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Opinions of Saturday, 14 March 2015

Columnist: Amoo, Papa

58 Years of Nothingness

By Papa Amoo, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

I wonder why Oman Ghana is still celebrating its so called independence. We should leave those poor school kids to rest and stop that silly colonial parade and use the day for community clean-up of those piles of "boller" nuisance all around the country. So can't we ever change? We will be much better off taking a step back to reexamine ourselves to see what we have achieved so far as a nation. And we would almost certainly discover that we have achieved nothing! Corruption is the only thing that has been perfected in Ghana so far. The entire country stinks of corruption, worse than the kalabule era of the 1970s and 1980s. When are we ever going to change our "di bi ma me'nso men di bi" mind set? I blame everyone for our woes. From the shoe shine boy all the way up to the president, greediness is killing us. None of our politicians from both parties have anything good to offer the country. I wonder why the masses still allow themselves to be fooled by the partisan hacks, sycophants and paid spokes liars of the equally greedy and corrupt NDC and NPP.

Development of basic infrastructure has been thrown to the dogs. Ethiopia is now even better off with more developed infrastructure than Ghana because it has dedicated leaders who think about the future of their country. When will our visionless leaders sit down to draw a long-term national development program void of partisan interruption? That is part of the cancer killing Ghana. They always come up with myopic short-term projects to boost their immediate political standing which has culminated into our current predicament. The good old Bob Marley said ''in the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty". This literally refers to our current predicament. Why should there be water shortage especially in Accra when we have more water resources per capita than most countries in the world? We have Lake Bosomtwi, Weija, Volta and Rivers Pra, Oti, Tano, among others, not to mention the vast Atlantic Ocean at our shores which can be desalinated for consumption. Palestine and Israel have perfected the seawater desalination technology but our politicians go to that region during elections to only "pray for their selfish electoral success" or send pastors to "pray" for the nation instead of sending competent personnel to learn new technologies relevant to national development.

It is very sad to think of our 58yrs of retrogression. "Dumsor" is now the mantra of the day but let's look at all administrations both past and present, no one has realistically tackled this power shortage problem. It is estimated that Ghana loses between 2-6% of GDP annually not including a number of indirect costs of lost economic output due to insufficient wholesale power supply. With apologies to Bob Marley, I ask: why is it that "in the abundant sunshine, the FOOL still sleeps in the darkness?" Our self-imposed willful ignorant politicians have all these years failed to embrace solar and wind energy which are abundant in our country. Have they ever heard of the green revolution going on around the world? Hydroelectric generation from Akosombo, Bui and Kpong constituted less than 60% of Ghana’s installed power generation capacity of approximately 3,000 megawatts. I was even ashamed when we recently prided ourselves of inaugurating the Bui dam. "Enti mo'nsesa da?" If our politicians had seriously looked into this renewable energy issue, we wouldn't be in this predicament. Again, the Atlantic ocean's waves can be harnessed to produce electricity through modern technologies but our willfully-blinded politicians would rather enrich their pockets.

Ei, can someone tell our "Honorable" politicians that they can kill three birds with one stone? Do they know that the mountains of garbage or "boller" in our communities which is a serious health hazard (like the recent cholera outbreaks) can also be incinerated to generate electricity? This way, we can keep our communities clean, breath fresh healthy air whilst generating cheap electricity at the same time. If these incinerators are strategically placed throughout the country, they will never run out of the constant supply of "boller". But I guess that's less important to them as their immediate priorities are to amass wealth illegally, acquire big houses both home and abroad and ride in huge petrol-guzzling SUVs on our poor, crumbling roads and bridges.

Our deplorable, non-existing health system is another sector which needs serious attention. The ill-fated national health system which was a good concept but not well implemented from the beginning and has become a political football by both parties can easily be fixed. No health system can survive with either annually or a onetime subscription payment. This can be easily fixed by levying a reasonable monthly payment system to keep it going. That is how all western countries maintain their healthcare systems. A onetime premium will not work, it is just political fodder. But who cares? These politicians and the wealthy will fly their greedy selves out of the country for medical check-up and God help the rest of us if we fall sick.

Finally, until we rid ourselves of the greedy, get-rich-quick attitude and stop trying to be like the "Joneses" next door, Ghana will continue to sink into oblivion and we will be discussing these same issues 50 years from now.

Happy hopeless 58th.

Papa Amoo, Silver Spring, Maryland. Email: woriouss@gmail.com