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17.04.2009 Feature Article

Letter To Jomo: No Sugar in Mills' tea

Letter To Jomo: No Sugar in Mills' tea
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I used to know this senior bachelor in my neighbourhood, whose custom it was on pay days, to make a steady beeline from the paymaster's office to the pito bar, where bubbling over with infectious bonhomie, he would stand everyone in the house a big calabash of the foamy guinea-corn wine of the Savanna, until a good Samaritan gently steered him to the gate.

As he staggered home, Jomo, nocturnal brigands and other parasitic human creatures would materialise from the shadows and claiming the fellow owed them money, proceed to relieve the stoned bloke of what was left of his wallet's original contents.

His family, finally determined to put a halt to the whole nonsense, embarked on a monthly ritual of sending a couple of hefty lads every pay day, to waylay their wayward kinsman as he headed for the pito bar and forcibly take delivery of the precious wages of sweat and toil for safe keeping.

I ran into the gentleman most unexpectedly recently. He had aged but was apparently still very much his old happy-go-lucky self: Let us quaff pito, eat pork and be merry, for tomorrow we kaput!

See? Some controversial species on two legs in the family will not change in a thousand eternities and the head of family were better off concentrating on his role than yielding to the distractive antics of those who from all indications might remain staunch rebels through all seasons.

It is a worthy morale for President Mills' prudent consideration as his time machine ticks on toward the last second of his hundredth day in office today, April 17, 2009.

Mills' friends on the other side of the political divide who seem to love the man so very much, lost precious sleep during the week, counting the number of promises he vowed to fulfill during his post election honeymoon.

Not that the man enjoyed any honeymoon, Jomo. As a matter of fact, no civilian president in this country has encountered such unrelenting hostility during his first hundred days in office. The hostility Mills is facing from opponents is best seen to be believed.

Heads, the man loses. Tails, he fares no better. Not even a cube of sugar to sweeten the man's morning tea.

The Presidential "honeymoon" as conceptualised by the Yankees who came up with the idea, was a traditional l00-day period after a President's inauguration, intended to give him a clear head and some peace to assemble his administrative team and get to work.

During this so-called honeymoon; the opposition and its press refrain from attacking the new president, congress (in our case parliament) is readily disposed to supporting the new President's initiatives and the president generally enjoys considerable public goodwill, see?

Apart from the late US President Gerald Ford who went down in the country's history as the man to have enjoyed the shortest presidential honeymoon in US history, I do not know of any president in a democratic setting who has had such a short-lived honeymoon as President Mills.

In his first few days in office, Ford inexplicably granted Richard Nixon pardon for the unforgettable Watergate phone-tapping scandal and the Yankees were so mad that only a couple of weeks into office, Ford's popularity ratings dropped by 30 solid points!

The president met with the press on Tuesday to review his hundred days in office. He scored himself high marks for the achievement of his administration during the period. I told you the man was smart, didn't I, Jomo?

Let your opponent evaluate your performance and sure as apapransa is apapransa, he will score you many steep points below zero. Score yourself a hundred and ten out of one hundred points, and it is your word against his!

From comments made at his meeting with the press, it is dead certain that Mills won't be making any new friends any time soon, no sir:

He has promised to take a really big metal opener to a huge can of controversial crime cases from alleged murder to the case of a whole shipload of cocaine which de-materialised into a vast cloud of atmospheric oxygen and floated away across the ocean, while Ghanaian security who had been alerted by foreign intelligence looked on stupefied.

A secret service operative, who played a key role in the investigation of the case but later declined to testify in the famous trial, has returned home from abroad and you can stake a generous wager that this weird coke tale is far from over yet.

In between, are new cases of alleged official graft and fraud, which Mills is meticulously scanning with an all-purpose lens!

With a little help from Parliament, Mills managed to assemble the full complement of his team ahead of his one hundredth day in office, but hey, vetting of the nominees to his administrative team exposed with stark clarity, the level of extreme political partisanship that feeds into every single issue in this country.

A nominee was typically reminded that on this and that occasion he/she had said this and that and impugned the integrity of the minority party or its activists and leaders.

The nominee was then asked to publicly retract what he/she had said and apologise. The unspoken "or else ... " threat was too loud for any nominee to miss.

I know more than one guy who would readily render a thousand apologies at the drop of a hat, as a condition for getting a job, so you wonder what the grand deal was.

For a great job, Jomo, I would myself render any apologies demanded of me quick-time and with a singular profusion, and even go on to volunteer some top-up apologies for no wrong committed, just to keep the vetting people very happy.

Here is a footnote to President Mills' review of the honeymoon that never was: Environmental sanitation: The waste management company, Zoomlion's initiative appears to be paying off in a rather limited way. Armed robbery: The bandits show no sign of giving Ghanaians any respite.

Water and power supply: If consumers are not complaining it is because they have run out of breath. The economy: It is the entire globe which is in a great crisis and Auntie Efua last month added fifty Ghana pesewas to the price of a piece of cooked bush meat without being able to explain why.

Credit: George Sydney Abugri [Email: [email protected] Website:

George Sydney Abugri
George Sydney Abugri, © 2009

The author has 24 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: GeorgeSydneyAbugri

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