The Foreign Minister's Tale
This is the sad, sad story of a Foreign Minister who got a bit of a shock when she started her new job.
First, she discovered that her office was on the 6th floor. Worse, she discovered that the elevator didn’t work. Indeed, it hadn’t worked for the past 10 years. Bad.
Then she discovered that if she wanted any stationery for her office, she’d have to buy it herself, with her own money. Bad again.
And then, she discovered that in the ministerial bathroom there was no water in the taps and the toilet didn’t flush. There was a lightbulb, but the only electricity came from a generator. And there was no money to pay for fuel for the generator. Very bad.
The Minister’s name is Zainab Bangura, and she’s just been appointed Foreign Minister in the newly-elected government of Sierra Leone. She told this story herself to the BBC’s redoubtable correspondent Mark Doyle, who knows a thing or two about Africa, and who used it to illustrate the effects of endemic corruption. If the government’s coffers hadn’t been so comprehensively pilfered, perhaps the Foreign Ministry would have some cash to pay for Ms Bangura’s office supplies.
You can hear the minister telling him her tale of woe here. It is both desperately sad, and desperately funny.