You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2002 07 16Article 25666

Opinions of Tuesday, 16 July 2002

Columnist: Agyeman, Akwasi

The Politics of a loan......

“Ugly noises” they used to call it in the days of yore but this “IFC” (IFC II) brouhaha and the recent political discussions going on in the homeland has once again brought to the fore the role of our politicians in Ghana’s underdevelopment.

The problems of our country keep compounding whilst we show limited capabilities of fighting them. To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s first speech as Prime Minister - We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long years of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy??

The story is told of a politician who was in the habit of not bothering to read staff-written speeches before he delivered them. One day this politician grabbed a speech, dashed to a meeting and started reading. He got down to the bottom of the page where it said, "And now I'd like to outline my five principles of development policy." He turned the page and there, in large type, it said, "You're on your own, hotshot." Yes we are on our own as a country… but are we ready for the challenge?? That is if we are able to discern what the challenge is. As other nations discuss issues, we spend all our energies trivializing and politicizing issues. When will this end? . When? And who sets the agenda? Lets stop the training for the tournament began already.

As our politicians hop from radio station to another shouting themselves hoarse, our unemployment, crime, developmental and social problems keep compounding. In this day and age, it wouldn’t have taken a rocket scientist to do background checks on Chemac Inc. in this loan deal and have a dispassionate discussion on it. Now the whole discourse as always has been turned into a “we” and “they” tirade. Sure “IFC II” looks suspicious but Chemac Inc. is a reputable privately held company that has Financing capital projects as one of its services! If we have gotten to the point of not been able “jaw-jaw” in parliament, lobby other MP’s, but have a “referendum” as it were (on radio) on any issue, then why should we have MP’s in the first place and spend $20,000 of taxpayers money to buy them luxury cars. Maybe they need the cars for all the traveling they need to do from one station to station. It is surprising that the NDC with such good intentions could enter into the Quality grain, presidential jet and AMA-CCWL waste management deals when they were in power.

Twenty years plus ago, a certain Flt. Lt. Rawlings, later Chairman Rawlings and H.E President Rawlings and now Paul Gyamfi had called to question the divisive role of partisan politics in our context. The way it is being played now, nobody needs repeating that. As we continue to goose step onward as a nation, it is time for a sober reflection of the role of our media, our politicians and us ordinary citizens. They play hide and seek with us - politicians in suits, journalists with black bags (remember?), audience overawed. Our politicians are running a 4-year political campaign with the able support of the media.

Are we still waiting for the invisible hands of God? Come, my friends, 'tis not too late to seek a newer world (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses 1842). Let’s not sit stiffly and say nothing. Embarrassed? Bored? Or worse -- thinking that it isn't time to tackle issues of our land, that it is off the agenda, an inconvenience. The fact is the future is too important and uncertain to be left to our politicians. We are not on the brink of “an apocalypse” and to think so, in fact, falsifies the danger. Yet it is no remote nightmare that the mass of our people live not just in poverty but do NOT believe they will ever get out. Not them nor their children and great grand children.

I will end with these quotes: To the NDC – “Noise proves nothing--often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid." (Mark Twain) and "We have seen a growing mismatch between the command of media communication shown by the most talented politicians, and the halting, uneven progress which they can deliver through the machinery of government." (Tom Bentley)

To the government - "If politicians lived on praise and thanks they'd be forced into some other line of business." Edward Heath, "Your job is to work as hard as you can in government, and to work as hard as you can in your ridings for the people you represent, because the time will come when you will not want me to come into your ridings. The time will come when I am so personally unpopular that you won't want help from me.... and then at that moment, when I am not able to help, your chances of being re-elected are going to depend entirely on your own efforts." (David Peterson) and "A week is a long time in politics." (Harold Wilson)

And to us ordinary citizens "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." Alexander Hamilton and "The empires of the future are the empires of the mind." Sir Winston Churchill

Lets start building. ……Obiara nsom!

Akwasi Agyeman
New Orleans

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.