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March 2010


Enough is enough!

That’s what the ruling NDC should be telling its supporters who have been on the rampage for well over a year, demanding what they believe they are entitled to.

They have seized toilets and lorry parks, chased public servants out of their offices, forcefully taken over jobs that have not been assigned them and now they are threatening to kill or maim DCEs they perceive to be underperforming?

They have every motivation to do their worst.

Their leaders – and, sadly, the leaders of our nation – looked on unconcerned as they went on an orgy of seizures from the beginning of last year, claiming it is their time to run the show and enjoy.

When these hoodlums started seizing toilets, we expected the president – or at the very least, the leadership of the ruling party – to say or do ‘something’ to ensure that sanity, law and order prevailed. But no one cared – or so it seemed – and NDC hooligans were allowed to have their way.

Now, the chickens are coming home to roost and the situation is almost out of hand. Now, they are actually threatening to kill if they do not have their way. After harassing people from other parties, they are now turning on their fellow party members – locking up party executives and threatening to kill the DCE for Yendi.

It’s the era of threats, it seems. One ‘wise’ chief threatens to kidnap another. His subjects threaten to kill journalists who spoke out against his threats.

No one gets arrested. No one gets punished.

Now NDC bandits are also threatening to kill DCEs and other public servants from within their ranks who they perceive to be incompetently working against the party’s interests. A minister tells them they have no right to be issuing threats and they turn around to threaten the minister with death.

No one has been arrested. No has been punished.

Police say their hands are tied. Indeed they are. Which police officer will arrest an NDC hoodlum for issuing threats and disturbing the peace? Definitely not the one who badly wants to stay in his job. Not even the IGP will dare.

So, no one will be arrested and no one will be punished.

The situation is not going to end anytime soon – until someone, probably the president, issues a strongly worded statement, condemning this dangerous wave of NDC banditry and urging the police to go out there and do their work.

It shouldn’t take death or some other awful disaster for our leaders to act.

It shouldn’t take another threat from a different quarter for national security to start pretending to be doing something, sending government officials scurrying like rats to potential trouble spots.

That would be too little, too late and it would yield very little.

Only the top leadership of the ruling party can end this madness and they can do so by telling their supporters that Ghana is not for them alone. We are all in this together – NDC, NPP, CPP and even ‘Nokofio’.

NDC being in power doesn’t mean that only NDC supporters should have all the good jobs and juicy contracts. The president must speak and call his supporters to order. That’s the least he can do. He should also tell his appointees (the so-called ‘big men’) to stop interfering with the work of the police. Officers must be empowered and allowed to go out there and arrest anyone who falls foul of the law without any fear of losing their jobs.

Within the next few weeks, some people should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed. It’s the only way to end this wave of NDC madness. If it doesn’t end soon and disaster strikes, we will all live to regret but much of that regret will be on the shoulders of the president and the leadership of the ruling party.

We, the rank and file of the Asante Students’ Union (ASU), National Secretariat, Manhyia, wish to register our utmost discontentment and fury about the gross and naked disrespect exhibited by Ato Kwamena Dadzie towards His Royal Majesty, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II and the people of Asanteman.

We read with shock and utter dismay the disparaging and unsavoury remarks made about his Royal Majesty, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II and the Asante Kingdom by Ato Kwamena Dadzie, a Joy FM presenter and clown, in an article captioned “Techiman vrs Asanteman: No one Wins.”

In the said article, Ato deliberately and rudely chastises Asantehene for a comment made by him (Otumfuor) about a fortnight ago. He (Ato) sought to erroneously create an impression that Asantehene’s comment was inciting and confrontational.

It is important to place on record that Otumfuor’s timely comments drew the attention of the National Security operatives and the government to the lawlessness that characterised the impasse between Techiman and Tuobodom and the unprofessional manner with which the Brong Ahafo Police Command handled the matter. Indeed the national security advisor, General Nunoo Mensah, upon follow up corroborated the position of the Asantehene when he indicated quite clearly that he had never been aware of the impasse between Tuobodom and Techiman until Nana Asantehene brought the matter to the attention and scrutiny of the public.

Regrettably, Ato in his said article, discourteously and childishly called for the apprehension of the Otumfuor for “causing fear and alarm.” It is instructive to state that nowhere in Asantehene’s statement did he overtly or covertly call for a war between Asantes and the people of Techiman. Ironically, Ato, who pontificates peace and claim to knowledge monopoly is apparently guilty of the same offence he accuses the Asantehene of (false alarm) and should rather be castrated. He states “there is war between Ashanti and Techiman.” When Asantehene, a true statesman, draws the attention of government and national security to the excesses and belligerence of Techimanhene (not the people of Techiman), the comedian, Ato, irrational interprets that to mean a declaration of war between Asantes and the people of Techiman. Now, who is causing fear and alarm; the ignoramus Ato who categorically alludes to a nonexistent ongoing war between Asantes and Techiman or His Royal Majesty, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II?

