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Opinions of Saturday, 20 January 2018

Columnist: Musah Abdul Razak

Let us be fair

It is her husband she depends solely on in the provision of the basic necessities of her only daughter. No wonder the death of her husband is a great loss. What option does she have than to play the role of both a mother and a father? But what work does she do? She is a common street vendor.

She sells salt to be specific. She always tells her daughter to learn harder so that she (the daughter) can have a bright future and look after the mother. The adage that says, "the fly that refuses advice follows the corpse into the grave". These wise sayings are not said for nothing. The child takes all the pieces of advice given to her by her poor mother.

She learned as never before and became the best student of her school at the basic level. Everybody begins to like the child because of her intelligence and philanthropical nature. She completed her basic education with distinction and was enrolled in one of the best secondary schools in Ghana.

But how can a common street vendor look after a child in the secondary school? Only the entrance fee is a headache but this poor widow who depends on people for alms is compelled to send her daughter to school since education is very essential and due to the proclamations and acclamations by the child's teachers and the people in the area, she went to the secondary school and learned harder.

Her intelligence never mitigates but rather increases. She completed her secondary education with distinction again but due to affluence, she could not go to school that same year. She decided to do petty trading so that she can get money to further her education the following year. The following year came and she was able to save money. She bought forms and went for an interview. She was able to answer all the questions asked her impeccably.

The panelists congratulated her and told her she was qualified. The placement came and she was not picked. But why? She was able to answer all the questions impeccably and also passed her WASSCE with distinction. Surprisingly enough, her neighbour who didn't even pass the WASSCE was enrolled in the same school.

Her best friend who didn't even go for the interview was also picked. Not only that but also, one of her classmate who was not able to answer most of the questions was also picked in the same institution. This is unfair. Let us be fair.

During one of his campaigns in the Ashanti Region on Saturday, 16th January 2016, he said, "I won't operate family and friends government in Ghana and I can assure that every person in the country will have his share of the national cake". When voted into power, he appointed 110 ministers which is a history in Ghana.

Among these, 97% is said to be his family and party cronies. Here are a few of them; Nana Asante Bediatuo (cousin)-his executive secretary; Alhaji Ramadan (second lady's father)-ambassador for United Arab Emirates; Abu Ramadan (son of Alhaji Ramadan)-boss at the National Disaster Management Organisation; Mike Ocquaye Junior (son of the speaker of Parliament)-Ghana's ambassador to India; Kofi Bosompem Osaafo Maafo (son of senior minister) Deputy Director General in-charge if Investment and Development at SSNIT; KWadwo Gyamfi Osaado Maafo (son of senior minister)-Deputy Director in charge of cyber security; Ken Ofori Atta (cousin)-minister for finance; Gloria Akuffo (cousin)-attorney general; Sophia Akuffo (cousin)-chief justice; Samuel Atta Kyeaa (cousin)-minister for works and housing; Kwesi Amoako Attack (cousin) minister for roads and highways and many others. But Mr. president what about your promise? Did you 'poly-trick' us? *Let us be fair*

We claim Ghana does not have money, yet we pay 2 million Ghana cedis for the preparation of a national budget. Can't even a child do this work? What about the civil servants we use 60% of the state's expenditure to pay them? Let us be fair.

Our schools, roads, water, land and others are in dire need of urgent help and what has been done? Focusing on the payment of TV licence which when seen in a different perspective makes 'no sense' since a person who will refuse to pay 360 cedis a year will be sent to jail and be fed 1 cedi 80 pesewas a day. Very funny right? Let us be fair.

A person will work and will not be paid yet is expected to pay tax and TV licence and a minister will sit in the office and be paid huge amount in a month. Below is the payment of some officials in a month:

President-Ghc22,809,

Vice president-Ghc20,529,

Chief justice-Ghc17,107,

Speaker of parliament Ghc17,791,

Cabinet minister (MP) Ghc16,423

Cabinet minister (Non MP) Ghc16,195,

Minister of state Ghc15,739,

Regional minister (MP) Ghc15,967,

Regional minister (non MP) Ghc15,511

Deputy minister (MP) Ghc14,826

Deputy minister (non MP) Ghc14,369

Deputy Regional Minister (MP) Ghc14,598

This does not include the vehicles (V8 and other saloon cars) that each minister will get including other privileges such as parliamentary immunity, free diesel, filling their fridges, paying their house boys and girls and gatemen as well as garden boys and many others. Let us be fair.

Although new systems have been made at the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) to send our 'goro boys' yet these same officials of the DVLA connive with these 'goro boys' to take bribes from prospective licence seekers to beat the system. If you do not have money to pay, you will join a queue for a long time. People will come and meet you but they will go before you. Let us be fair.

A person will suffer in life and how to even get food to eat becomes a problem. No relative goes to visit them. They struggle with life a lot. Some commit suicide and others also die of hunger. But during such person's funeral, a lot of people read eulogies. But where were these people when the person was alive? Let us be fair.

A person will go to the hospital in the morning and go back home at night meanwhile people who went there late go home early. Relatives of the workers are treated before the one seen as an 'ordinary' person; 'the one who knows nobody there'. Let us be fair.

We are in a country where a deceased would be kept in an ambulance reluctantly to the casket whilst a sick person would be kept in a taxi rushing to the hospital. Let us be fair.

We are in Ghana where we like corpse more than the living human beings. We only give and recognize the poor only when they are laid in state. Let us be fair.

A policeman will see a person with a private car on the road and will leave them to go but will request from the poor taxi driver who is struggling to cater for his family. Let us be fair.

We will complain bitterly about overloading and over speeding. We will even sit in our houses and insult these drivers but become victims the next day. We will be the same people who will go to the bus station and insist on boarding a bus that is already full. We will be the same people to tell a driver to hurry up because we are behind time. Let us be fair.

I know some 'uncultured' people who are affected in one way or the other will insult me. In Ghana, when you speak the truth you would be detested because as the truth sets you free others see you to be putting them into fetters.

No wonder Donald Trump said 'the worst tragedy in Africa is that if you dare stand up and speak up for what's right, you may end up regretting'. I would rather prefer regretting to pretending that everything is alright.

I am a citizen and not a spectator and I will not let cowards change me. Without our consent and contributions, Ghana can never become a better country. Neither JJ's operation house cleaning nor let the blood flow can change Ghana. It is you and I who can change Ghana. It is about time we avoid our mistakes and fight for a better Ghana. Let there be fairness.