Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, welcome to 2004. I am going to make history this year and I entreat you all to be part of the history-making process. This year, my name will go into the history books as the first truly civilian president to be elected to office for a second term. Most of you think that Jerry Boom holds that record. Well, I don’t think so. For a start, he was not a civilian (don’t they say that once a soldier always a soldier?) He also did not actually win the election in 1992. For evidence, go and read The Stolen Verdict. By the end of the year, I hope to get Professor Adu-Boahene (I wish him speedy recovery) to write my name in one of his history books as this country’s first truly civilian president to be elected to office for a second term.
I will be telling you about my strategies for recapturing the Black Star Stool shortly. But first, I am glad to inform you that this year I intend to write two letters to you every week. There are so many issues to talk about this year and my PR people believe that it is a winsome strategy for me to write two letters a week to give you a presidential perspective on the issues. So look out for my two exclusive letters every week in print (Daily Dispatch) and on line (ghanaweb.com). Oh, I guess, I have already given away one of my strategies for winning your mandate to sit on the Black Star Stool for four more years. I must say that I have no qualms, none whatsoever, about sharing my election strategies with you. I know that my opponents (Asomdwehene Fiifi, Coconut Mahama etc.) can neither replicate nor duplicate any of my strategies – they are unique to me, the trademarks of an incumbent president.
First on my list of strategies is to engage in so many politically-motivated sod-cuttings in different parts of the country. I have already sharpened my sod-cutting scissors and I suppose you saw me using those scissors getting to the end of the last year. I intend to cut so many sods to mark the commencement or conclusion of various projects including KVIPs, which I don’t like anyway. You must know however that my cutting the sod to signify the start of that KVIP (or some other project) in your community is no guarantee that the project will be completed. Don’t forget that the sod-cuttings are politically motivated.
This year, I intend to stand up against the World Bank and the IMF on a number of issues. By the end of the first quarter of the year, I hope to develop steel in my balls so that I can gleefully and boldly ignore some of their prescriptions. For example, I know that they will prescribe for me to rein in my government’s expenditure, that is to say that our expenditure should not exceed our income. But I will ignore these prescriptions and spend as much as I want. Sod-cuttings can be very expensive, you know. We need money not only to create an impression in the people’s mind that the project has started. We also need money to fund the fun-fair associated with these sod-cutting programmes. So with or without the approval of the Bretton Woods Institutions, my government will spend ‘by-heart’ as and when the need arises. This year, any suggestion from any quarter for an increase in petroleum prices or utility tariffs will be rejected outright. As a caring father of the nation, who jealously guards his position, I cannot afford to push my people to turn their backs on me by increasing their economic burdens with increases in the prices of commodities. If I had my way, like King Mswati of Swaziland, I will even order cassava and tomato sellers to maintain the current prices of their ware until further notice. But I am no Mswati so I will just focus on developing reinforced steel in my balls to enable me call every bluff of the Bretton Woods Institutions.
Another strategy I have adopted to help me win the elections is to switch into promise-making mode at the least opportunity. Don’t miss out on any of my promises. Keep your ears wide open and if you are lucky, I might promise you something very special. If you are not the type who keeps their ear open around the clock, this is my promise to you – I promise that, if I am re-elected, I will fulfill all the promises I failed to fulfill during my first term. One promise I do intend to fulfill if I am re-elected is to trim the size of my governing team to Jerry Boom levels. I know that the abolition of the ‘trotro’ system and the introduction of a highly efficient mass transit system is another promise which is waiting to be fulfilled. I promise to deliver on this promise, if and only if, those Europeans who promised to give us some second-hand buses fulfill their promises. Whatever the case may-be, I am in a promise-making mode, just like my opponents. I have no problem whatsoever about whether my promises are fulfilled or not. You are the one who will be confused by these promises and you are advised, dearest citizen, to read between the lines.
Another important aspect of my strategy to recapture the Black Star Stool is to do all in my power to divert attention from some of my major failings. Jerry Boom will be the main tool for the implementation this phase of my strategy. I intend to engage in a lot of verbal exchanges with him. Whenever he mentions my name, whatever he says about me, I will give him a response. I will call him ‘abonsam’ if need be. If he decides to heed the advice of his counselors and refrains from criticizing me, I will provoke him by exposing some of his misdeeds. I have a large dossier of his misdeeds in my possession. It’s the first document I read when I go to the office and the last to be tucked in a drawer when my work day ends.
Finally, I will encourage all my loyalists to prepare themselves for 12 months of praise-singing and bootlicking. I acknowledge that for the past three years they’ve been singing my praises and licking my boots without any reservations. For this I am grateful. But now is the time to up the tempo and sing my praises to the four corners of the country, especially in places like Keta, Kpando, Hohoe, Ho, Aflao and Jasikan because I want to takeover that bank. And if you sing loud enough for your voice to be heard, leading to my re-election I assure all my loyalists that, as I have done in the past three years, I won’t forget to make ‘jobs [available] for the boys’. Always making history, J. A. Fukuor [email protected]