16.08.2009 Feature Article

Mind Your Speed, Mr. Protocol

Mind Your Speed, Mr. Protocol
16.08.2009 LISTEN

Clinton said it: these protocol people can mess up the life of a president. They can for instance polish and polish your face until it loses everything natural about it and they would continue to polish.

You simply cannot be yourself when these people are in their elements, and they always seem to be anyway. Imagine President Mills on a tour of some region. Can you see the massive figures running around without direction, shoving and stepping on the toes of the little ones who want to catch a glimpse of Mr. President?

See, British etiquette dictates that “you may not shake the queen's hand, only touch it briefly, so that would rule out the fist bump. And if there's food around, and the queen stops eating it, everybody else has to stop, too.” What a choke on democracy; they expert other people to align their tummies, no matter the number of chambers, to the one regal and dainty.

At AUCC recently, Shaka Ssali of VOA also recounted how the protocol people frustrated him the first time he wanted an interview with the then President Kufuor. “I kept telling my viewers on the show that the Ghanaian President was going to join us soon till the end of the programme. Later the President said he was not aware.”

It has been a long time since I met you around this corner. It was not deliberate. My plate has simply been too full. But I had to sprint back here because of the danger I saw these protocol people put President Mills' life through on the Ho-Accra Road.

The workshop at Chances Hotel ended early on Sunday and luckily for my colleague and I, one of the resource persons, an academic Dr. of no mean worth, offered us a lift back to Accra (sorry, up to Tema) in his four wheel “full nyanya.”

It was halfway through our journey that I witnessed what left me wondering whether life, at any point in time, mattered to these people. My weary backside was beginning to indulge in the cuddle of the back seat as the scholar treated us to an insightful dose of singular knowledge.

It happened like a hint of lightning and before we could say jack medusa, an untroubled dispatch rider was metres ahead of our car, authoritatively signaling us to clear off the road. Our driver, who seemed all too familiar with the practice, took no time at all in bringing his engine to an unexpected halt. Eh, is the president in these parts, we wondered. But oh, before we could say Agya Atta, again, a flotilla of cars had hummed past like a humming bird. We managed though to spot the Coat of Arms on one of them. “It's him,” I said, “yes, all animals are equal…” This time, I heard the driver laugh.

For the love of the one above, I wondered, what is wrong with these people?

“How can they be speeding like this with such an important person?” my learned company added.

“They will say it is protocol,” another person intervened.

“Protocol the sole of my foot,” I retorted.
I mean, for goodness sake, who is looking to kill the President in the middle of nowhere. I am not compromising the security of any president; the happy-go-lucky hotheads are, and they need to be called to order. But the President himself can talk, someone might suggest, so why does he not call them to order?

Yes, I agree with whoever thinks this way. President Mills will never, I am sure, ask them to drive him at such a speed. But he can impress upon them to tamper protocol with a little sense of life. He can tell them that Ghana needs them as much as it needs him. He can tell them that much as they are driving some of the best made and most expensive cars in the world, the speed at which they drive is simply too deadly.

But hey, I hear some of these people are as immovable as a bloated tick sucking lazily at the udder of a well-fed cow. Better still, I hear they, at times, act like a special purpose android, moving only when they are asked to and executing the task they are designed for and nothing else.

But what, has any president been killed through over speeding so far? So what is the fuss about anything?

Wait a minute; I remember the death of several dispatch riders under former Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor and I do not think we need any under President Mills or any other president.

By: Basiru Adam
Public Agenda

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