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Opinions of Friday, 27 November 2009

Columnist: Akaba, Senyo

Speed limits matter; perhaps, President Mills knows this

Months after John Mills was sworn into office, critics didn’t need lengthy articles to assess his reign. Four words were enough: “He is too slow.” These attacks on the Christianborg Castle came from two angles. Surprisingly, the first leg of attack came from within his “own cloth.” The second leg came from the opposition. That was expected.

These “missiles” set the tone for questions about the ‘speedometer’ that revealed to both liberals and some social democrats the pace at which the Mills administration was travelling. Is it not strange that in the midst of members of opposition and government agreeing on an issue, there is something about an automobile involved? Not only are our parliamentarians on both sides quick to agree on car loans for themselves, pundits on both sides are quicker in agreeing on ‘speedometer readings’ too.

Did it matter to the critics to find out what speed limit was by the road on which they observed the ‘Mills truck?’ Regard for speed limits matter, and it would have been appropriate to know the speed limit the president was violating. That way, it would be easy for us to charge him with the offence.

A few months ago, the same elements of social democratic origins, who today criticize their boss, staggered slowly from door to door behind him, interrupting our peaceful naps with messages of “change” and a “better Ghana.” Today, those slow dudes who banged on our wooden doors with such weak fists want to transform themselves into drivers of racing cars.

So, were Rawlings and his followers and the NPP dudes who agreed the Mills Castle was too slow seeing from the same perspective? Let us, for a moment, assume the government heeded the call of Chairman Rawlings. I’m sure the result would be loads of court cases against ex-government servants. Was this the view of the lads in the NPP as well? Did they want speedy incarcerations? Was it just a case of the NPP taking sides with Rawlings (or his idea of a speedy Ghana) just because they needed to oppose the Mills administration? This scenario reminds me of playwright Ola Rotimi, when he wrote: “Is it not ignorance that makes the rat invite the cat to a fight?”

When next politicians chastise each other over speed limits, be mindful of their activities. You might not be travelling down the same road with them. Politicians have different speedometers, and different speed limits. And different destinations, which, of course you have no idea about. You might be moving in opposite directions, or even in different transports.

By Senyo Akaba