“Is ‘Normale'”

Dear Our President,

Ever since I discovered how to laugh on paper, I can’t help but let go off one from time to time. So this morning, kikikikikikiki, hahahahahaha. Laughing is so liberating! Sir, try it, you would enjoy it so much too.

Sir, all of a sudden, there is an explosion of auctions over the land, like an outbreak of chicken pox. North, and South, they are auctioning. Go to the East, and turn to the West, it is the same. In one particular instance, a whole moving and operable tractor was supposed to have been sold for 2500 cedis (U.S. $595). Pick-up trucks have been sold for 2000 and 1500 cedis (U.S. $ 476 and 357).  There was another report in which it is alleged that the Narcotics Control Board also auctioned its fleet of cars. In that instance too, there have been loud complaints of criminally low prices and finger pointing to political actors as beneficiaries.

So being a good lapor I hit the streets to find out what would be suitable for your ears, so I could do my job with credit. Sir, I have asked and asked, but it seems either I am confused or I do not know my job.

I am not telling you a lie. I can never do that. Let me replay my interview skills to you. “Hello Sir, my name is Lapor, and I am doing a little research on auction sales in Ghana. Can you please give me your views on claims in the news that vehicles and other state assets are sold to political friends at very low prices?” What do you think, not bad English for a poorly educated fellow is it?  Sir, it seems that all the people I spoke to had been prepared to answer just this question. They all said “is normal”. Yes, that is exactly what they all said. “Is normal” Sir they said it in a nice French way, like “Normale”.

I heard this word so often that I began to think they were referring to a person. I therefore started making calls to find out where I could find this man “Normale” who was making all officials sell assets at give-away prices, and discover who gave him that authority.

Sir, I used all my detective skills; I called all the people I know at the Immigration Service, for I suspected he comes from one of our neighbouring Francophone countries. I was not lucky. I called my contacts at the various Ghana embassies in Togo, Burkina Faso, and Cote d’Ivoire. There too I was not able to find mister “Normale” I went further to visit the French Ambassador, but he was also not able to help.

Sir, I almost gave up. I was so confused, and tired too. How could a person be so elusive?  On the way back to rest in the shade of the big tree, I met one of the gentlemen whom I had previously interviewed. He saved me. He explained that what people meant to say was “It is normal” they meant it was nothing unusual to sell assets, particularly cars at give-away prices.

I was shocked. I thought he, and other people would be outraged. He went on further to tell me why people thought it was “normale”. He said if our laws made it legal for the highest gentleman of the land to go home with ten cars, it stood to reason that his assistants would also go home with at least two cars each. He said if the laws did not take these assistants into account, then the assistants would take care of themselves.  So they would use all kinds of tricks and skills to achieve this aim.

Sir, do you think it is “normale” that when it is time for you to go, you will also take away many cars? (Like Ten). What would you name your car hiring service? Would it be self-drive or chauffeur-driven? Would you use one of the houses we provide you, as the office for the business?  Sir, if every government appointee took home two cars in addition to all their other benefits, how would we run the country? And if people feel it is “normale” for this to be happening, what else will soon become “normale”? Headmasters taking home two female students as part of their retirement benefit?

Sir, in fact I am not feeling “normale” thinking about these events in the land that Aggrey and Amo left. All of a sudden I do not feel like laughing anymore.

Later Sir.

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