We wish to further point out the factual and historical inaccuracies and contradictions in the said article of Ato. Ato Kwamena Dadzie either consciously or ignorantly refers to the Asantehene as chief. We wish to advise him to consult his grandfather for the proper and befitting designation of Asantehene.

He also questions why Otumfuor as he derogatorily puts it “jumps into a fray between the chiefs of two neighbouring towns”, implying that the Asantehene had no business whatsoever in matters between the two towns. We again ask the “sanctimonious” Ato to purge himself of this historical blunder by contacting his history master or lecturer, whichever is applicable. Contrary to the question he posed, he goes ahead to acknowledge the historical reality that Tuobodom is an Asante protectorate.

Oh! What a contradiction!

To further his unbridled contradictions and advertised ignorance, he referred to the actions and inactions of the security agencies as “lacking foresight and common sense” when he had earlier gone beyond bounds of reason to lampoon and castigate the very statesman who brought the issue out from under the carpet to the attention and prompt response of the security agencies. Ato must learn!

The impudence and insults of Ato reached its threatening height when he stubbornly compares Asantehene and Tony Aidoo and unfortunately calls the latter “a loose cannon.” This we find highly offensive and a denigration on Asanteman.

The calls on the government by the “holier than thou” Ato to sideline Asantes in the rebuilding of Ghana is not only repulsive but also a clear manifestation of a deeply seated hatred by Ato and his cohorts for Asanteman and the people of Asante. It also smacks of a premeditated anti-Asante agenda and a grand design that Ato and his cronies have avowed to perpetrate towards Asantes.

In view of the foregoing, we the rank and file of the Asante Students’ Union, National Secretariat, wish to state unequivocally that Ato Kwamena Dadzie must render an unqualified apology to the Asantehene and Asanteman for his loose and uncultured remarks. He must equally write to retract the said article with an equal measure of prominence.

Long live Asantehene!
Long live Asanteman!
Long live Ghana!

(National President, Asante Students’ Union)

President Mills,

Congratulations on such a masterful delivery of the state of nation address. Your lack of optimism was clearly shown and your inability to once again fill our hearts and minds with words that will kick the socks off our feet was made abundantly clear.

A few months ago you called on the telecommunications operators to print their calling cards locally. This in your words will help the local economy back on it feet. Your minister of communications rightly waded into the matter, saying “I am personally displeased with that development and want to accordingly direct all telecom operators to show evidence of their local procurement initiatives to the regulator, the National Communications Authority, within the next 30 days.” Sounding very much like a typical Ghanaian minister he issued a warning – if telecommunications network do not comply sanctions will be applied.

But I am sorry, Mr. President, you and all who advice you are very wrong!

Have you ever tried printing letter heads for your organization in this country? You cannot get the very best printing works done here without any hiccups! Either your logo is changed or your colour scheme is adjusted in between printing.

All the telecom companies source a lot of input locally, from dealing with local content providers, dealers, mast providers and the thousands of people who in one way or the other depend on the telecommunications network. We, the active/passive users, depend on the telecommunications networks daily for our business, communicating via phone or data and increasing our link to the outside world through the internet. With the inconvenience of poorly terminating our calls and providing poor internet services, the networks do all they can to make our daily lives difficult.

Mr. president, if you and your official wants to really help us then please after you are done dancing slowly with your golden goose these are things we want you to really do for us.

For a start content providers are not paid their arrears arising for content provided to local users in excess of one hundred and eighty (180) days. In one such agreement with content providers one network provider is claiming loss of data on their part covering a period of no less than six months thus their inability to pay content providers.

Dealers are only allowed thirty day credit for purchasing the same scratch card you and your advisors are harping on. This squeeze means the middle men or in industry lingo, sub-dealers are making no better than one to two and a half percent (1-2.5%) for each purchase. This is after dealers are asked to issue up to one million Ghana Cedis in bank guarantees as a basis for contractual agreement.

Mast operators and the hundreds who install them there are not issued with life- or work-related insurance for the risky work they do daily installing and managing masts for these telecommunications operators.

There is no doubt about the good effect these telecommunications operators have had on our budding economy. Please Mr. president please hasten in this particular case through your minister of communication to make immediate changes to these and other issues that are affecting ordinary Ghanaians each day.

