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Opinions of Friday, 6 December 2013

Columnist: Adjekum, Odadie Kwasi Okatakyie

My Unwavering Loyalty to Mother Ghana:

The Sorrows of a Patriot.

The American writer mark Twain said that “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.” I have been loyal to Ghana and will always be loyal to my dear motherland, but like Mark Twain said, I will extend that right to any political leadership, only if it has the genuine and positive interest of the citizens at the heart of its mission. . In our part of the world where an adulterated form of democracy has evolved, that is geared to satisfy international requirements for pluralism of governance, the recipients at the short end of the stick is the citizenry.

Democratic institutions which are supposed to consolidate rights, freedoms and ensure socio-economic equity most of the times are ‘engineered’ skewed and politically manipulated to favour elected officials and their political patrons. When a democratic government is propaganda driven, politically obnoxious, economic management handicapped and arrogantly unabashed about the sensitivities of its citizenry, it becomes just like the pain caused by the ache of a decayed tooth. It will require a surgically incisive extraction, which though instantaneously painful, will eventually bring the much needed relief from a life of misery and pain induced insomnia. It is also like the agony of a lady in a fashionable but tight and mis-fitting shoe. She can only continue to smile and pretend to be okay for a given time and very soon starts shouting for ‘Tsale Wote’ or better still walk bare footed.
The late American President Ronald Reagan once said “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” It is the responsibility of every patriotic citizen not to sit aloof and just allow politicians to have a field day of absolute mismanagement of the country, but to ‘Bare their teeth’ and show them where absolute power lies. We have for long as a people allowed our elected leaders and their cronies to ride us to our early demise and the time has come for us the citizens to let elected officials understand that a functionally obsolete government, bereft of visionary ideas and inert in action is an albatross on the neck of the people, which must be shaken off through positive defiance and popular revolution.
It is the right of the citizenry to resist any form of oppression, be it socially, economically and politically. The political independence from imperialist colonizers becomes meaningless if it is not linked to the eventual emancipation from the shackles of corruption, brazen greed, and nepotism placed on our neck by our own kith and kin, that we have ‘democratically’ elected. It is when we continue to be passive and docile observer of the wanton rape of our nation, by greedy political and public office holders, that we tacitly give credence and legitimacy to their anti-nationalistic acts. If we allow the status quo, to continue, very soon, the economically oppressed sees their status and situation as normal, while the perpetrators of these ungodly acts become embolden.
A society that continues to tolerate political ineptitude, social injustice and no holds barred corruption of elected public officials is on the path of an uncontained fissionable chain reaction. Gradually and very soon the scales on the eyes of the people will be removed and there will be a clarion call for justice, probity and accountability. In we are not careful, the desire for accountability could be chaotic and lead to a socio-political revolution.
Managing a country is like flying an aircraft. As long as you operate safely within the confines of the operational envelope, you are bound to get to your destination. The troubles begin, when one tries pushing the envelope, beyond the given operational parameters and ends up in uncharted regimes, which might lead to catastrophic failures and fatality. If a pilot fails to plan for a flight and does not factor in the effects of the headwinds and weather on the trip, but with careless and reckless abandon jumps into the aircraft and zooms off, it will amount to gross incompetence and callousness. That ‘kamikaze’ pilot is doomed from take-off.
The aircraft fuel endurance could be compromised due to the effects of a head wind and inclement weather, which might require detours and diversions. If there are no immediate airports to land, and the fuel endurance is up, eventually the engines flame out due to fuel starvation and, the pilot has no choice, but to glide down the aircraft. If the pilot tries to stretch the glide by pulling the control column up, to maintain lift, after a certain critical angle, the airflow over the wings will be disrupted and the wing will stall and lose complete lift, sending both aircraft and occupants down.
As a developing nation, with aspirations of making it to a destination of an advanced economy backed by a responsible and prudent leadership of integrity, We are unfortunately saddled with grossly incompetent ‘Kamikaze’ pilots, whose sole mission is to stretch the economic glide, after squandering all the ‘fuel’ in the coffers and then bailing out with their parachute of pilfered public funds. Eventually they will leave the citizens, who are the passengers in the aircraft, to an eventual economic stall and crash. We, better brace for impact, since we may never make our destination. . If we will continue to live in a country, where the resolve of the ordinary citizen has been and is being stretched daily by our own elected public officers and their gaping mouth sycophantic minions, then very soon the aircraft will run out of fuel, stall in a glide and crash.
