My beard is not the reason I won Best African Mayor Award – Dr Vanderpuije

Dr Oko Vanderpuije (right) receiving the Accra award from President Eduardo dos Santos.
Dr Oko Vanderpuije (right) receiving the Accra award.

The Mayor of Accra, who describes himself as ‘Lord Mayor’, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, has vehemently denied any suggestions that he was awarded the inaugural African Mayor Award because of his lush beard.

He told journalists at the 2nd Africa Urban Infrastructure Investment Forum held in Luanda, Angola that although he cannot point to exactly which of his innumerable achievements led the judging panel to confer the award on him, he was positive that ‘my beard had nothing to do with it!’

He speculated that his success at the awards might have been due to hard work, perseverance in the face of failure, and impunity.

‘Look, being a mayor in Accra is a very difficult job! I have to leave my air-conditioned office whenever the light goes off, and go direct traffic, clean rubbish from the streets, and yet the rubbish and the traffic jams remain.’

He further said that the very fact that the situation hasn’t led him to resign is proof enough of his resilience, for which fact alone, he deserved the award: ‘not to talk of handcuffing trotro drivers who won’t help me to clean the streets, and arbitrarily changing names of national structures in memory of my employer.’

He expressed regret that Ghanaians are still not recognizing the great work that the whole world is hailing him for. It will be recalled that in September 2014, Dr Vanderpuije was named President of Mayors by a little-known group called The World Alliance of Mayors of Africa and African Descent, an organisation that didn’t have a website. His detractors had said that his promotion rather made the organisation popular, not the other way around.

Asked why Ghanaians are failing to credit him for his good works, Dr Vanderpuije said, ‘A prophet is not honoured in his own country,’ but he pledged to continue the ‘fantastic work.’

He also revealed a new line of policy he will vigorously pursue in the coming days: ‘When I return to Accra, I’ll make sure that nobody gets access to apio during office hours.’

He said that in making this policy, he particularly had in mind the governing board of the Agricultural Development Bank and some members of the government’s communications team on Facebook, namely, James Agyenim Boateng, Dela Coffie, and finally, Alhaji Halidu Haruna, who was as obscure as the World Alliance of Mayors before his brain got soaked in apio and his mouth started giving vent to terrible utterances.

‘If they are again caught drinking apio during office hours, I’ll make sure that they’re denied Joy Daddy Bitters at night!’ He also pledged to ‘deal with those disrespectful people at e-TV who had the audacity to put me at Number 20 on the most influential Ghanaian list.’

He said that he is encouraged by this award to work even harder, and claimed he was confident that he would again win the award next year. He then reemphasised that the beard was not what helped him to win this year’s award.

When an Angolan journalist asked to know the persons making those claims, Dr Vanderpuije admitted that ‘I’ve not yet heard anyone saying that. But, my dear sister, you have no idea how cynical Ghanaians are! I tell you, people will definitely say that it was my beard that won me this award. Some would even go as far as to claim that I only won because I promised the judging panel that I would shave off my beard when I return to Accra. That is the reason why I feel compelled to clear the air before the mischief starts.’

Editor’s note: The ‘Inside the News by Mpakoo’ column, which appears every Monday exclusively on is satire.

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