05.09.2003 Feature Article

Letter From The President (XVI)

Letter From The President (XVI)
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Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, Without any apologies to Fiifi Mills (also known as Agya Atta) I will like to announce to you that “I am already in motion” and am running very fast towards the finish line. Fiifi's praise singers should change their tune and think of composing a dirge for the humiliation I am going to hand down to him in December 2004. There will be no second round and Fiifi will lose the electoral battle with his pants down. I am enjoying this feeling of being in motion and running fast when all my opponents are struggling to get on their marks. Do you remember the year 2000, when Fiifi Mills declared that he was “already in motion”? At the time I was just a candidate, traveling hundreds (if not thousands) of kilometers in a rickety Russian-made Niva to the hinterland to plead and beg for votes. Fiifi was enjoying himself, messing up everything, from market toll collection to the maintenance of the Castle with Jerry Boom. Yet, he had the guts to proclaim that he was already in motion and that nothing could stop him. He was really in motion and he thought being the first to get off the start mark will make him win. Alas, he failed to beat me and the rest is history. Now, my friends and enemies, I am also in motion, yes, already in motion. But I have this strange feeling – a feeling I will describe as terrified optimism. I am optimistic because I will carry 2004 but I am terrified that I have to move very fast to fulfill some leftover promises before the E-day. My recent tours in Accra and Ashanti have informed me that there are indeed a lot of leftover promises to be fulfilled. Being on the recent regional tours was a depressing experience for me. Wherever I went, all sorts of people, chiefs and so-called 'opinion leaders', among several others approached me with a catalogues of “things” I should do for them – they want me to dig their pit latrines for them; they want me to be their 'borla' man; they want me to fill the potholes in their roads; they are demanding that I 'create jobs' for their unemployable youth. That's not all. There are some people in the areas I toured recently who want me to help them to get husbands and wives; others want me to install their chiefs for them. They also don't want to lie on hospital corridors when they are most vulnerable and they are tired of forcing their children to carry their own furniture to school. All these are thing I know I promised to do but have done very little, if anything at all, about them. After the recent tours I am more determined than ever to get all those promises fulfilled. I promised positive change but I didn't indicate when it will be delivered. So being on my tour, with people asking me when the 'positive change' will come, my ready answer has always been this: “I promised to take you to the land flowing with milk and honey but I didn't say when we shall get there”. The people always stop asking questions when I give them this answer and they get even more mellow if there is a bootlicking DCE or regional minister besides me to ask them to give me “more time”. What I want everyone of my opponents and loyalists to know is that I am moving meticulously to give you the 'positive change'. I know that in some cases the change has neither been positive or negative – call it change in stagnation, if you may. But you have to be grateful for everything I have done or have failed to do. If nothing at all, don't forget, I helped you all to swallow your pride and declare to the whole world that you are poor, leading to the massive debt rescheduling and partial cancellation we are receiving now under HIPC. That's not all! Am also doing a lot more even at the peril of my political career. Just take a look back at what happened last week – the successful passage of the 'Health for All Bill' (popularly known as the National Health Insurance Bill) by the one-sided parliament. I think this should indicate to you that no matter what the 'against' people do, whatever impediments they place in my way I am very focused and I will do what I have promised to do. With the passage of that Bill, I think, and hope, that most, if not all, our health problems could be solved. We will get money to transform Korle Bu from its current graveyard status to the healing centre it is supposed to be; we will expunge “cash-and-carry” from our vocabulary and we will all be witnesses to a verse brain-drain – a phenomenon under which we will have doctors from Europe and America coming here to seek greener pastures. I am patting myself on the back for the speed with which I managed to get the health insurance bill passed and I believe that if I approach other issues with the same seriousness, focus and “tenacity of purpose” (no apologies to Jerry Boom) I shall fulfill all those leftover promises. Remember I am already in motion and no one can stop me. On Tuesday, members of the Not-so Democratic Congress staged a massive demonstration in Kumasi, my own backyard. Initially, I got scared when I saw the crowd which turned up for the so-called March for Survival II (aka 'Kafo Didi'). Initially, I thought that the Biblical saying that “a prophet is not accepted in his hometown” had come true for me. Just imagine my relief, when a bird whispered in my ear that most of those who marched for survival in Kumasi had been bussed from the four corners of the country to the Ashanti capital. Yet many others, am told, returned from their sojourns abroad to attend the special demonstration against my HIPC policies. Notable among this lot are Jerry Boom himself, who slipped out of the country immediately he realized that Boakye Djan was in town, and Agya Atta, who was busily begging for cents for the battle of his life next year. All these demonstrations and protests are the marks of a failing party which is desperately trying to make me unpopular. I will like the few people left in this country who still admire the NDC to tell its chamber pot carrier, Fiifi that I am already in motion. I will not run into a defeat like he did some three years ago. I will pretend to be solving the peoples' problems and all those who point out my pretensions will be sidelined – I will not take notice of them even if they march from Paga to Elubo in protest against my excellent policies.

Yours excellently,

J. A. Kufuor

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