Thank you,
Abena Obi

Over the past few days, I’ve heard and read from some misguided Ashantis who have threatened to kill me, claiming that I have insulted their chief by suggesting that his threat to kidnap the chief of Techiman was irresponsible.

Some of them warned that if I don’t apologise, I shouldn’t dream of stepping in ‘Asanteman’ – as if their towns and villages make up some other-worldly paradise I am dying to visit.

I don’t remember the last time I went to Kumasi. It’s not a place I particularly like and I don’t know when I’d go there again. But whenever the need arises for me to go there, I will. After all, the Supreme Law of the Land guarantees my freedom of movement. The Ashanti bigots who threaten to kill me to glorify their tribe can do their worst. Death comes to us all and if it comes to me through an Ashanti bigot, so be it.

If killing me will bring speed trains to Kumasi, modernise the hospitals there, make the Golden Stool shimmer ever so brighter, pave the compounds of Manhyia with gold, give the Asantehene greater global prominence than the Queen of England and make every day of the year an ‘Adae kese’, I’d gladly put my neck in the Ashanti guillotine.

Of course, not all Ashantis want me dead.

Some of my best friends are Ashantis and some of the wisest people I know and have long admired are Ashantis. A good number of them agree that their chief acted unwisely when he threatened to have the chief of Techiman kidnapped.

What disturbs me, however, is one particular line of thinking which runs through all the statements that have been made by the bigots who are demanding my scalp.

“I am an Ashanti first,” most of them wrote to me. “Ghana is secondary.”

Whiles these remarks shocked me more than the threats on my life, they opened my eyes to a certain sad reality.

About ten years ago, I listened to a series of lectures delivered by Pastor Mensa Otabil. He called those lectures ‘The Heritage Series’. Speaking about the backwardness in most African countries, Pastor Otabil described a disease he referred to as “provincialism”.

He defined it as a certain state of mind among a very large number of Africans who only think and place the petty parochial interests of their tribes over and above the wider interests of the nations they belong to.
From the little I remember from Otabil’s ‘Heritage Lectures’, therefore, this ‘my tribe comes first’ nonsense is not a disease which afflicts just a few Ashanti bigots who may want to kill a small fly like Ato Kwamena Dadzie for telling their chief that “if he wants to return to the ways of his ancient forebears, he should take his Asante tribe somewhere and leave us alone to build our nation.”

When I hear the Asantehene threatening to kidnap another chief and daring the institutions of our Republic to come face him in his Manhyia Palace, I get a clear example of the sort of nation-wrecking bigotry Pastor Otabil referred to as “provincialism”.

When I hear the (supposed) Ga Mantse speaking as if he and his subjects are doing the rest of us a favour by allowing us to use Accra as the national capital, I feel the bigotry is truly getting out of hand.
The disease of “provincialism” is very pervasive among Ghanaians and it has taken such a strong hold that tribal chiefs – as irrelevant as they grow each day – are using it to assert their superiority over other tribes.
Day-in, day-out we hear tribal leaders describing their ethnic groups as “kingdoms” or “states”. Many others are scrambling to call themselves ‘kings’ because they see the title of ‘chief’ as too demeaning or not glorifying enough.

Please, let’s get this into our heads: There is no ‘king’ in Ghana and no tribe in Ghana is a ‘state’. There can’t be a state within a State.

Ghana is a sovereign state and there is no state within the territory of Ghana.

Those who go around describing their chiefs as ‘kings’ and their ethnic groups as ‘states’ or ‘kingdoms’ are either delusional or too blind to realise that times have changed and the world has moved on and that their so-called kingdoms died ages ago.

There is no Ga state. There is no Ashanti kingdom and there’s definitely no Fante confederacy. The new reality is that all the tribes have been subsumed by the Republic called Ghana and Ghana must always come first. The earlier this is knocked into the heads of the petty-minded bigots, the better.

Ghana trumps Ashanti, Dagbomba, Ga-Dangbe, Kusasi, Akyem, Nzema and all other tribes. No tribe is better or more important than the other and we all have no choice than to put our tribal allegiances aside and join hands to build (ahem!) a better Ghana.

Of course, in the name of upholding tradition, we can all go to our hometowns and villages to drum and dance together and make our chiefs feel more relevant than they actually are. We can decide to carry our chiefs in palanquins once every year and allow them to preside over petty disputes over goats and chicken. We can decide to keep our chiefs and pay all sorts of homage to them if we continue to take great joy in being reminded of an inglorious past.

But after we’ve allowed our chiefs to step on our backs and drink our liquor, we owe greater responsibility to the nation called Ghana.

