Simply unbelievable, ain’t it?
By Cameron Duodu
K1: Koo, have you heard….?
K2: Heard what? Not another of your false-fact alternative-truth stories?
Oh Koo, would I sell such a story you?
You might. Who knows? Ever since a White House spokesman said that a statement from that mighty edifice was no “longer operative”, I have been wary of believing what I read. Especially about political events.
Good for you! Trump has disputed video and photo evidence that Obama’s inauguration attracted a larger crowd than his. When challenged, Trump’s “counsellor” – a woman who sounded like something extruded from a cyborg created by artificial intelligence – said Trump was only presenting “alternative facts!”
But how can there be “alternative facts?” Two plus two is four! Can it “alternatively” equal four and two-thirds?
In a Trump world, it can. Just as the notion that five and five equals ten can be dismissed as “fake news” even if it’s read straight from a calculator!
Koo, I tell you the word is in trouble. If the most powerfully endowed information management system – that of the White House – cannot be trusted to tell the world with simple, straight-forward facts, what’s going on in the world, then where are we?
“A Chinese submarine has been captured in the Bay of San Francisco!” says the White House.
“No”, says a Pentagon source talking anonymously to The New York Times on because the source cannot be identified because it has not been authorised to speak on the issue.
So what the White House did was to give us “alternative facts”? asks the
“No comment!” says the Pentagon source.
Whereupon everyone runs to hide in a nuclear bunker?
You said it, Koo. We’ve had “double-speak”. We’ve had “plausible deniability”. And now we’ve got “alternative-fake-news-facts.”
And you think the trend has reached Ghana already?
Koo, I don’t know. But read this item, which is from the internet:
QUOTE: “President Nana Akufo-Addo has finally declared his assets at the Auditor General’s Department… He declared his assets on January 24, 2017, a day after the Department said it was impossible for him to do so because the office had run out of receipt booklets. Sources at the presidency had indicated that the president was shocked and highly disappointed when he was told that the receipts which are issued as proof of assets declaration have run out, and they were unsure when some would be made available.
Citi News further learnt that when the presidential staffer asked the officials to call on the Office of the President when the receipt booklets [were] ready, he was again told that the landline phones at the Department were not functioning – [and therefore] placing that call to them would be difficult”. UNQUOTE
“Koo, how shocking! The Auditor-General’s Department had run out of what in civil service language is called “stationery”?
Yes, Koo! Believe it or not.
Koo, I believe it. Haven’t I told you of the time my car was hit by a drunken, speedy driver, and when I went to the police station to report the matter, I was told that there was “no paper” on which I could write my statement?
Yes, the absence of “stationery” is a stock excuse used to extort money from the public. For if you need an official document urgently, you will immediately offer to pay some money to procure the necessary “stationery”.
And once you do that, you would signal to the officials that you are vulnerable, and they will find other ways of extorting more money from you!
And so it happened to the office of the President – the highest in the land?
Koo, I think it’s lucky that it happened to that particular office. For the civil service is very good at “taming” new, incoming governments. It flatters the new ministers and their deputies into believing that every change they want to make is something they had been thinking of doing themselves – agesago! – only they hadn’t got the “go-ahead” from the “other lot” (i.e. those who had just been booted out).
And once the top people are charmed into trusting them, they will revert to their usual habit, which is to do nothing?
You’ve got the idea.
So you don’t think anything will be done about your favourite subject, galamsey?
How did you know I was going to say that? As soon as the new minister of the Environment decides to do something about galamsey, scores of files will be produced by his civil servants for him to study – files from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources; the Ghana Water Resources Commission; the Ghana Minerals Commission; the Ghana Institute of Aquatic Biology; the Chieftaincy Secretariat; the Cocoa Marketing Board, the Forestry Commission, the Immigration Department; the Ministry of Defence; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Bureau of National Investigations (whose files will be marked marked RESTRICTED & SECRET); the Economic and Organised Crime Office. And, of course, files from the Presidency!
– And each file will provide tons of studies about, and arguments for and against, acting decisively against galamsey?
– Yes. And any new minister who dips into these piles of files will be so distracted by what he reads that he won’t be able to read any other files for months. And there will soon be rumours about him, made up mainly of complaints that he’s not up to the job. He’s stalling on too many issues on which governmental action is needed. Above all, he’s not awarding contracts….
He will be disheartened when he hears these rumours about his ineffectiveness?
Yes, and the more rumours he hears, the more paralytic he will become?
And finally, a colleague of his will pull him aside after a Cabinet meeting and tell him in no uncertain terms: “Jack, you are letting the side down.” Whereupon the minister will dump the piles of files….
And do NOTHING?
Yes – just as his predecessor did! It is the Ghana way. And “alternative facts” will be invented to cover up the situation.
What Trump can do, anyone else can also do?
Right o, my boy!