Dear Our President,
How mistaken I was! I have discovered that contrary to my belief, it is possible to laugh on paper, in a letter, to be precise. You could say ‘’Hahaha’’, or to be a bit posh, ‘’Tee-hee’’. But did you know we don’t all laugh the same on paper? My people from southern Africa laugh “kikikiki”. Really.
So this morning I say Kikikiki to your finance team. Yes, I am laughing at them. As my people in Takoradi say, “they can’t do foko”. I hear “foko” is our corruption of the very rude “fuck all”. But that is not what I mean at all. I mean they are powerless in the face of overwhelming odds.
Sir, I was sitting my somewhere, when this lapor friend came to drag me from the shade of the big mango tree in our yard. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going. He said it was very important, and I would not be disappointed after the trip.
Sir, he was very right. I was not disappointed. If I could, I would come and drag you too. He took me to a very popular shop in a popular mall. There, on one of the shelves, was a bag with a beautiful photograph of a cute cat. I was wondering what cat food had to do with me till I read the product information. I can’t blaspheme, no, not me. Someone is importing what is essentially saw dust for cats to shit in.
Are all the sawmills at Kaase in Kumasi closed? What about the waste from the chainsaw boys, or even the carpenters at Awonaga, also in Kumasi? Sir, you see what we are importing?
We also import bottled water even though we have some of the sweetest, cleanest water going waste at Amedzope and other places. Sir, if those luxury hotels will not buy from local producers and suppliers, they are welcome to produce their own here, or close. But sir, it is not the luxury hotels alone who are doing it. Ordinary people like me do so to show their class and style! Yes, the ordinary Ghanaian is part of the problem.
Our big neighbor South Africa has effectively colonized us by setting up shops here, which they fill with South African produce, most of which we already produce here. They bring in vegetables, poultry, beverages, furniture, tools, electricals and clothes. They have stolen our jobs, and caused many corner shops to close, thereby increasing unemployment. Most of the clothes they bring in to sell are poorly made, targeting the poor in their country, but we find them fashionable and chic! If they love us so much, why have they not exported some of their car manufacturing plants here? They produce several cars, including luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. Or why have they not brought in some farm experts to help our poor farmers?
Sir, do you remember Okay soap? “I am Okay with Okay soap”? For a while it was the most advertised product on television. Do we not produce enough soap in our country? Yet someone goes to Asia and brings in soap by container loads and floods our market. Our soap manufacturers then have to work extra hard to sell their soap. If they cannot then the whole economy suffers.
Sir, what the people want me to tell you is that we should stop working against ourselves. We should stop helping other people build their economies to the detriment of ours. Every time we change cedis into dollars to import these things into our country, we weaken our cedi, we export our jobs, we prevent our economy from growing, and we all remain poor.
Sir, trade is important we all agree, but it must be reciprocal. If your neighbor borrows your cassava every day, and never gives you anything in return, it is time to rethink that friendship. So sir, till your economic team takes some tough measures, we, all Ghanaians, will go kikikiki even though we are part of the problem. Lapor wishes them luck.
Bye-bye. Kikikiki. Sounds like ‘gidigidi’. Good luck.
P.S. If they are unable to arrive at a strategy, they should call Donald Trump.