Even our chiefs are citizens of this state and when Ghana speaks every chief – be he the Asantehene, the Ga Mantse, the Ya Na, Bawku Naba or the chief of Essikado – must shut the hell up, listen and act accordingly and responsibly.

Ghana must always come first.

Ghana must come first because as retrogressive as it has been, it is the State that gives us all passports to make it possible for us to travel around the world. The Asantehene does not travel on an Ashanti passport and the Ga Mantse doesn’t travel with a Ga passport. If either chief walked majestically to the airport and attempted to board a plane without a Ghanaian passport, they will be turned away by the lowest-ranked flight attendant.

Ghana comes first because it is the Republic we all expect to provide us with security, education, good health care, better roads to travel on and the other essential services we all desire. Now, the Republic has failed to a very large extent in providing us with these essentials but I don’t see an Ashanti Educational Service providing better education or a Ga Health Service building better hospitals. There will never be a Fante Water Company or an Ewe Police.

If, therefore, you think your tribe (whichever it is) comes first before the Republic, you are very sick – suffering from delusional “provincialism”. It’s a disease only you can cure. It’s your choice.

If, however, you are not ready to place the Republic above your tribe, do as I wrote last week: take your tribe somewhere – I’d suggest hell – and leave us to build our Ghana.

I will never apologise for saying this to anyone who thinks and behaves as if his petty parochial interests override the greater interests of the nation. It matters not whether that person is a cleaner or a chief who likes to be called a king or even the President of the Republic.

Long Live Ghana!

Jobs for the boys and girls
February 3, 2005

Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, I have already spelt out my plans for my second term on the Black Star Stool. I must warn you that things are not going to change much and so don’t expect too much from me – otherwise, you will be sorely disappointed. I must also point out that whether you like it or not, I am going to increase petroleum prices – unless something drastic happens to change my mind. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, so please brace yourselves up for a major shocker in the months ahead. Bear in mind that things have to get worse before they get better.

As I settle down to the real work of the excellent one, I have heard many of you debating/discussing the size of my government – that is the number of ministers of state who will be helping me to execute my responsibilities. I know that most of you will like to see the number of ministers reduced to the barest minimum to bring down cost and ensure efficiency as well as maximum productivity from each minister. I understand your concerns. In fact, I agree that I need just about twenty-five ministers of state. But certain circumstances beyond my control make it imperative for me to employ almost one hundred ministers and almost an equal number of deputies, who will in turn employ about two hundred special assistants.

First, there are so many men and women who have helped me to get to where I am. I am not a superman, and so there is very little I can do on my own. For example, I needed a lot of cash for my campaign for the elections which brought me to power. Much of it was provided by not-so well-meaning individuals, who gave grudgingly in anticipation of good returns. There are others who worked like donkeys – traveling to faraway places, sleeping in ditches and lying to the people for me – who must also be compensated. Simply put, I need to reward those who helped me to become the excellent one. And how do I do that?

Well, I just appoint them as ministers of state. It doesn’t matter whether they qualify or not. What matters is that I need to repay or reward them for what they’ve done for me. I never want anyone to call me an ingrate, you know. Appointing them as ministers gives them a measure of social recognition and they get to enjoy numerous luxuries, paid for by the state – free petrol, free electricity, free accommodation, free everything. Otanka is one such minister. He’s just a position occupier – spending vital state resources for his personal gain and receiving social recognition as a minister, for merely working so hard on my electoral campaigns.

Secondly, I have to appoint so many ministers because I just can’t find people who are hardworking and qualified enough to supervise several different areas at the same time. You know I am considering creating an Aviation ministry. I don’t know whether it will be a wise decision to establish an aviation ministry but I am being forced to do so. Under normal circumstances, aviation should be under transport.

In fact, transport of any form – rail, mass transit, intercity, aviation etc. – should all fall under the Transport Ministry. But what is a president to do when his transport minister is indiscriminately using his ‘langalanga’, claiming that his indiscretions are benefiting the nation? I have no choice than to create separate ministries for rail and aviation. Why do we need a Minister for Tertiary Education when there is a Minister for Education? Why do we need a Minister of State at the Finance Ministry when there is a Finance Minister? The answer lies in the concept of “job for the boys” (and girls) as well as the incompetence of our ministers.

Thirdly, in a country where ministers of state delight in delivering speeches, “commissioning” projects, attending useless functions and essentially wasting time, the president is compelled to appoint as many ministers as possible so that whiles some laze about, the work of government will not be brought to a standstill. If I appoint 25 ministers of state (my ideal number of ministers), and they all go about delivering boring speeches and wasting time, who will be left to work? The solution therefore is to appoint more ministers than necessary so that, at least, we can get a few who can pretend to be working whilst others are busy showing the world that they are ministers.

