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Opinions of Thursday, 19 December 2013

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

The Rise Of Political Rage And Insurgency Have Causes.

THERE IS AN EMPTINESS in Ghana right now and that can’t be filled by non-stop individuals striving for material gain and politicians striving for prepaid elections. The leaders’ response to the citizens’ needs is a metaphor for what’s ailing Ghana.
In fact, lack of opportunities, corruption , tribalism and unequal distribution of our resources have been the case in Ghana for quite a long time ,making it a sort of tradition for the major part of the population; especially the youths.
Not only do we have ever-growing gap between wealthy minority and the rest of the nation; but also have declining mobility, as it becomes harder and harder for the poor Ghanaians to move up on the socio-economic ladder.
There is also clearly a large reservoir of public dissatisfaction with the direction that our government is leading us---regardless of what the pollsters say---and it runs across political, educational and socio-economic spectra. When the Powers That Be started defining a person’s value by the value of his properties, Ghana’s future is on life- support system.
We don’t have to be polite or align our views with lousy and do-nothing political parties when it comes to dealing with the craziness and the craps we’re seeing in the Ghanaian political and socio-economic arenas, right now. Are you getting mad enough yet?
Even if you get mad at me for saying this, you can’t pretend like the craziness doesn't happen a bit too much. Before you get into the tired diatribe about this being some kind of an assault on politicians and the Ghanaian leadership; you have to remember that we’re living in a country full of wealth. A country of boundless possibilities, a country made of people decidedly committed to democratic ideals, a country with the potential for spectacular human achievement, a country with enough self-imposed and economic exiles who are yearning to come home and help build the country .But, we find ourselves ruled politically, economically and culturally) by ‘Kleptocrats’ (a ruling class of people characterized by the practice of stealing)
I know, it’s POLITICALLY INCORRECT to have conversation about the youth’s unemployment, underemployment, what’s necessary to save the youth ,protect our depredated environment and river bodies, save mother Ghana and perhaps reduce the unnecessary number of Ghanaian self-imposed exiles; who are languishing in foreign countries.
The essence of the so-called democracy –our power to control decisions that affect us---has steadily and quietly been hijacked by “political and corporate thieves” .They have collected up our democratic powers piece by piece, hoarding them in the privacy of their own fiefdoms. These elites (fully abetted by the governmental elites they have bought) now effectively control the decisions that affect WE the people—everything from public –spending priorities to environmental degradations, from deforestation to accident –prone roads, to who gets elected in every election circle.
These have taken place not by pure chance, but through deliberate filching and the filching now has reached the level of wholesale looting. As a result, we can no longer avoid this reality in front of us: The elites have made off a slow-motion coup; radically wrenching Ghana’s power balance from the ordinary to the thieves in high places.
So as you gather around dinner tables this coming holiday season, think about the conversations you’ll have in the presence of the youth of the nation. When they walk away from the tables, what will they learn from you? Yes, you have the power to influence the next generation leaders, so please don’t take it for granted and waste this precious opportunity because something has gone terribly wrong in this country for too long.
Speaking of the youth, I wonder when the government or the entire nation is going to stanch much of the bleeding caused by decades –long erosion of jobs for our youth and young population!
The point is when overt poverty becomes over- bearing for the youth, and the number of self-appointed “pot –holes contractors” on our accident –prone roads has increased, then some of us have to seek for answers from the highest places. In fact, this generation has taken a huge hit from economic crises and bad policies of our governments.
As bad as things have been for the older Ghanaians for the past years, nobody has it on the chin quite as bad as the young Ghanaians; between ages 19-30, who are more likely to be unemployed, underemployed, and broke, with low expectations. These people are less trusting of the government than any group in Ghana.
Who can blame them for feeling disconnected with our political system? In fact, there is no reason to expect their problems to get any better over the years because the politicians’ results have not matched with their rhetoric in terms of direct funding for apprenticeship or poverty alleviating programs they have been trumpeting every day.
In terms of basic demographics, the future belongs to this group of people because they are young. Unfortunately, they will inherit the degraded environment and polluted water bodies their elders made for them. With no fault of their own, they will inherit a nation choked up with plastic bags; a nation without viable trees or reliable road network. Now, how do you feel when you go to bed at night knowing very well that you’re part of the problems?
In terms of political seismographic, the future belongs to leaders and political parties who not only see the importance of investing in our young people, but who think that it’s the government’s job to create and encourage business- friendly, germinating ideas and ecology in order to give the young Ghanaians the reasons to dream BIG; with truck –load of aspirations and the desire to work and grow old on their mother land. To those who are throwing stones around a glass house, they have to remember that the unemployed youth can’t afford to spend money to fuel the local economy and an idle hand is deadly.
As a boy growing up in my small town of Asuom back in the days, I was taught the unifying moral concepts of hardworking, belonging to something larger than one’s bank account, the idea of caring, sharing, and participating for the public’s good. At least, I was made to understand that we don’t stride for the material gain, but for the spiritual satisfaction, building communities and reap the deeper richness of the common goal. The idea of belonging to something larger than our own egos and bank accounts was something we all knew then. So what happened? What went wrong? Why the plights of our youth and the ordinary Ghanaians don’t seem to worry our policies makers and MPs anymore?
Think about it: The Parliament, Democracy and Development. Do these three words fit together in your mind? Look, Ghana is a nation of nurses; office workers, taxi -drivers, school-teachers, pharmacies, shopkeepers, truck –drivers, Mokola- women, middle managers, cleaning people, electricians , masons, carpenters, struggling artists and everybody else---how many of our ilk are sitting in the Parliament House today? The great majority of Ghanaians make less than Ghc 200.00 a month. Half make under Ghc 100.00.How many MPS come from such modest backgrounds? Today’s MP list is made up of Lawyers, business executives, formal political operatives and professional kleptocrats; who are literally stealing our country from us and gambling with our fragile and infant democracy .
There is a need to find long-term solutions to these problems and fix our political and socio-economical leaking faucet before things begin to fall apart. This is not just paw-wow sound-bite to show case one’s political agenda or disdainfulness towards politicians, but a wake-up call for those who have ears to hear.
Until we meet here again next year please stay strong, take care of your mind, be blessed and educated.
From Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi.
*The author is a social commentator and the founder of the Adu-Gyamfi foundation for Disadvantaged youth of Asuom in kwaebibirem District.