Mr. President, I want to go to town

Good afternoon Mr. President. This is the first time I am writing to you in the afternoon. It tells of the urgency of my perturbation.

Mr. President, I want to go to town. What is this we are hearing?

When this whole thing started, I took it for granted initially and opted to watch from the touchlines. Then it gained momentum. Then people started proffering all kinds of thoughts on it, with some even ridiculing it. Then I decided to do some background check. I thought I should take an excursion into the thinking that went into this one.

Apparently, in the past, it had been pretty difficult determining the numbers of vehicles the state owned, how they were used and how they were eventually disposed of. I also found out that indeed, about one third of the state’s vehicles could not be accounted for at one point in the past. Has that changed now? My enquiries also uncovered the fact that most donor-funded projects in the north of the country came with vehicles. The said vehicles, per the contracts, were supposed to be handed over to government at the end of the project period. Interestingly, governments in the past have not been able find a way of ensuring a smooth transition of the said vehicles into government ownership, so they ended up in the hands of project coordinators.

So Mr. President, this afternoon, I heard you appointed a certain Vincent Kuagbenu as Presidential Aide in charge of Rationalization and Re-registration of Government Vehicles? Did I get the job designation right? Your Excellency, against the backdrop of how poorly state-owned vehicles have been managed in the past, this appointment in itself wouldn’t have been a bad idea at all. But…

But Mr. President, what exactly in heaven’s name does it mean to ‘rationalize and re-register’ state vehicles? And why must it take a “Presidential Aide” to do this?

My headache, Mr. President, is that by convention (or is it statutory?), Presidential Aides and some of those Special Assistants actually have the statuses of Deputy Ministers and even Cabinet Ministers; and by implication, they enjoy the all the pecks that come with those offices. The also take ex-gratia. The State pays their bills, buys SUVs for them, and gives them allowance for their little mistresses on Legon campus.

So if this appointment is anything to go by, we have just created another slot for somebody to take ‘End of Service Benefit’; in a country where nothing at all seems to be working?

Your Excellency, did you actually endorse this appointment or this one happened on your blind side? By the way, this Kuagbenu man actually studied Education or so, I am told, from the University of Education, Winneba. Why not send him to go head some high school? Must he be in Accra by all means? Was he not the same guy who was sending young people to all corners of this country in the name of National Service? If he so desires to serve his nation at all costs, why opt for the Jubilee House?

Mr. President, in fact, you do not seem to be in any hurry at all to get at least one thing right. It is heartbreaking.


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