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Opinions of Friday, 8 October 2004

Columnist: Amankwa, Kwame

Amanfuo ?The 150 Evils confronting Ghana

Amanfuo ni pa wo babi ko (human beings have somewhere to go), says one famous Ghanaian singer philosophically. We started as a nation of many unified parts. Unfortunately we were colonised by obroni, an experience, which left many scars on our national psyche and whatever previously defined us as a people. Our forefathers toiled so hard, some losing their lives in the process, to make the nation better. After independence, it was the turn of our very own to occupy the castles, forts, bungalows, offices etc.

The very sad and depressing thing is that our own people started to act in ways worse than when obroni was around. Once our leaders started to wear the obroni wawu left behind by the departing colonialists, the very evils, for which some laid their lives to eradicate, started creeping up big time.

Sad to say, these evils have gathered momentum on a grand scale. They never went away even after 4 very violent and serious military coups, revolutions and a couple of brief civilian democratic experiments. It has all been in vain and the vision that we set for our selves on the eve of the 6th March 1957, the juicy journey, which was envisaged at the time, remains unrealised, uncompleted and blurred at this point in time.

The many promises that were made then and after, remains to be redeemed and the bonds yet to be honoured. We have had many redeemers, promiseers, asomdwe and abotare henes who sometimes preach with such rhetoric, revolutionary zeal, powerful laden messages that would almost make some of the preachings of the good Lord look like primary school poems. Yet the nation has not shifted forward but backwards. More importantly none of the many promises of reconstruction, recovery, probity, accountability and all the ? bilities ever seem to materialise.

Rather they have ended up benefiting the ?preachers? by way of providing expensive education for their children, posh houses for themselves, luxurious cars for their concubines and air conditioners for their housemaids, leaving their folks high and dry. Yet they have the shameless gut to ask the ?suffering masses? to give them one more chance or the chance again.

There are no rational explanations for some of our current problems, except to say that the body politic, soul and thinking of the people, especially our leaders remains unfocused, biased, overly inflated, utter crass to say the least and l will give you my reasons for this position.

Amanfuo, if they haven?t seen what is going on around hem, haven?t they heard too. Most of our leaders have travelled to all the big places on earth for education, to hide stolen money (and we are talking big money), attend conferences etc. They see the beautiful roads, nice hospitals (which they seem to prefer than invest in local ones), the buildings etc. Yet they come back to the motherland, build their little castles in the most expensive and obroni infested areas and leave the rest to toil in the swamps, mosquito populated, poverty-ridden areas.

Amanfuo, this sight seeing overseas alone should kick even a donkey?s conscience into wanting to do something seriously about their situation, especially when they have the gold, diamonds, timber, etc etc. But not my fellow Ghanaian leaders. Are we going to wait till when? Will our generation, the next or the one after that, ever realise these dreams?

Amanfuo, I now present you with what I have identified as the 150 evils that has been and continues to eat away our dear nation. Some are very old, some new, some serious in terms of the extent of their influence on our development efforts, health, education etc. Whilst others can be overcome through rigorous strengthening of pillars of our traditional pillars and religious exhortations, others will melt away if we do what a developing people should do- hard work, honesty, truth and sensible decision making, especially on the part of our leadership. I saw some glimpses of it in the previous administration and the trend is continuing in the current one. But that is a drop in the vast ocean of the problems we face.