As I’ve said, I think this country does not need more than twenty five ministers of state – ministers who will stay on top of things and work real hard to help any government achieve its policy objectives. We have very few people like that in the country and even fewer in my party. So please, for now, bear with me and understand why I need to appoint more ministers than necessary.

However, I will like you to criticize the ministers and say all sorts of unkind things about them for surrounding themselves with useless “special assistants”.

These so-called special assistants’ positions have been ingeniously created to provide more jobs for the smaller boys and girls. But I think it’s high time the concept was rejected for the sake of common sense and cost-cutting. These special assistants are also living off the national kitty and increasing the cost of running the government. I can also confirm to you that these “special assistants” are agents of immorality and corruption. You see, these ministers use their special assistants to transact their dirty businesses. Some special assistants serve as “go-betweeners” for the ministers and their concubines. Others have been coached on how to demand the “ten percent” kickbacks for the ministers.

You see, the ministers don’t want to be accused of directly demanding the kickbacks, so they like to use their special assistants. I have also been reliably informed that some ministers are keeping fat bank accounts in the names of their special assistants. Mark my words – one day, a minister will be exposed. But for now, speak out and reject the “special assistants” and bear with me for appointing so many “useless” ministers.

Excellently yours,

J. A. Fukuor

*I will be at the Silverbird Bookstore on Saturday, March 20, to meet and greet people who buy autographed copies of ‘Pretending to be President’. I will be in the bookstore from 3pm till about 6pm.

A monarch’s intemperate response to a senseless crime has raised tensions between two ancient tribes to boiling point – for the first time in more than a hundred years. For decades the people of the Ashanti and Techiman kingdoms lived their lives without thinking much about what the other was doing.

Even in the worst of times, they tolerated each other until the chief of Techiman decided to take matters into his own hands.

When the chief of Techiman ordered the kidnapping (some called it the arrest) of the chief of the smaller town of Tuobodom, he must have thought that he was flaunting his power and helping bring a man he considers a criminal to justice.

But he seemed to have committed a grievous diplomatic faux pas.

Even in primitive African diplomacy, when the leader of one tribe orders the seizure of the leader of another tribe, it marks a very resounding declaration of war. And when a chief many expect to know better and be a little measured throws caution to the wind and decides to beat the war drums in return, the battle is all but joined.
The result is what we are seeing in Kumasi and Techiman.

At this stage it’s safe to say that there is war between Ashanti and Techiman. Young people in the capital of Ashanti (Kumasi) and their counterparts in Techiman have been visiting mayhem on innocent people (mostly bus drivers driving to the opposing town) after the Asantehene, rather unwisely threatened to get the Techiman chief kidnapped in retaliation for the arrest (or kidnapping) of the chief of Tuobodom.

Why would the Asantehene jump into a fray between the chiefs of two neighbouring towns?

Tuobodom, apparently, is an Ashanti protectorate. It is the Tuobodom chief’s insistence that he owes allegiance to the Asantehene that ticked off the Techiman chief and prompted the order his seizure and subsequent handing over to the police. The Tuobodom chief had reportedly refused to respond to summons to appear before the Techiman chief to respond to allegations that he had been involved in an attempt to murder, insisting that he only responds to summons from the Asantehene.

That is the genesis of all the escalating madness.

If the security agencies had acted with a little more common sense, a speck of foresight and some dispatch after the kidnapping of the Tuobodom chief, the Asantehene wouldn’t have been so angered to engage in the sort of loose talk you wouldn’t even expect from a loose cannon like Tony Aidoo.

In fact, it’s the Asantehene’s remarks which have escalated the situation to the point of violence. It’s a great disappointment and a serious let-down from a chief many Ghanaians hold up as a good example of how a modern traditional ruler should behave.

The arrest of the Tuobodom chief was a serious provocation. No doubt about that. But threatening to retaliate in kind is not what right-thinking members of our society expect from a chief who is brokering peace between feuding royals from a different tribe. In other words, the Asantehene cannot ask the Abudus and Andanis to smoke the peace pipe whiles he beats the war drums against Techiman.

If any ordinary citizen had uttered the words the Asantehene spoke, he would have been arrested – at the very least for causing fear and alarm. But it’s only in moments like these that we are reminded that we are not all as equal before the law as we are often told. Some people – like the Asantehene – are above the law.

