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18.02.2009 Feature Article

Think Tank Minority Report By Cameron Duodu

Your Excellency President John Atta Mills,
It having pleased Our Lord Almighty to reveal unto thee in a dream, the true meaning of "Separate unto me Barnabas…", but thy intentions having been entwined in the different strands of wires that encompass thy administration, I do hereby now, of mine own volition, dispatch unto thee this epistle, which is the distilled version of the admixtured potion that I would have administered into thy cranial vessel, had I been permitted to tank up with the others at blessed Akosombo these past few days of recent.

My first and foremost prophecy unto thee is that unless thou eliminate from thy followers, the notion that "It is our turn" and therefore anything goes, thy sleepless nights will have been endured in vain, and thy physical discomforts shall be as sweet-smelling as a bed of roses, compared to the spiritual torture that thou shalt endure hereinafter.

"It is our turn" doth not discern the crappy project; it doth not work out fruit-yielding indicators. It careth not for pre-feasibility; it abhorreth not duplication. Its criteria are: what percentages doth the project deliver; where will its procurements be sourced; are variation orders inbuilt therein; is the 'invisibility' to be trusted; can silence be enforced against 'white-mailers'. And of these, the greatest is self-gratification.

Yet, as thou knoweth, the earth doth into a recession spiral; a depression doth await round the corner, seeking a chance to pounce on the unwary. Did not the wealthy Lehman Brothers turn into dust? Are not AIG's tentacles no more, fit only to receive Federal cash transfusions? Don't Freddie and Fanny abominable incest commit? Hasn't HBOS capped the knees of Lloyds? Yea -- I say unto thee, as did the Prophet David: how are the mighty fallen!

Now, if the green bay trees no longer stand erect, what shall be done unto deadwood, which produceth not what it eateth, but exporteth it abroad, unto parties, whose pockets do now exude an odour of toxic bonds? Verily, verily I say unto thee: unless thou doth husband thy resources cleverly -- cash, men, women, adolescents -- to till the land well until it yieldeth forth plantain, cocoyam, yam, cassava, maize, rice, millet, banana, oil palm, groundnuts and beans; unless thou resurrecteth the rivers and streams of the land by scientific desilting and planting of trees along their banks, so that their waters can once be enabled to breed tons of fish; if thou doth not learn from Joseph's ways in Egypt to not waste the harvests of the land, but to store them safely till they be bought; thine fate shall be as unto that of Nero the villain, cursed to fiddle whilst Rome burnt.

Verily, verily I say unto thee: The Lord thy God hath given thee land of great fertility; yet thou importeth food from dust bowls abroad, where thought hath been employed to cultivate even inferior land, till it cedeth enormous seeds of gigantic growth. Wherefore art thy people hungrier than those of Israel? Or of South Korea? Of Malaysia and indeed, Singapore? Think -- what would happen if the Japanese were blessed with as much "waste" land as thyself….!

Arise, therefore, and gird thy loins, oh Mills. Prioritise the use of the land. Build unto thee small dams to water the ground, and do plant thereon, pepper, garden eggs, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower and what vegetables the land can produce. And irrigate also on a large scale. Ask China for advise, Go even to Bangladesh. See the Green Revolution. Resurrect Dawhenya. Don't let the sea swallow Volta's waters free of charge. Create new waterways along the rivers' routes to sea and ensprout deltas of oasic greenery -- just as Egypt did in ancient times, and continueth unto this day. Dust off the 'Operation Feed Yourself' files. Seek knowledge where it may be found and apply it with all thy means.

Cut thyself off from reliance on raw produce. Save each year a fraction of thy cocoa income, and begin to build, inch by cubit, a huge manufacturing plant that will churn out chocolates for the world. Ask thy statisticians to compile figures of the meagre amounts thy cocoa crops receive, in contrast to the fat takings of the chocolate makers in Europe and America. Add the earnings of the hedge fund operators; the short sellers; the entire spectrum of speculator brethren. Also compile figures of the enormous cost incurred in shipping raw cocoa abroad. The cost of jute bags to contain the beans. Add the shipping costs of exporting huge logs, from which the Dutch, the Danes and Italians amazing furniture do create. Why can't thee export furniture thyself?

Art thou and thy people stupid, huh Mills? Take the figures to Barack Obama. Convince him to plead Africa's case with the G8 and the WTO. Verily, verily I say unto thee, just as Ruth pleaded with Boaz and went not unheard, and as Moses was able to change the Pharaoh's mind time and time again, so wilt thou be helped to pluck thy people out of economic morass, until takeoff lands on a level playing field, where the goalposts shall not move even as thou plougheth the land.

Also educate thy children well, oh Mills. Stuff not thy ears when told a system will short-change them; or will produce illiterate graduates. Thou wast thyself a teacher; sift what was good from what was chaff when thou wast in it and apply only the good to thy situation.

Thou hast travelled -- to Canada, to England, oh Mills. Let thy mind remember what impressed thee most and boldly apply it to thy home. It was never a shame to adopt and adapt good practice from others. The Greeks from the Egyptians learnt, as did Babylon; and the Romans learnt from the Greeks, and modern Europe is a child of Rome. Each boat that landeth on foreign shores giveth something to those it finds and of course taketh something away. Do not let it be one way, for therein lieth the path to destruction.

Finally, remember, oh Mills, that the Lord thy God is for purification and cleansing, because he doth hate filth, dust and dirt. Make thy streets and thy gutters clean so that thy people may walk on sidewalks, without applying a kerchief to their nose. Create sidewalks where there be none. Plant trees along all boulevards, so that children and the old may not faint as they walk in the hot sun. Create parks where people may safely sit to rest or dream or to talk. Give them clean toilets wherein they may relieve themselves. Build houses for the poor and turn the slums into planned estates.

Trust the people, oh Mills. Tell them the truth, and do avoid spin. For spin is self-defeating and an abomination unto the Lord of hosts, who sayeth: "Let thy yea be yea and thy nay be nay". Give the people the means -- cement, building materials, expert advice

-- and they will build dwellings for themselves. For who desireth to live in surroundings where houses are so packed together that no air can blow between them? Who loveth the shack of rusted iron clobbered unto cardboard, where privacy is sacrificed to profit?

I end here, with greetings to you and all those who honestly toil with thee.

May your mind be opened and kept open; may your safety be assured against ambitious villains who see thee as a way to personal power and provider of ill-gotten wealth. May thy health be preserved so that thy work may progress. Be thou the avenue for binding our ethnic wounds and marching us forward to national advancement. May God bless thee. Yours truly -- "Yours Truly"!

Cameron Duodu
Cameron Duodu, © 2009

Martin Cameron Duodu is a United Kingdom-based Ghanaian novelist, journalist, editor and broadcaster. After publishing a novel, The Gab Boys, in 1967, Duodu went on to a career as a journalist and editorialist. Author column: CameronDuodu

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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