Feature Article of Saturday, 19 May 2012
Columnist: Donkor, Samuel
Once upon a time, the nation Ghana, formally Gold Coast was the envy of other African countries, a darling colony and a pride nation of the British before and after independence. A loving and hospitable, compassionate, sociable and easy to approach people.
Ghana is a country with an area of 238,537sqkm and has a current population of twenty four million (24,000,000). She is by God's grace endowed with many natural resources, including bauxite, manganese, gold, diamonds,iron ore, limestone, oil and gas. Agricultural products include cocoa,timber, rubber, oil palm, and many more cash crops like pineaple, banana, avocado, cashew nuts, mangoes and many more tropical crops.
By the grace of God, the British established sound foundation for education, which turned out many prominent professionals,intellectuals and many other human resource products.
In 1957, a very young, vibrant, pragmatic and visionary politician and a son of Ghana, then Gold Coast, named DR Kwame Nkrumah, in a nationalistic and unrelenting, patriotic determination and with a cunning ability arrived from the USA to lead the country to freedom from British colonial rule for a new independent nation to be born, as the first among the colonies in Africa.
The first years of independence saw DR Nkrumah concentrate on education by improving and upgrading already a few existing ones and building more educational institutions across the country, including vocational and technical schools, based on the structure and system the British left.
In this wise, Ghana in a short time turned out many prominent professionals, scientists,intellectuals and many more human resource products, that saw Ghana ahead in educational standard in black Africa. Based on his developmental policies and his philosophy that says 'Seek ye first the political kingdom and the economic kingdom shall be added unto it''.unquote. DR Nkrumah in his wisdom noted that,with endowed many natural resources, Ghana has the potential of becoming an industrialised country and would therefore need another harbor. Hence the Tema harbor was built in addition to the Takoradi harbor and continued to develop the infrastructural base of the country. DR Nkrumah went on to tackle the industrial sector by building many primary industries, most being agro-based factories, on the basis of comparative advantage to add value to the many agricultural products and other raw materials.
The Akosombo Dam was also built to produce more energy for the industries, especially the Valco aluminium smelter as the imediate larger energy consumer at the time.
Ghanaians are by nature before independence and during the first republic, a people committed to nationalism, patriotism and by nature a happy, compassionate and a hospitable people with openess society. They were committed to their envious traditional, cultural and religious values. Their quality of life was one of the best in Africa. Ghanaians have a rich culture and by nature a disciplined people, who love happiness and social life. They are quick to learn, hard working and intelligent. They love peace and have many years lived in peace and harmony with other ethnic groups from outside and are very hospitable to foreigners.
Now based on the rich natural resources and the positive character and intelligence of the people, DR Nkrumah's strategy towards economic freedom took off with enthusiasm. And during the 9years of his regime, Ghana experienced an accelerated socio-economic and industrial development progress never seen in Africa before.
Ghana was becoming an industrial hub in West Africa in the 60s, manufacturing almost many basic products from factories across the country. Agriculture was on top priority producing bumper harvest of raw materials for the factories and plenty foodstuffs to feed the people. Foodstuffs were even sold at fair prices to workers at their offices, workplaces and other outlets by the state food distribution corporation. Within 9years of the first republic, Ghana's GNP and GDP were very high with favorable economic trend and improved life quality.
What then, has befallen the country, resulting in the present self-inflicting socio-econmic crisis Ghanaians are experiencing, since the overthrow of the first republic.
Ghanaians after DR Nkrumah, 45years now, have not been able to manage their socio-economic development and even to sustain and maintain solid infrastructure foundation base built during the first republic. Precious 45years has been a waste in Ghana's history in her socio-economic development and is experiencing serious deterioration and neglect in infrastructure, resulting in the sinking of the nation into poverty in the midst of riches.