The Asantehene might escape the long arm of the law but he can’t escape his conscience, which must be pricking him by now. That’s why we are hearing today that “he’s let down his guard”, according to the Ashanti Regional Police Commander. But that’s not enough. The Asantehene must take active steps and speak new words to calm tempers. Speaking through an emissary won’t do. He must say the words himself.

And while he is at it, he would be doing us all a world of good if he realizes that his Asante tribe is part of a sovereign state called Ghana. Some of us are very keen on building a prosperous nation in which our diverse, ancient tribes work together to form a beautiful, tightly-knit tapestry of a modern, progressive nation.

This is the 21st Century. Chiefs cannot declare war on each other. If a minor (almost insignificant) chief provokes a more powerful and respectable chief, we expect the man with more clout to exercise greater restraint. We trusted the Asantehene to know better. But we were wrong. If he wants to return to the ways of his ancient forebears, he should take his Asante tribe somewhere and leave us alone to build our nation.

The days when boxing was used to assert national superiority are well and truly over. The earlier Ghanaians accept this fact, the better.

Years ago, Azumah Nelson fought as much for himself as he did for the nation. Anytime he jumped the ropes to enter the ring, he did so not just for personal glory. And it wasn’t just for the money.

For Azumah, it was a matter of national honour. It was also about the millions of Ghanaians who had stayed up all night to watch him in action. He loved us and we loved him back.

That was long ago and there will never be another like Azumah Nelson.

Ike Quartey never matched up to him. Marvelous Nana Yaw Konadu did not even come close. And Joshua Clottey cannot even try.

When Clottey agreed to fight Manny Pacquaio, he knew there was no way he was going to beat the Filipino, who is reputed to be the best boxer in the world today. Clottey was just too happy to go in there and make three million dollars. That’s all. For him, going to America must have been nothing more than a paid vacation.

Standing toe-to-toe with Pacquaio in the ring on Sunday morning, he thought very little about the millions of Ghanaians who had stayed awake to watch the bout. He thought even less about national pride.

Much of his thoughts must have been on the money he had earned and how he didn’t want to use any of it on medical bills occasioned by the Packman’s hefty punches. He could as well have asked to be allowed to wear a helmet into the ring and he would have saved us all the embarrassment of watching him use his arms to guard his precious head all throughout the bout.

Judging by the way he held his arms close to his head to block Pacquiao’s punches and his refusal to throw any significant punches of his own, it is clear that Clottey was in no mood to fight. From the way he fought (or pretended to be fighting) most Ghanaians agree that he deserved to lose. Many are angry with him for the cowardice he displayed in the ring.

“We’re losing every damn round,” the coach said as he encouraged Clottey to go out there and box. Yet, Clottey refused to throw punches. “Take chances baby. If you don’t take chances, you are going home lost.”
But Clottey was just content with the money in his account.

“Pacquiao has made by far the greatest pay day Clottey ever had or Clottey will have,” one of the match commentators said.

So he had no incentive to take risks. Why take risks when you are earning three million dollars in less than an hour?

And refusing to take chances meant, national pride was the last thing on Clottey’s mind. Most of us understand that he had to do what he had to do to earn three million dollars. And frankly, some of us are jealous that Clottey had such a good day in the office on Sunday morning.

What we don’t get (and will not accept) is his decision to rub it in by telling us cock and bull stories to excuse his cowardice. In particular, he should come up with a better excuse other than that silly story about the banku and okro meal he had and how he suffered a bout of diarrhoea because there was too much ‘kanwe’ (saltpetre) in the okro soup.

If he’s smart enough to put up such a pretense and earn three million dollars, Joshua Clottey must have the brains to come up with a more plausible explanation for embarrassing us all and wasting our time.

How about just coming out to tell us plainly that he was in no mood for fight and he was just content with the money? We will understand, won’t we? We don’t even need an apology from him. Who says sorry for legitimately earning three million dollars?

The least Clottey can do for us is to shut up and enjoy his money. If he’s wise, he would donate a few thousands to some charity project. He could even write a book titled ‘Pretending to be fighting’, and we will love to read it.

Hello Mr. IGP,

I am sure you’ve taken your salary for this month. I am also sure that you’ve been having a lot of fun riding in a luxury car my mother’s ‘bofrote’ taxes contributed to buying and fuelling for you. You must be having a good time.

But, being IGP is not about enjoyment, sir. It’s tough business. It’s about chasing criminals, arresting and jailing them. That’s what we pay you for.

I didn’t particularly like the gentleman you succeeded. He was all about ‘chopping’ his post and being friends with people like Issa Abass.

One day I was shocked when in response to a question, he asked some reporters if they expected him to go to the north to arrest those who were fomenting trouble in places like Bawku and Dagbon.

