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Opinions of Saturday, 28 September 2002

Columnist: Abdul-Latif, Issahaku

Ghanaian Dignity And Pride

It is common to hear many Ghanaians boast of their pride as a people irrespective of their poverty status. Even the President and Ministers of State make comments both at home and abroad to the effect that we need to uphold our dignity and pride despite the fact that we are a poor country. This is justified in the sense nature did not provide each nation with equal amount of resources. That could be one reason why some countries are richer than others.

It is no doubt that Ghana and indeed Africa is endowed with natural resources yet poor. Africans and their leaders alike have failed to utilize these natural and human resources to their own advantage but rather chose to practice all kinds of bad and dictatorial leadership. Some Political Scientists have traced all the problems of Africa to a crisis of leadership. Poor leadership has turned this rather great continent into one of poverty and economic stagnation.

Ghanaian leaders cannot escape this blame but have their share of the unfortunate situation of our continent.

Walking on the streets of Accra, one finds all kinds of beggars asking for a penny to enable them survive the unfavorable life survival requirements of today's Ghana. The fundamental question that arises is that, what are the leaders of this country doing to help these guys lifted out of the cycle of the "cold air" they breathe and swallow each passing day?

There is a department of social welfare which is supposed to ensure that every citizen of this country is adequately cared for. The fact that this institution is under resourced is clear as the daylight. Government has the responsibility to ensure that this vital agency of state is adequately resourced to offer Ghanaians a descent life especially the poor and unfortunate ones in our society. If today's leaders do not live up to their responsibilities, posterity will curse them for turning our dear country into a graveyard of beggars.

Indeed it is an eyesore to see fellow Ghanaians crawling on the floor begging for a penny to make life a possessed commodity. Do Ghanaian leaders have a feeling for the plight of this "lesser Ghanaians" as they see them to be?

Do they think these guys are entitled to a descent life? If the answer to these questions is yes, then something must be done and now before we raise our voices calling investors and tourists to come to this country.

The Department of Social Welfare must ensure that all beggars are taken off the streets of Accra and other towns and cities. A rather clear city will attract tourists and help us sustain our pride and dignity as Ghanaians. Special homes should be established for these crippled beggars on our streets and their comfortable livelihood needs to be given priority by government.

Abdul-Latif Issahaku
Ashesi University College
Accra.

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