A very good friend of mine in the Italian Mafia told me that his uncle had once told him that a politician can steal more with one sentence than 50 men with guns. For this, he didn't want to venture into politics. But I tried very hard and managed to convince him to take to politics and enjoy the thrill of pretending to do something to help our HIPC counterparts in Sicily. Just a few moons after winning the seat to become something like a 'powerful assemblyman' in his hometown, this son-of-a-gun was arrested and jailed for using the people's money to take care of himself. In fact, he used public funds to buy anything he needed – from toilet rolls to ketchup for his kitchen. When I was told about his arrest and conviction I successfully pretended I didn't know him from Adam. I understand why politicians tend to be greedy but I can't fathom why some of us are too greedy. You know Bamba? I will never forgive God for bringing that man into my life. When I get to heaven, I will stand defiantly before God (or anyone he appoints to question me) and demand an explanation for why he brought Bamba into my life. I will not answer any of God's questions about those I persecuted, about the occasions I dipped my hands too deep into the communal pocket to repair my house or even all those women I have done it with until he gives me a tangible reason for the unfortunate intersection of my destiny and that of Bamba. But most important of all, I will never forgive myself for appointing that no-good, ignorant, malfeasance-tainted bootlicker as a deputy Minister. I remember when I first announced his appointment. He was jumping all over the place like a little rabbit. You see, he did a small job for me and he was always breathing down my neck demanding that I make him a minister of state. Oh, Jesus. If it hadn't been for politics, I would never have even appointed Bamba to polish my shoes. The man knows next to nothing. He is also a terrible liar – I mean he cannot lie properly. He had me by the balls at the time and, you should understand why I went against my better judgment and appointed him a minister. At that time in 2001, I was still struggling to get my buttocks stuck on the Black Star Stool and there were too many people holding (and squeezing) my balls around the clock. Bamba was one of them. The only woman I know with Horns was also one of them. She had difficulty spelling her own name and she couldn't even run a 'bofrote' business. There was also this man who had himself mired in a case of stealing. And guess what he was accused of stealing – wood, ordinary, cheap firewood. They were all squeezing my balls and making life on the Black Star Stool a little uncomfortable for me. What did they want? They all wanted to be ministers of state. To get them to leave my balls alone, I gave them some appointments. The woman whose 'bofrote' business was collapsing was appointed as deputy Minister for the Western Province, the man who allegedly stole firewood was supposed to go and work in the forest (where he could get as much firewood as he wanted to steal) and Bamba was asked to become a front desk executive at the Castle. I remember the chaos, controversy and parliamentary indiscipline which were generated by the appointment of these three personalities. Bamba's case especially stood out like an overbloated head. He could not provide a certain certificate he claimed he had obtained from one of the nation's foremost professional institutions. He claimed (I feel he lied, but I have to be a bit diplomatic) that the certificate was given to his late uncle in Olu's land for safekeeping. He could not keep his own certificates yet he was pestering me for a job in return for a 'small' favour he did me. He also said that after the Uncle's death the family failed to secure his property properly and so his certificate had been lost. Wait. Am coming to the most interesting part. “Alright, so your late uncle lost the certificate before he died, eh?” the appointments committee chairman asked Bamba and he answered by nodding his head like an Agama lizard. “OK, so why don't you go to the school where you studied for the certificate and get them to give you a copy,” a committee member suggested. But Bamba told the committee members that the school's administrative block was burnt down in a mob action by some students so there is not record to show whether or not he actually attended the school. I suppose that God did not think twice about whether or not Bamba's response should be marked as a lie. The case of Bamba and the appointee who was said to have stolen firewood really bothered me because I didn't like the divisions that had been brought into the otherwise united appointments committee which would normally have rubber-stamped all my appointees with glee. I told the two of them that even though I was squeezing water out of stone to get them some jobs, it seemed that they were not destined to be ministers. The firewood suspect agreed and so honourably declined to take the job. Not Bamba. He wanted to be a minister by all means. Now I know why. But we will get to that shortly. I had no choice than to instruct my 'yes' men and 'women' in the legislature to bulldoze their way through and get Bamba's appointment approved. Oh, how I now wish I didn't have so many 'yes' men and women in parliament. Soon after his appointment was approved, Bamba started reproducing my excellent letterheads (which by the way, are one of the worst-printed and less secured presidential documents in the world) and forging his colleague ministers' signatures. That's not all. Immediately he took office, Bamba could not resist the temptation to set up a company for himself, issuing sovereign guarantees for himself. At a time when I was struggling to get a sovereign guarantee for the botched IFC loan, Bamba was having it all smooth sailing, acquiring and securing all the guarantees he wanted. He was not smart. He was just a little bit greedier and dumber than I imagined him to be. The most foolish thing (which I've always been warning my ministers about) is that he failed to cover his tracks. Even after he had been caught and his case brought to my notice, he kept blackmailing me by threatening to give my balls a tight squeeze if I sacked him. Even though I am not happy that God created an intersection of our destinies, I take consolation in the saying that for every blindman He creates, God provides a helper. God strategically placed a disloyal whistle-blower in my office who decided to spill the beans to the media. Am glad that the cat has been left out of the bag and Bamba has resigned. Even though he has disgraced me and given my critics one more reason to question my anti-corruption strategies, I am happy that Bamba cannot squeeze my balls again. I have also learnt opposition is good sometimes. If I had stood my grounds and withdrawn Bamba's appointment he would have dented my reputation so much. There are so many lessons I have learnt from 'Bambaloo' which I am not ready to share with you yet. For now, join me in thanking Bamba for all what he has thought me and dishonourably deciding to get out of my life.
J.A. Fukuor [email protected]