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Opinions of Sunday, 20 February 2011

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Kofi Ali

An impassioned plea for re-colonization


Below is a letter published on on September 17, 2008 by an
unnamed Ghanaian to the then British Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown pleading for

The letter reads:

For the attention of Mr. Gordon Brown,
Prime Minister of Great Britain;

Dear Sir,

I hope this letter reaches you in good health. I am a young man writing from Accra,
the capital of Ghana. I hope you know where my country is. If you don’t, I am very
sure that at least you know who my president is.

He’s that tall, lanky African president – the one with the bulging eyes – who came
to you recently to beg for some money to provide free medical care for pregnant
women in his country. His name is John Kufuor. That money you gave him is serving
him (and our country) quite well.

His party is campaigning with it, claiming that thanks to his beggarly skills, he
managed to squeeze some money out of you. We hear you are very stingy and that for
you to have given away all that money really took some begging.

For your information, the free care for pregnant women has started in earnest in
several towns, villages and hamlets in the country. The ruling party’s insistence on
using the programme to campaign is really spreading the word and I tell you, the
response has been very good.

The other day for example, I heard some men saying that now that government is
providing free medical care for pregnant women, they are going to stop wearing
gloves, if you know what I mean.

They say that now that you and the queen are taking care of the pregnant women,
there is no restraining them from sowing wild oats all around the country.

I also heard a pregnant woman say that with your benevolence she can now afford to
eat “fried rice” and “kyibom” (this is Ghana’s equivalent of ‘Big Mac’) because her
husband is not spending all of his meagre monthly income on the unborn child.

My people are really grateful to you, Mr. Brown. I am very sure that if you come and
run for election here, you will win by a landslide.

Now, I hear you are having some political problems and that you are not so keen on
calling a general election anytime soon. I’m reliably informed that the pollsters’
numbers do not favour you at all and that if you dare call an election, you will
most probably lose.

Why not come down and contest in our elections in December? I know you might have
some doubts about your chances, especially if you go to the history books and read
about how we kicked out your people some fifty years ago, telling them that “the
black man is capable of managing his own affairs”. We also said we were “ready to
take our destinies into our own hands.” But it was all a joke.

That guy who said all that – I mean Kwame Nkrumah – didn’t know what he was talking
about. He was a ‘wet dreamer’ who thought his nocturnal emissions can turn into milk
and honey for the black race. Fifty years on, Mr. Brown, I am very sure that you
will agree with me that we have not quite managed to take our destinies into our own
hands yet.

Do you think that if we were capable of managing our own affairs our president would
have come to you five decades after we stopped flying the Union Jack with a cup in
hand to beg you for money to take care of his pregnant women compatriots?

Mr. Brown, I think independence was a big mistake. Please, tell the Queen that we
are sorry and that we will like to have her back, with you as the first governor of
our first post-independence colonial administration.

I’m very sure a very large number of my compatriots will agree with me that since we
stopped flying the Union Jack, our country has been ushered into a new ‘colonialism’
that clearly shows that we shouldn’t have kicked you people out in the first place.

“Our national football team has never been entrusted to a Ghanaian, our water is in
the hands of the Dutch, our roads are built by the Chinese, Presidential Palace
built by Indians, waste by the Belgians, and our Telecom sector is now earmarked for
an Anglo-American company,” one of my compatriots said recently.

The “Anglo-American” company he’s referring to is none other than Vodafone, which
has very generously offered to buy our state-run telecoms firm, Ghana Telecom for a
whopping 900 million dollars. We are convinced beyond every doubt that our fickle
Ghanaian minds cannot run a profitable telecoms company.

About ten years ago, we gave it to the Malaysians until John Kufuor came to power. I
don’t know what came over him but he suddenly kicked out the Malaysians claiming
that the company was given to them for a song. Then he brought in some Norwegians
under what he called a “management contract.”

We later learnt to our shock that these Norwegians were among the most greedy
Scandinavians on the surface of the earth – they were taking hefty paycheques, which
they wouldn’t even have earned in their country. So we threw them out too. We have a
few Ghanaians running the company now and it’s very unclear the direction they want
to take the company.

That’s why we are bringing it to Vodafone. If you are as smart as I have been made
to believe you are, Mr. Brown, you will realise that this is not merely a business
transaction between our Ghana Telecom and your Vodafone. It is also a desperate SOS

We are telling you that we need you, the good people of Great Britain, back in our
country. Can we come to some sort of arrangement under which we will become the
Queen’s subjects once again? Please? For fifty years, we have done our best to
manage our own affairs but the results have always been worst than anyone could have

Our health system is in no better shape than your forefathers left it. Korle Bu, the
hospital built by one of your ancestors, is still our major teaching hospital. But
it is now like a transit point to the graveyard.

If you go there and you don’t die, you will come back home with memories you don’t
want to keep. Our people come to your country to get the best education (and some of
them even return speaking like they were born in Buckingham Palace).

Every morning, hundreds of my compatriots form a long queue (what we like to call a
“lorgorligi line”) in front of your high commission here – just to get a visa to
come to your country. In fact, the situation in the country is so bad that even our
president doesn’t like staying here.

Since he became president, he has made it clear that travelling is his favourite
past time. Whiles travelling, he has been wise enough to beg other world leaders to
help us out. He has begged for (and received) money from the Japanese, the Chinese,
the Americans, the Koreans and even from the Malaysians. It’s very undignifying for
a country formerly known as the Gold Coast to go around begging. That’s something we
never did when we used to sing “God save the Queen.”

Mr. Brown, I know you are a very busy man so I won’t bore you with the litany of
misfortunes that have befallen us since we told the Queen to sod off.

But I’m asking you to kindly go to her and tell her that we are sorry and that we
will be more than delighted to have her as our Queen once again. We don’t have any
lose cannons like Kwame Nkrumah running around anymore and I’m sure that if she came
– possibly with you – we will never kick her out again. We have learnt our lessons.
Independence was a bad idea.

How many of us will be doubting this writer? Is this indeed a genuine appeal? Is
this truely the voice of frustration? Is this the reality of the ordinary Ghanaian?
If this is in deed true, then does it not justify the ACTION GROUP OF AFRICA (AGA)
call for a more stronger AU in the life of the ordinary Ghanaian? Is this not enough
a reason for the Ghanaian to be voting directly in the AU election? What kind of
indepedent and soeverignty could the Ghanaian be having if these in deed express a
genuine concern? Is this not what Kwame Nkrumah was refering to when he said "THE
We have a duty of doing something now before the Ghanaians start taking their own
destiny into their own hands like our causins in Ivory Coast, Egypt and Tunisia.
Anarch is never the answer. Lives lost can never come back. Democracy is not about
lies but the truth. The democy in the AU with you and I, must be now and not
tomorrow!!!! Sign the petition today

Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin