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Opinions of Saturday, 23 May 2015

Columnist: Morrison, Angelina K.

Biblical Reason For Dumsor

Oscar Wilde once argued, "Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess." Yet, I believe moderation is a rare and priceless attribute, and thus agree with Marcus Tullius Cicero's caution: "Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide."

In what I can foresee will be my last word on the crippling 'dumsor' menace, as after all, life cannot only be about moaning and complaining about one issue; I will present another twist or take on the issue. It is of huge importance to me that I consider this matter. In many ways, I believe the discussion has been skewed towards the issue itself, and not why we have the issue, and why we have been unable to solve it.

As a fragrant charitable gesture, I would like to acknowledge anyone truly putting in the necessary hours to ensure a resolution. If there are any such souls out there, then they can have my abiding gratitude and lasting appreciation.

After all, some of us write not because we want to promote the agenda of any particular party; we choose to do so because we believe it is our calling to work towards a better country and continent. Indeed, that has been my guiding principle, and will always remain as such.

A Biblical Reason for Dumsor? I have said it for the umpteenth time, and will still say it; I will continue to reference the Bible not because the vast majority of Ghanaians are Christians. It is because my whole life changed when I really began to study that book. In truth, it's out of the abundance of the heart that a person speaks. And although I am mindful all my readers are not Christians, I cannot amputate myself from what continues to fire my resolve to see change in Ghana and Africa. Believe it or not, I see it as a required religious duty to share my knowledge and work towards the betterment of the land in which I am in.

It was an ancient text that advised that, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6 KJV). I have prayed for the land. Moreover, another ancient prophet wrote to a scattered people saying, "And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace" (Jeremiah 29:7).

In truth, staying in my closet alone is not all I can do, and that is why I choose to make my voice heard. The attendant risks of my strategy I have considered, weighed, and rightly dismissed. In all sincerity, I know there are some who will never agree with me because of my continuous reference to the Bible—they can't stand the Book! Nevertheless, as a matter of conscience, I will have to accept and live with that position.

"A much deeper problem"

Perhaps, you read the title and are wondering how there could be a biblical reason for 'dumsor'. In fact, there are reasons, but guided by the choice of brevity and force, this article will tackle one such core issue.

Since this shameful issue commenced, gallons upon gallons of ink have been devoted to discussing its many facets. Moreover, a lot of effort has been expended in bashing keypads as people presented their take or commented on the issue. In fact, others have equally shown their true political colours.

My focus here is to present what I am convinced is a biblical take on the matter. After all, during the ten plagues, the place that did not have light was the whole of Egypt, and not Goshen where God's people were (Exodus 10:22-23). In truth, I have seen with clear and anointed eyes where our actual problem comes from. Now, sustain the view in your mind that 'dumsor' in my view is not the problem. It is only the derivative of a much deeper issue that we have.

As a point of reference, not long ago, in a study of the Word, I had a light bulb moment when I read the following text: "And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them. And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?" (Joshua 18:1-3 KJV).

It was as if the scales fell off my eyes as I looked not just at Ghana but the whole of the African continent and understood where we are, and where our real problem springs from.

Now, before highlighting my take on the above Scripture, I must personally accept and communicate the truth that running a country must be a difficult job in many respects. There are days when I wonder what Lordina Mahama says to her husband, assuming he is as concerned as he would have us believe.

While we all seek change, and as one who calls for such, I never forget that change is difficult to achieve. Following Kurt Lewin's change management model, for example, the unfreezing and changing stages are the most challenging. In fact, change is never a cinch. In all sincerity, it is important to note this truth so we are all mindful about that. In any case, my overriding view of why we continue to linger behind is clearly encapsulated in the above-referenced Scripture.

Dumsor 8

"Fix the situation"

Without a shadow of a doubt, the text portrays a picture of a people in ascendancy, and yet, as soundly communicated, although "the land was subdued before them," we are told right in the next verse that, "And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance." Is this not the situation we have in this country, and to an extent, Africa as a whole?

Ghanaians are some of the most intelligent people one can find in the world. You may disagree, but I will still maintain my belief. We are gifted by God with all that we need to achieve all that we long for. However, see how 'dumsor' is crippling the country: industries are suffering, people are dying cheap deaths, cost of living is rising, and family life is being disturbed. Do I need to give more examples? I need not.

Personally, I remain doubtful that any government (party) would have been in a position to fix the situation as well as we would have loved. I know some will rightly disagree.

Nonetheless, the stubborn question that crashes upon our minds like a flood is: Why did those Israelite tribes who are a model for us, fail to receive their inheritance?

Joshua's charge to them is what to me I see as not just the reason we have 'dumsor' but why we have many other problems. As stated above, he pointedly queried and questioned: "How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?" And the point should clearly shine through.

"Find a lasting solution"

I am incredulous to think or believe that with all the finest Ghanaian minds in not just the country but abroad, we cannot harness our intellect, will, and strength to find a lasting solution to this disconcerting problem. Is 'dumsor' beyond our collective force? And if such would be found to be the case; are we not in the position to buy into the resources or knowledge of other more advanced countries? Change can be slow, granted; but three years to effectively address this problem?

The remaining text is available for anyone who so wishes to study what happened afterwards. To state it bluntly: we are just too slack when it comes to solving our issues; and here lies the transparent reason we continue to lag behind.

I need not say anymore on the subject, I am getting weak even discussing the matter; it is sapping my energy and exhausting all my powers. Perhaps you are in a similar state.

Beginning from today, let every Ghanaian shed the slack tendency and let's get to work. To all the preachers and ministers out there: Use this Sunday to discuss this subject and exhort your congregation to fling aside this slack garb. It is this same factor that has led to us sleeping in darkness; moreover, many of our homes, communities, nations, and continent as a whole will be transformed if we stopped being slack and rose up to possess what is ours. We can do it! Yes, we can!

Or will we continue to be like that lazy man: "A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth" (Proverbs 26:15 NIV; see also Proverbs 19:24). Or in another sense, we will continue to give excuses why we can't do what we ought to do: "The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets" (Proverbs 26:13; see also Proverbs 22:13).

"Within our powers"

If we chose to remain slack, then other nations will consider our situation, and agree with Proverbs 24:30-31: "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down."

I will conclude by quoting an excerpt from an Annual Report, titled "Where Do We Go From Here?" delivered at the 11th Convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, August 16, 1967, Atlanta, GA. Here is a relevant caption of what Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. had to say. It is a fitting corroboration to this article: "And I must confess, my friends (Yes sir), that the road ahead will not always be smooth. (Yes) There will still be rocky places of frustration. (Yes) and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. (Yes) And there will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. (Well) Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. (Yes) We may again, with tear-drenched eyes, have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. (Well) But difficult and painful as it is (Well), we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future."

With the leaders and people of Ghana caught in the whirl of such ebullient spirit, demonstrating a bullish and indomitable determination to work through our challenges, and not being separated by the narrow affiliations of political colours, we can turn wistful faces away from this inflexible and intractable problem, and with a flush of crystallised faith believe and declare that the days of 'dumsor' are numbered. (Did you say Amen?) Soon, we will sound its death knell while working with unbridled intent, unshaken resolve, and unbroken passion and determination to transform our dear and beloved country. It is within our powers; God is on our side!

I shall surely return with not just my talking drums but a brass band.

Angelina K. Morrison is interested in national development, true religion, and self-improvement. She enjoys thinking, and writes stories only when the muse grips her. Her first short story, Gravellatina is a breathtaking five-part gripping series available now at Amazon. You can email her at, or find her at or Facebook page.