c/o Private Mail Bag
The Ghana Cedi
c/o Dr. Wampah
Bank of Ghana
14th February 2014
My dear Cedi,
It is with a heavy heart and salty copious tears of Boti Falls proportions that I write to you on this special day to tell you something that you would rather not hear today of all days. But I feel that when a boil appears in one�s armpit, the cure is not to caress it and gaze lovingly at it all day. Lancing a boil is the most sensible thing to do.
Forgive my cowardice in seeking refuge behind a long preamble and hoping you will have got the message by now. Our elders say you do not abandon the taut surface of a drum to beat the sides. So I will take a sip of water, heave heavily and tell you that really I am no longer in love with you. Before you crumple this letter in understandable pain and disgust and throw it into the bin, I beseech you to hear me out.
I remember we first met in 1965 when you were introduced into this country. You were young, hot, sexy, thrilling and crisp. You were the symbol of virility, of proud self-determination, and of vitality. God, you made me so proud, and I could not stay away from you. The Ghanaian Pound, that vestige of colonial domination, was old news, and you were the bomb. One Cedi was worth 2.4 Pounds at the time. I gazed at you all day long and lumps of pride appeared in my throat. We made love all the time, as you caressed me with tender loving care. Our souls were intertwined. We were one. I carried you wherever I went, and I eyes for no one else. You matched the dollar boot for boot. Against the pound and other currencies, you were as strong as an Ankaase warrior, muscles rippling and taut. You made me so proud. I swooned and swooned and swooned. Oh my God, those heady days. Of course, in 1967 you went through rebranding exercise, which removed Osagyefo�s head from your notes, following the 1966 coup.
Then you began to wobble. Well, for better for worse, I thought. All shall pass. No condition is permanent. Etc etc. I still believed in you. And then you were devalued by 44% in December 1970 by the Progress Party government. A month later, the soldiers came to town and took over, citing the devaluation as one of the reasons. I remained proud of you.
Even though the soldiers claimed they came to protect you, under their watch you slid and fell many times. The dollar began to overcome you. I was angry, but I blamed the global oil crisis of the 1970s and I let it slide. I could hardly blame you when soaring kalabule under the SMC government pushed you into the gutter many times. You were only a victim of their mismanagement.
Then Junior Jesus came to town and decided, in a stroke of supreme economic and financial genius, to put a death sentence on the eldest of your siblings, the 50 cedis. Major panic ensued in the business community when almost overnight these notes became worthless in the hands of our commercial class, who were supremely detested by the revolutionaries. Wailing and gnashing of the teeth prevailed across the land.
The Third Republic managers were scared to devalue you when it was the obvious thing to do, mindful of what happened to the Second Republic when its managers undertook a similar exercise. So they dithered. They were overthrown anyway. Your value (or lack thereof) is clearly indexed to the political history of this country.
Your gait got wobbly over the decades as okro appeared and thickened on the economic floor, with government after government failing to arrest your decline. You began to stoop and slip. Your hair started to thin at the temples. Your belly began to sag as the weariness took its toll on you. God, you had aged literally overnight. Even the CFA Franc could talk to you by heart and there was precious little you could do. You could hardly stand up to anyone. And yet still, I stood by you in the seventies and in the eighties because you were all I had, and I still had pride in you, even though you were in the gutter many times. You were branded and rebranded and reissued and confiscated and redenominated. I remember the politics of your redenomination in 2007 and the brouhaha that greeted the arrival of your new sibling the 2GHC note bearing Osagyefo�s head sometime after the 2008 election.
But what has hit me in the pit of the stomach and made bile rise up my throat is that the dollar, which is much older than you and therefore supposed to be on crutches, is actually shoving you aside right here at home. It seems to run its own parallel system right under our noses. Hotel rates, footballers� bonuses, rents, school fees at international schools etc are all quoting their rates in dollars. What humiliation is this? The arrogance of a gnat!! There is even a name for it�dollarization. Is this what you have been reduced to? Of course I still love you but this is beyond a joke. You now look like a malnourished Bui mosquito high on palm wine.
But what rips me apart is that your steep decline in recent times has ridiculously been blamed invariably on evil dwarves inspired by jujumen, high rise buildings, the end times and Satan tightening his hands on the heads of your managers. Your managers have issued a raft of fiats. You have even been commanded by achieving Archbishops, no less, to rise in the name of Jesus, and yet unlike Lazarus, you remain as unmoved as the Rock of Ages, and as flat as Keta pancake. Instead of giving you some strong Viagra, a hip replacement operation, knee surgery and some intravenous drips, they are dancing kpalogo around you and telling Ananse stories. I know it is not your fault but I can�t handle it anymore. It cannot be acceptable that the only thing about you that seems to rise is your blood pressure.
And so I am asking for a separation for some time. I can�t bear to ask for a divorce, because deep down I am still in love with you. But you don�t do it for me anymore. I know you will be pained by this, but I am beginning to have feelings for the dollar. I have been having a secret affair with him and I can�t hide it from you any longer. Amazingly, even after being around centuries, his stamina is amazing and he leaves me breathless and sore. I can take him everywhere in the world and he will be steady on his feet. I know he suffers occasional slips, but truth be told, it is not as bad as yours. I had an eye for my ancient lover the pound sterling, but then even though he is stronger than the dollar, he is not quite universal, you see. I know that it is rather grotesque to run off with one who has caused you so much humiliation, but I think I have sufficiently salved my conscience.
I know they say �for better, for worse�, but honestly everyone has their limits-even the biblical Job. I sincerely hope that in a few years� time, you will be able to sort out your management team. If things go well and you get yourself a new team, of course we can talk about a reunion.
Please do not write back. I think it will be better and healthier for both of us for now.
I wish you well.
Comfort Akosua Serwaa Akoto
Source: Rodney Nkrumah Boateng
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