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Opinions of Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Columnist: Yakubu, Abubakari

Idi Amin Dada Speaks From His Grave

His Linguistic Vision For Africa.

Memorable speech 1

After a luncheon hosted by the Queen in London in his honour, the former Ugandan leader Idi Amin had this to say for his vote of thanks;

"Mr Queen, Sir, Horrible Ministers, invented guests, ladies under gentlemen. I thank the Queen very plenty for what he has done to me. I tell you, I have eaten so much that I am now fed up with malicious meal.

Before I continue, I would kindly ask you to open the windows so that the climate may get in plenty. But before I go back I must invert Mr Queen to my country and I can assure you, Mr Queen that when you come, I shall revenge to you. You will eat a full cow and I will work very difficult to make sure that you will come back with a very full stomach.

For now I am sorry that I have just made a short call on you. The next time I will make a long one possible for a full moon. Thank you for letting me undress you in front of all the disgusting people." Memorable Speech of Idi Amin 2 The speech below was also allegedly made by him. "Ladies and Women, my beloved husbands and men in this general assembly I am thank you very difficult for your kind to forgive me this hour to talk about Africa and my country which is in Uganda. First I am Field Marshal Dr Al Haj Idi Amin Dada the life President of my country I am apologised because I have not deaded Archbishop Jamani Luwum when so many people tell me so many questions about him. His death on my behalf was happened with accident which was in the car when he walked with it. So again let me teach that as far as I am knowing and even the two Ministers all Oboth-Ofumbi and Oryema was all of the two deaded in one of that very accident. So I am not mistake you see.

Another words is for the order in my country in Uganda. The Press Newsmen which you can all look them here will wanted to know the law orders of my country. They have enquiring me many questions on because my policemen don't catch people in court while they have just them lost them on the way. No this is not the right yet all of them who are catched by my fellow policemen are removed for court. When the court does not find them good enough and tis them with all mistakes beginning from one month to ten years with even above. So we attempt people in court before we die them in prisons and those you understand about them dead are if they travel with care and they don't find control and miss in the bush where they previously dead themself as my men invent their death. Uganda is a peace loving brother country when people enjoy as is they are in another country. This is the true about one country.

Dr Kurt Waldheim you are very beautiful in one of these husbands. I think you are this beauty to look what is going in South Africa and Rhodesia. I am sending two hours to whites as if they choose freedom to African Brothers or you will not blame me and I take a wondering action to blow them.

Lass of that I am thank your lunch which is smelly good. I am again fed up with it and I have admitted to revenge when bothe of you are invented by Uganda. Thank you very hard an we shall collide everywhere else in internal."

When the Queen later asked the journalists present what on earth Iddi Amin Dada had said, they replied that it was in a language similar to English, but that was all they could say.

My fellow Ghanaians, brothers and sisters, this speech by Iddi Amin Dada, the then military leader of Uganda, can actually make some people laugh off their heads but its significance is enormous to African countries. What it suggests is that, we should not be bothered so much about how good we are at the Queen’s language, about perfecting the language of the Whiteman. What is important to us as Ghanaians and for that matter Africans is the value of the message our speeches convey. It is very common for people to be ridiculed in schools and colleges for not speaking the language of the white man’s properly. Shamefully or ignorantly, when we fail to speak our own local dialect properly, nobody notices it.

Ghana as a nation and Africa as a post-colonial continent can never catch up with the rest of the world economically, socially, politically and culturally unless we begin to value and develop our own God-given resources first. China, India, Singapore and most of the emerging economies in South East Asia did not become economic giants out of the blue. They started from somewhere and developing and sustaining their own culture e.g. language had been part of their development agenda. What even strikes me most of this ‘English Language Perfection Syndrome’ as I will term it is that, it is being perpetuated by the so-called Ghanaian academia who seem confused about what education actually means.

Worst of all are our unintelligent politicians who mount political platforms and the various radio stations in the country ignorantly using unintelligible, bullish, ridiculous English jargons in the name of proving their intelligence and ability to lead. The ignorant masses equally follow suit by singing their praises and voting massively for such people, thinking they are prophets and saviours for their daily distress and backwardness. It is high time we started to change mentally about our own culture and any politician who fails to communicate in the language of the local people should not even be considered for election to parliament. I remember reading an article by one Mustapha Hamid about three months ago in which he narrated an incident at his friend’s office, for which I will like to quote verbatim ‘‘Last two weeks I was in a friend’s office. He is the chief executive of an important state institution so I will not mention the name of the institution. He told me of a sad case a few weeks ago when he had to dismiss one of his administrative officers because she had written a letter to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and addressed it to “The Managing Director”. Unfortunately, he was not made to see the letter before the lady dispatched it to the AMA. When he noticed it, he was livid. He said he had no alternative than to dismiss the lady outright. This lady in question is a holder of Bsc, Administration from the University of Ghana Business School. For all her education this lady has never heard the “Mayor” or “Chief Executive” of district, municipal or metropolitan assemblies’’ Fellow Ghanaians, if we were to translate the above quotation into one of our local languages e.g. twi, dagbani, hausa or even nanunli, konkomba or nawuri dialects from my corner of the country, we would not be surprised to ascertain that the phrases ‘the mayor’, ‘the chief executive’, and ‘the managing director’ all mean the same and the lady in question should not have been dismissed on that basis. I was really disappointed to realise Mustapha who I respect for obvious reasons did not condemn his friend’s decision to dismiss the lady. Extending this argument to our university campuses, this culture of who speaks ‘Big English’ wins student election leaves much to be desired. As centres of learning where people don’t listen to messages of candidates but rather their ability to speak ‘Big English’ is worrisome. Taking a leaf from Iddi Amin’s speeches above, we should not be worried about how perfect we are at a foreign language. The challenge facing us as Ghanaians and Africans in this modern era is how we can develop our own mother tongues and use it to address issues competently in our daily lives. The situation where 70%-90% of the Ghanaian populace are excluded from partaking in decisions affecting the country, simple because they are illiterate or because they cannot speak the white man’s language is tantamount to discrimination and a serious violation of their human rights as citizens of Ghana.

I conclude by suggesting, local languages be used in parliament so that what is discussed is understood by most if not all.

Thanks for reading. All comments and suggestions are welcome.