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Opinions of Friday, 30 July 2010

Columnist: Adamu, Tanko Balik

NDC and NPP to Lead Ghana in the new world Order

– Do they have a vision for Ghana?



The question of how visionary our leaders are is one that has bugged me for a very long time. I consistently fail to come with an answer on just how exactly our current crop of leaders want our dear nation to be like in say 40 years from now. People who have this answer can help me out but I am not sure they even know why they were chosen to lead us. Majority of them seem to think that leadership is a business where you invest and reap something. None of them seem to be thinking about the long term survivability of our nation. You are probably by now wondering where am heading with this line of conversation. If you examined our past leaders and what they stood for, you will for instance come to the conclusion that majority of them at the time envisaged a free country that was capable of governing itself with its own resources. They wanted a nation that will not have to wait on the colonial masters to tell them when to go to sleep or what to eat or even who do business with. We have achieved that at this point in our history. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for all his failures wanted to build upon our freedom by providing Ghanaians with access to higher quality education, energy independence and a vibrant economy that had the potential of pulling all of Africa together as one nation. To this end, he built schools and provided free education to the poor amongst us, which at the time was seen as wasteful spending, he embarked on his Africanization experiment which he didn’t have time to complete but we all know by now what he had intended for our country and continent. What can we say is the intention of our current leaders for the youth of this country?

The conclusion I have come to is that they are all leaches and want to create a permanent citizenry of leaches. When I say this, I am not meaning just NDC leadership who are worse but it also includes NPP leadership. It is only Ghana, a poor and needy country where the government spends money to send a few chosen blood suckers to Angola, Ivory Coast and lately South Africa to watch soccer matches for free and it makes sense. The countries that had the money and frankly probably needed incentives to have people watch the matches did not offer their citizens free flights or free tickets to watch games that they were participating in but we did. What exactly was the expected return to the nation if you considered those moves as investments? Say after me, Nothing!

The wider scope of my piece is this expectation mentality we have imbued in our people. Most Ghanaians grow up with the expectation that one day they are going to have a job, be provided with a free car and a bungalow. Heck, I had similar expectations after all I am a Ghanaian too! This expectation however is one that a leader with a vision will work hard to change for the citizens if for no other reasons but for economic reasons alone. Instead of this, what we see around us is that people who we grew up with, went into politics and talked a few times for their parties on radios or on platforms, their parties won power, they moved to Accra and are put in plusher government houses, provided with a 4 Wheel Drive cars and then they start wearing suits they cannot afford and in some cases they are provided with security. In all of these, nobody sits down to quantify what the returns are on such expenditure. With this in mind, every nincompoop starts fighting wisdom and reason to become a politician even though they know fully well that they are not going to be able to articulate their thoughts let alone offer any leadership even to their own families. The country then becomes their training laboratories and when they fail, we all then suffer the consequences. The worse of these are the parliamentarians.

It is therefore not a surprise that they are arguing for the STX-Korea deal to provide what they call affordable housing for our security services. I can understand the Army leaving in barracks but how do you justify the separation of the Police, Fire and Prison officers from the general population that they are there to protect? Some of these were colonial legacies that were bequeathed to us but shouldn’t we as a people begin to think for ourselves after 50 years of independence? Isn’t there somebody with common sense to argue that it actually helps the police if they lived like everybody else? Is it therefore a surprise to anybody that the police are acting like we lived in Chairman Mao’s China? Now my issue as I stated earlier is the pure economics of having people live in government provided houses. I have been told that it is going to cost $15,000 to build one unit house which people in opposition have disputed and have said under the deal, it was going to actually cost $50,000 to build a unit. Do not kid yourself, we are all Ghanaians and we know even the $15,000 that we have been told is a lot of money. The average Ghanaian doesn’t spend that much in building a house unless they lived in Accra or maybe Kumasi. That being said, when these units have been built, they will need to be maintained and the cost of maintaining them is not going to be easy unless it is going to be borne by the occupants which we cannot rely upon.

