Minced Musings – 1 May 2013


The good thing about being a politician in Africa is that you can always blame someone for your woes and non-performance: your predecessor, the past government, your detractors, the opposition, witches, the weather, imperialists, enemy forces, the ineffective civil service, the West, EU, neo-colonialists…the list and probable ‘enemies of your progress’ are endless. As long as you can blame, you will be fine. And, oh, you can also blame the electorate for voting you into office and giving you such an onerous task.


In the end, the blame goes back to the electorate, the common citizen, who is called upon to do more to make the politician more effective. To pay him more, to make worthwhile his sacrifice of leaving his lucrative and better paying job to serve the citizen.


As long as there is someone to blame, there is no problem.


With this backdrop, the art of promise making is fundamentally akin to shooting at the stars with arrows. If the target is not hit, blame the wind. Or the arrow, which maybe was under-weight. Or perhaps the bow that was used was tampered with by the opposing side.


Deadlines are put on wheels and made as mobile as possible. Promises are repeatable, new every month or at most every election.


Sadly, the politicians are not alone in this. The majority of us sing their tunes and hail them in this circus of dancing around the burning bush. Did the elders not say that he who gets a bad haircut should be blamed as well for not speaking during the barbering process? Oh, sorry, the citizen just got the blame again. But this is deserved.


Unless we wake up and demand more accountability, unless we challenge the words we are fed and question when told a harbour will be built in Obo Kwahu, until we come to the point where we vigorously upgrade our expectations of the performance of our political leaders, we will continue to be fed crumbs. And we will eventually be blamed for not asking for it to be at least mixed with peanuts.


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