Monkey Business

Dear Our President,

How are you? I hear you are “sweating like profuse”. My spies whisper that the delegations are still coming thick and fast, day and night, to ‘encourage’ you to choose this person or the other for that particular position. They say it is really not their fault, to quote I.C. Quaye “the money is big o”. Imagine being ‘unbiz’ or “halfbiz” all your life and suddenly seeing 14, 826 cedis per month (other allowances not included), dangled in front of your very eyes, as a deputy minister. Sir, I am holding my breath, I don’t want to shout, because I don’t want people to know how broke I am. In fact I have to shout. How does one shout on paper?

It is one of my friends who told me the story of the Cocoa farmer who went to Kumasi, for the first time, to cash his cheque. He put on his best Kente, and took his wife along as a confirmation of his stature in his far away hamlet. When their bus arrived in the city and they got off, he was shocked at the number of people, but particularly at the women. They came in all shapes, sizes and colours. They were fine! After swiveling his head every which way, and making a quick mental comparison,he just had to exclaim “truly, back home, we are fucking monkeys!

Sir, my sources confirm that many Ghanaians, both men and women, feel they have been “fucking monkeys” for a long time. They say they work so hard and have nothing to show for it. They say it is when they are going on pension that they feel this the most. They feel like failures and get very depressed. My aunt has given yours truly permission to use her life story as an illustration.

My aunt is 84 years old. She started teaching in 1954, (were you born?) and retired in 1992. She taught for 45 years. She was lucky to be given a contract for another two years which helped her to support her husband finish their house. The house was finished in 1995. She lives in that house now. Four years ago she had breast cancer. We were lucky it was detected early, so the surgery was successful. Her pension is 400 Cedis. (Less than 100 dollars)

When she was retiring finally, the school did not sell her the blackboard at a concessionary price. She was not housed by the school, so she could not have asked politely, if the house would be given her or sold her. She had no wardrobe or other allowances. The school did not insure her against students’ misbehavior. She did not serve on any company boards. The only leave she has known has been the school vacations. She has never been able to afford a car. When she had the cancer, it was diagnosed here, and the operation done right here, in Koforidua, at the St Joseph’s hospital, Ghana, not Johannesburg.

Sir, she is one of the lucky ones. Some people have no houses. They do not have children who can support themselves, much more support these parents. They do not go to hospital when they are sick. The painter who decorated Lapor’s house recently, died because he did not have 300 cedis to pay the doctor to treat Pneumonia.  My President, the people want me to tell you there is real poverty in the land. That is why when you come and speak your aspripri English, that people should not go and seize toilets, it does not work.

Sir, you know I Lapor, I hear all kinds of things? If I tell you that before the last election, people stated in their chambers, that they were fed up, and would welcome another Junior Jesus, would you be shocked? Sir, you know that without you, I also am nobody? Who would I lapor to? Please work to maintain the people’s trust. It is really shaken.

Sir, the people say they have been very impressed by Trump’s speech. They say it is almost as good as yours. They say they do not care if already people are saying it was plagiarized or copy-copy. They identify with what Trump says the American people say. They say “for too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Accra flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The big men and women took care of themselves, but not the citizens of our country. Our politicians’ victories have not been our victories; your triumphs have not been our triumphs; and while you celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

Sir, to put it briefly, the people are tired of ‘fucking monkeys’. What is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.

Bye-bye. The best Lapor in the whole wide world.

P.S. Today my report has been very long. It is proof that the people are dead serious. I shall definitely give you a part two.