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30.04.2003 Feature Article

Letter from the President I

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J. A. Fukuor Hosu Castle Accra Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, As you may be aware I am not the letter writing type. So I am expecting you to be surprised reading a letter from me. This is to tell you that you aren’t the only ones with something to write about. I can also write, and I know am very good at it. There’s so much for my executive self to say. I am going to use this column every week to speak my mind. A bird whispered in my ears that I must communicate regularly with my people. I do apologize for failing to deliver regular radio and TV addresses as my friend and colleague, the Bushman, does, addressing his people every week on radio and TV. Regularly communicating with you is something I really thought about long before I was chosen to lead you into HIPC and out. But circumstances beyond my control have prevented me from doing what I know is right. My travels to many far off places – it’s my hobby, clearly stated in my CV – have occupied me greatly and I am really enjoying myself flying first class in British Airways. That’s one reason why I have not been communicating with you. I brought Lizoh down to help write my speeches and help me deliver them. But she failed miserably, preferring rather to quarrel with journalists. The journalists were no match for her and she always succeeded in whipping them verbally. In her new designation, I know she will make ‘paah-paah’ again and I know the students will beat her up. I will bet my last HIPC cedi on that. Anyway, I was telling you how delighted I am to be writing to you. This is something no Excellent One in Ghana’s history has done – writing to his people through a newspaper column. I entreat you to read my letters regularly. I, however, do not expect you to reply – in fact, don’t reply, unless you have something very, very, very important to say. I don’t like criticism – never mind the fact that I got the Criminal Libel Law repealed. I even think it was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. I enjoy it when I’m praised for making that mistake, though. Well, don’t reply to my letters or criticize me. If you find it really necessary to reply to my letters, please make sure that you say something very nice about me and my government. In this my maiden letter to you I have decided to discuss two issues. First, I want to tell you about my secret admiration for the man Jerry Boom. I love him for the fact that he failed so woefully while he was the occupant of the Black Star Stool. His failures lowered Ghanaians’ expectations of me, so much so that when I do the usual things every President should do Ghanaians adorn me in rich praises. Very much aware of his failures, Jerry Boom has been trying hard to make amends by criticizing me, giving the impression that I am the worst of the Excellent Ones this country has had. The man is such a failure that he cannot even do a decent job criticising me. The last press conference he staged in his backyard was a sham and most of the statements he made were libellous and after listening to him, I felt like asking parliament to re-instate the criminal libel law. All I want Jerry Boom to know is that I like it when he speaks ‘by heart’. His unpopularity is directly proportional to my popularity. I’m told he’ll be at the forefront of a demonstration sometime soon with his ‘Asomdwee Poodle’ by his side. He should thank his stars that I have created an atmosphere free of intimidation, which allows him and his poodle to take to the streets in protest against me. How times change! In any case, if I had my way, I wouldn’t have allowed that demonstration to take place. I really hate demonstrations – remember that day when I passed by those TUC demonstrators demanding an increase in minimum wage? I felt like my day on the Black Star Stool were over when my convoy just met with them. How amateurish my security detail was – I could have been lynched by those angry demonstrators. Well, still thinking about that Jerry Boom man, let me just ask you a question. Do you think he can overthrow me? I’ve heard all these rumours of him going to Congo Brazzaville to procure arms to overthrow my government. It scares me, you know. I seriously plan to sit on this stool for eight years – and if he has any intention of overthrowing me, I pray he changes his mind or else… well, I don’t know. Sometimes, I feel so helpless with this Boom man around. Look at what he did to Mannli in 1981. But as I said earlier, I one small part of me likes to have him around. He tries so hard to criticize me and in doing so, he incurs the wrath of Ghanaians, who really appreciate the little things I do. I pray that he talks “by heart” on the day of the demonstration. I’m sure that such lose talk will shore up my approval ratings. The second issue I want to address in this letter is the ‘excitement’ generated by the recent musical chairs I played with members of my team. Such musical chairs serve a very useful purpose. I should have played it almost a year ago but for that radio station at Kokomlemle and a few newspapers. Those days I thought I had my cards very close to my chest and I was very shocked when I was awakened one morning and told about a news bulletin predicting an impending ministerial reshuffle with Danielic accuracy. I know the ministers who leaked the information to the press, believing that if the reshuffle is publicized before an official announcement is made, I will reverse my decision to demote them. They only succeeded in buying some more time, not for themselves, but for me – more time than necessary to create such fancy ministries as Regional Integration and NEPAD, Beautification of Accra, Railways and Ports and Special Presidential Initiatives. Don’t forget that I also appointed a man as deputy minister for Women’s Affairs. I am surprised by my own ingenuity. Who on earth expected me to combine Education and Youth and Sports? You also did not expect me to move Otanka further away from the presidency, did you? The musical chair game has created so much excitement in the country and generated so much frivolous debate – and that was the diversion I wanted to create. Did you notice that no member of my government knew what the inflation figure for the first half of the year was? Did anyone take note of the allegations that Otanka had entered into an unholy alliance with some Mormons – an alliance which cost the nation a lot of money and benefited only himself and his family? Who knew about the atrocities committed against innocent traders at the Railway Station in Accra? The only crime of the traders was that they had the foresight to take advantage of the negligence and ineptitude of the Railway Corporation? The point I’m making is that my cleverly-timed musical chairs game diverted public attention from the many failures of my government and, indeed, took minds off Jerry Boom’s backyard ranting. I’m now looking for another strategy to keep public attention diverted. I have this feeling that Jerry Boom and his Not-So-Democratic Congress could give me just what I need. I will watch and pray. Now I have to put my pen down here. I have a meeting with my BNI boys. They must heighten their surveillance of the Ex-Excellent One. Thank you very much for reading. You will hear from me again next week. Your Excellent One, J. A. Fukuor. PS. I am still staying in my house near Shangri-La. I see no reason why I should move to stay by the sea, even though I have used your money to refurbish the Castle. I will tell you why I have not moved in my next letter.

J. A. Fukuor
J. A. Fukuor, © 2003

The author has 204 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: JAFukuor

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