I thought you were going to be different. I think you can do better. But I am afraid, I am getting disappointed. I am not quite there yet but I am well on my way.

What is this I hear about you expressing concern about the increasing spate of advance-fee fraud in the country? I was quite concerned when I read the newspaper account of your concerns. Apparently, some smart idiots have cloned the website of the Ghana Police and are using it – and your name – for all sorts of criminal activities. It’s been going on for months and best you can do is express concern?

You are the IGP for Christ’s sake. We pay you to go after the criminals. Whatever holes they are hiding in, we expect you to smoke them out like the rats they are. Sitting on your behind in your office and expressing concern is not part of your job description.

Leave the expression of concern to ordinary people like me and my mother. That’s what we do best – often in despair. It’s quite annoying hearing that you – the one we pay to go after the criminals – are sitting in comfort in your office, expressing concern. If you can’t get your men to arrest the criminals who are abusing your name, position and the institution you head, how are you going to deal with those who rob, kill, maim, sell illegal weapons and break traffic regulations with impunity?

Merely express concern?

That’s not good enough.  That’s not what we expect of our Inspector General of Police. You can and you should do better than that. Your expression of concern doesn’t make me feel safe.

I’ve never shaken so many hands and signed my signature so often in just one day. That was the day my maiden book ‘Pretending to be President’ was officially launched. It was a launch like no other.

I didn’t want an official ceremony where the first copy of the book would be sold to the highest bidder. So I opted to do something different – launch it on radio. I got a lot of support from the managers of Joy FM who generously gave me the airtime to make history.

For that I am grateful to programmes manager, Kofi Owusu and Chief Operating Officer, Ekyi Quarm and Chief Executive, Kwasi Twum.

I am also grateful to news editor, Matilda Asante who unexpectedly showed up in the studio to say a few nice words of encouragement.

“He brings humour and a lot of wit to what is a very difficult and challenging job,” she said. “There is so much stress and tension in this work that if we didn’t have him jumping on tables and going out through the window and bringing some excitement to the job, we’d be bored to death.”

The bit about tables and windows is true. But that’s not all I do. That’s why she added: “You did yourself proud and you did all of us extremely proud.”

Then there was KSM who graciously put his rehearsals on hold to put in an appearance in support of his “nephew”.

“For me when we are talking about any person in Ghana now who has this gift of satire and wit, it is Ato Kwamena Dadzie,” he said.

My head swells when I hear words like that and when they come from a man like KSM, my head begins to feel like a weapon of mass destruction that could go off anytime and blow up some few buildings.

Before KSM came on, BK Oduro ‘officially’ launched the book had made the ‘Kokomlemle Declaration’, making me presidential candidate of the Noko Fio Party.

I am grateful to both KSM and BK Oduro.

Outside the studios of Joy FM dozens had gathered – waiting for me to come out and autograph the books they had bought. And autographing was the highlight of my day. I signed. And signed and signed and signed – at the forecourt of Joy FM and at the El Wak Stadium where the Joy FM Invitational Football Tournament was staged. It was a humbling experience and I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support.

I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all those who have spent Ten Ghana Cedis or more buy copies of the book so far. I am even more grateful to those who bought a ‘pack of ten’. They included deputy information minister, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, presidential advisor, Christine Amoako-Nuamah legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah.

Words are not enough to express my gratitude to Albert and Comfort Ocran for the enormous work they have done to kick start my career as an author on such a good note. It’s been a life-changing experience and it wouldn’t have been such fun without them.

I am also very much encouraged by the many people who keep telling me that “this is just the beginning” – urging me to write even more books.

Indeed, I can’t wait for the next one.

For now, I want to focus on selling ‘Pretending to be President’.

I am working with the team from Legacy and Legacy to make it available in as many outlets as possible. By the end of this week, much of this would have been sorted out.

In the mean time, you can get copies of the book from the Joy fm frontdesk, Silverbird Bookstore, Altar Bookstore and Airport Shell. On Legon Campus please call Prince on 0249532561. And for all other enquiries please call 0249999555.

Once again, thanks to everyone who has contributed to making this project the success it has been so far. It would be an even bigger success if you buy a copy for yourself and one for a friend. It’s just Ten Ghana Cedis. No matter what the president says, the ‘ecomini’ is still very hard. But if you are reading this, I’m sure you can afford to buy this book. Please, don’t pretend to be a pauper.

