15.08.2003 Feature Article

Letter From The President (XIII): Taylor-made troubles

Letter From The President (XIII): Taylor-made troubles
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Countrymen and women, opponents and loyalists, Am so sorry but I have to write about Charles Taylor and the Liberian situation again. But I am so happy to be writing about him after I saw him leave the executive mansion in Monrovia. I am even gladder because Taylor’s exit follows my deliverance from an attempt to ‘destabilise’ my government. I have been instructed by Kagyapong and the others to use the word ‘destabilise’ instead of an attempted coup d’etat. Never mind the propaganda gimmicks – as far as I am concerned, someone wants to see me vacate the Black Star stool and they wouldn’t mind using violent, undemocratic means to dislodge me from this beautiful stool. With my experience in Monrovia, watching Charles Taylor handover power, I think it is such a distinguished thing to do handing power over to someone else. If Taylor felt so dignified to step down, I can only imagine how I will feel to hand over to someone from my own party in 2009. Ok, so now Charles Taylor is gone – and what a Monday it was. He kept me in such great suspense when he failed to turn up at 11.59, the time he himself had promised to step down. I started thinking that the son of a gun had reneged on yet another promise. But lo and behold after about an hour, Taylor showed up and explained that he had been at the airport waiting for Thabo. Even then I couldn’t wait for him to step down and I was praying for proceedings to be sped up. Oh, I was anxious, when he took to the podium and started with his speech, and what a speech it was. The man can easily pass for a Baptist priest, but as you know, it is easy for wise Excellencies like me to identify a wolf in sheep skin. So I didn’t take him serious – he sounded like a clanging cymbal to me. His speech, to my mind, was a time-wasting cacophony from a mad dictator who was watching his demise like a movie. As I stood behind him, my fingers were itching to be folded into a blow to punch Taylor’s head. To cut a long story short, I was very happy to see Taylor hand over to his vice, Blah-Blah Black Moses. He looked quite sensible but I wonder why a very noble-looking gentleman like him supported evil Taylor for so long. I will keep an eye on him and tell you about what I think in about a week or two. But for now, whatever he says, I believe he is going to be a puppet of Taylor and if Olu does not stop the fallen dictator from using a phone, Liberia will be governed by remote control from Calabar. I don’t think that Taylor deserves any more ink than I have already used to write about him so I promise you that I will not write about Taylor until his day of reckoning comes – when he will have to face the law and experience the agony he caused millions of people not only in Liberia, but in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Guinea etc. I must however, say a big ‘thank you’ (albeit reluctantly) to Taylor for helping me to ‘chop’ my chairmanship of the ECOWAS very well. I don’t think that any ECOWAS president in the last decade has been as busy as I have been in the months since I was elected to lead the sub-regional grouping. Thanks to Taylor, I have been on CNN, BBC, Reuters and many of the other news networks. Thanks to Taylor’s barbarity, I am more recognizable all around the world. After Thabo and Olu, I suppose am the most popular African leader today. So much for Liberia and its Taylor-made troubles. Let me shift attention and talk a little about the home front. There is a little secret I will like to share with you – I was very ‘Maths-phobic’ when I was a small boy. I barely passed my Maths examinations when I was in secondary school and when I completed my A-Levels I thought I will never encounter Mathematics again. But alas, even in the most excellent days of my life, I am still haunted by Maths. Events over the past few weeks have exposed my Mathematical deficiencies and I am utterly confused. First of all, all this debate over the GETfund has unnerved me. I don’t know what the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) wants me to do. Are they saying that some monies have been embezzled? Are they saying that monies which should have been paid into the GETfund have not reached their destination? NUGS’ leader, who is a medical student and an obvious Mathematical whiz kid, does not seem to be a good communicator. He should just say what’s on his mind, instead of beating about the bush, waving confusing Mathematical figures in my face. How does he expect me to take action, if all he does is to confuse me with Maths? Another cause of my confusion in the past couple of weeks has been the debate over the National Health Insurance Bill. Is this so-called 2.5 percent contribution from SSNIT a loan or what? Well, I thought it was a loan until after my address to a durbar in the Dangbe district. I realized after that speech that my views contradicted that of the Finance and Health Ministers, who by all standards are better in Maths than I am. But I am reluctant to swallow my presidential pride and concede that the two ministers are right. For now, accept what I say that we are negotiating for a 2.5 percent loan from SSNIT. “2.5 percent of what?” I can imagine you ask. Well, my answer is a big “I don’t know”. Let’s wait until the confusion surrounding the health insurance bill is sorted out. For now, I want someone to tell Nana Akomea that he is very lousy in Maths and that if I took the same BECE exam with him, I will score a higher grade. I will also be back Excellently yours, J. A. Fukuor

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