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Opinions of Sunday, 1 January 2012

Columnist: Atakora, Kwame

Inequalities a casualty of progress in Ghana

As I traveled across Ghana, I saw so many things that made me wonder if those who are leading us have been cursed or they simply have lost their bearings. I was not impressed with anything I saw and you know why: gutters are open in the middle of the cities infested with mosquitoes and you name it, 95% of trotro and taxis I saw and rode were unsafe, market places are so filthy, there is dust in your face, and you basically have to pay a bribe to enjoy any government services.

I visited about twenty JSS schools and saw too many things that made me angry, if we are going to have a strong economy, develop our nation to be competitive then, simple things like functional clean bathrooms and proper recreational facilities will be an investment that will pay off one day. The ministry of education needs to be re-organized the way it does business so the kids will feel they are respected and will pass that on. We must remember that the investment we make today in their education will surely become an asset for them and the nation to enjoy. Our behavior and attitude towards the kids, yes our future leaders should be the one of care respect and dignity. If we can’t afford a library on the schools compound what about functional toilet facilities?

It is so sad that simple things have become a mystery for our leaders. There is nothing I have mentioned here that is not known to those who are in charge in various governmental agencies. I am not trying to blame the government for everything but simply saying something is seriously wrong here. Do we know what we are losing if we fail to provide for that girl or boy in that school? Let’s do something that will make the whole world see us as a serious nation ready to build sound fundamentals to move our nation forward. I think people are getting tired of the old shoddy way of doing things.

Ghanaians are being short changed and we can’t allow others always eating our lunch. I think the time has come for us to ask the right questions; what about gender bias, requiring the girls to cut their hair. I have talked to thousands of them and I don’t think it’s fair we treat them that way. I think it is wrong for the government to require the girls to cut their hair. I respect teachers but subjecting a student to shave their hair simply because of her gender is not only bizarre but detrimental to her development. The sad, disturbing and discriminatory part is, you get to keep your hair if your parents can afford to enroll you in an “international school”. I thought every child in our country was protected by our constitution. I am ready to debate anyone anywhere about this issue; I think someone must speak for the voiceless.

The direction of our country is heading on a wrong path. There is so much injustice, inequality, and habitual corruption. We have a failed system with policies run amok. There is no civility in our politics. We must change the brand and embark on pro growth policies. Ghana is being run by robbers and hijackers. What we are witnessing in Ghana is political gangsterism, but the unfortunate truth is, the casualties who bear the brunt of the assault are always the poor, and that breaks my heart. Our country is being pimped by those with political powers, but this cannot go on forever, something has to happen and something has to be done, yes there must be a new order, new thinking and the time is now. The true spirit of Ghana must come alive.

By Kwame Atakora: