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Letter From The President: Presidential Deceit

Wed, 25 May 2005 Source: J. A. Fukuor/Daily Dispatch

Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, friends and foes,

I have a few confessions to make. Last week I told a lie whiles addressing military officers at Burma Camp. It was not a deliberate lie. But, you see, sometimes when lying becomes your habit, you just lie without even knowing about the fallacies you are spew out. The lie came out of my mouth ? just like that. I told the army personnel that my brother had been a member of parliament since 19992. The officers had pushed me to the wall by asking me why I had appointed only my family members to sensitive positions in government. When you are president and soldiers complain bitterly to you about nepotism (especially if those complaints are from soldiers at Burma camp) you need to have a good defense. If you don?t put up a good case, you might wake up the next day and hear that you?ve been kicked off the Black Star Stool. So in a bid to bolster my defence, I told the soldiers in a sudden burst of eloquence that all the accusations of nepotism amount to nothing but ?vile propaganda?. Then to cup it all, I told the big lie ? that my brother, the defence minister, had first been elected MP in 19992. I hadn?t forgotten that in 1992 Jerry Boom?s opponents boycotted the parliamentary elections. But my lying tongue could just not resist the temptation to say another untruth ? just to make my case even more believable. So I just spewed it out, believing that I would not be found out. But as the news went forth everybody realized that I was lying. It was an unconscious lie. I feel so guilty. So I ask for the forgiveness of citizens of Sikaman. I believe that if you look back at my past record, you will find it easier to forgive me, because ?I am like that.? The lies I?ve told are countless ? many of them in the form of promises I had no intention of keeping. In other cases, I made promises knowing very well that I had no idea about how they could be fulfilled.

I concede that I am a consummate liar and sometimes the lies just spin off my tongue. The Burma Camp lie was not the first, you know. I lied about my desire to reduce the size of government, for example. I said I would appoint fewer ministers than Jerry Boom did. But I came to power and I have done the direct opposite. Apart from appointing too many ministers, I have also created so many jobs for the boys and needless ?special assistant? positions. Now, I have the most over-bloated government in Sikaman?s history.

I said that I would introduce an all-inclusive government. But it was a lie. My government is one big assembly of kith and kin. It is made of friends, former classmates, ex-school prefects, clansmen, business cronies, campaign financiers etc. Forget my rants about ?vile propaganda? ? my government epitomizes nepotism.

I said before I was elected into office that I will create jobs for the unemployed and even the unemployable. Five years on, I?ve created fewer jobs than I promised ? even so, most of the jobs so far are in farming ? cassava cultivation to be precise. Even with my failure to do as I said I would, I am looking on unconcerned as Nii Aridji chases street vendors off the streets of Accra, further aggravating the unemployment problem.

I said I will allow you to vote for your district chief executives. I have not taken any action on this yet and I might not. Why? Because, nominating DCEs is more fun. It is also a means to say ?thank you? to all those foot soldiers who campaigned for me. Government-appointed DCEs are easy to manipulate so why bother to change the status quo?

I also promised to check corruption. I said that I had ?zero tolerance? for corruption. But so far I?ve done very little about the canker. ?Corruption? has become one of the choicest adjectives for describing my government. My ministers, head of parastatal organisations and special assistants are ?chopping? state funds like there?s no tomorrow. Ministers, like Anena, are using state funds to illegally browse the ?websites? of their research assistants and take care of their illegitimate children. Others are on house- and car-buying sprees. They are shopping their heads off on the property. I personally conspired with my own son to buy an uncompleted hotel complex behind my house. Even as citizens raise questions over the transaction, we continue to spew out one incoherent lie after another.

I might not exactly have lied about whether or not fuel prices would be increased. But I didn?t tell you the whole truth either. I deceived you into thinking that I had no plans of increasing fuel prices. Alas! A few weeks after my inauguration for a second term, I increased fuel prices by 50 percent. As a direct consequence of the fuel price increases, the cost of living, which I promised to reduce, has increased. The increase in the cost of living has made life in Sikaman very difficult so much so that record numbers of citizens are merely subsisting on gari and ?moko yerawa?.

So after all has been said and done, I want you all to realize that I am a politician. A politician has to lie through his teeth to get to my position. Everyone who?s ever sat on the Black Star stool lied to you. Those who will come after me will lie to you. As politicians, it is in our genes to lie or, at best, be very economical with the truth. It?s all part of the game. So take me as I am. You can call me by whatever name you choose. Whether you like it or not, I am your president and I am a liar.

Deceitfully yours,

J. A. Fukuor



Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: J. A. Fukuor/Daily Dispatch