The start of the year gives each of us all a new opportunity to hope. Most of us, except the loony, suicidal few, are hoping that this year turns out better than the previous one. I have my own hopes. If all my hopes were put in a sack, it’d be so heavy that none of the ‘kaya-yei’ in Agbogbloshie would risk carrying it.

I want to share a few of them with you.

First, I hope President Mills starts running – actually. The last year saw him moving slowly like an injured tortoise. Hopefully, he would start running a bit faster to tackle our problems with the urgency of the now. For example, it’s taken him too long to decide on the issue of ex-gratia payments and the earlier he made up his mind the better. I hope that when he does make up his mind it should be that ex-gratia will be scrapped.

I am also hoping that President Mills does something (anything) to reverse the polarisation that took place under the Kufuor administration. So far, he’s looked on whiles his followers misbehaved and the NPP-this, NDC-that nonsense continues unabated. He also didn’t really help matters by dissolving all government boards and replacing key people in government corporations with NDC cronies. I am hoping for future appointments, the president picks people on merit irrespective of their party affiliations. Now, this is too much to ask, I know. But it’s the right thing to do and the President must show the way. It’s called leadership. We pay the president to lead by example, don’t we?

I hope that a firm decision will be taken on the shape of our educational system and someone will get the sense to say we’ve had enough of the reform experiments. If I had my way, we would bring back the A-levels. But I don’t have way and therefore, I am hoping that whatever is decided will be a good policy that will be implemented to the benefit – not the detriment – of future generations. Until that is done, I’ve made up my mind that my offspring (if God blesses me with any) will not go through the Ghanaian educational system. Hopefully, I’d get some friends to pay their fees in schools abroad in a place like the British School in Lome.

I am also hoping that some people get sacked from government position this year. Zita Okaikoi, for example, must go. So should Alex Tettey-Enyo, Juliana Azumah and the mayor of Accra, Alfred Vanderpuije. With their departure, I hope that the size of the government shrinks a little bit and the President will bring in more ‘Team A’ players.

I also hope that the President will start delivering inspiring speeches and that he’d rumble, fumble and stumble less. The one he delivered on New Year’s Eve wasn’t bad at all. I hope we get more of those. All throughout the last year, most of his speeches were the sort we mostly were in a hurry to forget. I am not hoping that President Mills becomes a Barack Obama. But I want to hear speeches that are well thought-out, memorable and inspiring.

I look forward to the day when a speech by President Mills will move me to tears.

For 2010, I am also hoping that Charles Wereko-Brobbey doesn’t win the chairmanship of the NPP. Plans are being hatched to prosecute him for the obscene waste that was Ghana@50 and he will need all the energy and money he’s got to defend himself in court. I hope that his trial is fair. Hopefully, government will not adopt the tactics Kufuor and co. used to jail Tsatsu Tsikata.

I am hoping that the ‘ecomini’ takes the right turn towards becoming an economy. Inflation, hopefully, should be brought under control and interest rates should fall because hopefully, I’d get a mortgage, take a loan to buy a new car and take even more loans to pay my school fees.

I am also hoping that the ‘single spine’ will not break. The new salary structure which comes into effect this year has already come up for strong criticism in some quarters and I hope to God that it’s as strong as a spine should be and it will be able to hold the body of every Ghanaian worker together.

It is also my hope that we will actually start drilling oil and that the money will not line the pockets of a few “greedy bastards” but will be used on important projects like building an efficient and intelligent police service, as my friend, Abena Obi, has been advocating.

For 2010, I am also hoping that BNI agents will start using more brain and less brawn. I hope they strive to work within the law and stop doing as they please – trampling on people’s rights.

I hope that Arsenal and the Black Stars, especially, win a cup this year. I can cope with Arsenal’s drought for one more year but the Black Stars should end theirs in 2010. It’s been almost 30 years since they won anything. Even the drought in Ethiopia didn’t last this long.

I also hope that Ghana goes far in the World Cup and I hope the South Africans, hosting the tournament, do not disgrace themselves. From the little I’ve seen, they will make themselves proud and some of the pride will trickle spring up from down south to other African countries.

I hope I live and stay healthy throughout the year.

I hope some idiot doesn’t run his car into mine (the one I’m yet to buy) and I hope not crash into anyone. I hope drivers will be more careful on the road and more considerate of each other.

I hope I get to take a vacation in Jamaica.

I hope to make as many friends as enemies.

I hope my bank account turns from red to blue.

I hope… I hope too much!

I am hoping for the best. But I also want to be prepared for the worst.

Like Arsenal may not win anything this season, the Black Stars may be humiliated in Angola and South Africa. President Mills may get slower. Rawlings might even stage a coup again. Zita Okaiko will keep her job. My bank account could take on a deeper reddish hue. My enemies will outnumber my friends. Some idiot might run a knife through my belly and I could die…

I am hoping for the best, but I wish I knew how best to prepare for the worst.

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