Lose Your Fight With Values

Dear Mahama,

The last time I wrote from the comfy chair of my air-conditioned office, a fellow citizen lost his job, so I heard.

As much as it wasn’t my intention to wreak havoc, I feel that the consequence of a mere authoring was callous for the poor man to suffer.

I’m not happy about the young man’s situation, yet I’m not the slightest depressed for him either.

Today, I have chosen not to put pen to paper in that comfy office. There is no worth doing something at a particular location that causes our, ei sorry, your country’s dependency ratio to rise heaping burden on your already crippled economy.

The truth is I don’t even bear that office anymore. PK, the new Vice President of my school’s Students’ Representative Council has taken over.
BarimaNana is my name, a young gentleman learning the rudiments of the work of the Fourth Estate at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

Ghanaians who read my pieces call me all sorts of names but I care less. Just like you, I have decided to develop the dead-goat syndrome. Know that I don’t cater for 25 million people though so it means I don’t get to be queried for imbecility.

Like my father, Taspa Ford Agyekum, I am the quintessential citizen. Red and it is red I would say, black and black it is. Father and son seldom make great friends wherever we go.

We refuse to allow sentiments to vitiate our assessments of issues. Is that not some good virtues we’ve been bestowed with Mr President? You should be envious of us.

Days after you were hit with a bribery scandal following your receipt of a car gift from a Burkinabe contractor who had won several contracts in Ghana, it was expected that your response to the matter would put the case to rest once and for all.

Contrary to popular opinion, you released a bomb and in the process caused all Ghanaians to lose face regardless of how much premium the country places on your high office as president.

“I don’t like American cars. I use Japanese cars. Toyota is my car”, you bloated. But this is not the first instance when you have attacked the dignity of the good people of this country.
Last year, when the President of the Ghana Union of Professional Students, His Excellency Elorm Mawuli-Kwawu started scribbling pieces about the subject of the Guantanamo detainees on his African Centre for Foreign Affairs and Security Facebook page, I considered his series a flex of writing prowess. How wrong I was!

You told us Ghana was not the only ally of the United States that had accepted the detainees. So insulting. What you hid from us however was that Ghana actually was the first West African country to do so.

During that week, a panelist on one of TV3’s programmes, Vera, chided your resolve on the detainees’ matter as “a lazy way of raising revenue”. If indeed any monetary gains were involved, then she surely couldn’t have been wrong.

For your information, it’s been only days since tens of celebrants were killed in a bar in the US by a suspected ally of ISIS. The world’s most dreaded security forces whose rejected detainees you accepted.

When there were no signs of the Ebola virus detected on our shores, you sought not only to have Sub-regional West African Ebola Centre built in Ghana but also have Ghanaians vaccinated with Ebola vaccines that were in clinical-testing stage.
You have watched 25million Ghanaians in the face and said your government does not borrow money to spend on food and drinks. Your level of disrespect is even a bewilderment to my dear self, Mr President.

Such rudeness has transcended those that surround you in your discharge of national duties. Under your administration we have witnessed presidential staffers refer to citizens as prostitutes whose minds have been turned upside down and only to go into reverse and apologise for their irresponsible utterances.

Thanks to you, Kwaku Appiah, a Kumasi based serial caller popularly known as Appiah Stadium who should be minding his business has the guts to not only call a fellow Ghanaian a prostitute but claim that he even has further justification to back his claim.

Do you not notice the sort of tension you are indirectly creating among the people that you swore to rule with equal favour? Don’t lose it all Mr President.

At a time when prices of products and services had reached an escalated high and life got so uncomfortable for the ordinary Ghanaian, you patrolled the streets of Kumasi playing “yentie obiaa” amidst wild dancing and singing.

In the end, you made arguably the worst statement to have ever been expressed by a president in Ghana’s history: “as for Kumasi, even if we construct roads tarred with gold, they will tell that we did nothing.

Solomon Nkansah, Communications Director of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) subsequently said of the Ashanti Region that “nothing good seems to come from that region”. And this a gentleman who recently graduated from GIJ with a Master’s Degree. An astute member of your party as well.

Your government’s obsession with denigrating Ashantis is plainly put a fantasy.

Kweku Baako subsequently branded your comments baseless and (sic) unpresidential.

That is how humble my people from Ashanti are anyway. I dare say one could utter similar remarks about your village folk in any part of this country, more so their backyard. Yet we won’t allow your single lack of respect to run this precious country down.

NO! For we have won the fight with values!

Parliamentarians have had their fair share of your insults. In one parliamentary sitting, you had the cheek to say “people of the Ashanti origin have problem with the letters L and R. That was some insolent boldness!

During a debate in the House regards the STX deal, it can be recalled then as Vice President your reference to members of the House as “baloney”, an expression that suggested that the submissions of parliamentarians on the matter were nonsense. Dear Mahama, is it a crime to share a view contradictory to yours?

Do you remember saying that Ghanaians who engaged in the public discourse about the suitability of our departed Atta Mills’ burial place on radio, television, workplaces and private homes were engaged in a “useless” discussion. Very sad, your height of disrespect goes beyond issues of serious national concern.

It is of no surprise that the Professor showed disgust towards your ceaseless waggishness during your time as Veep. How sorry he may have felt before his death having to leave this country in your care.

“We would kill a fly with a bulldozer”. This was your prompt and contused reply to John Agyeum Kuffour when the former president appealed for quiet after the Attorney General’s department charged Kennedy Agyepong with treason, terrorism and genocide.

Kuffour had earlier only requested that we avoid “killing a fly with a hammer”.

Besides all these, it gets too dirty and downright insensitive when the physically challenged in society become the subject of your wanton insults, a circumstance that they certainly have no control over.

“It is only those that are blind that do not see the good work of the NDC government”. This was your abusive remark towards the visually impaired during the launching of the NDC government’s Green Book Volume 2 when you were Vice President.

You rushed to the Northern region and incited your people it was about time “Northerners” took over the mantle of Presidency because they (Northerners) had served as Vice- Presidents for far too long.

Preceding your tribal incitement you are reported to have said, “God in his own wisdom has taken the old man, Professor Mills away to pave the way for youthful Mahama to take over the mantle”. It took some strength to prevent myself breaking down when I typed this sentence.

What can I say Mahama, carry on!

Bear in mind, I am least concerned about your utterances as a person. Far from it.

I feel obliged only to draw your attention as I have served in a role that comes with such responsibility and occasional naivety to act on impulse. Truly, the heat that comes with leadership can get depressive sometimes.

I can no more than imagine what you go through as the sole provider for millions of people.

Yet these are the moments that you need to keep your coolest head. At age 23, I do not want to believe I possess any advice of worth to offer you.

All I can say nonetheless is that do well not to lose your fight with values.

It is man’s greatest assets.

By NANA BARIMA.

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Jet Alan is an emerging Ghanaian writer who graduated from the University of Cape Coast in the year 2013. He’s currently a columnist with Ghana’s major online news portals, Ghanaweb and Modernghana. The young writer has also had a couple of his works featured in some of Ghana’s widely-read newspapers, notable among them are The Mirror and The Ghanaian Chronicle. He basically writes opinionated articles on topical issues that excite his interest.

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