Pretending to Be President is a book for everybody since we all are politicians. It’s also for persons with adept political tastes. This excellent storytelling has crafted a novel way of presenting contemporary satire, through an anthological method, constituting street theories of governance, conspiracies, expectations of citizens, realities of political office, political appointments, institutional challenges, the unplanned nature of Accra and other cities amongst others. It is propelled through cynical humor, which one might not agree with.

In some instances, you will get angry. Others you may get excited. It’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes painfully true, but indeed you get a complete picture of our body-politic and you also have an opportunity to decide what has changed in our politicians/politics – if any?

Spanning 8 years and 17 Chapters, what particularly intrigues me is the ability of the author to write about himself from the outside. Self-criticism is a virtue lost with most politicians and this book will blaze the trail for others to follow.

This book discusses salient and vital issues pertaining to the economy and prompts us to ask ‘how can we all look on and not say anything about what is going on’?

The author through very humorous suspense, has, I dare to state, instilled sophisticated fear in the reader and throws a challenge to all those who are politically romanced, by one political party or the other, to be more circumspect, and be more wary and wise, in reading into meanings of those seeking our mandate for political office, and what they do with this mandate once they gain it.

Without attempting to give a summary, readers should however look out for issues bordering on the divisive and polarized nature of our politics, where, the winner takes all tendencies serve to be our bane – politicians, having served in a particular government, are out of jobs and cannot contribute meaningfully to the nation once their party loses elections. The author clearly advances a correlation between losing human resource(s) and elections by stating the instance of Sweet Victory attendant with ‘Otwea’ a Twi word typifying a phrase like “it serves you right” or more crudely, “in your face”!

An interesting musing is the reflection(s) on the achievements or lack thereof in the nation’s economic growth symbolized by the futility of parades on March 6th (independence day).

The simple question is, “what are we marching for” When citizens are bemoaning the issues around bread and butter, clothes, food and shelter; education, health, good roads, water, jobs and not least agriculture plus more!

What have we been saying differently since independence?

Readers will identify with the musings here and indeed reflect on their own patterns of growth through the kind of education and job you are in now, and remember your marching days.
“Ghana is the first country to gain independence”.

What stands out uniquely is the encouragement by the author to let go of this assertion serving as a talisman that holds us back from achieving or even daring to achieve. The author literally warns us to come down from this political high horse, and propaganda, and not behave like ostriches, when we see that counting the years, we have not achieved much.

Employing backward and forward looking approaches, the issues are laid out realistically and gender dynamics are well elucidated, and here the talk was not about women but including demography, minorities amongst others.

Tackling corruption as outlined in Hotel President and the challenges of nepotism signifies how the rules of engagement change depending on who is on the receiving end. Corruption in the nation has not waned and it’s a social vice that must be emphasized over and over again. All across Africa this is endemic and has been our bane on the continent.

A Nation Shamed also brings into sharp relief the huge drug related issues which have plagues and pervaded our country and how the menace is now exclusively linked to the whole of West Africa. The warning is, No One is Safe – it is so entrenched that it is in our security agencies, and other organs and even lawmakers have fallen prey. A real canker for West Africa and all hands must be on deck in working to curb the situation.

I would have loved to read more on Northern dynamics where the author would have gone beyond chieftaincy in appreciating the conflicts in the north as well as other parts of the country.

In Stop this Nonsense which looks at issues of chieftaincy, insecurity in the north, and other parts of Ghana, this author would have been one of the best placed persons to be precise on predictions of politicians and offer the common man solutions to the intractable nature of these conflicts, but this is not really expanded though well outlined. It will be interesting to see how this can be done in the next volumes in the ‘irreverent series’.

It would have been interesting to read the author’s characterization of the media into some sort of categories and headline issues around news based on political biases, reportage, patronage and generally a sense of how the media fared. Highlighting Ghana Badcasting Cooperation however makes a poignant point on this.

The author establishes unabashedly that Hope is what most Ghanaians have for governance and good politicians, but Hope is neither a method nor panacea to development in Ghana!

This book looking at the country’s development through the eyes of the Ghanaian and persons who seek to understand the internal workings of politicians, decipher some of the irrational decisions and quagmires they find themselves in, and offer a perspective that is based on commonsense, which as we all know, is not common.

This is a book that is ‘unputdownable’, funny, annoying, painfully true, you will scream, and even sometimes shout, but it is set in a context that allows you to identify with!

It is a must read for all who want to effect a positive path for our nation. Without reservation, I heartily recommend this book: read it, write, debate and establish your own musings. I await the next series with glee!

This is an interesting book, one I expected from the author; who can be described as the
King of Contemporary Satire in this Most Irreverent Series!

*Nansata Yakubu is parliament and conflict expert with the Parliamentary Centre in Accra.