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Opinions of Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Columnist: Sydney Casely-Hayford

Go figure

Sydney Casely-Hayford Sydney Casely-Hayford

The soup just suddenly went cold and tastes tinny. I am sitting in the Accra Mall, behind a bowl of “Singapore foofoo”. I call it that for the want of a better description, but it is that wonderful dish of noodles and assorted meats that you get on the pricey side in any of the so-called high class Chinese restaurants in Accra. A plate of noodles that is usually the cheapest item on a take away menu in the USA and Europe, but which here in Ghana has been “high-classed” into a rich man’s show of ability to afford what the sensible Ghanaian shies away from because she(he) can get the equivalent in worth from the Osu night market at a nano-fraction of the cost.

So here I am, my rich self, consoling my soul with a broth of “rich-mans” “Ghana-Chino” soup, when the TV screen facing me lights up with the breaking news of yet another suicide bombing in Kabul. So many dead, people drenched in blood, the heading says, and the reporter holding back what is disgust written all over his face, in an attempt to pretend professional, when pissed-off reality says he would rather not be the messenger with this here news.

And I wonder if the world would be any safer if Donald Trump takes over. My mind switches to another far off place and I long for a fantasy viewing of Beyonce’s “Who rules the World?” That momentary fleshiness of gyrations of one of the world’s most blessed women provides temporary escape to a place where talent is the key to life and being and we as global citizens have a choice of where to live and not be caught in a world of fishing trawlers, making a hazardous journey over nature’s unforgiving waves irrespective of religion or creed. Vision of how great and serene, and vibrantly sexy our world can be.

Now we have a whole destruction of terrorists hiding behind some jumbled message of religious fanaticism, telling me I would be better off in their Shania world, where they could cut off my hand without a trial and murder my sister in an honor tribute for daring to fall in love with someone her brother did not deem adequate for his world?

Similar message carried by Trump in his address at the Republican conference when he accepted the nomination of President for his party. I kept hearing the same dangerous undertone of a leader gone “Erdoghan”, arresting fifty thousand people on suspicion of attempting a coup. Where did we go wrong and surrender our democratic freedoms to leaders of impending disaster?

And I ask myself, “What kind of world have we created”? Will we ever rid the world yet again of another menace? Another fear, fuelled by, a “have” and “have-nots” divide? Poverty traps we have created because Western appetites and so-called Islamic derivatives of humanity have become so divided we can no longer see how to clear the blurred lines of wants and needs?

I am in a quandary. I pose this question to all my friends and family everywhere we meet, asking, “Will it ever be solved?” What is the answer to all this needless death and destruction? Will we ever again see the brotherliness we once experienced until a group of gung-ho, gun-touting, oil invasionists thought it right to invade another country based on unfounded suspicions and a need to prove their testosterone hubris?

I have lost my appetite. The soup now has this mercuric taste and the shrimps have turned sour to my buds. I see the playground with all the happy demanding children, suddenly turning crimson; parents yelling, looking for children as cameras pan the scene looking for the next most shocking image to prick our now numb consciences of a world permanently scarred from radical images planted in the minds of a younger more impressionist virtual world, where life is resurrected with a reset button and a new scoreboard after the first rush of murder is complete.

And I am wishing in my heart that I could switch to better and more focused thought. I am distraught with Parliament’s decisions to not see the better pictures, but constantly saddle us with headlong collision and thoughts of constitutional mayhem.

These are our decisions; they belong to the people of Ghana. The one that says we want to vote early or late or not vote at all, is the property of the citizens of Ghana. We did not send persons to Parliament to go look after their selfish interests, provide lame reasons of what their constituents think and then tell us it is a secret ballot. How do they reckon it is not in our interest to demand a better and smoother route to peace?

Our Parliament has reached stunted thought. What the common sense principle says on this matter is a clear path to how best to avoid previous drawn-out political battles, not politicians looking at soothing each other’s battle wounds after they have hurled insults at each other for the previous four years.

These decisions are for and about the people of Ghana. It is not the secret preserve of Parliament, and we must grow the process to a point where it focuses on the people of Ghana.

Which is why those elected to show us the way and provide a better life for us must be up and doing. It is for them to figure out and not us to be dragged into their perpetual fears.

We are the second largest cocoa producer in the world and yet we don’t produce a chocolate bar worthy of praise. We have oil and gas resources, large hydro reserves with a shoreline of water from one end to the other and yet we “dumsor” every day.

We are naturally blessed with a resource that replaces itself and is the largest bank of Shea butter, a product identified as one of the greatest skin agents in the world, yet we make nothing of it. We have an abundance of gold, diamonds, timber, mango, cashew and plenty other agricultural resource, which we can grow and triple supply, but if only we can choose the one most important ingredient in all of this.

LEADERS. Leaders who can and will dedicate themselves to things progressive and figure out, without selfish indulgence for only them, their family and cronies. If Ghana can stop for a second and select the crop of persons, a team from wherever, and whichever political divide, capable of better, forward-looking positions, where economic development and wealth creation for the country is the single most important issue, we will get somewhere and provide a haven for the youth instead of driving them away, beating them with a “poverty cane” and the threat of denigrating them to a lifestyle of beggars and sea-faring suicide immigrants.

When, if ever are we going to find the right mix? A team who can and will provide for us, and not their futures in a black politician’s portfolio.

I am tired of living like this. I cannot carry on with the “dumsor”, the exceptionally high cost of living, tortuous potholes and inadequate water supply and a complete lack of economic opportunity to better my lot. We have to do something sensible in this country, if for nothing, to at least build a “feel-good” factor to urge the next generation on to better heights and a brighter future.

And our leaders need to figure this out.

Ghana, Aha a y? din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!

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