President John Dramani Mahama last week issued a directive proscribing citizens of Ghana from voicing opinion critical of his government unless they can ‘produce hard, incontrovertible evidence for any such opinion.’
This bizarre presidential fiat was delivered to the media by a livid Fiifi Kwetey following the publication of an IEA (Institute of Economic Affairs) opinion survey which named the Flagstaff House as second in the list of institutions perceived by Ghanaians to be the most corrupt. The deputy finance minister, speaking in an interview on Citi FM, furiously stated that ‘there is no chance in hell that the Ghana Police Service could overtake the presidency when it comes to corruption.’
But in a rare show of independence and bravery, the public relations officer of the police service called in to the programme to insist that the police service indeed deserved the Number One spot. But Fiifi Kwetey would have none of that.
‘How the hell can you compare people taking pea-nuts as bribes to those who deal in millions?’ Mr Kwetey asked, barely able to hold himself together. He also threatened that the government is going to deal with the IGP, because ‘obviously, they (the police service) had a hand in this dubious poll intended to undermine the kleptocratic reputation which the government has carefully cultivated and nurtured for itself.’
Back to the prohibition by the president, Fiifi Kwetey intimated that cabinet will soon send a bill to parliament to insert the injunction into the criminal code. He said that President Mahama was finally sick and tired of the actions of ‘all those suffering from incurable selective myopia’ who are infecting otherwise placid citizens with ‘their destructive cynicism.’ The president reportedly said that ‘all opinions not grounded on facts and figures are threats to national security and national cohesion. And for the avoidance of doubt, these facts and figures must be obtained from the communications department of the Flagstaff House.’
Not surprisingly, Ghanaians were massively outraged by this announcement. But a few days later, the president mollified the people with an onslaught of his famous public relations charm. This he did during the State of the Nation address, where he stayed true to character by making a promise.
The president swore by his own sacred name, declaiming solemnly, ‘I, John Dramani Mahama, do hereby promise that all eligible young men and women will get married by the end of this year.’ This promise was greeted with spontaneous wild cheers from men and women within the 25 to 39 years age bracket. When he was later asked how he intended to get over two million people married by the close of the year, he enthusiastically replied that he would get it done ‘by the Grace of God,’ and that this was sure to happen since ‘with God, all things are possible.’
In his address, the president also took a swipe at his critics. Waxing historical, he traced the power challenges facing the country to the days of Komfo Anokye. He concluded that ‘based on historical evidence, we Ghanaians have no excuse to say that because of Dumsor the economy will collapse, since Nigeria hasn’t collapsed yet.’
He further enjoined Ghanaians to use this power crisis as an opportunity to contribute to the Better Ghana Agenda, stating that, ‘We have to support government by buying generators to boost the economy and widen the tax net.’ The president said that the Dumsor-based generator business in Ghana is an example of his home-grown solutions to the country’s economic challenges.
Obviously elated by the enthusiastic response with which his marriage promise was received, the president has promised to make another promise when he mounts the podium at later this week during the Independence Day celebration. Government communicators were tight-lipped about the contents of this promised promise, except to say that ‘this promise is going to be a promise the president has never promised before.’
Editor’s note: The ‘Inside the News by Mpakoo’ column which appears every Monday exclusively on ghanabusinessnews.com is satire.