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Opinions of Friday, 16 July 2004

Columnist: Aborampah, Emmanuel

A Cry For Help!!! ? Part II

Opening Statement

I am an African, and I owe my being to the ever-changing climate and seasons of this great continent. A continent rich in all manner of resources, culture and history. But most important of all, I love this continent because it nurtured me on its great and rich values. Of all the traits of men, being humane is a hallmark of a true African.

I entered my world full of confidence and hope. My sense of belonging was complete, for my joy was a joy for many and my pain the pain of many more. That was it, the true African is his brother?s keeper.

Today, I am mature and should have been ready to take my place in my community. Yet today, I am not so sure of myself ? for my confidence has waned and my hope is wavering. What happened to me, and really what happened to my generation? Today, I don?t feel so good to be an African.

Public Reaction

The days following the publication of my first ever feature article on ghanaweb entitled ?A Cry For Help!!!? saw a wave of reactions and responses which took me by surprise.

I must say the public reaction was overwhelming and has provided the inspiration for this second piece. For the purposes of throwing light on the rest of the piece, I reproduce excerpts from a few of the responses:

"Well spoken!!!" As we say in Akan- Mbo!! (Well done!!) Wow!! You hit the nail on the head and may the Lord bless you to teach that message every where you go. "Be thou an example, please." I liked many aspects of your article. I will not do any analysis because we are, s3be, "suffering from paralysis of analysis," to quote Dr Martin Luther King. Keep up the good work.. your passion came through and please note that you "spoke" for many people. "We are sick and tired of being sick and tired." "Why is Africa so rich and yet so poor?" I pose this question every semester on a test.

Thanks MOST SINCERELY for your "eye-opening" article. In fact, for me it is MORE VALUABLE than ..the Sunday's message from the pulpit.!!! I wish some of our leaders..... the incumbent and the aspiring, take such a piece to HEART and give it a SERIOUS THOUGHT!! I'm always DELIGHTED reading such contributions from fellow citizens, at least trying to believe ...ALL IS NOT LOST" , there're still ""ORIGINAL THINKERS" available. The heavens bless you. Thank you.

I think congratulations are in order for your rather incisive article. Most of us however are good at spelling out the woes of our beloved continent and readily find culprits for who may be responsible, but while we point the accusing finger we for get that four of the fingers point towards us. What we do about this is yet to materialise or what we can do individually remains the unanswered question. I do not know where you reside but have no doubt you live away from your original denizen. Go home my friend if the answers to the problems of the continent are clear to you to help make your actions count for your people. Africans have been blaming the colonialists for some considerable time but when the opportunity presents itself we fail. What is the cry for help for and who are you crying to for help I wonder?

It is the queries raised by the last reaction which set me thinking. Really, what is the cry for? I believe this should set us all thinking, for who knows, maybe the answers to the questions he raised hold the key to the search for A New Type African Leader.

Why The Cry For Help

I guess one cries for help when he/she is cornered under certain unpleasant conditions. It presumes an acknowledgement that there is a problem and a realization that the solution lies beyond one?s control.

Our first question therefore must be: Is there a problem with African Leadership? Sure there is! How do we know? From a very simple premise. A true leader, like a good parent, seeks the general good and delivers just that to all under his or her care. The emphasis is on delivering to ALL, not just to a few! He does this unceasingly and often by sacrificing his own aspirations and desires, and chooses people of similar inkling to achieve these lofty goals. He is the first to sacrifice! This is the example which sets the tone for all that are under his care to follow.

Do African Leaders seek the general good of their people? Maybe they do, for at least they say so in their Words. Do they deliver just that to their people? In the overwhelming majority of cases the answer is a Big No! Where and when it is delivered, it is to a select few who as a rule are directly related or linked to the leadership. As for the virtue of sacrifice the least said about it the better. What we see today is an uncompromising and shameless stand on the part of African Leaders to ?demand more than their pound of flesh? from the little available resources at our disposal.

The second reason why I am crying for help is because from my perspective ? and I believe I speak for many people who are "sick and tired of being sick and tired."? I am overwhelmed by the problems. The solution is bigger than me as a person. It has become bigger than me because:

? I am at a loss in understanding why we seem to be lost in this wilderness of abject poverty, of greed, of hunger amidst plenty, of inept and selfish leadership, of divisive and destructive tendencies.

? I am at a loss in understanding why our Leaders? first and apparently only inclination is to go borrowing and begging to solve our problems. I cannot understand what sort of hope there is if our Leaders are content with relying on other Leaders year in year out to fund over 60% of our national budgets.

? I am deeply disturbed by the legacies we are leaving and the examples we are setting for the young ones. It beats my mind why our Leaders are prepared to even destroy their own souls to attain power, only for them to turn a blind eye to the mountain of problems staring them and then start blaming others for their own shortcomings.

