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Opinions of Monday, 14 November 2016

Columnist: Badu, K

Do they really have Ghana’s wellbeing at heart?

By K. Badu

I can hardly hide my puzzlement when some people continue to argue that it is somehow trite and oxymoronic to suggest that even though we started life with the likes of South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, we are happy to secure loans and other assistance from them. How could any forward thinking individual oppose such a true fact?

Indeed, there is nothing wrong to claim perquisite to patriotism. Nonetheless, patriotism is not just by a word of mouth, for we could only evidence our patriotism through our actions and inactions. That is by showing our affection, solicitude and strong predilection towards our country in whatever we do.

In fact, the Founding Fathers of Ghana (The Big Six) were true patriots, whose blood and toil won for us the desired independence in 1957.

And so if you were to quiz me for my dispassionate opinion on patriotism, I would dare state that the Founding Fathers were the real patriots, who deserve every commendation for taking it upon themselves to elbow their way through for our ultimate freedom.

As a matter of fact, the Founding Fathers decision to fight for freedom was admirable. And, as Martin Luther King Jnr aptly asserted during Ghana’s independence celebrations in Accra, “The oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed; the oppressed has to work tirelessly for it” (King 1957).

I must admit, though, I am hesitating to disagree with Martin Luther King Jnr on this one, for indeed, freedom is gained through hard work and persistence.

That said, looking at our current socio-economic landscape, it would appear that all the hard work put in by the Founding Fathers’ has been in vain. I bet, they are mourning their beloved Ghana in their graves. How sad!

In my candid opinion, the real patriots back then, exhibited a high sense of solicitude and altruism. Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah for instance, was in my humble opinion, an astute politician, who collaborated with his comrades and steered Ghana into independence in 1957.

More importantly, some of his pragmatic steps put Ghana into a propitious socio-economic position, vis-a-vis the current outlook.

It is also worth mentioning that although his opponents did not agree with some of his alleged infelicitous decisions, we cannot fault his unparalleled patriotism. Indeed, he was patriotically attached to Ghana’s cause.

It would be recalled that during the 6th March 1957 independence proclamation, Osagyefo eloquently recited a few important phraseologies which were designed to motivate Ghanaians, but as to whether those inspiring messages have impacted positively in the lives of Ghanaian people is yet to be seen.

In paraphrasing some of his somewhat benign and euphonious statements, Dr Nkrumah, confidently asserted back then, that Blackman was more than ready and capable to rule himself. Without any iota of doubt, he sounded like a manful optimist. Yes, I concur, a Blackman has the requisite knowledge and intelligence to be able to manage his own affairs, but has the intelligent and knowledgeable Blackman been able, and more importantly willing to do so?

Again, during the delivery of the euphonious speech, Osagyefo challenged all and sundry to come together and work hard towards the development of the nation, so as to gain our respect amongst nations. Perfect, that message was tuneful to the ear, but have we, as a nation, managed, or in a position to do so?

Tell me, my dearest reader, how many true patriots would shamefully Dole out gargantuan sums of money belonging to the nation to people who have no entitlement? Do you remember Wayome, Waterville and Isofoton scandals?

Verily, it is absolutely fine to pay genuine judgment debts. However, I am of irrevocable conviction that if President Mahama and his appointees had shown a little bit of patriotism in their endeavours, the purported GH850 million judgment and settlement payments would have been brought to the barest minimum.

So, the all-important question the discerning Ghanaians should ask President Mahama and his selfish and corrupt appointees then is: ‘Do you really have the interest of the nation at heart?

To be blunt, and rightly so, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks are not patriotic, for, if, just under eight years, they have managed to pay dubious judgment debts in an excess of GH850 million, how much would they pay in twelve years?

Interestingly, Ghana’s current political landscape-the economic hardships, the ‘dumsor’, the ever soaring inflation, the currency depreciation, the high costs of living, the inequalities and the rampant corruptions, to some extent, relates the erudite writer, George Orwell’s, narrated account of the animal farm.

