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01.04.2005 Feature Article

Letter From The President: Just a Game?

Letter From The President: Just a Game?
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Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, I have heard some people saying that “there is a lot of tension in Sikaman.” I often hear this being said by all sorts of people:from democracy advocates to chainsaw operators. But over the last couple of weeks, a lot more people have joined in the chorus and have even gone further to blame Jerry Boom and me for the perceived tension. This was after Jerry Boom had compared me to the allegedly notorious armed robber, Atta Ayi during his “Wahala II” demonstration. After he had made this comparison, the chairman of my party, Mr. Ekessu organized a grand press conference at which he attached all sorts insulting labels to Jerry Boom. As a result of these exchanges, many people are saying that the tension in the country has increased. Others have called on me and Jerry Boom to exercise restraint, resolve our difference and live together in harmony as statesmen.

All well and good!

But I want to say that I don't think there is any tension in this country. I don't like it when people create mountains out of molehills. A few insults are exchanged over the political divide and people think that things are going to fall apart? Please, give me a break. I have told before and I am going to say it again. In fact, Mr. Ekessu even mentioned it at his press conference. Insults are all part of the political game. At least, on this issue, Jerry Boom and I are in total agreement. He insults me, I respond either personally or by proxy. Do you remember that woman who said our opponents have “become dogs” at the Party People's Assembly recently? I didn't ask her to say what she said but she said what I would have liked to say and I couldn't agree with her more. I have called Jerry Boom “Sasabonsam” (the devil) and he's now calling me an armed robber. It's all good. What you have to understand is that these insults and the debates they consequently generate are all part of a grand scam by politicians to take your minds off our failings. When Jerry Boom opens his mouth wide and says something very insulting, sometimes bothering on treason, I jubilate with my governing team and my party members. It's always an opportunity for us take a break from defending our failure to fulfill our promises. Jerry Boom's decision to call me an armed robber (or compare me to one), for example, shifted the public focus from the fuel price hikes (for which he went on the demonstration) to whether he was behaving responsibly as a statesman.

When you hear politicians exchanging insults, don't try to intervene with doomsday warnings about the possibility of tensions rising as a result of their utterances. To us, it's all part of a “game”. These are 'secrets' am sharing with you so please let them remain only in your head.

You see, for the politicians in Sikaman, running the country and doing everything possible to get an opportunity to run the country is just a game. It's not really about a deep desire to end poverty and bring prosperity to our people. It's not about providing better education and securing the health of the people. It's just a game – a game of name-calling, thievery, cover-ups, scandals, amassing of wealth, Swiss Bank account, getting friends to pay the school fees of one's children, luxurious living, petty mindedness, accusations and counter-accusations, needless travels, nepotism, useless speeches, square pegs in round holes etc.

That's why I disagree with those who claim that our little game is creating tension in this country. I suppose when people say there is tension in the country, they mean that relations are strained; that politics is increasingly dividing the citizens and that a little spark could generate violence and chaos. I don't think that this is an accurate reflection of the effect of our political game on the people. They turned out in the numbers to vote in elections without drawing daggers. They go to Makola to shop together without having to produce their NPP or NDC identity cards. They sit, side by side, in my mass transit buses and travel from one end of town to another. So where is the tension?

Perhaps, I don't feel and sense it because I am so detached from the people. I don't interact with them often and my foot soldiers are not telling me the truth. If you know of any device for measuring the level of tension in a country, please let me know where I can get one to buy. I am tired of hearing people screaming about the “tension” in the country and not having any means to independently verify whether there is really a lot of tension in the country. I need to know because tension is like temperature – the higher, the deadlier! If we had paid just a little attention to the increasing tension between the Abudu and the Andani, the mess in Dagbon could have been avoided. If the world had responded to the increasing tension between the Hutu and the Tutsi, the genocide in Rwanda (and the civil war in Burundi) could have been prevented. As I sit here, I can't believe there is tension in Sikaman. But I promise to act the moment I sense any tension so that there will not be any negative consequences. What do you think? Perhaps, I should act now to stop any tension from building up. Yes! I suppose that's what I have to do. The best way to stop the tension from building up is to stop the political game. From this moment on, I declare my resolve to do all I can to stop the political game – especially the insulting bit – as my contribution to reducing tension. I hope that Jerry Boom's camp reciprocates. The least I expect from those in my camp is for them to respect my wishes. We have to lead by example. Even if Jerry Boom insults us, we don't need to respond in kind. Ending the insults should start with us. An end to the 'insults trade' will also help us to focus on the real challenges that confront us. I don't really like to focus, but this is my last chance to do something good for Sikaman before I become un-electable.

Excellently yours,

J. A. Fukuor Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.