...I knew a new century of happiness and prosperity has come. he said the increase in population means people are hungry and need food. Also, water, of course. Food is not grown in factories, only processed there. So, the greatest and most profitable businesses are in the agricultural sector...factories are only complementary to farming. Therefore, he called anyone that wants to make good and stable profit into farming...not by force like Mao in China one but by evidence and convincing to do the right and best thing. following his advice and call many like me went into farming, not anyhow, but with scientific brains and great marketing ideas to feed even the people outside of our continent well. When you look around history you will see in South America in the bush still opera houses and impressive mansion of their remains witness of a time when natural rubber farmers serving the automobile industry and other sectors were rich beyond imagination. They were Billionaires, rich and powerful, very influential in their industry and countries. Here in Africa, also here in Ghana, to be Millionaire or even Billionaire with farming...oh Lord, that was never possible for all the well-known bad reasons. When the African countries got their independence, industrialization was their focus and farming an abandoned foster child. Politicians wanted to reach the level of their developed counterparts in Europe, USA, and Asia. Little did they think that celebrating Farmers Day here in Ghana and other places of the African continent does not boost in any way the agricultural business. Farming was something needed not important or essential. But when you folks came along and the unemployed managers from Europe woke up to change their tune seeing the future of the world lies here in Africa, things drastically changed and improved for the benefit of all of us. Yes, the lands are still in the hands of the local people here and will always be, but as long as we can use the land, pay a right price for using the fertile soil of Ghana while at the same time train the next generation of locals best practises, I can honestly say, and please...ask my people here or on my farmland...they are proud employees that see a bright future ahead for themselves after their training period. Unlike in Zimbabwe or other dark places in Africa, here we have found a formula that is working for all. It is not that we are seen as something special, and we also do not see ourselves as something special, but people see us as more talented and want to benefit from our talents. Imagine, my dear friends, under the management of black people there was never a Millionaire here in the farming industry...be it white people or be it, black people. And now you look around and see even many black people have big lands and are Millionaires themselves...all because of farming. So, there is no need for any black and white prejudiced, for any stupid blame game of the past. It is time now that we all put our heads together, see the need of our people here in Ghana and beyond and start implementing the right strategy. For the new Kingdom of Ghana, I can say that we meanwhile have about fifty Millionaires in the farming sector of black colour and slightly more, but not so many more as many have moved on to other countries already...with white colour."
"I know, Sir, you are even a Billionaire...with farming...and this in a very short time...if I may say so," was Minister Lian Xi humbly saying while putting his cup of coffee down.
"I do not like to talk much about myself...please, you will understand," looked Lionel Lombardi over to the lawn between the house and the behind bushes hidden chicken shed. Two of his cheetahs enjoyed the warm sun on their fur and each other’s company. "Look...we are here on earth not to be rich...but for a reason...and that reason is to make an impact, to change something that needs change and or improvement. What we have beyond the essentials...that is a nice extra, but certainly never makes anyone happy unless he uses his wealth constantly for improvement and change. After all, in the end, we all do part from this earth and will be dust again. But the legacy we leave behind for our children and others...formed that is what matters really and most."