Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ghana heading to the dogs

When a journalist for the British newsmagazine ‘Economist’ described Africa as a ‘Hopeless Continent,’ most people branded him as racist and a fool who has no deeper appreciation of the continent. Some African scholars even wanted to beat him up, if they had gotten hold of him.

Richard Dowden, the author of the article, did not write the article in vacuum. As of the time he wrote the article, Liberia was busy on fire. Then Cote D’Ivoire President Félix Houphouët-Boigny was busy arming the regime of then Sergeant Doe. Charles Taylor who was led a faction of the rebellion was getting help from Gaddafi of Libya.

Somalia was on the brink of descending into chaos. Other African countries not directly involved in the war were busy being mismanaged by their leaders; Cameroon, Nigeria, Guinea, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Egypt. The truth is that the mismanagement was from North, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. No African leader even dreamt of working hard to improve the lives of their citizens.

Richard Dowden had travelled extensively across the continent and had seen the hardwork of ordinary people on the continent most of whom had to work the sweat off their skin before they could even have a decent meal for supper or even dinner.

More than a decade after that article and the vilification that followed, Ghana, one of the countries that fell in that article, has not seen any positive change. Apart from turning the page into a democratic era, the country has been on the path of mismanagement, with politicians soiling their hands with money whilst majority of Ghanaians live in penury.

The quickest way to make money in this country is to become a politician whose party is in power. The money will flow with ease. Nobody cares how much one steals because everyone is busy dipping the hands into the coffers. Even the president himself is busy grabbing so he has little or no time at all to caution his people, let alone grab and hand them over to the security agencies. His party will lose should he ever attempt any of such moves.

The trend started with Jerry Rawlings (I’m speaking from his era because that is what I fell into) and after him came John Kufour and now to John Mills tenure. Among the three of them, there is no different. Perhaps John Mills comes across as a man who is not so much interested in dipping his hands into the state coffers. Unfortunately, the same money is not doing enough to check his boys and hangers on who are busy stealing from Ghanaians.

His own former boss Jerry Rawlings has consistently admitted to the increasing levels of corruption in the current NDC administration. Even party foot soldiers have been on rampage for not being given some of the booty party boys are busy looting.

President has not done anything to check that. Rather, he has been busy spinning mantra after mantra anytime he gets the turn. At the beginning of this year he told the suffering people of Ghana the year will be full of ‘ACTION. We are almost into the fourth month of the year and nothing has happened. No major works are being undertaken by his office to bring any relieve to the people of Ghana.

Ghana is at 54 but not behaving as an adult. We are struggling to even crawl. Serious challenges including water, power supply, high unemployment and crime rates have become part of us. Such issues are not important to our politicians. All we hear are politics of insult. And they are flying off from different angles of the political divide.

Sometimes when as a young chap, I sit down and ask myself if there is any hope for this country.
God help us!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of how in her book, "The Challenge for Africa", Wangari Maathai talks about how the culture of corruption is so deeply ingrained in some places that the general populace genuinely perceive politics to be about creating and furthering business interests, rather than about altruism, service, leadership and the management of a nation. The flow-on effect is that people support and vote for those who they perceive they will be able to solicit the greatest material gains from, without consideration of a broader social, political or economic agenda.

    You might find Richard Dowden's book, "Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles" an interesting read. It's a well-balanced book IMHO.