Successive leaders and politicians after Nkrumah have failed to put the nation back on track after his overthrow. They enjoy cheap praises and mediocre achievements at the expense of the people's intelligence.They lack vision, are unpatriotic and greedy. Well prepared development plans by the first republic were neglected and all ongoing projects and programs abandoned to waste and destruction, hence the set back in development progress being experienced. Sadly enough, none of the successive regimes could boldly present any serious alternative development policy and programs to replace the first republic one or be bold to continue the old one to put the nation back on track.
The new crop of politicians and leaders in Ghana today are greedy, unpatriotic,without a pinch of nationalistic instinct qualities and are inclined to selling national assets at the expense of national interest. They seem to lack vision and are very egoistic and hypocratic.They talk too much and do little. They are weak in morals and lack discipline as leaders.
Corruption, another hindrance to progress, which is also an attribute of greed is a canker that has eaten into the moral fiber of the people, from top to bottom. This has given rise in lawlessness, indiscipline, economic crimes and draining the country of billions of cedis. Envy, back-biting, dirty politics, administrative frauds, dishonesty, false propaganda and lies are all negative attitudes drawing the country back in progress.
Ghanaian political leaders of today, seem not to have the vision and the ability to manage and harness the vast natural resources for accelerated development progress. Since Nkrumah's demise, subsequent leaders have enjoyed large sums of moneies from donors, together with national resources, but have not that strong- will ability up to now to put law and order in the system or caused any progress in the socio-economic development of the country to stop the declining economy and to improve the life quality of the people. Things are rather getting worst.
Political, religious and traditional leaders have become myopic to the decayed moral fiber of the people, as a serious obstacle to development progress, and continue to rule in a rotten society bedeviled with corruption, indiscipline and disorder. A nation that loses her cultural, religious, and traditional values and adapt any foreign lifestyle as modern has no future. And for the sake of greed and self interest, these leaders seem to ignore the disorder and indiscipline in the system, but rather focus on the areas of quick money returns, such as non-priority projects etc. at the expense of real development strategy for socio-economic progress. Law and order is compromised in the course of duty in the system, resulting in indiscipline, lawlessness and disorder everywhere. Today's leaders are weak, corrupt and lack the political will and ability to put order and sanity in the management of the country to recover from an ailing economy. The State is not able to protect or improve the quality of life of the Ghanaian, but rather condone with foreigners to exploit the people. State institutions compromise to pervert the laws of the land for their selfish interests in favor of wrong doers.
It is sad, Ghana today, has no strong, visionary leaders, patriotic and selfless to revamp her declining socio-economic development, to reconstruct and progress further. Based on the many years of socio-economic decline and infrastructure deterioration, Ghana will need selfless, patriotic, strong and pragmatic, visionary and pro-active leaders, who have road maps or serious development plans to achieve results and reach destinations. Leaders with programs to shape the nation morally, economically, socially and to stimulate and inculcate into the youth patriotism, nationalism, hard work and positive life-styles.
The high crime wave and indiscipline among the youth is because, the African reverence for life and moral values had been lost. This is why the respect for the law, environment and even real life is missing in the country Ghana today.
What has gone wrong is that, the people seem to have perverted their freedom, their rights into being irresponsible and indiscipline. But by right, there should be respect for one another as responsible beings. The fact is that, Ghanaians for that matter, do not respect law and order, hence the decline in the socio-economic development in the country, since the first republic. They are today lawless, indiscipline, corrupt, unpatriotic and morally decayed, the result being the self- inflicted socio-economic ruins the country is facing.
Another deteriorating and serious aspect of the country's socio-economy affecting growth and progress is the Environment. Since the first republic,Ghana has for many years now been bedeviled with a mismanaged environmental protection program across the country.
The inefficient management of filth, sanitation and its associated environmental problems, in the towns and cities, has reached a situation, where the problem is out of control, resulting in cases where the cities are swallowed up in filth without any hope of salvaging it. Hence the regular Malaria,Cholera and other epidemics, which is mainly attributed to poor environmental sanitation and personal hygiene, which experts say is a major problem in Ghana today not withstanding the impact on climate change. The situation is worsening every year.
