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Feature Article of Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Columnist: Edusei, Eric K.

Ghana's Independence: 55 Years Of What?

What are we celebrating?



Our poverty, misery or economic mismanagement ?



It might sounds crazy but the reality is obvious that after 55 (fifty five) years of independence and our abundant resources, people still ‘pee’ on the road sides while others defecate at unauthorized areas with impunity. The whole situation epitomizes a mini jungle without leaders to effectively plan, implement and institutionalize policies which could salvage the masses from decadence and deprivation. The true picture of our nation today is not good as promoted to the outside world by the Western media. Factually, it symbolizes a state of hopelessness without any direction since key programmes are structured and executed on an ad-hoc basis, in the absence of a realistic national policy. Although, we are consumed by hugemongus problems, we do not have well-trained; serious-minded and tested-people committed enough to make the required sacrifices to deal with the serious problems confronting us as a nation. In the end, we are worse off as a nation because of greed and selfishness. We have leaders who cannot even copy and implement (i.e. in line with the priorities of our environment and culture), what others have used their brains to achieve. Simply put, we cannot cut and paste what others have already done to ensure development in our country, which explains our current state of filth covered with dust and mosquitoes. Today, when you visit Ghana the only good thing left is the people (with their perpetual smiles) and the expensive good local food.

Ghana is a developing economy that is trying to achieve what many advanced countries have already reached and passed. In other words, nobody is asking our leaders to crack their brains to do the unthinkable but to just copy what others have used their brains to do taking into consideration the psychology of our people and our social dynamics. Nobody is asking us to develop a truck, caterpillar tractor or a computer because others have done them. In other words, we simply have to have good leaders who are conscious of our history and with a sense of love and devotion to shepherd this nation to fruition which calls for patriotism (which is practically non-existent), as I write this article.

Until quite recently I haboured some reservations with the statement made several years ago by Ghana’s First President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah that, ”the black man is capable of governance when given the opportunity”. On subsequent analysis on what appeared then as an overly-optimistic s statement by the Osagyefo, I had to come to terms with it as reflecting his true vision and fervent desire to promote and advance the cause of his continent against the subversive and exploitative intents of colonialists. His awesome intellectual insight to the colonial issue and his vision and demonstrable passion for the advancement of his country and continental brethren did underpin that statement. It is noteworthy that African political commentators have since that statement, come to appreciate that the true understanding and commitment to the onerous task that is required to deliver on Osagyefo’s expressed vision, was lost on his political colleagues at the time and even now.

Most of our leaders since Osagyefo, have been and are still simply loud in their pronouncements and lack bite when it comes to policy formulation and implementation. They lack the depth to lead our nation taking into consideration the fact that leadership is not about having good intentions but the capability to harness the nation’ s resources - both material and human – towards enhanced national development. What good story comes out of Africa these days? The North is in turmoil; the South and Eastern corridor are in crises and the West is in limbo.

After 55 years of Independence, the battle for economic emancipation which was derailed some years ago seem to have lost direction after some years of participatory democracy. We seem to lack direction in policy formulation and ideas to move this nation forward. Ghana is not about Accra alone, and if you travel outside our cities to our villages [which constitute about 80% (eighty percent) of our citizenry], it is there that you get to realize that the crazy political talks on our airwaves and in the print media, belies the real Ghana we live in. People are really suffering, I mean really suffering and we stay in Accra and talk jazz. Where are the jobs in the face of the current astronomical cost of living?

The late Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah , left the nation in a state that was destined for glory with little direction. All the structures needed for our economic emancipation was present; creating a manufacturing and industrial economy. Irrespective of all the inherent problems with our industrialization, we would have achieved excellence by now. Today, 55 years after independence, almost all the 200 industries setup after independence have been destroyed and we now import everything from banana in South Africa to razor blade from China. Our import bill stand at $12billion and we talk about unemployment .Is our economy misguided or mismanaged? What a country of intellectuals and thinkers!

55 years after independence, majority of our people are distressed from living in abject poverty in unplanned and mismanaged small towns and villages. The communities therein, typically either lack the critical developmental resources or the effective management of what are available, to facilitate the provision of the very basic of essential public utilities to ensure some degree of comfort for the inhabitants, in their miserable existence from day to day. What is the life there? Are they not Ghanaians with the same rights as our political gurus? Most Ghanaians perpetually live in pain and misery which evident for those who have the heart and eyes, to see. Even in Accra, the capital, about 50 % (fifty percent) of the population live in slums and we are not ashamed of it. Ghana, our dear nation is in serious crisis of economic mismanagement lacking selfless leadership with ideas to propel this nation forward.

Ghana is in this predicament because of mismanagement; high level corruption with impunity and dirty politics. How do we operate the oil ridge without a flow meter? How do we pay over $500 million hard money to undeserving people? What do we expect when we put unqualified/inexperienced political stooges to serve as Board Members and Heads of Government Institutions ? What do we anticipate when we antagonize patriots of goodwill; victimize many functional officers and expel others for political reasons? Where is the government as these un documented Chinese nationals continue to degrade our land and pollute the rivers of our helpless folks in the rural areas; Is Ghana a nation worth dying for? Dr Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory has to answer this question because Ghana as we stand today is a failed nation governed by weird leaders, who think only about themselves whiles they insist on hard work from the masses.

Where is our nation heading towards at a time when the only lucrative job in the country is politics? Ironically, people sell their homes, their properties to win political seats at the expense of more competent citizens who have no leverage.

Is Ghana’s democracy for sale? What has become of Ghana, our dear nation, when people with political power commit serious crimes and get away with them? All committees of enquires have come to nothing; some prosecutors connive with lawyers and create loop holes for criminals to maneuver. What is the state of the law and its efficacy when you have doubtful law managers like the state Attorney, State solicitor and Chief Prosecutor who are ready to conspire and dope the nation?

What is the state of our politics? It is democracy or “abodamcracy” when we allow state spokesmen to insult the citizenry as the leadership looks on unconcerned with impunity? As a citizen of Ghana, I think I demand an apology from the government for the unruly comments to the fact that people who make bad comments about the government have bad teeth. What an act of rudeness and immaturity, a behavior which has no leverage in any civilized setting other than the jungle where civility has no bearing.

After 55 years of independence, Ghana is not a united nation as perceived by many. There is growing hatred among certain tribes which is no news and it is getting worse since the nation has not thought it expedient enough to warrant any serious attention. We have issues as a country which makes it imperative to watch our tongue and our language before we plunge this nation into crises. How do we build a nation where policies and decisions are based on tribal and political lines other than competency? This explains why Africans will continue to live in abject poverty in the midst of plenty because we do not function on merit. Our independence did not germinate on tribal lines but how come that the politics of divide and rule, and ethnicity continue to permeate in the body politics of our nation. What we see today, a divided country which is just outrageous and disgusting, and I do not blame anybody but our leaders (past and present) who have used us to perpetuate their own political ambitions.

The cloud on Ghana’s future is very dark and devouring because our leaders lack truthfulness, good conscience and high-quality judgment in their approach to national issues. When is the Right to Information Act going to be enacted? Our politicians lack the political will to pass the bill. Ghanaians have enjoyed happiness and sadness at different times of our forward match towards political and economic independence but we will not lose hope because it is a good thing. Our dreams will never die because hope lives in us and in it important that we function beyond all barriers and reason as one family with a common purpose. That is the only way that we can all be labeled as heroes and people of conscience and valor. God saves mother Ghana.

ERIC EDUSEI, A-ONE REALTY VA .USA.

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