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Feature Article of Sunday, 10 July 2011

Columnist: Ablorh, Raymond

Yutong bus GH 1957's stuck in political mud

After reading ‘Monuments of waste’ from ‘his’ rooftop on page 7 of
the Daily Graphic of Tuesday, June 7, 2011, I couldn’t agree more with
Kofi Akordor when he concluded with the lamentation, “…, I know we have a
long way to go.” Yes, philosophically speaking, Ghana has a very long
way to go. Especially, so, when we haven’t yet found the way. The
gap between our ignorance and knowledge of ‘the way to go’ couldn’t be
measured in physical geographical distance; and, just as no amount of
mental energy we employ could enable us convert 54 years into kilometers
or miles, so we couldn’t tell how long in time distance we are left to
locate the ‘way’. But, what I know is that after 54 years of what we
call our independence, we are yet to find the way out of our confusion. I’m
sure my good friend, retired diplomat, K.B Asante (the man whose voice
comes from afar), would say we know the route out of our predicaments,
but, we are simply not ready to travel on that road for thousand and one
reasons. Nonetheless, that conviction only reduces the
distance to the shores of commitment, the least of which we haven’t
shown towards saving ourselves and future generations from our highly
solvable socio-economic problems. And, in any case, is the uselessness
inherent in knowing, and not pursuing, not tantamount to not knowing at
all? So, whether we know this idiomatic; proverbial; or,
philosophical way or not, the truth is that we haven’t nurtured enough
commitment to pursue that stretch; which is obviously the reason we are
unenviable possessors of the monuments of waste Kofi Akordor bemoaned in
his aforementioned heart-arresting article. Yes,
recently, some big shots from the ruling National Democratic Congress
(NDC) told us amusing stories laden with insinuating punctuations; call
them parables or allegories of Yutong Bus. Anyway, with my clear
understanding of our political times and seasons and the performances of
the characters therein, I couldn’t be a hoot amazed at both the stories
and their tellers. Initially, I concluded the stories
were about the NDC’s bus. However, it became clear they were telling
Ghana’s Yutong bus story, so I looked around to see if they’re on the
same bus on which I’m; and, interestingly, here they’re; one furiously
stood behind the driver and the other sat beside him (the driver). Paradoxically,
Ghana’s situation invites nostalgic memories of my childhood at Medie,
near Nsawam. In those days, my peers and I could sit on a bench; start
an imaginary engine with our mouths; and, vrooom! Vroooom! Vrooommmmm!
The driver sped us from Medie to Kumasi. I don’t know if
you ever sat on such buses in your childhood. If you didn’t, you could
even try it now; it doesn’t matter where you’re sitting, all you have to
do is to start ‘vrooommm!’ and imagine you’re driving somewhere. That
is the Yutong Bus Ghanaians are on board today. Yutong Bus GH1957
suffered a serious engine problem and has been in a heavy political mud
since Ghana attained her partial meaningless independence. Its movement
is held in back and forth restrictions without meaningful mobility
towards a well defined destination. This is because as a
people, we have not collectively decided on where we are going. The NDC
has a place in mind. Yes, the NPP too has another destination in mind,
and I can bet the CPP and other parties too have places in mind. We
can’t go to all these beautiful places at the same time. And, it's
unwise to start a journey to one destination and return towards another
destination when there is a change in leadership. But, that’s what we
seem to do with our immobile bus. Waste of resources! Now,
you see, since we lack that unity of purpose and national cohesion, we
would continue to have a situation where SSS, for instance, is changed
to SHS and the duration changed to 4 years under one government and
reversed under other administration; or, one party developing a youth
policy only to be thrown away or changed by another party; or, as usual,
one administration commencing a laudable project only to be abandoned
by another administration for reasons which obviously aren’t in the
interest of the taxpayers. Since we haven’t decided on the
destination, how do we determine which transportation system to employ?
If we know the destination, then we could tell whether we need to go by
air, land or water or a combination of some or all. Today, all the
political parties are offering various transportation alternatives to
NOWHERE, and the confused electorates who don’t know where they are been
taken to, go voting to be taken to ANYWHERE. In fact, we
have been here for a very long time. Instead of coming together to
decide on a concrete destination and work out the mode of getting there
in unison, all we’ve have done since independence is to fight ourselves
so hard, killing the very dreams and aspirations in pursuit of which
our forefathers fought for independence. Just after
independence, we started attempts to assassinate the first president and
overthrow his government. People without and within his party worked
very hard and threw the infant nation into political wilderness in 1966.
The Military took over and prepared the ground for another civilian
regime which suffered the same fate the first government suffered. Both
presidents lived and died in exile. We haven't left that
destructive path our fathers took. Today the Danquahs and Nkrumahs are
gone, but, the unhealthy rivalry and horrible political relationship
still exist. Our bus has been in this mud for a very long time that its
engine is corroded; its tyres are flat, and, occupants of the bus are so
confused they don’t know where they are been taking to. They shout from
morning to evening in the name of democracy; insulting one another in
blame game in the face of growing difficulties. Yes, like
my childhood peers and I on our Bus, all what the various drivers who
enter Yutong Bus GH1957 do is shout vroooooommmm, and the people
respond: “Yeehhhhh” But, we know we’re going nowhere. No
wonder, since independence every other government comes to clear a mess
and tighten the belts of the masses to build a foundation for progress.
Have we ever gone beyond these foundations for progress? When would we? In
a radio and television broadcast on the eve of the first anniversary
celebration of the Second Republic in Accra on Wednesday, September 30,
1970, Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia reiterated the National
Liberation Council’s message, “We as a government inherited, as
everybody knows, a huge debt, rising costs, massive unemployment, and
poverty..”Is this not the same message that Kutu Acheampong,
Jerry Rawlings, John Kufour and Atta Mills delivered when they assumed
office? We are where we are because of our horrible
appreciation of politics and our attitude towards life in general. The
time has come for us all; old and young; men and women, etc, to identify
what has kept us in this mud for all these years; and, resolve to work
in unison to liberate ourselves from our humiliating circumstances. We
have no reason to wallow in this acidic poverty while very few people
share with foreigners all the riches nature gracefully gave us. We have
no reason to starve when we can boast of fertile land. And, do we have a
reason to be thirsty when rain water humiliatingly buries our brothers
and sisters and their properties in gutters?No single person, party or group of
people can save us from this mess. Anyway,
if you meet JJ the son of Rawlings somewhere, please, be bold to ask on
my behalf: where the Yutong Bus is going to; and where it has reached,
and you would find no reason to ask for the speed level.
Raymond Ablorh
raydelove@yahoo.co.uk

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