1. Chieftaincy / land disputes. Last week I visited my village Kimkim after an absence of about 18 years. I had left the shores to escape the hunger, beatings by security forces, the lack of employment, disruption of our school system etc. You see I was once in Legon. Then we went on demo to demand certain small things. The government ordered revolutionary cadres to occupy the campus and chase out all the students. Amanfuo, when we came back after two years, all our mattresses, pillows, kuraba (chamber pots), cooking utensils etc were gone. We thought they had been sent to the vice chancellors house for safekeeping, but we were proved wrong. They had been repossessed by these maggots. Amanfuo, that spelt the end of my precious education in Ghana. As for my village, the little said, the better. The chief who was a staunch supporter of the NAK47 Party was unceremoniously de-stooled against laid down traditional rules. Then some Jacob masquerading as Esau nicodamoulsy visited the adididaa agogigimankyehene with cow skin all over his body. The old man could not see so showered his blessings on him. He immediately proclaimed himself chief. Not long, the imprisoned chief was released from prison, dumped near the Nsawam prison. He came home and also proclaimed himself as ?still? occupier of the chair. Folks, government dabbling in my little village of kimkim?s CHIEFTANCY AFFAIRS has caused us a lot of trouble, has since a hot bon fire has been lit, which the village has found difficult to extinguish. There were even rumours sometime ago that some former and present political activists had acquired home made guns, cutlasses, barukas, bows and arrows to try and capture the old chief, dissect his body and set it on fire, but that did not materialise. As a result, we have not had some of the electricity or roads others have had. All the political parties see it as a potential world bank, but the existence of two opposing chiefs means we cannot get any development resources in. That is what the noble institution has come to and it is stifling our efforts to develop.

2. Use of the nations resources for domestic / private business. The AFRC did well by claiming back all the government vehicles that were being used for the bosses private business. They registered them all GV?s. That was when I realised that what my MD was using was not for him. I even had the bicycle given to me by the barracks tagged GV. It was however disappointing to hear that when the last government was leaving office, some former ministers tried to ?steal? these GV cars. Good thing they were all collected back, political foul play or no foul play. Folks can you imagine buying a brand new Mercedes for 5m cedis? They don?t sell it like even in China or Dubai. So why in Ghana ? because it is government property !

3. Very poor wages for our hardworking health workers. No wonder they are all on strike. The government is not able to train enough of them, yet it will not allow anyone to train them. Folks, what ever happened to bonds ? Why can?t Ghana say to the UK or American governments,? look guys we know you needs our health workers so badly. We have spent all the HIPC MONEY and the one from the sale of our precious cocoa and timber to train them, even though we do not have the money to pay them. Can you give us ?15,000 or $20,000 for each person you take so that we can expand on our facilities and train some more. We may even be able to invest in some of our crippling health care facilities?. Amanfuo, with obroni wanting something badly, l am 100% sure they will pay up. But if we sit in Accra or Kumasi and hold health practitioners meetings and grumble undertone with the hope that embassy staff will hear and pass it on, we are dreaming in abuoduland. Come on get serious ? pay them some more, they deserve it.

4. Illiteracy, the canker that makes it impossible for our people to see beyond their noses. As a result they are misled, deceived, abused, trampled upon as every general election. They are tricked with what should ideally be theirs- electricity, promises of better life after death, T-shirts, chewing gums etc. Dear Lord if you are up there watching, have mercy on the souls of this modern day Robin Robbers.

5. Child defilement or what some people call rape. Hey, where are all the women lawyers and politicians who come strongly on our national TV stations, ?yaab? and mouth away. Where is the Hawa Yakubus I hear of, The Nana Agyeman, Araba Bisas, Christine Churchers, President Kuffour?s wife (sorry madam I don?t know your name ? forgive me). Our small sisters, daughters, abawas are being defiled, raped centre, left and right. Are we waiting for some obroni organisation to talk before we shout yen ara yen ni. I read about a little girl who was asked to go and buy oranges for her monster teacher (folks I thought this practice of sending school children ? girls, to go and buy oranges, mangoes, cook for the teacher, wash his clothes, go under his bed and bring back the rabbit - type tricks was history. They know they will not eat the oranges, yet still send the kids to buy them). Obviously, this man of a monster had been planning for the little ones all week. He had been calculating which of the innocent ones will fit nicely into his grand plan. They bible says let the little ones come to me, not the teacher, preacher or politician, but the Lord, for the kingdom belongs to them. Obviously this shit teacher laid on this poor soul and raped her. What an evil man. Anyway, everyone is quite about it, the police (did I hear police!), the headmistress (did I hear headmistress!), the judges, Amanfuo, the judges! We are doomed. This is why I sometimes year for the revolutionary days. This man would have been reduced to pulp before he could even give a statement. There is no week that passes by without cases of child defilement being reported. I see this as the tip of the iceberg and many more remains unreported. The NPP government and my President must act fast. I know many parliamentarians and other law makers will kick against any drastic laws being passed to nip this in the gutter, because their hands my not be clean, but I know Kuffour?s hands are and he should act.

