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14.11.2009 Feature Article

The President's Corner Kicks

The President's Corner Kicks
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Even old men will be boys from time to time for sheer sport or to give the ageing genes some spark and President Mills may well have very deliberately contrived the now famous “ecomini' thing he struggled with in his address to Parliament the other time.

To the bafflement of those watching his every move while murmuring “there goes Professor Slow”, the President left his office at the old Castle and went to the great Jubilee Presidential Mansion on Tuesday to receive the letters of credence of some foreign envoys.

The spanking new mansion is haunted by political ghosts and has not been occupied since it was built, see? Questions relating to the cost of the project needed to be answered first and time allowed to exorcise the House of the ghosts, before presidential occupation.

Mills was working from the place for the very first time ever. Has he finally relocated to the mansion then? Nah. He returned to his office at the old Osu Castle after meeting the envoys. Where does the President have his office then? Fair question, Jomo. I don't know.

Remember Reagan? The old movie actor turned US president had no university degree but he was gifted with an acute intelligence and far above normal cognitive abilities, that saw him thinking ahead of presidential aides right on his feet all the time. (That is why the Americans made that unlettered veteran cowboy a US President in the first place!)

An individual like that could wrongly be perceived by those he needs to work with as an all-knowing and arrogant tyrant if he is not careful.

So what did Reagan do? He did things like pretending to doze off at meetings and making very deliberate mistakes people could giggle or laugh at. That way, he appeared human enough to be accepted by aides and all and sundry alike, see?

The scenario may not fit perfectly into the case of Mills but it is now becoming apparent that the man knows the name of this game alright. JJ “the Boom Man” Rawlings is probably a pro in the game.

Hey, JJ has been enstooled a big chieftain of his people in the Volta Region. JJ now gets to be called Torgbui Avaklasu I!

Given our level of development the mansion project is in my view a prestige project. The cost could well have gone to provide water, medicines, schools, farm and rural industrial equipment for underprivileged communities across the country.

Now there stands the mansion for better or worse. I guess what matters though, is not where national leaders conduct the political administration of the nation from but how effective they are in solving national problems.

There is this appalling circus called developemnt planning and implementation which has been going on for many years.

Outline a solution to any one of the multitude of problems facing our mighty Republic and I will have all ready for you in less than half a second, a kilometre-long list of reasons why your solution won't work.

Run, folks, run, the chief pessimist is in town again, you say? It has nothing to do with pessimism, Jomo: No sooner has a solution to a national problem been presumably found, than a dozen other problems related to the first begin popping up all around the supposed solution like detonating landmines.

In a bid to solve some of our more pressing problems, President Mills is all set to go on a spending spree. He is going shopping for planes for the air force, ships for the navy, anti-robbery logistics for the police and equipment for the fire service.

A couple of weeks ago, a 10-storey block which used to house the Ministry of Foreign Affairs went up in a huge sky-bound bonfire, if ever there was one, and poorly-equipped fire fighting crews watched on helplessly.

That is why the President has included fire suppression logistics and equipment on his shopping list.

Three happy cheers for the President then. Hip, hip, hip…wait a minute!

Even with state-of-the-art equipment manufactured on an industrial platform in outer space, you cannot fight fires without water and most fire hydrants across the country have become buried deep under refuse dumps, debris excavated by road contractors and work gangs from the utility services.

Even the Fire Service does not know where the darned hydrants are! Granted that a fire fighting crew managed to locate a hydrant, locating the scene of a fire in a country where the numbering of streets and houses is virtually unknown, is far easier said than done.

Alright, so a fire fighting crew equipped with Mills's brand new equipment manages to locate a building on fire. There are no access roads to the place which is as accessible as the vault of the Bank of Ghana.

The cops netted a bagful of armed bandits this week but not before two of the brigands had been dispatched by police bullets to the Kingdom that is yet to come. Some of the bandits had killed policemen and seized police weapons in recent weeks.

No one in this country is safe any more. Absolutely no one. The bandits are too many. They have come to realise that their blood-soaked “career” is the only one from which they can ever make the kind of living they are used to.

They have long discovered the power of fear as a psychological tool and will kill at the least opportunity to maintain a high level of fear in the populace.

This is necessary to ensure their victims' prompt compliance with their demands, so that they can quickly leave crime scenes with booty before they are confronted by police.

They have reached a stage where they are incapable of affection, mercy or sympathy on a fellow human being. A long-term solution is to launch a national exercise on an unprecedented scale to clean up this ruthless department of Ghana's underworld.

It is time to draw up a war plan. Call up the military to join forces with the cops (yes, it has come to that). Get all those who have been killing and robbing but who are now in the custody of the cops to talk, then launch an operational rampage across all the regions but, especially in Accra and Kumasi.

Very few people will be comfortable with the idea of soldiers joining the hunt and there will be fears that innocent people may be killed in such a campaign but if appropriate measures are taken this would be minimal. Without such a campaign, Ghanaians may prepare for the worst yet!

Daily Graphic
Daily Graphic, © 2009

The author has 236 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: DailyGraphic

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