Opinions Fri, 25 Jun 2010

“Why” And How To Become Or Make A President

Kwasi Adu

It is interesting how some people, driven by blind personal ambition to be head of state, would plot, conspire, scheme, double-cross, cheat, cajole, scream, lie, etc to achieve their aim. In short, they would do anything, fair or foul, including biting their political rivals and opponents, if they have to.

There are people who become heads of state because they want to make a contribution to the real improvement in the quality of life of the people in their country. However, there are others who go into politics to protect the economic interests of the elite. The final group may include people who enter politics because they want to use the state to acquire personal riches and advantage.

Among the latter group, are those who would hide their true intentions. However, they would privately admit to their friends that they are in politics with the sole purpose of using politics to make money for themselves. It means that they would either steal or abuse their privileged positions to skew things in their favour. Those are the gold diggers.

Getting into politics with a genuine intention to improve lives may not necessarily result in achieving that aim. This is because things happen as society progresses and unexpected events may see the genuine politician’s dream scuttled. For such people, they would have tried, albeit in vain. For most of such people, the motivation to be a nation’s top dog would be the honour that they would have attained. However, if our failed President opts to hang on to power in spite of the failures, he/she becomes a nuisance to the rest of the nation.

As for the gold diggers, they would have plotted, long before, their strategy to accomplish their objective. They would bob and “jive”, weave and duck, and trod on the shoulders or even the dead bodies and broken bones of others on the path towards their aspiration. They would demonise the people who are in the positions for which they yearn. They would find everything wrong with what people in authority do even if there is no cause to find wrongs.

If the sitting head of state moves fast, they would complain that the President is moving too fast. If things are taken slowly, they would nitpick that the President is crawling like a snail. They would incite people that the leaders are corrupt even if there is no such indication. Even if one person out of a population of 22 million is unemployed, the detractors envying the position would say that there is massive unemployment. This is easy especially if the country has no mechanism of collecting national data on the state of employment. In short, they would blame the people whose position they covet of causing the depletion of the ozone layer.

In Africa, we turn such behaviour into a perfect art form. If you are a former President who would want your wife also to be President, you begin with the mindset that the guy in your way is sick. You then begin a whispering campaign by sending text messages to people to that effect. When that fails, you approach other people to contest, and ask them to contest without telling them that they are actually supposed to be stalking horses for your wife. If you lose in that, you look for medical officers abroad to fabricate medical reports to “prove” that your opponent is sick. If that also fails, you take advantage of your opponent’s visit to a hospital to declare that he is dead. If the opponent grants an interview from the “mortuary”, to state that he is alive, you then change tact. You pretend that you now support him and then nominate a candidate for Vice-Presidential candidate. You then conduct a phony interview among the Vice-Presidential aspirants and come up with the obvious result: your nominee comes up as the best of all. You then encourage your wife to go on air to lambast the other Vice-Presidential candidates, calling the leading contender names including accusing him of being an indecisive person. It does not matter whether that same leading contender was your choice for Vice-President in times past. If unfortunately your choice loses out in the race, you move to your next plot.

You decide, at that stage, that you would support people standing as MPs, who you consider as your allies, by campaigning vigorously for them in their constituencies. The idea here is that knowing very well that a majority of Ministers would be appointed from parliament, most of them could end up as Ministers to help you carry out your agenda to make your wife President in the not too distant future. During such campaigns, you may throw in a word or two for the Presidential candidate to cover up your innate disapproval of him. Indeed, sometimes you may even arrive at the campaign grounds before him to show off that you are strong and that he is slow or lazy or sick. Fortunately for you, people would interpret such actions as your total commitment to the success of the party.

As soon as the elections are over and victory secured, you would insist that your proxies are appointed into ministerial positions. You would particularly select the strategic ones that would enable your ultimate goal of securing victory for your wife in future. If your nominees do not get the positions for which you seek, you would begin to accuse other leaders of trying o hi-jack the party. You would declare the ingratitude of such people, claiming that it was you who made them what they are. After all it is from you that all munificence emanates. You are the supreme, one and that all those who worked with you should feel privileged. Even those you abused should feel privileged that you abused them; and indeed, all those you killed or had killed during your reign should feel privileged. When people criticize your politics, you would unleash personal attacks on them instead of criticizing their ideas. All such critics, you would categorise as brainless and gullible people who are being used by your opponents. This is because, you are the epitome of virtue and morality and should therefore not be criticized.

You would them make known that those people, most of whom you worked with during your reign are, after all, “ungrateful greedy bastards, stupid fools, empty heads, money-grabbing whores, and nobodies”. You would not need to indicate how or when they deteriorated so badly. After all, you are the one whose word is gospel and would not say anything about anybody unless it was true. You would begin to complain about the rival bloc and insist that the President gets rid of them. You would demand that the President meets you everyday to decide on the direction of the government. If the President does not agree, it would mean that the President has signed his own death-warrant. Now you would begin to feel justified to start a “moral crusade” against the President and his Ministers.

You begin the “crusade” slowly by initially whispering that you have been side-lined and ignored. You present yourself as a poor victim whose hard work is not being recognized. You then would rally around any party member who is disaffected because they were not given a political appointment. You would incite ordinary party activists who are unemployed that their situation is due to the President not caring about them. You would say these although unemployment in the country intensified during your time as President, when you sold off state enterprises, which the new owners collapsed and sacked the workers. If a party member died, you would go to the funeral and declare that the member died of heartbreak because the new President had failed the party.

In order to make your rank-and-file party members believe that you are with them, you would go and buy roasted plantain, also known as “Kofi Brokeman”, to eat it under a tree in the compound of your party headquarters in the full glare of the party members. This is designed to elicit feelings of sympathy for you. You would ask to be invited to functions where you would verbally attack you consider as your rivals and who are perceived to be near the President.

You would accuse the President of not sending functionaries of the previous administration to jail. You would do this although your nominee for Vice-Presidential candidate would, by now, be the Attorney-General responsible for prosecutions. Why you would not attack your darling Attorney-General but rather vent your spleen on the President is not explained.

Your aim would be to pester the President until he feels so harassed that he would give up any intention of going for a second-term. In this way, your wife would have a better playing field to win the party’s nomination for Presidential candidate.

In the past, it was relatively easy to become head of state. All that was needed was to, if you were a soldier, take weapons and shoot your way to power. After winning power, you become the most sensible person in the country. If someone offended you, you could kindly give him an identification haircut with a broken bottle. If he was really annoying, you would put him in detention without trial. If the person was really really offensive, you could just shoot him dead. No questions asked! Things are harder these days. Now, one has to go through all sorts of “intriguous” machinations and risk being insulted back by “people (you) plucked from obscurity”. It is not easy. Enye easy koraaa!

Columnist: Adu, Kwasi