6. Tribalism, otanism. No comments, but a very serious one. My grandmother originated from Sikagope, my ancestors originated from Damongo, my concubine from Tumu, my half brother hails from Capecoast, my daughter a Canadian, my friend from Kintampo, my teacher from walewale, my unit commander from Ho and my nice from Labadi. What does this make me? So why can?t I get a job in Ghana because I am seen as Akan, Ewe, Northerner, Fanti, Brong, and all the other categories. Amanfuo, when we come to abrokyire, all this vanishes into thin air. People simply refuse to be identified by which region or tribe they are supposed to come from. Why can?t this be the same in Ghana? It would have solved many of our problems. Can you imagine Rawlings calling Kuffour akunta or my brother ? in ? law? Or Kuffour going on a political platform and calling Rawlings my dear friend. Amafuo, the nation would have erupted into an endless state of joy, celebrations. Yet these two elderly statesmen continue to take the view that my tribe is your enemy, therefore your political parties and it?s followers, your domestic animals - goats, elephants, umbrellas, wives, sons and daughters, your cars, presidential jets, soldiers (I mean armed and unarmed soldiers), even the roads you build are my enemies too. Yehowa, help us ooooooooh.

7. The costs of funerals

8. Too many politicians, revolutionaries roaming the length and breadth of the country with empty stomachs, searching for any party with money to join today and leave tomorrow.

9. Public office corruption ? kalabule, nepotism, favouritism, cronyism, all the isms ? be it custom officers who go to work empty handed but return home in the evenings with loads of cash, goods etc. Folks, last three weeks I was in sikaman. On two consecutive days I went to visit the custom bases near the newly refurbished Kotoka airport (for those of you who have not visited home recently, the place has been polished nicely, except that the begging by officials continues big time.) and Tema to see things for myself. Asafo, it is not looking good. At about 8am all these nice navy - blue wearing officers come in empty-handed ? not even needles in their pockets. The guys at the security points will not let any body or vehicle pass without thorough inspection or documentation to support whatever they might have. They would not even allow me, abrokyireni abrantie in without a pass, so I stood in the scorching sun. Charlie, come and see in the evening. For once I thought I was in the streets of New York. Abrokyire shirts (I understand they like these expensive shinning cotton ones very much), shoes, cameras, lorry tyres, spectacles, mobile phones, computer disks, wellington boots etc. I thought to myself ?security is going to nick you all today?. Hey, I was wrong. Amanfuo, no word from security, with these looters proudly displaying their loot. President Kuffour, it is not your fault that corruption is rife in the land, but there has to be someone YOU HAVE PUT in charge of customs, a minister in charge of that organisation. WHAT ARE THEIR JOB ROLES? Amanfuo, sane baa. Anyway, it took me 7 days, 35 signatures, and 2.3m cedis to clear the little fridge I bought for my Asase Aban Party for this year?s election.

10. Buying and selling what we do not produce is killing our entrepreneurial and productive spirits. All building in the country are being turned into shops. When the whole has been shops-fitted we would see who would buy from whom.

11. Many PHD holders with little commonsense. Many experts and less projects

12. University lecture rooms without chairs, dormitories without beds etc

13. Expensive medical trips abroad by our ?bigs?. You see they saw Saddam Hussein had no brains. One thing, which I think he did right, was to build a posh hospital for himself and his ministers. It had all the modern day doctors and nurses and other world-class facilities with no WMD?s. All the big people did not need to travel abroad. Why can?t our leaders home do the same? Even if not for Ghana, what about a West African centre of health excellence where our health workers can migrate to instead of the west? Think about it.

