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Opinions of Sunday, 26 February 2012

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

Shine light on the Roaches: The Anatomy of a Civil Revolution

It is obvious that the very people who benefit most from the current rotten system in Ghana will not do a thing to change it. Ghana faces daunting challenges that must be addressed now and head on. Caught in the cross current of corruption and inept leadership, Ghana continues to flounder. Kicking the can ahead while the rot metastasizes is the wrong thing to do. We mortgage or discount our future by straddling the fence and doing nothing.

So long as the looters have peace and quiet, the looting will continue. The way your startle a cockroach is to turn the light on! So let the civil revolution be our light. We must rock, rattle, and in some cases raze the system down with every sinew we have. If we put the nation first instead of individuals, tribes, political parties and other considerations, we can do it. You can tell I am a nationalist and I wear that badge with great pride. Our loyalty and commitment to mother Ghana must not waver. Ask not what Ghana can do for you but what you can do for Ghana. Our success lies in collective responsibility and accountability.

To say that the political and economic system in Ghana must change is to state the obvious. There are two basic ways, among others, of making radical change to a political/economic system. One is a violent overthrow of the existing system. The other is a gripping civil revolution. Do we want to do nothing and leave our development to evolution? The latter I refuse to accept. What is your choice? We’ve tried violent overthrow of political systems in Ghana and it has not worked. Violent overthrow becomes necessary when civil change is impossible or not self induced. Often, the architects of such overthrow ride into power on the emotions and pent up anger of the people. Once in power, the new churlish elite visit on the unsuspecting people, the same abuses and excesses they claim to be correcting. In end, we retard our progress. Change, driven by real transition, never takes place. As the French saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The latter occurs because change, without transition, is inconsequential. It plays out like a vision without action. We must act now! The people, in a reasoned and planned approach, must transition the current system into a viable one. Only the people can do it!

This time around, some of us are calling for a civil revolution. Why a civil revolution? We need a civil revolution because until the people get up and stand up for their rights, these Kleptocrats will never voluntarily honor the social contract. To think that the potentates will change undisturbed is to dabble in industrial grade naïveté. Transition as used here, represents the real mental movement from a beginning point to a desired destination. A civil revolution has a better chance of ushering in enduring transition. Transition inspired by the people and for the people. We’ve seen our people suffer needlessly because a few misguided elite have seized our government and are hell bent on positioning it to deliver their gravy even as their own kith and kin perish. It is sad and unfair to blame our woes solely on outside forces. We must take responsibility and make sure that the priorities of our people do not only come first but remain the sole consideration of the people we put in power. We must demand change and expect transition. We must demand accountability and take responsibility! Action equals results!!

The idea of a civil revolution means a planned sustained civil effort, aimed at radically and primarily changing the political and economic culture of Ghana. All of us know what the problems are. To make the case for urgency, it will not be an exercise in futility if the architects of such revolution, enumerate and prioritize urgent and neglected challenges to be addressed immediately. Long term goals must be addressed as well. These identified challenges ought to be national in nature and serve as the compelling case for change. Clear examples are the healthcare system, the political system, constitution, water, education, sewer system, corruption, lack of transparency, performance measures for leaders, the civil service system, parliament, address system, the judiciary and transportation system. The above identified broad areas will have to be further distilled into specific problems and proposed solutions. Parliament won’t act so the people must!

A civil revolution in my estimation, has to be home grown (self-reliance), planned, organized and led by civilians. It should be national not tribal in nature, non-violent, have clear contextually significant goals, and designed to last as long as it takes to makes the necessary radical changes. It should have clear timelines. The civil revolution should aim at making sustainable transitions that will last across generations and into perpetuity. Indeed, it could be seen as laying the foundation for a stronger Ghana. The goal is to make sure that our resources are being used to better the lot of our people now and into the future. We must fight the system!

The tools often considered for a sustained civil revolution, include, but are not limited to mass information and education, marches, boycotts, protests, disruptions, civil disobedience and occupation. These tools must be chosen appropriately and employed sporadically to jolt the system. The idea here is to gain beeline access into the eardrums of the oppressive elite. The people must be seen and heard to start with. Their demands have to be squarely met. The people must be in control at all times. The right to march and fight for the country, is enshrined in our current constitution. We want to change this country on the collective shoulders of all who care about Ghana more than they do tribes, political parties, ego-driven individuals and trifling pettiness.

Why mainly target the youth? Well, guess who inherits the mess? I don’t see any other group with more vested interest than the youth of Ghana. The old guard can’t and won’t make the needed change. The system benefits them!! The youth mainly bear the brunt of the wickedness in play. The little that we enjoy now was bestowed by those who came before us. It is time to build on what we have. It is time that the old guards step aside and cheer on the youth to bigger and better things. Asking the old guard to step aside is not a call to do away with the old folks. They have a role to play too. Their role however, is not to lead effort. The youth must lead this effort with support from the old who care. It is their time to sacrifice for the nation. It is time for renewal!!

To the youth of Ghana I say this: get up and gird your loins. Start marching and protesting! The sacrifice you make today, holds hope for a better tomorrow. If you don’t act now, who will? You see and live the rot day in day out. Go ahead and seize the opportunity for tomorrow brings good tidings. Do it for yourself, family, community and country! Take one for the country! In unity lies strength! Come out of your hiding places and rock the system called Ghana! Start organizing and stop procrastinating! Others have done it and so must you! Tell somebody about it and start changing your country. Start marching in your villages, towns, cities and regions. Every journey starts with a first step! Come on now! Don’t give up the fight. There is no lasting glory without a struggle.

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Also known as the double edge sword)

I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell—Harry Truman