? I shudder to think of what will happen 20 years down the time lane if the current situation of churning hundreds of thousands of young African minds onto the streets who have virtually no hope of getting access to basic education, basic health care or employment.

? I am overwhelmed by the level of lawlessness in our societies at a time when we are trumpeting the Rule of Law. I cannot comprehend why the majority of us Africans sit silently on the fence whilst a violent minority ?rape our dignity? and inflict humiliation on us.

? I cannot understand why we ?the ruled? accept a situation where our Leadership behaves as if they do us a favour! Why we sustain them with our taxes for them in turn to perpetrate misrule over us I cannot figure out.

So my dear fellow African, I hope you understand why I am crying. It is because I have a serious problem with the people leading me. I am being told to choose a leader, but how do I chose a good one when the aspiring leaders are not telling me what they will do to solve the problems, instead they are busy insulting and discrediting each other. I thought I could resort to the press to help address my problems but it turns out the African journalist is rather busy fanning the flames of misrule.

Who Am I Crying To

Yes, I never really thought of it, but honestly ? who am I crying to for help? Who can and should the suffering masses cry to for help? Is it possible to obtain help from any source? Well, let us look at the possible sources of help.

To Our Current Leaders?

Can I ever look up to the current breed of leaders on the continent to deliver good leadership? True, there has been a bright spot and a sparkle here and there but by far the signals on the ground point to a leadership obsessed with the trappings of power and for that matter sees power as an end in itself rather than a means to an end.

No, frankly speaking, I do not think we can look up to the current breed of leaders at the helms of affairs to help us out! They have sought power for the wrong reasons, just like a someone who marries for the wrong reasons! Their words and deeds betray their lack of understanding for the issues at stake, their naivety, their lack of will and their preoccupation with perpetuating themselves in order to preserve their selfish interests.

To The Foreigner?

The foreigner who visited our forefathers in the beginning contributed immensely to the problem, as mentioned earlier in the first part of this piece. Can he contribute also to the solution? Yes he can! Have we approached him for help? Yes, we have and as a matter of fact, our current leadership still lookup to him to help solve our problems. Has he helped? If we put this question to him, he will tell us that he did help. The facts on the ground show that knowingly or otherwise, he has rather compounded our problems.

The question now is can we cry to him for help? The blunt answer is No. He is just too busy solving his own problems by adding to ours!

To The African Intelligentsia?

If there was any group of people who offered hope for the future in the years immediately following the wave of liberation from colonial rule, it was the educated among our midst. At that time, there weren?t that many of this group of people and the zeal to prove the critics wrong ? that the African can manage his own affairs ? fueled their excellent performance, and thus the new found hope. Alas, that appears to be the end of the story.

Today this group of people is busy packing bags and heading off to the foreigner?s land. How come? Many have wondered why the African Intelligentsia has looked on impotent whilst misrule was inflicted on the continent by fellow Africans and the land was ?raped? by foreign interests. I thought I heard that the PEN was mightier than the SWORD! Why has this group not facilitated good governance? Is it a question of mis-education, is it complacency or is it a conspiracy to protect selfish elitist interest? Is it lack of UNITY of purpose amongst them? Is it DIVIDE and RULE being tactically applied? We may never know the answers but I believe it is worth investigating why this group holds so much prospects and yet delivers so little.

Whatever the answers to these questions, the fact remains that the masses cannot rely on this group alone to solve the problems.

To The Masses?

Every citizen of the land is a victim of misrule, but the people feeling the blunt and thus crying most are the masses. Can they cry to each other for help? We have heard stories of people on the streets taking the matter up into their own hands ? revolutions! Has it provided an answer? Not yet. This group is ill-trained and ill-equipped to provide the quality of leadership required of this age. They are so ?sick and tired? of their leadership that it can be nasty should they take matters into their own hands!

To God?

Do we look to God then for help? Yes, we can. In fact, we should, for He provides an ANSWER! And the answer is: GOD Helps Those Who Help Themselves!! We must look to ourselves for the answers. WE ought to cry to OURSELVES for Help!!

As my new found friend Albion Mends Jnr. use to quote: "THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT THE SOLUTION BUT THE SOLUTION IS IN EACH OF US." Ronald Reagan

So my fellow African and Dear Respondent -D Williams, Thank you for the thought-provoking response to ?The Cry For Help!!!?. All you said was right, each and everyone of us can make our actions count for our people. We can look to ourselves only for help.

But then again we need a new breed of selfless humble African Leaders to harness the roles each and everyone of us can play into a MASSIVE AFRICAN RENAISSANCE. May God Help Us In Our Noble Quest!

URGENTLY Wanted: A NEW TYPE AFRICAN LEADER!


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.