Wednesday, July 08, 2009

President Obama is Coming to Town: Fears and Anticipation

Ghana is clearly the place to be. We are soo popular that we got a couple of honourable mentions at the memorial service for the late Michael Jackson. Also, in just 2 days time a certain President of the world and his family will be landing at Kotoka International Airport for their first official visit to so-called Black Africa. A friend of mine (a half-Tanzanian/half-Kenyan guy) says Kenyans are still perplexed that President Obama chose Ghana over the land of his father. *Sigh*, it was all for good reasons.Our infrastructure may pale compared to Kenya, we lack the vibrant Nairobi feel and the flaming trees of Thika but we do know how to do a mean democratic election ! So how is our fair nation preparing for the historic/historical visit? I actually do not really have a clue. My route to work is through the magical Achimota forest so I avoid town completely.
I did pick up a newspaper or two today and found that 10,000 police officers were being deployed for the occasion. *Yikes* Lets hope all the armed robbers stay in their homes glued to their (stolen) TV sets watching Obama magic light up Ghana with the rest of us. Apparently the Obama family will be put up in the Holiday Inn very close to the airport. *Interesting* There are a couple of things that are worrying me about the Obama visit.


1. Will this @#$@ rain ever let up? We love rain here in Africa. In fact didn't that 1980s band Toto once do a song that went "I Bless the Rains down in Africa"? #$%#$ Toto. The rain is beginning to cause serious havoc. There is flooding everywhere, loss of life, damage to property, damage to roads and of course cars in ditches. This morning I happen to come across a newly imported Range Rover stuck in a ditch as I drove through the aforementionned magical Achimota Forest. Rain, rain please go away, come back when the Obamas have gone away.


2. Where's my fuel at?: We are experiencing some bizarre petrol shortage over in the good 'ol African Beacon of hope. I was tipped off on Monday and so I rushed to fill my tank. Yesterday, others in search of fuel were not so lucky. The queues at the filling-stations are giving Accra a war-torn feel. Is this hoarding or an actual shortage? Will the Obama family catch glimpses of these queues? Will there be enough petrol to transport the Obama entourage around our fair nation?!


3. Partisan-isation of the Obama Visit: According to one (opposition-leaning) newspaper today , ex-President Kufuor has not received any invitation to join in the Obama revelry. My fears have been confirmed. The partisan politics that divide (and entertain) our nation may come to play in this historic/historical visit. Why am I not surprised? The opposition hosted President George Bush just last year and the incumbent government have been basking in the sunshine of this upcoming visit ever since it was announced. After all, there are clear parallels between the way both presidents came to power. Senator Obama, the clear under-dog in the 2008 US elections came to power spreading a message of "Change" while Professor Mills the clear under-dog in the 2008 Ghana elections came to power spreading a message of "Change ". However, credit has to be given to both ex-President Kufuor and ex-President Rawlings since they both facilitated the Ghanaian democratic dream in their various ways.

Fears aside, I can't wait for Air-Force One to land.

16 comments:

novisi said...

Euphoric describes this Ghana stop-over! no real hardcore sense! bad!!!

Any Kenyan like your friend who thinks like he does is only harbouring bad thoughts. same applies to all the other such nationals of other African countries! Nigerians, Togolese, and even Ghanaians! such thoughts come from bad use of the brain! it's all about familial! no real hardcore sense there too. bad! (i wanted to use more biting words but 'bad' marks his thoughts out as bad ok).

such bad thoughts don't help us! we are in the twenty first century for Kenya's sake! what does it matter which part of the world Obama goes before Kenya????

way before Obama landed in Russia, the world new what was on the table for discussions. bruised relations, missiles foolishnes, America's never-healing sore in Afghanistan etc.

come to Ghana and all you see and hear is: as if there's just going to be a super-high-voltage orgy involving intoxicated heads! no hardcore sense!

No hardcore sense from Obama himself, all we hear is: "a major policy statement on Africa". damn!! what is the meaning of that??? just "throw-at-them"!? Obama, made a 'major policy statement' in Egypt recently. but before he did, we all knew he was going to talk about improving US-Arab/Islamic relations and that HELPED people put things in real perspective. it generated good debate in the Moslem world (wherever that place is!)

so what about Ghana? just 'major policy statement on Africa'? that's all for now??? and until he opens his mouth about it we would have no clue? there's surely something missing! somebody is not having good orgasm! surely Obama himself is not having good orgasm on this one! and our leaders ain't helping either, no hardcore sense!

as for the rain, let it continue! we need MORE shocks and deaths and more shocks AND deaths to start thinking for our welfare! it's a shame that for all these years we still suffer these 'self-imposed' floods! let it rain down in Africa! Toto surely got the sound right. i remember that song and the name too: Toto (wonderful name! beautiful name!)

and let it rain more when Obama comes! and i can't wait to see him out of Ghana quick enough! we need to think for ourselves!

as for Ghana partisan, just another of the nonsense. just another waste of our time!