14. Many dog chain sellers on our roads mostly children. Where is the strategy for children? Where are the organisations responsible? Whose children are they? What future do they have?

15. SALE OF OFTEN Unhygienic roadside foods especially along the major highways.

16. Ghost names on government payrolls

17. Poor pensioners who get fleeced by workers in the accountant generals department FOR THEIR LITTLE MONIES. They deliberately delay the paper work, and then lend monies to these poor souls at exorbitant rates of interest, making a mockery of whatever such citizens thought they had saved all their working lives. Shame unto you and God is watching.

18. Sale of plane tickets without the planes to carry the passengers. Did I hear Ghana Airways again?

19. Use of dangerous chemicals ? DDT etc ? to catch anything that is edible ? fish, birds, snails, and akrantee. Please stop it.

20. Petrol dealers mixing petrol with other substances ? kerosene etc

21. Taking on too many refugees than we can look after.

22. Many old, dangerous and rickety taxis on the roads.

23. Exorbitant port charges for humble and individual hustlers

24. Too many government departments without clear roles

25. Land guards without land

26. Musicians and FM stations blurring out profane and very rude and ugly lyrics. Many FM stations are adulterating our noble culture with nasty, rude and unpleasant songs and words from abroad and killing it softly in the process.

27. Many churches mushrooming in our classrooms and damaging the facilities

28. Trotro mates over-charging and over-packing passengers so that they can pocket the extra without the driver or vehicle owner knowing

29. Many young, energetic people waiting at home for the abrokyire ticket

30. Pricing of items like wakye, aponkye nam in dollars in a cedis country

31. Fire service personnel who take back handers before putting out the fire.

32. Electricity corporation employees taking big bribes before connecting the electricity.

33. Telephone workers deliberating cutting the phone for the owners to pay up for reconnection

34. Too many dusty roads even in areas considered posh. Folks last week I visited my comrade in a suburb of Accra. The buildings there were nothing that I had seen in my life. Amanfuo, architectural designs from all over the world could be found in the square mile ? Chinese houses, Italian mansions, British ntamtam, American grease houses, Australian kangaroo villas, Egyptian mummy storeys etc. You could find the whole world there. The sad thing is that the roads leading up to and around the houses were in such a deplorable state that my taxi refused to go. When I asked my guest why no one had bothered to do something about it, the reply was that none of the property owners was willing to cough up money for tidying up the roads. So when it rains, people cannot come out of their posh houses onto the roads. What a way to think and build!

35. Too many abrokyire boys and girls pinching the beautiful, handsome and ugly ones from the locals leaving many dry, often accompanied by empty promises which we know well cannot be fulfilled.

36. Many well advertised tourists? sites with nothing to watch ? Christianburg castle. (Please put some replicas there).

37. Operation feed yourself turning into operation import anything even used, dirty under pants from abroad. Some with fresh shit in them. This in unhygienic and disgusting. We are sitting on a time bomb.

38. The black, thick police uniform that is begging for a change. Please give the Customs Officers one to them. They deserve nice and comfortable uniforms. Look at their friends in New York.

39. DJ?s at the FM stations demanding huge monies from often very poor, enterprising, up and coming music starts before playing their songs

40. Burning and shredding of government documents immediately after retiring and most commonly after general elections

41. Huge amounts of foodstuff that is allowed to go waste at the time of harvest and short in supply immediately following it. I am extremely pleased that the tomato factory near Wenchi is about to start production.

42. Crying fowl anytime we are justifiably jailed for wronging the motherland. They cause serious financial losses to the detriment of our fishermen, farmers, policemen, women and children, soldiers (excluding customs officers because they already have their langa), etc. These are resources which could be invested in schools, hospitals, housing, roads, food processing etc.