Just like the so called sham that is the STX-Korea deal for security services which is being pushed to make anybody who do not agree with it sound like you do not care about the welfare of the service men and women, our parliamentarians are leaving in government houses and have been provided with all they want in life for free while poor uneducated Ghanaians are allowed to sleep on the streets, under bridges and for the lucky, Sodom and Gomorra. In other countries where human beings actually matter, parliamentarians have to look for their own accommodation and provide their own means of transport. I have even head that and infact I know that some of the politicians use public transport system to and from their work. The Vice President of the USA, Mr. Joe Biden is known for riding Amtrak training from his home State of Delaware to Washington DC to work. Congressmen have been renting and on C Street for years and in the UK, David Cameroon travels commercial apart from the fact that we all know that Tony Blair and his family have been riding on the trains. What makes our politicians different?

I have head the argument that Ghanaian politicians and government employees do not get paid nearly as much as the people in the above mentioned societies get paid. If you ignore the fact that politicians in Europe and America have a higher cost of living than Ghanaian politicians, you still have to wonder the reasoning behind paying Ghanaians less and providing them with all these freebies with their attendant problems in maintenance. If you provide Ghanaian public workers with free housing, a car, a security man, a watchman and free telephone and tv and in the end still pay him about 6 million old Ghana cedis every month, are you really saving anything? Couldn’t any high school journalist compute the total cost of maintaining an MP with all the variables added and tell Ghanaians just how sensible our leaders are? If we had visionary leaders, they would have gradually been working to make Ghanaians understand that the government cannot solve all our problems. We have to individually work at solving some of our problems by ourselves. We will succeed in some of them and fail in some. That is just a fact of life and everybody ought to know that. Now before you go all religious on me, I have to let you know I understand the need for safety nets for less fortunate ones amongst us. I do give into charities but I will never want somebody to leave their lives if it totally depended on me. I can’t afford it.

Instead of inculcating these ideas into Ghanaians, our presidents over the years have sought to be provided with multiple homes, cars, security and possibly their own roads. Some of them even cry for specific locations for their homes even though they refused to locate their own buildings at the locations that they desire simply because their priority has been to hide them from the public. What is more, they have more than one personal house which in itself I don’t understand. What makes a person have two houses less than 100 miles apart and they do not plan to rent or sell either? The Jerry Rawlingses are now crying for their security with regards to the temporary housing they were lucky to get from another sucker of a president. Why didn’t they think about their security when they were building their own houses?

The perpetuation of this nonsense is because our leaders have been able to create a permanent bunch of hooligans they so callously call “Foot Soldiers” who will go to war for somebody else to have a job, a house and a car while they suffer for food and go to sleep under the bridges of Accra, Kumasi and Tamale. These so-called “foot soldiers” should start understanding that they are better than that and that they have the potentials to be whatever they want to be. They cannot continue to take the entire country for-granted. They may have the likes of Jerry Rawlings and his apologists encouraging them for now. They need to understand that the Rawligses are trying to make them permanently dependent on the government just like they have done. This type of mentality will only make their livelihood dependent on the direction of the political winds and cannot therefore be sustainable. Go out there and work my brothers and sisters. It is not hard, just try it!

I want to conclude by using this medium to appeal to Ghanaian youth to start building themselves for their future so that together we will leave for our children what our leaders did not leave for us, a society that can compete with any society around the world. We can do this by always challenging the common wisdom and asking questions. We should always ask our politicians the “What is in it for me” questions and shun anybody who wants to make us permanently depend on them. As for our leaders of today, I’d like to say to you that it is not too late to change your ways. You can be courageous and decline all the freebies you have been getting and champion the fight against corruption disguised as “gifts”. The results may not be immediate to you but you will one day be able to say you were part of the fight that changed Ghana and made her the Shining Black Star of Africa. This should be what the rest of Africa will want to look up to not the same suffering and misery they know from their own cowardly leaders!

God Bless Ghana!

Signed

Tanko Balik Adamu

Environmental Health and Safety Professional

Pittsburgh, PA, USA

tankobalik@yahoo.co.uk