Oh, Lord, my God, I guess I need to come and see you in the inner sanctum to understand why governments in Africa most often do things that will not make sense to their counterparts in the other parts of the world.
A clear example is the decision by my government to sponsor so-called football supporters to South Africa to cheer on the national football team at the World Cup. It only makes sense when you come to the realization that most of the so-called supporters are ruling party foot soldiers who have been agitating for a long time for governmental goodies. The World Cup, therefore, provided an opportunity for the party to appease them and calm their agitated minds and hearts.
So far, we hear that about one thousand people have been sent to South Africa on government sponsorship to sing and dance for the national football team. Knowing the enormous folly in such an endeavour they are refusing to tell us exactly how much of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money is being spent on this senseless pleasure trip for ruling party foot soldiers.
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So, God, I ask myself: if these so-called supporters are so intent on rooting for the national team every step of the way, why should a sensible government take it upon itself to pick up their bills.
And this is a government that is supposedly operating in the fifth gear of austerity to ensure that the ‘ecomini’ doesn’t skid out of control. Even the richest countries in this world – Japan, USA, England and Germany – wouldn’t do this. The true fans of these nations saved up for months (even years) to be able to make it to South Africa to be part of the global football fiesta.
The government tells us we are broke and for that our teachers can’t be paid what they deserve. They have even refused to pay contractors who have borrowed huge sums of money to execute government projects with the excuse that there is no money.
Yet, government which has been championing austerity and fighting profligacy is able to miraculously raise money to send football fans to South Africa.
Let’s do some Mathematics here. Let’s assume that the airfare to South Africa cost one thousand dollars for each of those who have been sent to the World Cup. Let’s also assume that what government says is true and that one thousand people have been sent to the tournament. This would mean that government has wasted at least one million dollars of our taxpayer’s money on this senseless venture. But that’s not all. The administration is also spending a great deal of money housing and feeding them in South Africa – not to mention the amount spent on their match tickets, food and local transport. The bottom looks quite hefty to me – at least two million dollars. That’s a lot of money.
Dear God, I know you are still in the business of performing miracles. But showering about two million dollars on a poor country to enable a few of its privileged citizens to go and watch football in another country is not exactly the sort of miracle you’d allow one of your apprentice angels to use for miracle practice.
I concede, however, that my ways are not your ways and so you might have performed some miracle I am completely unaware of. So if you are the one who made it possible for a poor wretched country like mine to send 1000 supporters to South Africa, I pray that you remove the scales off my eyes for me to see the sense in such an undertaking.
Until then, Dear Lord, I don’t want to hear any minister saying we don’t have money to pay contractors and fix the potholes in our roads. I pray that any government official who dares open his mouth to speak about how broke we are suffers unmitigated constipation for five straight days.
And, please, to save us from further unnecessary expense, just make sure that the football team is eliminated from the tournament at the earliest convenience.
Thanks, Dear Lord, for answered prayers.