43. Folks home sabotaging projects initiated by people in the diaspora

44. Lack of employment opportunities.

45. STC AIRCONDITIONED buses without air condition. Folks, there is something strange that I noticed about STC last week. On the Kumasi to Accra route there are two types of buses. Those with aircon and those without, with the former charging more for the privilege etc. Amanfuo, two aircon buses left three quarters empty, whilst there were queues of passengers waiting for the ordinary buses. Could it not have been sensible to charge a bit extra and put these passengers on the empty aircon buses?

46. Lack of drainage systems. Manu gutters with millions of mosquitoes causing dangerous diseases like malaria.

47. Too many clearing agents with no goods to clear

48. Forestry inspectors and security agents who take huge bribes and allow our expensive vegetation to be pillaged

49. Under and over invoicing of goods by government departments and those engaged by people from abrokyire to carry out projects for them.

50. Chemists / pharmacists who sell outdated and dangerous drugs to the sick and nearly sick. Do we have a prescription only medicines policy in Ghana?

51. Stealing of public money to educate their children overseas

52. Wastage of donor funds / resources. Amanfuo, Obroni gives us dollars for fighting the aids menace. People form Aids support projects on paper and then pocket the money. What wayo is that? (not Kofi Wayo).

53. Professors who draw up wonderful economic that have little bearing on the local economy. Ei these professors (I envy them because I don?t have one. The revolution took away that chance from me).

54. Head teachers who take big bribes before admitting pupils often from disadvantaged backgrounds. Headmistresses who allow the pupils entrusted in their care to be used as fodder for their male teachers. Join me to say ?shame unto you and your stinking values?.

55. Judges who take bribes, back - handers and pass bad judgements. God does not punish them through death, as some seem to be suggesting. Their rewards are in heaven.

56. Travellers from abroad who treat locals sikaman people like shit because obroni has treated them same.

57. People pooing and weeing everywhere with little regard for the basic rules of hygiene. Look at the beautiful beaches around Accra and other areas (compare it to how beaches are treated in places like the Caribbean), around the Nkrumah circle area, in gutters, behind people nice houses, in the street etc. People are even having to incur the additional expense of leaving notices around their compounds warning of consequences should people ?free? themselves behind their properties. What wahala is this?

58. ?Bottled? water producers selling ?polluted?, often filthy water. No offence to the hardworking clean ones like volvic.

59. Importation, manufacturing and prevalence of illegal firearms

60. Dumping of often dangerous and ghostly items ?dead fridges, TV?s, push chairs, spoons, mattresses, hospital beds, wheel chairs etc collected from rubbish dumps around the world.

61. Bank clerks demanding money from customers before they ?allow? them to withdraw their own money. Amanfuo, their own money. What a sad case!

62. Too many quack doctors dishing out dangerous substances to the sick

63. Too many ?false? asofo of all sorts of persuasion causing all sorts of social problems ?rape, looting, wife-eating, family tensions, fake promises

As for those who are fortunate to be voted into positions of responsibility, please note that what will mark you out as a ?saint? is not the evils you commit, but the uprightedness, incorruptible attitudes, stance for the truth that you take. I am yet to see anyone who went to grave with the monies looted from the national coffers. Even if you steal and give to your off spring, that money or wealth will not stand against the test of time. Fools will end up enjoying it. Shame unto all you teachers and others with filthy minds and do evil things against Ghanaian kids.

I would end here and invite you to read the remaining evils plaguing our beloved Ghana. God bless Ghana and it?s people, may God have mercy on the electorate, may the Mighty one hold back the inflammatory tongues of our leaders and rather spice their speeches with words of inspiration, hope, peace. May God uproot the shameless and destructive spirit of so called tribalism and concentrate our efforts on the rebuilding of the country and it?s institutions especially customs, may God richly bless you all.


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

Also coming soon;

Amanfuo - What is the second capital city of Jamaica? Answer ? Ghana.