Deforestation and pollution of rivers and water bodies is another neglected serious problem facing the country since the first republic. Measures put in place, laws and infrastructures established to manage the country's environment protection, had for many years been neglected and compromised for the sake of quick money for a few people. The result is that, many water bodies and rivers have dried up, some on the verge of drying up and many are polluted. The cause being uncontrolled galamsey mining, cutting down of trees for timber and charcoal business and also human encroachment.
Despite many talks, seminars and promises by successive governments, no serious action or effective measures had been taken so far. It is common with official stakeholders to talk too much and do little or no action at all. It is same with the sanitation disaster, which is everywhere in the urban towns and cities, in the schools, at lorry parks, worst in the market areas, along streets and in the gutters, around communities and at every open space in the cities and towns, filth here, liter there, refuse everywhere, a real eye sore.
A historical reference of strong leadership example was in 1876, when at that time, Mexico's economy was in ruins. One reason was that, Mexico had spent more money on goods it bought than it sold in exports. Also wealthy Mexicans and foreign investors would not risk their monies in a nation with high rate of crime and disorder and without a strong leader. So Mexico had very little of the advance technology seen elsewhere in the world at the time resulting in very poor economy, despite rich natural resources.
In this year 1876, Porfiro Diaz took over the Mexican government. As President, seeing the lawlessness, indiscipline, disorder and high rate of corruption in the system,he adopted the motto; ''Order, then Progress''. His advisers told him to improve the economy first and put democracy on hold.
Based on his motto, ''Order before Progress'', he sent soldiers to all parts of the country, supported by the rural police to rid the country side of bandits and criminals. He ordered the police to shoot criminals who tried to escape or resist arrest. He saw to the enforcement of the laws and orders of the country to cramp down on economic criminals.
Seeing that done, President Diaz worked hard on progress. Lands belonging to Indians without use were put up for sale. Those who protested were made to work for the wealthy landowners, creating employment for them.
With law and order restored, investors began spending on Mexico's economy. Foreign capital-money started coming in for production and other investments was put to immediate use. It bought modern equipments for textiles, paper and steel mills. It also paid for developing Mexico's natural resources. An American investor bought land and explored oil. As a result, Mexico became one of the World's largest oil suppliers by the early 1900. This is how Mexico became economic giant in the 1900s. ''Food for Thought''
This historical reference proves that, where a nation is plaqued with lawlessness, indiscipline and high rate of corruption and crime,there is no progress in socio-economic development. Let this therefore be a ''food for thought'' to Ghanaian political leaders, who love and have this country at heart and desire accelerated development progress for Ghanaians and not for themselves alone.
Law, order and discipline should be brought first into the system, before there could be any progress in development. The rule of law and order must prevail effectively without fear or favor. Where there is law and order there is progress in all sectors.
It is not too late, Ghana has the greatest chance, resources and capacity to transform into a successful economic giant anytime the right, strong and patriotic leaders are found. After all, the nation Ghana, by God's grace and loving kindness, is endowed with everything, both human and natural resources to be able to accelerate socio-economic development progress anytime.
The only problem hindering Ghana's development progress is a moral issue. Ghanaians must change their negative characters, attitudes and mentalities to positive and patriotic life-styles to conform with the first republic's spirit of patriotism and nationalism that established the Ghanaian dream as the ''Star of Africa''.
Ghanaians, think about it and choose the right and strong leaders for a progressive Ghana.
Remember, it is written; ''Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, what you sow, is what you reap''. Gal.6:7
I write you the truth; ''Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.'' Galatians 6:7 Ghanaians are part of the existing problems and it is only Ghanaians who can solve this national problems themselves by changing their negative thinking and life-styles.
Samuel Donkor mob: 0242 809352 e-mail: [email protected]