The business of running a nation is a difficult one. But while the president is huffing and puffing to provide the services that the people voted him for, shouldn’t he surely stop a bit to entertain the citizens with a smart joke?
"Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it."- Frantz Fanon
Femi, do you know that sometimes you are not fair at all?
Me? To what, specifically, do you refer, my comrade?
I am referring to your post on Facebook condemning the president’s remark.
Ah, that is rather sweeping. I have made it my vocation to condemn presidents’ remarks in newspapers and in cyberspace. To which post do you refer to exactly?
Don’t pretend that you don’t know what I am talking about. It is just not fair.
Ah, I cannot know how fair or unfair it is until you tell me which of my posts is setting fire to your beard. Reading minds is not my forte. Or do you suggest that I consult the Crystal Ball or one of the Consultables?
You are not funny at all. And I thought you were some fair and objective writer.
My friend, quit whining and tell moi what exactly is bugging you.
Didn’t you poke fun at the president for saying that we now have iced water to drink?
As I rightly should.
What!! So you don’t regret saying it?
Regret? You gotta be kidding. I regret nothing. Actually I intend to amplify it. I will shout it from every rooftop I can find. I shall trumpet it from Amsterdam to Harare and beyond. Do you know what?
I wish I have the occasion to meet with the president. I shall laugh in his face for having the audacity to tell us such uber stupid thing.
The man was attending church. He spoke ex tempore and made a joke, and you made a major production out of a small joke the president made to lighten the occasion. You of all people!
I didn’t know that we elected a comedian as president.
You, how dare you call the president a comedian!
You started it. We elected a man who campaigned and told us that he has what he takes to solve our problems. He should not come around and start joking about serious matter like national development, and our inability to get out of the primitive existence we have been in since the dawn of time. Drinking iced water is no yardstick to measure a nation’s level of development. The president should have known better than that.
Do you now say that presidents should not make joke?
It depends on what?
He can joke around when he is with his family and his friends. We are not his friends; he shouldn’t be joking with us. Our relationship with him is that of a leader and citizens and he should learn to respect that. Leading a country is not a joking matter. It is a very serious business that calls for all seriousness. Mr. President’s job is to provide us with good leadership, give us water to drink, electricity to do our job. Things like that. We know where to go for our entertainment.
I simply cannot understand you, Femi. You are an oddball. Do you know that?
I am sorry that you felt that way. Do you know what I think?
I think that people like you are doing great disservice to the man and also to the country…
Me! You cannot be serious!
If only you will stop shouting like an affronted Iman and listen to me a little while. My good friend, the truth is that people like you are among the biggest problem we have in Africa. I can very well understand and excuse the African who, having never left the continent, does not realise how far behind WE are. What I find inexcusable is to see, read or watch Africans in the Diaspora, people like you, coming up with pathetic and truly jejune excuses for those misruling us back home. You are all over the media defending the simply indefensible. I don’t agree with you that the president was joking. We didn’t elect him so that he can entertain us with his joking prowess. No, I don’t agree with you that we should continue to understand the inept people we have at the helm of leadership in Africa. No, I think that it is time we stopped being polite to those mediocre misfits misruling us. It is time we stop saying that they are doing their best; they very clearly are not. We have been electing leaders now for over twenty years. How come that they have not been able to give us electricity and water? We all see their jeeps getting bigger and bigger. We all see their stomachs getting more robust each day. If, they are doing their best, as apologists like you would want us believe, we will not find ourselves in situations where, after almost six decades of so-called independence, we still lack basics like potable water, good roads, electricity and decent shelter for our people. How long does it take to fix water and electricity, if our rulers have the plans to do so? Those are the type of critical questions we should pose to those misruling us. It is time we start to put our misrulers on the spot and ask them very critical questions like: How on earth did we end up selling all the precious minerals known to nature (gold, diamond, titanium etc, etc) and cannot find enough money to fix ourselves water? How did we end selling all these resources and continue to wallow in the type of primitive poverty many societies left behind eons ago? How did we end up owing the very people to whom we sold our mineral resources?
Femi, all that you say can be true, but it is not fair to blame the current leader. You have to understand the picture he met on the ground. He is really doing his best to tackle the problems. Do you know how many agreements he recently signed to solve the electricity problem?
Gosh! There you go again. Didn’t he know what the picture was before he stood up as a candidate? Did anyone force him to become president? We didn’t go to him; he rather came to us. Stop sounding like a paid party mouth-piece, my friend. The truth is that your man had no plan for electricity when he came to power. If he had, he would have solved the country’s electricity woes many months ago. With a good plan, electricity problems can be fixed within six to eighteen months. Which goes to show that those that got themselves elected in our part of the world are totally bereft of ideas and plans. Which goes to mock your man’s call for investors to come and build factories in Ghana as a hollow mockery. Even an idiot knows that modern factories run on electricity. How do you invite manufacturers to come and set up shop when you cannot provide them with the electricity to run their machines? Which brings us to the questions of supporters like you. Why do you constantly fail to upgrade your candidates with good and sound advice, my friend? People like you are the bane of Africa. You escaped the primitive poverty in your village, found your way into Europe. You live in comfort zones, where basics like gas, electricity and water are guaranteed. Your supermarkets brim with every goody you can imagine. You fill your stomach with everything your eyes fancy; belly-full, you come on radio and start supporting and defending the otiose, callous, visionless and decadent misrulers that made lives impossible for their citizens. I don’t get it. I simply don’t get it. All we hear from people like you is that ‘They are trying. They are doing their best.’ What best is that? Is that the best they can do? We are past the second decade of the new republic. We have had five elections, changed presidents four times. We have all the resources known to nature. They have sold all the companies Kwame Nkrumah set up? Today, we stagger under a $85 billion debt. Yet we have no water, no good road and no reliable electricity supply. And you are here telling me that our politicians are doing their best. Your man spent the first two years of his presidency junketing around the world canvassing for foreign investors. He could have used the time to fix the country’s basic problems like water and electricity. He could have saved himself and the country all the wasted expenses, if only he had decided not to put the Horse before the cart. Investors will troop in to countries which managed to get the infrastructures in place. It is as simple as that. And it is not something that should be too difficult even for an African president to understand.
* Femi Akomolafe is a freelance writer, columnist for Ghana’s Daily Dispatch, correspondent for the New African magazine and author. His two books are available on Amazon: Africa: it shall be well. and Africa: Destroyed by the gods.
* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
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