Feature Article of Sunday, 10 June 2012

Columnist: The Emperor

So, What Has Been Keeping Ghana Down?

By now, Atta Mills must be asking himself; what did I get myself into? Undoubtedly, the incumbent President must have understood that his assignment was going to be far from easy. But, did he also anticipate the sheer pressure — which comes what that temporal occupation of his? This is the question! Not surprisingly, the critics have been many ever since Atta Mills became our president—elect. Some of them have it that the President isn't performing above par. Others have it that his government is corrupt — and there are those who don't take him much to heart! I, for one, applaud Mills' tenacity. I also admire him for his determination and willingness to bring to fruition what he promised. Having said that, I know that Mills loves Ghana and means our country well. I also believe wholeheartedly that he wants to put the country where it belongs — on top. And, how hard has he been trying? Very hard— if I do say so myself. Though, there are many amongst us who would say otherwise — and I do understand. The people's four-year contract with the President is nearing its completion! Regrettably enough, Mills and his administration haven't succeeded in making Ghana a better country. And, does it come as a surprise? No! I, for one, was not under the illusion that he will.

Remember, Ghana has been sick for a very long time — and her socio-economic issues, which should've been approached pragmatically by previous governments — were left to expand. And so, from the word go — I knew that the President had his work cut out for him — for there wasn't going to be a quick solution to Ghana's myriad problems. Now, we Ghanaians expect our presidents to be miracle workers. In this respect, President Mills is no exception to the rules. We give them a four-year mandate expecting wonders without being realistic. So far, no leader has been able to turn the country's fortune around — and the question is, why? The answer to this question is very simple! It's because Ghana's problems have no political solution — for they aren't politically oriented. One may ask; if her problems aren't political in nature, then, what are they? Well, let's put certain things under scope, shall we? First and foremost, Ghana has some of the brilliant minds in the world. The country is over-saturated with PhD holders, entrepreneurs, technicians, constructors, academics, politicians and lawyers. And so, her problems cannot be traced to her education system. In fact, Ghana has one of the finest education systems in the world — if I do say so myself.

Now, how many times have you heard that the country isn't progressing because of our work ethics? I hear this all the time! But, do I hold it to be true? No, I don't! I believe that we Ghanaians aren't a lazy lot. No, we may not be punctual for whatever reason! But, is it a secret? What about corruption? Nowadays, one cannot mention Ghana without talking about corruption. So, is it responsible for our woes and sufferings? Well, corruption has certainly been detrimental to our progress, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. Mind you, corruption has been here from time immemorial. Therefore, it will be an excuse or a diversion to blame our detrimental state on its practice, wouldn't you say? Religion plays a very important role in the lives of many Ghanaians! In fact, most of our country men and women believe that God is the answer to our problems. As consequence, the churches, synagogues and mosques are growing in number — but the problems remain. One thing is certain; our problems weren't created by God. So, why should God solve them for us? It's obvious that Ghana's problems aren't political! Otherwise, our astute politicians would've solved them by now. It's also clear that her problems aren't affiliated with our education system, nor is it due to our supposed laziness.

So, what has been keeping this country down all these years? Well, it's this I-know-better-than-you mentality. In Ghana, everybody thinks he/she knows better than the other person. The educated elite think they know better than the commoners — and the commoners think they know better than the elite! Those in government think they know better than the governed — and the governed think they know better than those in government. Those in the opposition party think they know better than those in the ruling party — and those in the ruling party think the other political parties don't match their infinite wisdom and know-how. Our former Presidents think they know better than the incumbent President — and the incumbent President thinks he knows better than his predecessors! Undoubtedly, this I-know-better-than-you mentality has done our country more harm than good. It has arrested our development and progress! Simply because; there is no cooperation. Indeed, the dearth of team spirit amongst Ghanaians goes without saying. In the Netherlands where I happen to reside, it's not unusual to see a ruling party form a coalition with the other political parties with the best interests of the country in mind. As of the moment, a five-party coalition called the the Kunduz coalition is ruling the country. Also, it's not unusual to see people share ideas and take advice. Again, it's not unusual to see the old work with the young towards progress. Ghana has everything she needs for a take off, but she will never take off if we continue with this I-know-better-than-you mentality. Remember, it takes all — irrespective of tribe or political affiliation, to build a great nation.

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Columnist: The Emperor