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Opinions of Saturday, 10 April 2010

Columnist: Appiah, Gifty Andoh

My lay point of view: Return military regime.

I have always thought it good to be born Ghanaian and still remember with nostalgia the days we sang “Goo blessa oomlan ghaaaaaana” either mixing up or loudly and seriously mispronouncing the words. Though we barely understood what we sang, let alone mean it, I can say for myself that the rhythm and the fact that we all sang the same thing filled me with a sense of patriotism. It is indeed a song of many inspiring and courageous words. Speaking of which; resisting the oppressors rule indeed needs all our will and might.

Many times however, I have dreamt of becoming a citizen of another country because, experiences and observations gives me a feeling which more than I want I feel, that my country is the most unfair.

For me (and I’m sure for many others), Ghana is a land of limited, hidden and unequal opportunities so that the affluent, the “violent” and “double eyed” are the only beneficiaries; they always have been. Scenario: A pupil in “Braha bebome” LA primary school is awaken every dawn by a violent shake from a frustrated and nagging mother, the quality of water he uses and drinks is nothing compared to that which is used to flush down the toilet in many other homes. His tattered school uniform is ironed under his pillow-if he sleeps on any-and walks many miles to a school which is the sheer generosity of the shades of a tree. On his tummy,-if he doesn’t have a chair to carry to school, he listens to a teacher who is there “fortunately” because there is no other job. Whose motivation he is told awaits him in heaven and who in many cases needs to be taught himself.

Another child wakes by a gentle pat on the back, uses treated water that the other child drinks only in his/her dreams. He has access to the internet and parents to help with his homework. He even has private teachers. Imagine that these two characters are tested with the same examination and expected to pass equally. Your guess is as honest as mine.

Few of the former who are able to make the grade despite all the hardships get to access help from individuals and organizations which is very good but most often its only the “brilliant and needy” As we call them. What happens then to the not brilliant but very needy? Sometimes they just need a second chance and a brighter opportunity. The end result is overcrowding in urban areas and all kinds of social vices as most of them grow up feeling hopeless and useless even if they really are not.

They then become very useful tools in the hands of nation wreckers who train them to do all kinds of ills in the society. Even if they don’t become dangerous in society, what is the future of a nation whose many people are feeling hopeless and useless? As for the rich, whether brilliant or not, quality education is always assured. Maybe Ghana needs to be bleached a little to be a bit fair because some unfairness are so unfair.

The Ghana I know I find myself growing up in a place where children are given the least of everything; from meat at the dinner table to a platform for self expression. A place where politics of insults and vindictiveness dominates the airwaves whilst pregnant women lose their lives and babies because of terrible roads, inaccebility to transportation or unavailability of health facilities. Where people have their teeth discolored and others develop all kinds of diseases because they cannot get the very water others are using to flush down their toilets to drink, not to mention the “on and offs” of electricity even in the cities. A Place Where custodians of the law are the very breakers of it. Where the police is well known for accepting a daily “offertory” every now and then from drivers who would just not abide by simple rules and regulations. A place where education is a luxury reserved for the rich and influential and those who know the “ways and means”. It is easier to pull out hair from the nostrils than to know of an impending scholarship. let alone access it. As for jobs after school, I don’t want to mention because many people seem to be passing the “interview part two”.

A place where port charges are about fifty times the price of what is being cleared from the port, and the money goes into some few pot bellies who spend it lavishly on young ladies who have no respect for old age. A place where people are treated based on what they have and how much they can give. I see a place where journalists who can keep those in authority on their toes cannot live without dear brother “solidarity” because the job pays so woefully “well” yet unfortunately, it brings them into contact with very influential people, making it almost impossible not to dance to their “pleasant music”. A place seemingly peaceful yet very much aware that it is seated on a time bomb of ethnicity, chieftaincy disputes and their big brother, “do or die” politics. A place engulfed with filth, where corruption has done so well for itself by penetrating high, low and spiritual places; from the politician to the pastor, the landlord to the laborer. The list is endless. A place where everybody is quick to nag about everything especially about government’s incompetence yet they themselves do nothing to brighten their corners. It seem to me the only language the Ghanaian understands is FORCE and for many, the only thing to keep them doing the right thing. Like the conservancy laborers, the tanker drivers and the teachers in Amu Djoleto’s “money Galore”, sometimes I’m tempted to long for a military regime that apply the kind of force to keep people from doing wrong. One that appreciates zero tolerance for bloodshed, one that is not based on revenge but for the greater good of the greater number-the masses-. I am told it is a dangerous wish but sometimes there is absolutely no hope in “democrazy” for the masses and in hopelessness, we wish for any other thing. What a country!

Gifty Andoh Appiah. (