Dear Mr. President,
Help! I'm on the verge of cheating on my wife. I only met this other lady two days ago and yet she has provoked me to consider breaking my vows to my wife of 27 years. Sir, this new lady is called Kigali. She has caused me so much unrest, since I first set eyes on her, with the feeling she stirs in my heart. I had promised to love my wife to the end but I don't know what to do with these new feelings. Kigali plays with my heart like the keys in Timi Dakolo's song, Medince.
I should know better - Papa told me to never look at another man's wife more than twice - but here I sit looking at Kigali's pictures for the 100th time in two days. And guess what? I want more!
I think of the horror Kigali went through 24 years ago and I look at her beauty today and my heart smiles with so much hope. And then I think of my wife and I get so angry it makes me tremble.
Mr. President, please tell my love,
I was but a boy when I resolved to love her. Even when the other boys thought me a fool for choosing her instead of New York or London, I was determined to build my dreams in her rich bosom and grow old with her. I simply believed in her. I still do. I used to boast of her perfect streets and golden beaches.
Oh my dear Accra!
What happened to you? Your streets are infected with holes filled with plantain trees. Your beaches are now a place where your sons defecate. The gulf wishes to flee, tired of the plastics your daughters have gifted her.
Your hospitality is all the reputation you have. My overseas friends will come down to visit you but your stench will suffocate them back into the planes they came down from.
Who should I blame for how you have fallen apart, for your rot and corruption by plastic? Who should I blame but you?
I knew you some 20 years ago when your daughters went to the market with baskets and a napkin. Your sons went to the chop bars with bowls and one big carrier bag that could last a year running errands for food. So what, they grew up, became too civilised to use the baskets? Is that why their homes are full of assorted polythene bags of various colours from the tomato seller, onion seller, pepper seller, salmon seller, meat seller, tin tomato seller, cassava seller, plantain seller, and the spices seller? Is it because they are modernised that your sons come back every evening of the week from that check check joint with a different polythene bag? I have seen those "take away" packs in your once flowing drains and on your once clean streets. I have seen them bring your ruin.
My love, I had stayed awake at night, thinking of what to do and where to begin. I look at the problem and it's magnitude and I almost gave up. I almost gave up, but for Fred Swaniker's July 15, 2018 post on Facebook he titled, "Will You be on the Right Side of History?". It was there I met Kigali and started my journey of discovering her through pictures.
I saw her clean streets, her beautiful infrastructure and splendour at night. I saw the pride her children have in her and their commitment to make her the beacon of beauty. Something your own children lack. No wonder strangers feed off you and still take you for granted. Your children don't know your worth. It is true I have not seen Kigali in person. And pictures on social media can be deceptive but her reputation precedes her as Africa's most beautiful city. And that credit is enough for me.
From the pictures, I saw that Kigali has even telecommunication companies that have taken a stand to maintain her beauty. It made me begin to wonder how many companies that have their nests here, especially those that use plastic in their businesses, commit to keeping you clean. At least, can they provide the city with bins for just plastic waste (to be recycled) and see to it that it is emptied daily? 80% of the plastic waste on the streets is from water sachets.
Mr. President, I know Kigali did not become a beautiful city overnight. I'm yet to read anything on how she became this breathtakingly lovely. However, I'm sure measures were put in place. And the fact, that Kigali can become the most beautiful city in Africa and the 3rd greenest city in the world, raises my hope that Accra can also become a beacon and a place of beauty.
I humbly ask for your help to stay in love with my Accra.
Obed Mawutoh Amu.
(Citizen not spectator)
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