Kwegyirba Aggrey-Orleans said...

You made me giggle at all the things that frustrate me about this visit. My mum is so irked at all the nonsense going on with it that she has jinxed it with a thunderstorm! Yikes! lol.

Nana said...

I agree with all your fears and even have some more to add to the list. I have pondering the subject and considering writing a blog on it. There's just to much to say about this Obama visit. I really enjoyed your piece though...

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Abena, I can't wait to read your blog. I love your say on issues and the way you write makes them an interesting read. I work around Airport residential and I heard we would have to close early on Friday else we would have to use the Dzorwulu road since the Lumumba street through to Airport First to Spanner would be blocked. Aba! When will I become the President? ... Not in Ghanaoooo! please I don't want to be insulted too much..lol

Anonymous said...

Abena, you have made me soooooo jealous. I wish I was in Ghana right now. Sigh.

I pray that everything goes well while during the visit. Are Sasha and Malia gonna be there too?

Abena said...

@Novisi: *Wow* What a beautifully detailed response! BTW: My Kenyan friend was just highly amused by his fellow-country-men's angst and is all for Obama coming to Ghana first. I just heard on the BBC how some Nigerians are feeling extremely snubbed by Obama...Mmmm
Apparently Toto are still at it ;)

@Kwegyirba, *LOL* That is so funny! Hopefully the thunderstorm does not come to pass...

@Nana, please do blog about your feelings on the visit of the century, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Abena said...

@Nana Fredua: thanks:) Wow, Airport First all the way to Spanner? That is wild. BTW: I would vote for you if you ran for president! The emoluments and trimmings will out-weigh the insults!

Abena said...

Hey Anonymous, Ghana is the place to be but it sure does not feel like it! Apparently Malia and Sasha will be coming along too. Been wondering about their yellow-fever shots and anti-malarial drugs...after all Sean Kingston flaked out on a concert in Accra last year (or the year before??) since he said his mum did not want him to get a yellow fever shot.Well, at least that is what he said!

Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

Abena, it's been a while hasn't it? In my Accra DP blog, two days ago (http://accradailyphoto.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-it-that-obvious-that-obamas-coming.html, I got the impression people outside Ghana were clueless about Obama's visit to Ghana!

In any event, METRO TV explained yesterday that the reference to Ghana had to do with MAYA ANGELOU's poem, read by the very, very personable Queen Latifah (she's so hot!!). I thought initially it was reminsicent of Martin Luther King's speech, which I have excerpted below:

--------------
from: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=1968-martin-luther-king-jr-i-ve-been-mountaintop:

"Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding -- something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee -- the cry is always the same -- "We want to be free."

Pen Powder said...

I am privileged to be in Ghana at this historic time. However, your fear of the devastating nature of partisan politics is what irks me. We have debated about this with my colleagues at work and we never seem to come to any conclusion. The Atta Mills administration should be challenged to rise above petty politics and extend an olive branch to the former ruling NPP. Indeed the first part of this year was dominated by news of this or that car being snatched from this or that politician. My argument has always been to keep these things at a normal tempo. Why rush to the top of the mountain to announce confisticating such and such a car.

I hope that the Obama visit will make all of us realise that the world gives us more respect than we are giving each other. However, if we continue on that destructive path, the world will soon withdraw its admiration and Ghana will be ordinary like any other failed Africa country.

Abena said...

Hey EK,
It has been ages. I loved your pieces on Obama-mania! Yes, you are right, the Ghana reference was in the context of a poem but I also heard there was at least one other Ghana reference made. The Martin Luther King is a lovely touch...it really captures some of the symbolism surrounding the impending visit of President Obama.

Abena said...

hi Pen Powder, you really hit the hammer on the head with your summation on Ghanaian partisan politics...I totally agree with you! The olive branch has been extended and there is a breakfast or dinner in the offing bringing together Presidents Obama, Kufuour and Rawlings and maybe President Mills?
Interesting that invitations had not gone out yet by the beginning of the week. Is that bad planning on our part as Africans or just mean that the dinner(or breakfast??) was an after-thought?

Michelle said...

I very much enjoyed reading this - it provided a good on-the-ground look at the feeling in Ghana. I posted it on my blog as well: http://blogs.america.gov/bythepeople/2009/07/09/african-online-communities-buzzing-about-ghana-visit/

Did it stop raining? On television the weather looks pretty decent. I hope you'll be blogging about the speech!

Abena said...

Thanks Michelle for posting the link. I read it and was very delighted. So sorry I did not reply your comment sooner. Was caught up in Obamamania. It stopped raining and has not really rained much since...

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