You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2014 02 27Article 301909

Opinions of Thursday, 27 February 2014

Columnist: Al-Hajj

Ghana Must Work Again

There couldn’t have been any appropriate title for the Convention Peoples Party’s 2012 manifesto “Ghana Must Work Again”. Perhaps, the 2012 flag bearer of the CPP, Dr Abu Sakara Foster and his party folks were drawing our attention to an endemic problem which has almost succeeded in sliding Ghana into a near failed state that many of us were oblivious of.

But, the reality is beginning to dawn on all of us as we are witnessing the damage our actions and inactions as citizens may have caused a promising nation bequeathed to us after independence.

As promising as the future of Ghana was after it was freed from foreign rule and domination; the country sadly, after the coup of 1966 began backsliding in all departments particularly, in its developmental agenda to present day, absolutely lawless nation where economic and moral standards are thrown to the dogs.

At best, it would be charitable to equate Ghana in its currently standing as a country stuck in economic quagmire, political misery and social stupor. Ghana at independence was credited with the accolade of a trailblazer to almost every positive happening on the continent of African.

Indeed, historical antecedents point to the fact that Ghana was the lone voice for African liberation and the bastion of hope and a shining example after independence for other colonized and newly independent states on the African continent.

After independence, the first head of state, Dr Kwame Nkrumah embarked on drastic transformational policies that in no time gave the newly independent nation an identity of its own.

The nation was leading its contemporaries in almost all spheres of life, from the production of cocoa, gold, foodstuff among others. In the midst of abundant raw materials, Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his government envisioned the need to be self-reliant, hence the springing up of state industries and factories.

The idea was to industrialize the economy to wean the country from having to depend on the Western world to reprocess our raw materials and sell it back to us at cut throat prices. It was also meant to create enough employment for a rapidly increasingly population. This idea gave birth to the construction of the Akosombo Dam to generate electricity, railways to connect remote areas to the cities to facilitate the easy transportation of foodstuffs and goods from the hinterlands to the cities and vice-versa.

The sense of nationalism was built in the locals and that contributed to how they were ready to volunteer in ensuring a solid foundation was laid for an economic takeoff of the independent nation.

Unlike today, political leaders were selfless in their approach to governance and where not ready to live lavish and extravagant lives at the expense of the suffering masses. People were made to believe in the system and to appreciate the real happenings so far the state of the nation was concern.

These made them to rally round their leaders and never dreamt of pilfering or engage in any over deals to milk the state of valuable monies as we see today. Though the country at the time faced serious challenges particularly in the area of infrastructure, people were ready to offer their support to their leaders and even offer their service without any remuneration. But almost 57 years down the line, Ghana has grown from an orderly and lawful country into a den of notorious law breakers in a lawless state, (apologies to Dr Tony Aidoo). Nationalism and patriotism means nothing or little to us and nobody seems to have the nation at heart any more. Everybody is thinking about how he/she can milk the state to enrich their own corner.

The country has thousands of laws in its statutes, ratifies almost all the charters in the world and has almost all the governance institutions to make a country develop; but Ghana is, and the people still remain in misery.

Instead of building on what our forebears tendered to us and capitalize on the numerous natural resources we are blessed with to make Ghana once more a toast of African nations, and indeed, the world; we have succeeded in squandering almost everything that was bequeathed to us through unbridle privatization or in most cases, outright sale.

With the support of so-called developing partners, we have either sold or collapsed almost all the state industries and factories inherited from the Osagyefo government.

Ghana has suddenly now become an import-driven nation because successive governments have been so obsessed charging import duties, which they see as easiest and ‘lazy’ approach of maximizing revenue collection.

This is against the backdrop that, and with enough evidence to prove that, no nation in the world has achieved economic success through reliance on importing virtually every basic commodity, especially, when those items could easily be produce in that country.

In the case of Ghana, we have added lawlessness and indiscipline to our over-reliance on import.

Everything in the country is just not working as it should be. From the President to the last man of the street, everybody has contributed in one way or the other to our current predicament. What is even killing us the more is the politicization of every issue in the country! People deliberately build structures on waterways and at unauthorized places and when authorities begin to enforce the law, the matter is turned into political game with one party blaming the other for political witch-hunting.

Recent happenings in Adjei-Kojo, Adentan and other places are classic examples of how lawless Ghana has turned into. In the case of Adjei-Kojo, you have a legislator castigating the Tema Development Corporation for deciding to demolish unauthorized structures. And the question one asks is where this legislator was when the people were putting up those structures? The most shocking among recent events in the country was what the University of Ghana authorities engaged in. In a university made up of Professors and Doctors including reputable lawyers, they decided to toll a road that was already choked with traffic congestion and when National Security took steps to clear the nuisance, management staff and the academic board threatened to engage the National security coordinator in a legal tussle.

Though the Supreme Court is yet to determine if they have the right to toll the road or not, it was absolutely needless for the authorities to mount a structure on a traffic congested area to further aggravate the traffic situation.

The issue of whether they received permit from the Accra Metropolitan Authority to put up that structure is also another subject for interrogation. But it would not be surprising if it turns out that the University authorities never sought the permission of the AMA before mounting that money structure.

There are so many buildings in Ghana today without permits and that has accounted for instances where people build in water ways or on lands that does not belong to them and in the end when the rightful owners begin to demolish it then it turns into a political debate. Ghana must begin to work again now or never!