Suffice to say that, some of our unscrupulous elected public officers have managed to build political and economic dynasties through greed, avarice and corruption, without any form of moral conviction as to the miserable plight of the people that elected them into public office. The irony is that most of us ,citizens are more than happy to sing along ,with them, when they tell us to be patient for the promised goodies that is in the ‘ never ending pipeline’, which has been choked since independence from our political masters. I guess most government functionaries and public office holders are befuddled when the citizenry applaud, when promises are made. The public officers know very well that the promises are merely to win votes and not real. In fact they find it incredulous that the citizenry are that gullible.
I cannot fathom that with each passing day there is at least an issue of skulduggery and overt corruption, that becomes the ‘tweeapea’ of social commentary and media networks and still we have the usual ‘Hounds of Flagstaff’ always on the offensive to justify and do propaganda on the unjustifiable. The irony is that all this vociferous minions are paid with the taxes of hard working Ghanaians, who most often are at the piercing end of these foul mouthed government propagandists. How do we justify good governance when the only ones who benefit from state coffers and largesse are political cronies and family members? What about the poor farmer, whose children will have to truncate their education, because the only dilapidated structure that used to be a school, has been razed to the ground by a rainstorm and the teachers are on strike, due to unpaid salaries and allowances? What about the heart wrenching tale of wanton loss of precious human lives at one of the nation’s leading teaching hospital as a result of ‘Dunsormatics’ and the lack of alternate power source like generators, leading to failure of patients life support equipment ? How do we as a progressive and humane society justify such irresponsibility?
I always ask myself whether our public office holders and their families ever get sick and do they also visit our public health institutions? We are already in an era, where it is the end that justifies the means and if it means ‘aspiring to make one million dollars in politics’ so be it. Our parliament and peoples representatives need to work on their brand and be seen as assiduous fellows, with the supreme interest of their constituents at heart. It should not be all about ‘Yeh yeh’ and tantrums about allowances. How can it be justified that a member of parliament, whose constituency lack most of life’s basic amenities, rather chose to suggest in the ‘honourable’ chambers of the house, that the tax payer’s money be used to print images of a sitting president on the ‘sacred’ jersey of our national team? I have to read the Hansard for this session from cover to cover, to find out if there has been any meaningful contribution from this MP geared towards development in his constituency, apart from this idiotic and wacko idea.
Now every tom, dick and harry sees politics and maybe pastoral work as the ‘Aladdin flying carpet’ to Ali Baba’s proverbial robbers den. The art of governance has been reduced to invective propaganda and building castles in the air. The genuine citizens, who could really present themselves for public service, are shying away due to the level of vituperation in public discourse and indiscipline of our elected officials. Public Office has become like a white washed tomb stone (Quoting Jesus Christ of Nazareth) where superficially it is all about ‘Excellency and Honourable’, but inside is full of greed, rot, avarice, nepotism and unbridled corruption.
The cancer has even eaten into our sacred and once disciplined security services and armed forces, such that now we have service personnel engaged in fraud and corrupt acts. Our loyalty to the nation and promise to defend the sovereignty and integrity of Ghana, by any means, even to the peril of ones life, has been replaced by defending the interest of political pay masters and disgraceful ‘eye service’. If our last bastion of political neutrality is being crumbled and now our security forces, become mere appendages and ‘Hounds of terror’ of Political pay master, then the citizenry is doomed and will have to take up that responsibility of protecting the freedoms, integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
Our Judiciary will really need to work hard to present themselves as arbiters of justice and custodians of the law. In life perception may not be reality, but all the same, it influences attitudes and behaviour. The Judiciary has in recent times been under the radar line in terms of neutrality and integrity and it will behove on them to act in such a way to restore that confidence that is very essential for our democracy. It is not very healthy for their independence to be questioned and they should not be seen as lap dogs of the executive arm of government. The strict demarcation and separation of powers should have ensured some level of neutrality and complementarity, but alas, with the powers vested in an executive president, by our 1992 constitution, it is easy to vary the system to a president’s advantage.
Let us all with unity of purpose and tenacity of mind, look beyond our partisan affiliations and shape the destiny of our nation, for the sake of our children and posterity to come. We should be ready to leave a positive and lasting legacy of integrity, hardwork, conscientiousness, discipline and love for country. I will rest my case by quoting Mark Twain “In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”
God bless our homeland Ghana.
Odadie Kwasi Okatakyie Adjekum