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Feature Article of Saturday, 22 January 2011

Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta

A Poem-Sit-Tight African Presidents

By Kwesi Atta Sakyi 19th January 2011

You say I have insulted and offended you,
You claim you are sacrosanct,
Yet you lie and lie at every turn,
How different are you different
From the man in the street who voted you to power,
Are you descended from a tree,
Or did you emerge from thin air,
You put forward your viewpoint
And I state a counter view,
Yet you say you are insulted,
Is democracy not a two- way street,
Or has it turned into democrazy,
But you protest my view is sedition and treason
How long will this tiff drag on in Africa,
Intolerance and lack of accommodation for dissenting views,
This tug of war can spark a spat,
Is politics full of poly tricks,
Those who steal ballots deserve bullets,
Yet we are in a new age of civilization,
No cowboy show of banana republics
And kangaroo courts,
Sitting presidents want to sit tight on their tired thighs,
Glued to the gubernatorial thrones,
They wield the big stick to clobber the fourth estate and
Opposition,
Freedom of speech is incarcerated in some African countries,
Thank God Ghana leads the way in vitriolic effusions and unfettered vituperations,
Some states have sit tight press who can never quit,
These harbor skeletons in their cupboards,
Even when the sycophantic ovation is loudest,
They wobble and shuffle in centre stage,
After so many years not tired hiding in their cage,
They are past their sell-by dates,
They read not the bold writing on the wall,
‘Time up, time to quit’
They are enchanted and mesmerized by their own
Voices and images in the limelight,
They suffer megalomania, hallucinations, narcissism and self delusion,
In the government hall, hang their grinning effigies,
Yet, the hallmark of a tired statesman
Is to bow out at his prime,
It is no crime to emulate Madiba,
For, the laws of nature cannot be refuted or confuted,
Go ask Einstein or Confucius of Cathay old,
Lord Acton stated bold,
‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,’
Oh, what a timely lesson for sit-tight press
Not to gag and suffocate the press,
Sit-tight press should quit at noon
When the sun is at its apogee,
When it is over the moon with its intoxicant power,
For, soonest, a nadir follows a cumulus cloud,
Causing disgrace, doom and opprobrious shower,
Sooner rather than later, in exile as shameful refugees!



(Note: Reflections on recent events in Ivory Coast, Tunisia and elsewhere in Africa motivated me to compose this poem. It reminds me of late Sergeant Doe of Liberia, Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, Mengistu Haile Marriam of Ethiopia, Siad Barre of Somalia,Ben Ali of Tunisia, Houphet Boigny of Ivory Coast, Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Museveni of Uganda, Mubarak of Egypt, Mobutu of Congo DRC, Muamar Khaddaffi of Libya, inter alia.)

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