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APPRECIATION: President Mills’ sensitivity

Mr. President,

I just wanted you to know that you are turning out to be the most humane and sensitive president we’ve ever had in Ghana. You may not necessarily be the most competent (you will need to do a lot more to prove your competence). And you are definitely not the most upbeat. You seldom inspire confidence and your gaffes are getting to many of us. But I’ve realised that you are very humane and I am falling in love with that side of you.

Mr. President, I came to this conclusion when I heard that you had personally called my friend and colleague, Cyrus de-Graft Johnson to apologise after he was beaten up and burgled by those AMA goons.
The night before your call, I was working with Cyrus. In fact, if you care to know, I detailed him to go and report on the destruction of that unauthorised market that had sprung up near the Accra Mall. I was disgusted (and partially amused, I must say) when mid-way through his live report on radio, he started screaming in fear: “hey, what are you doing with my recorder?”

Obviously there was something wrong and when his phone suddenly went off, I realised he was in some serious trouble.

When he returned to the studio about an hour later, his shirt buttons were torn. He looked dirty and pretty well beaten. His phone, recorder and wallet had been taken away from him by those goons operating in the name of the AMA. You could tell he was traumatised. After we’d discussed (and laughed a bit about) what happened, I left the studio – thinking about how I could make a case for the company to get him a replacement phone.

Imagine my surprise and delight when the next day I heard that you had called him to say “sorry”. You also promised to instruct the mayor of Accra make sure that Cyrus got his belongings back. Thanks to you, Cyrus’ phone and recorder have been returned. But his wallet, stashed with a lot of money, is still with the AMA agents.

I am pretty sure that if you had not intervened, the AMA and its mayor would have treated Cyrus as a nuisance who deserved what he got. I don’t remember any of our past leaders calling an ordinary citizen (brutalised by agents of the state) to say “sorry”.

With that singular gesture, Mr. President, you’ve shown beyond any doubt that you are sincere and you just don’t want to lord it over us and govern like an African chieftain. You’ve demonstrated that in you, we have a down-to-earth, humane and sensitive leader.

I appreciate that and I am certain most Ghanaians feel the same way too. As I doff my hat to you, I urge you to be as humane to all Ghanaians as you’ve shown to Cyrus. I hope it wasn’t just a one-off incident and that as you occupy the highest office in the land you will personally intervene when you hear an injustice has been committed against any ordinary citizen.

Step in when you see your compatriots in distress. Be sympathetic and sensitive. Don’t tell us we are broke because we are lazy. Don’t allow your ministers (and other top agents of the state) to use their powers to intimidate hapless souls – as they did to a man like Hodari Okai.

Once again, Mr. President – on behalf of Cyrus – I say thank you for demonstrating such sensitivity and fellow-feeling.

Sincerely yours,
atokwamena

PS: I should have written this much earlier. But I decided to hold on to it until you returned from that useless NAM summit. But, Mr. President, it might interest you to know that a few days after you called Cyrus to apologise, he was attacked by a gang of robbers on a motorbike. The incident occurred one early evening last week – right in front of JOY FM. They took his phone away and inflicted a couple of cutlass wounds on him. I don’t expect you to call Cyrus to apologise again. But please take action to fulfil your promise to reduce armed robberies to the barest minimum. We are living in fear. I can’t take my wife for walks in the evening anymore.

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