Earlier this month, I flew into Ghana for the resplendent Bola Ray at 40 party which took place at the Royal Senchi Resort—and packed inside my pocket were a few British pounds and the US dollars.
As most frequent travelers do, I had initially checked the pound to cedi rate just to have a fair idea of how much I would get when I change my foreign currency in Ghana and to my immediate selfless satisfaction, the pound was still heavily kicking the plummeted butt of the cedi, at almost 5.7 pound to a cedi.
Before this, I realised the many social media folks who constantly shared screenshots of exchange rates, as though they were currency traders, had suddenly found new hobbies which must have sharply truncated whatever interest they had in what can loosely be described as a ‘perennial cedi watch enterprise.’
Perhaps, even those who had sworn to keep watch over the rise and fall of the cedi at such an aggressive politically biased manner, an odd hobby, were perfectly sane human beings, and had realized that the undeniably over-sized, young government of the NPP needed a few months in office to “arrest” the cedi, as “promised” by the economist and now vice president of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
I repeated my currency check travel ritual two days ago, before flying back into Ghana and to my shock, the cedi was robustly battling the dollar and pound, at 5.4 pound to a cedi.
Perhaps, the NPP was delivering on their campaign promise or the market was just responding to the diminishing pre and post-election tension, I said to myself. Whatever the case may be, the politically motivated currency watchers are back in business wearing a smug social media smile as I’ve seen a few sharing screenshots once again; alerting the world that the cedi is indeed rising on the back of Ghana’s most promising government, led by President Nana Akufo Addo.
That’s a good start for Ghana and the many of us who campaigned for the NPP remain hopeful that Nana Akufo Addo wouldn’t derail, despite the recent two justified social media slamming of his government in relation to the national cathedral and his 110 Ministers.
Arguably, Nana Akufo Addo sits with the upper echelon of the political class as the most suffered contemporary Ghanaian politician—having taken a long thorny walk to become a President. Though a progressive liberal intellectual, he’s somewhat fashionably conservative or totally regressive when it comes to his sense of fashion, even as a president.
I wouldn’t ever describe Nana Addo as always shabbily dressed, as I have heard some of the members of the opposition NDC party say. But I wouldn’t also suddenly become “acute mentally constipated” to state that the sort of XXXL suits the first gentleman of Ghana has been wearing since he took office perfectly compliment his position, his body-type and even his intellectual brilliance.
You can support and remain confident in a President without becoming a sycophant, such that you suddenly forget the essence of presentation and the need for a President to be able to walk into a meeting in a fitting suit that breeds if not elegance, thoughtfulness.
The unfettered truth is; “those seemingly XXXL suits our President has been wearing wouldn’t even be worn by the first British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole if he’s resurrected or time-travelled to our era.” With ‘unlimited’ resources at his disposal at the presidency, finding a decent fashion consultant wouldn’t be a draconian task—an exercise which would solidify is position as a true first gentleman, set to compet with a global presidential class of excellence.
Of course, this is not a call for Nana Akufo Addo to start wearing slim fitted suits or be seen walking around at the Flagstaff House in any of those tight British pants. And any attempt to equate this important image re-shaping of our president to such an absurd deduction shouldn’t have a place within the borders of this conversation.
I perfectly understand that Nana Akufo Addo is 72 years old and a president of Ghana, not some benighted peasant, whose sense of fashion or outward presentation shouldn’t be constantly reviewed or be of a national concern.
Even though Akufo Addo inherited pressing national problems that need his urgent attention, he’s not rebuilding the comos—such that caring about his personal outlook, which is currently being defined by his extra-large trousers, shirts and ‘falling coats’ would add any astronomical level of stress. A simple wardrobe change and a few minutes with any decent tailor will certainly “fix” the nodus surrounding Nana Addo’s suits.
It’s important I mention that I struggle to appreciate the rigidness of the Ghanaian sense of adoration, entrenched in this stupid conception that an admired individual should be spared any sort of criticism. And as such, President Nana Akufo Addo’s unbefitting fashion shouldn’t be zoomed on.
And spare me the lame President Mahama argument: that you can only criticise as President if you’ve ever been a president–stretching to capture this as you ought to be a fashionista to be able to comment on such an obvious fashion misplacement.
If “no one is perfect” and perfection is an admirable aspiration, then the hallmark of a true gentleman, which undoubtedly Nana Akuffo Addo is, should be to gravitate towards this idea in all aspect, especially his appearance.
To me, every reasonable mind would agree that the sense of fashion of our president needs to be uprooted from the 11th century and be brought in line with the zeitgeist of our 21st century.
Mr. President, would it be possible to also stop putting your white handkerchief inside your shirts, via the wrist area? That’s some 2pac “gangster” stuff.