George Orwell recounts that when the leaders of the farm were trying to gain their freedom from man, they brainwashed their followers in believing that, “all men are enemies. All animals are comrades.” Their usual slogan was, “Four legs good, two legs bad.” “Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever.”

Ironically, however, after gaining their freedom from the two legs enemy, the vast majority of the ‘four legs animals’ did not enjoy the freedom, as the “elites” amongst them continued the suppression. Is George Orwell’s story not telling Ghana’s sad case? Yes, it is.

Truly, George Orwell’s animal farm story depicts Ghana’s unfortunate story. For our Founding Fathers’ came together and fought the common enemy-the colonial masters, in what they anticipated as oppressive rule.

Yes, our Founding Fathers’ sought to resist the colonial masters’ suppression, which in my opinion, was a laudable feat. Nevertheless, as to whether the vast majority of Ghanaians have gained their fundamental freedoms and the inalienable human rights following Ghana’s independence, is a question that would be opened to different interpretations.

Regretfully, however, the independence will remain meaningless, so long as we continue to have foreign influences, guidance and control.

Disappointingly, though, we have not weaned ourselves from hitherto the enemies of our progress. For if this was not the case, why is it that we have to seek policy guidance from IMF? If we are self-reliant, why do we constantly carry our begging bowl round seeking alms? If we are independent minded, why do we have to import common contractors from China to build our basic infrastructures? If we were that capable, why do we have to import a football coach from Israel?

Regrettably, our lousy and visionless leaders often measure their accomplishments according to the amount of loans they manage to secure from the same countries we started life with. How pathetic?

Truly, I do not want to be seen as a doomsayer, but the way the so-called patriots are running the affairs, Ghana may not see any meaningful development in our lifetime.

For so long as we have leaders that are myopic, visionless and only count their achievements with how much loan they are able to secure, and the number of schools they are able to remove from “under trees”, Ghana may sink deeper and deeper into the mire.

What’s more, in so far as we have leaders that have no foresight, and are corrupt, greedy and incompetent; I dare pontificate that Ghana may never advance meaningfully in our lifetime.

Let us remind ourselves that independence refers to self-reliance, so, if we chose to depend largely on other countries for survival, then our independence somehow remains “meaningless”.

In similitude to George Orwell’s animal farm story, Ghana’s independence has benefited and continues to benefit only a few-the greedy politicians. This is indeed an illustrative case of “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Take, for instance, in spite of the economic hardships, a few shameless NDC politicians are living opulent lifestyles to the detriment of the masses. How bizarre?

Regrettably, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks are siphoning Ghana’s resources to the detriment of the poor without a brink.

Take, for instance, in recent years, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks have come under the spotlight for numerous bribery and corruption allegations, among others, ‘the furtive gift (the Ford Expedition)by the Burkinabe Contractor Djabril Kanazoe; the Embraer 190 scandal; Armajaro; SADA; GYEEDA; SUBA Info Solutions scandal’ and many others.

To be blunt, and, indeed so, President Mahama and his NDC government corrupt practices have resulted in excessive public spending, less efficient tax system , needless high public deficit and destabilization of national budgets, increasing capital flight and the creation of perverse incentives that stimulate income-seeking rather than productive activities.

Take, for example, our total debt at the end of 2009 was around 9.5 billion Ghana Cedis. Strangely, however, our total debt has ballooned to around a staggering 110 billion Ghana Cedis as of September 2016.

In hindsight, President Mahama and his NDC government have added over 100 billion Cedis within a short space of seven and a half years. This is indeed an evidence of economic mismanagement.

I daresay in so far as the elites among the ‘ four legs animals’ continue to exhibit existential selfishness, lack of patriotism, and look down on the ‘four legs lumpenproletariats, Ghana may never develop meaningfully in our lifetime.