TSETSUKIPSU MOBO, Africa's foremost mayor, today ended his three-day tour of Washington, pledging to help this city's experiment in self-government with technicians and government experts from his city. Mayor Marion Barry said he was grateful.
The pledge of aid came at the end of Mobo's Washington tour in which the young and dynamic mayor came close to tears on several occasions. One was when he was told about Mayor Barry's summer employment program for young people.He visited work sites where no one had shown up and still others where the wrong people had been sent to the wrong jobs. The African mayor seemed moved by what he was told.
"Many years ago in my own city we had similar problems," he said. "I worked hard and rode herd on the program and only then did i embark on foreign trips like this." Mayor Barry was heard to mutter something, the exact nature of which could not be discerned
A shocked Mayor Mobo was taken by un-air conditioned bus to the Whitehurst Freeway, where he was shown what are said to be the world's largest potholes. He was told that some of the holes have been there since last winter's snow, but Mayor Barry denied there had been a snow last winter. The African Mayor also saw row after row of street lights over the freeway, almost none of which work. He said similar conditions once existed in his country.
The African mayor was accompanied on the trip by his wife and the president of his local bank. In his home city he was once considered a suit-wearing radical, but has since reverted to the more traditional dashiki in an effort to forge what he called a "broad coalition" of blacks, colonialists and gays from the northern tribes. By the third day of his tour, Mobo was loaded with souvenirs of local Washington, crafts such as little statues of the Washington Monument, plates with pictures of John and Jacqueline Kennedy painted on them and little globes with the Capitol inside that snowed when turned upside down. Mobo turned it upside down for Mayor Barry but said he saw no snow.
From the WHITEHURST Freeway, the African mayor was taken to the City Council. There he saw lobbyists drafting bills and watched the council pass yet another bill to stop condominium conversions. It would apply to all condos except for those already under way, planned or contemplated. The African mayor commended the council for its bravery and then went downstairs to the board of elections wheree he was shown a computer that eats ballots. He said he was impressed.
"I am african mayor characterized," he said.
The African mayor characterized by Time magazine as dynamic, terrific, sensational and sexy was then taken to school board headquarters where he watches in rapt fascination as board members called each other racial epithets and united only to goad the teachers' union into yet another strike. Mobo was warantly greeted by board member Frank Shaffer-Corona who vowed that in the name of the children of Washington he would personally take a trip to Africa. The board immediately voted him a one-way ticket, and then fell to squabbling against.
Reporters covering Mobo's tour noticed that he was not taken to Forest Heaven, the city's institution for the mentally retarded, nor to any of the city hospitals, that have either lost their accreditation in recent years or ben criticized for turning away people who later died. The conversation was interrupted when the African mayor expressed puzzlement at seeing a house trailer parked in a schoolyard. When young and dynamic African mayor just shook his head in wonder and disbelief.
"I've learned a lot here," he said. "It7s going to help me do my job better, I'm confident."
Later, Mayor Mobo paid a courtesy call on former mayor Walter Washington. The two men met for about 15 minutes of what tge former mayor called "relevant discussions having to do with the community." Mobo said he could not confirm Washington. version since five minutes into the meeting he fell asleep.
From former mayor Washington's house, Mayor mobo went directly to the airport. The mayor and his entourage were pas up by seven cabs until they found taxis that would take them and then those cabs stopped nix times looking for additional passengers and got lost on the way to the airport.The drivers, who had no change and no manners to boot, got confused at the airpot, went around the traffic circle four times and were finally directed to the stellite parking lot by a manic cop. Then Mayor Mobo waited in line for the Ney York shuttle for two hours and spent another two hours in the plane with air conditioning off waiting to take off.
It was about this time that Mayor Mobo made his offer of technical assistance. He said he had never seen such a place as Washington and promised to plead the city's cause before the United Nations. He and Mayor Barry hugged, shook hands and said goodbye to each other. Mayor Mambo said he was glad to be going home to equatiorial Afica.
"Nothing personal," he said. "The weather's better."