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Opinions of Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Columnist: Betty Atiede Mensah

BettyBlueMenz perspectives – Is Ghana great and strong at 61?

“God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.”
That is the first line of our national anthem, scripted for us by the late Philip Gbeho from independence in 1957.

There is a saying that at 30 one should be strong; at 40 one should be wise; at 50 one should be rich and at 60 you should not be working for money but your money should be working for you.

Ghana is 61, so it means the country should be strong, wise/smart, rich and our investments should be yielding fruits for us by now. At age 61, can Ghana say it is indeed a great and strong nation as Philip Gbeho prayed in the national anthem 61 years ago?

Ghana is celebrating it 61 years of independence today, and we are still trying to fix basic weaknesses like poverty, shaky education system, unemployment, shoddy health system and an apology of security among other things.

Sixty-one (61) years of independence and our leaders are still making promises, even though the many previous promises made to us in years past have still not yielded any visible results. For instance, when our president was a flagbearer, he promised he was not going to borrow, but rather use internal resources to develop the country. But what do we see now? More borrowing.

Our educational system is shaky; students in deprived communities do not have desks to sit on and learn; there are still schools under trees; Some teachers draw parts of the computer on black boards to demonstrate to the students how it works, whiles our government officials give their children the best of education abroad. Our leaders do not trust the hospitals they built for us, so they and their families go abroad for healthcare. Taxpayers’ money are bring misapplied with careless abandon.

By the way, why must we always wait for occasions like Independence Day before we beautify our country? Are we doing it for ourselves or for the dignitaries coming from other countries? What is the message – that those dignitaries deserve better than the hardworking Ghanaians whose taxes are used in paying officials fat salaries to manage the country? It is high time we bow our heads in shame, faking to run a country when in fact all we do is just cosmetic.

One of the major areas of weakness in our nation is security, particularly in recent times. A day never goes by without us hearing of armed robbery attack or someone being shot dead. Just a week to celebrating 61 years of independence, we recorded at least four armed robbery incidents.

It started with about 10 armed men attacking Royal Motors at Kaneshie in Accra under broad daylight. They made away with thousands of Ghana cedis and damaged some property.

Just a day after that incident, armed robbers shot and killed a Labanese at Tema after he had cashed money from the bank and was on his way to pay workers’ salaries.

Before Ghanaians could swallow those two scary and sad incidents, GHC9,000 was reportedly snatched from the hands of a man who had just cashed the amount from a bank at the North Industrial area. Residents of that area reported that a week before, two similar incidents happened, where GHC4,000 and GHC2,000 were snatched away by robbers on motorbikes.

As if that was not enough, a filling station was attacked in Kumasi and several thousands of Ghana cedis was stolen days after all these incidents.

So where is the strength and greatness in our security? Does it mean God has still not answered the prayers of Philip Gbeho, or we are just being lazy at playing our part as a people to make our strength and greatness manifest?
Many have said the Ghana Police Service lacks critical logistics to fight crime. Indeed, in the midst of all these challenges, the then Director of Operations of the Ghana Police, Dr. George Dampare was reported to have said they were not ready to lose their lives fighting crime.

What followed was a major reshuffle that saw him and others changed from their positions.
Then as was to be expected, government held a series of press conferences and tried to calm nerves, and give assurances. Guess what - they gave more promises of ensuring the safety of Ghana.

Here’s a BettyBlueMenz Perspective; I promise on my honor to be faithful and loyal to Ghana my motherland. As part of that promises, I would say that frankly speaking, we all are tired of the press conferences and the empty promises. We need action and real solutions.

Life, they say, begins at 40, but 61 years of independence and we still see hardship and unfulfilled promises from the government. They make our Independence Day look worth celebrating by spending lots of money on the ceremony. They print souvenirs, pamphlets; spend huge sums of money on hotels and food when the guests arrive.

But is that what we really need now as a country? Are the authorities being faithful and loyal to us? Wouldn’t it be best if we used these monies for projects that we have abandoned? The sugar factory, which has not been in use for a while; can’t the government use these monies to plant more sugar canes so it creates employment and serves as a source of raw material for the sugar factory?

The roads, which carry farm produce to the cities to be sold, wouldn’t it be best if we use those money to fix them?
It is good to celebrate Ghana’s independence every year but the fruitless ceremonies are just too much. In my humble opinion, I think we should rather replace the celebrations with a forum where we all can reflect how far the country has come and chart the way forward.
“…and help us to resist oppressor’s rule with all our will and might forever.”

I rest my case here…
BBM

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