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17.08.2005 Feature Article

Letter From The President: Shut Up, Tata Mills

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Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, am sad to report that Asomdweehene Tata Mills has gone back to his 'copiatus' ways.

I don't understand why the man takes delight in imitating my special initiatives. Since Sikaman citizens voted to return me to power, Tata Mills has not found it wise to hold a press conference to talk about my policies (good or bad). He only saw the need to do so after I had delivered one of my best public performances at last week's media encounter. Just two days after my media encounter Tata Mills was on stage commenting on my “shortcomings”. I have no problems with Tata Mills commenting on my shortcomings but we'd all have been happy if he had done so before my media encounter. As it turned out his press conference was in response to mine and not necessarily a platform for him to speak about my shortcomings. I will urge Tata Mills and his advisors to realize that their 'copiatus' ways do not auger well for the fortunes of their party and our democracy. No wonder his press conference did not attract as much attention and coverage as mine did. The NDC gurus should be more innovative and proactive. Imitation, Tata Mills must realize, is a limitation in every sphere of human life. I expect a professor of his calibre to know this simple truth. I am so pissed off that I have decided to write this letter to respond to his response to my media encounter. One of the news items about Asodweehene's press conference that attracted my attention said that he had expressed delight at my admission that my administration inherited some good things from the NDC government.

Am sorry to burst his bubble, but I don't remember saying anything about anything positive the NDC had done. All I said was that the NDC initiated the process for a loan from the Kuwaiti government. I didn't say that this was a good thing. I will like Tata Mills to know that securing a loan is one of the easiest things any government can do. It's true that my government has made heavy weather out of loan acquisitions – by attempting to contract a loan from a company which is housed in hairdressing salon for example – but really negotiating for a loan is not that difficult. So if ever I want to acknowledge any of the NDC's good deeds (of which there is only a handful) I will not even mention loans. If Tata Mills expects to be praised for something he did, he should not expect it from me and he should not ever proclaim anywhere again that I have acknowledged some of his government's good deeds.

At his press conference, Tata Mills is also reported to have accused me of not doing enough for the poor in Sikaman. He, in fact, said that my government is obsessed with micro-economic indicators, neglecting policies that will alleviate poverty. According to him, this obsession has increased poverty levels in the country and the price of kenkey has tripled since I assumed office. I acknowledge that I am obsessed with micro-economics. It's a very good obsession – better than investing in Cotton and expecting to harvest rice. Had it not been for this obsession, inflation will be sky-rocketing and business executives would be whining every day. Thanks to my prudent fiscal policies, government officials can now boldly tell commercial banks to start lending and reduce their interest rates. I know that times are rough for most citizens and that, as I keep saying in my letters, many of my compatriots are still feasting on kenkey and “moko yerawa”. I don't need Tata Mills to tell me. But he should realize that I am doing my best to undo the mess he and his government created by throwing economic common sense to the dogs. Remember, I told you all that things will get worse before they get better. So as worse edges closer to worst, you must know that things are about to get better. One of my major failings so far is that I have not tightened my belt as much as I have told the citizens to. I spend a lot of money on myself and my ministers are growing richer by the day – driving in luxury cars and living in plush mansions. But the citizens are not complaining much. Even when they do complain, they make it easy for us to ignore them. Thank God for an understanding and indulging citizenry. They realize that the president must eat well and to rule well. In time, they know, things will get better.

Another issue that caught my attention from the Tata Mills press conference was his call for a “national consensus” on the health insurance scheme. What does he mean? Is this man for real? We've already passed the health insurance law and we are now in the very difficult phase of getting the scheme to actually work for our people. I feel very bad that the scheme has taken so long to be implemented and I don't need Tata Mills to come and confuse me with talk about “national consensus”. All over the country, hundreds of thousands of people are signing up to be part of the scheme everyday. If this is not a sign that there is already a consensus on the matter, I don't know what Tata Mills wants to see again. Have you realized that the NDC is getting obsessed with “consensus”?

I can't help but think that when Tata Mills and his NDC gurus don't find any problems with my government's programmes they try to create imaginary ones so that they can needlessly criticize. I have had enough of this. What annoys me most is that after all the big talk about my shortcomings (and I know I have a lot of them) the eminent professor in Tata Mills failed to provide any viable alternatives. The sad fact is that he (and his party) hasn't got any. If he had any alternatives, he would have been able to convince his own people in the Central Region to vote for him and I wouldn't be sitting on the Black Star Stool anymore. Please, next time you meet Tata Mills (at a funeral or at a press conference – anywhere you meet him) please tell him to get off my back and give me the breathing space to do what I've been elected to do. Tell him to stop imitating me. But most important of all, tell him that on any given day, if he hasn't got anything to say, he should shut up and stop criticizing without offering viable alternatives. The last time I checked, silence was golden.

Excellently original,

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

J. A. Fukuor
J. A. Fukuor, © 2005

The author has 204 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: JAFukuor

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