20.06.2003 Feature Article

Letter From The President (VI)

Letter From The President  (VI)
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Hosu CastleAccra Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, I have a special announcement to make. By God’s Grace Dictator Gadafi (or Qathafi) has agreed to supply us with oil at the ‘cheapest possible cost’. How magnanimous of a despot. In Libya I learnt about how my friend, and even more democratic Olu, has been cheating us. His oil is too expensive and whenever I tried to bargain, he asked me to go to Angola or Libya. He capitalized on my aversion for dictatorial regimes and the criticisms heaped on me by my opponents whenever I try to deal with the likes of the people at the helm in Angola and Libya. But I mustered courage and traveled up north to meet with Qathafi. He gave me a very warm reception, which contrasted sharply with what Olu has accorded me. Qathafi (Gadafi) took me to the town he has built with so much opulence for himself, Sirte, where he fed me to my fill and told me about the vast expanse of his empire, gave me a lecture on the benefits of being a dictator and his dislike for Mkebi, the bald Sene man and Olu and promised me tonnes of oil. He’s not really taken kindly to the attempts by Mkebi, the bald Sene man and Olu to “usurp” the NEPAD initiative. According to Qathafi, the three men pose a grave threat to the realization of his dream of becoming the first President of a United States of Africa. Don’t blame me for failing to tell it to his face that it is a stupid dream, a dream which did not materialize even for the great Nkrumah, who ‘wasted’ our resources to further his futile ambition. It would have been foolhardiness on my part if I had pointed this out to Qathafi – for God’s sake, he wouldn’t have been so magnanimous. He could even have held me hostage, you know. Don’t forget that he is, arguably, the only man in history to have ever tried to overthrow an American president. I don’t know whether he wanted to be the president of America, but he tried. He is trying very hard to see to see to the fulfillment of his dream to become the president of the USA (it doesn’t really matter whether it is the United States of Africa or United States of America – it definitely should be a USA) so I kept quiet and waited patiently to promise me the oil. Qathafi promised to bring down the oil, possibly refined, so that I wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money on making the oil fit for use in my country. Consider the fact that Qathafi’s oil will be transported at a cheaper cost over a longer distance compared with the distance Olu transports his oil to me, yet Olu’s oil is even more expensive. Now I know that Qathafi is a better friend than Olu. But I am in a dilemma. Should I back the overly ambitious plans of generous dictator in a far-off desert to become the President of a USA or support a stingy next door neighbour who claims just to be pushing an agenda to help develop Africa? This, should be a matter of serious debate in this country. I’ve had enough of radio discussions about Jerry Boom’s infantile pranks on the police. I thought I would return from my Libyan trip to congratulatory handshakes for helping those bickering Liberians to come to their senses. I was disappointed, but not surprised, to be told that the rebel and government delegates have forgotten how to sign their signatures. Well I waved my magic wand and just a day after my arrival they signed the deal and am receiving the congratulatory messages now. Yes, I am now some kind of a hero. What kept them from signing the pact whiles I was away? I don’t know! Well, I agree that the fighting back home and the UN’s undiplomatic indictment on Taylor, the Chief Rebel, did not help matters. Immediately on my arrival I called the rebel and government delegations in the language of mortals, the type you don’t see in legal documents, that I neither have the time, the resources nor the patience to have them talking endlessly in my backyard. I made pointed it out to them that as they sleep in the five-star hotels, there are thousands of people who can’t sleep, or are sleeping with their eyes half closed, because of their madness. I know that having signed the ceasefire deal, they are already planning to break it. I don’t care much about that, all I want is for them to get out of my country. In fact, signing the deal took too long. If I had brought down the warring factions in Dagbon, given them half the resources devoted to the Liberian talks and encouraged them to jaw-jaw for seven days, we might have been preparing for the enskinment of a new Ya Na by now. In any case am trying to evacuate as many Ghanaians from Liberia as possible. Even though I know they could add to the unemployment figures here, I always say to myself that “an excellent man has gotta do what an excellent man has gotta do”. I was stunned when I learnt that most of evacuees happen to be fishermen who cast their nets too wide. Why on earth did they go to Liberia to fish? Are they averse to our ‘kpanla’ and Keta school boys? I am aware that a lot of Ghanaians don’t like the economic situation in the country and are desperate to make a better life for themselves elsewhere. But why run from a country of Heavily Indebted Poor Citizens into a land where bullets fly more frequently than birds? In Libya, I met with some Ghanaians who are struggling to make ends meet in the Desert, all in a bid to cross the Mediterranean into Spain. Am told a lot of them die like pigs trying to get into Spain. I am so alarmed by the desperate measures some Ghanaians take to get of this country, that I am thinking of a special presidential initiative to ensure a safe exit for Ghanaians who cannot cope with the HIPC climate. I will tell you about it next week. Those of you who like praying should please make it a point to say a prayer for Liberia and Libya. I want to see Liberians living together in peace and I need Qathafi to fulfill his promise to supply me with oil.

I remain, Your Excellent One,

J. A. Fukuor

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