Are we really serious as a nation?

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Sun, 27 Feb 2022 Source: Kwaku Badu

Dr Martin Luther King Jnr of blessed memory hit the nail on the head when he aptly and forthrightly stressed during Ghana’s independence celebrations in Accra that “the oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed; the oppressed has to work tirelessly for it (King 1957).”

Freedom, as a matter of fact, is gained through hard work and persistence, but not through listless resignation.

The Founding Fathers’ of Ghana, so to speak, were true patriots whose blood and toil won for us the desired independence in 1957.

But, as to whether the vast majority of Ghanaians have regained their economic and fundamental freedoms and the inalienable human rights following Ghana’s independence some sixty-five years ago, is a million dollar question that would be opened to different interpretations.

It seems to me that the hard work put in by the Founding Fathers’ for our freedom has been in vain. I bet, the founding fathers’ are mourning their beloved Ghana in their graves. How unfortunate?

Apparently, some people would hypocritically hide behind the ideals of independence and patriotism and then turn around to perpetrate all sorts of unpatriotic deeds against the country they claim to cherish so much.

If those politicians and other public servants aren’t heartless and unpatriotic, how come they conspired and paid dubious judgement debts which would have benefited the poor and disadvantaged Ghanaians?

If the so-called politicians are morally upright and have the wellbeing of Ghana at heart, how come they persistently create loot and share monies belonging to the state, which could transform the lives of the needy in society?

Where is the public servants much-touted patriotism when they keep squandering funds meant to transform the lives of the penniless in society through dubious deals?

There is absolutely nothing seriously wrong for anybody to claim birth right to patriotism. However, patriotism is not a mere rhetoric, for we could only evidence our patriotism through our actions and inactions. That is by showing our affection and solicitude towards our country in whatever we do as real patriots.

It is extremely troubling that after nearly sixty-five years of independence, Ghana continues to lag behind the rest of the pack in respect of economic advancement.

Isn’t it pathetic that we have abundant natural resources, and yet we have to heavily rely on taxes and loans for survival?

How can we give away our precious natural resources to foreigners in return for pittance? How ironic, how timorous, how fanciful, and how incredible?

With all due respect, we cannot and must not allow any investors to take undue advantage of us. We should be able to negotiate better terms and conditions for our natural resources, instead of the meagre 5% and 18%, for after all, the natural resources belong to us.

I have always held a contrary view to those who contend somewhat spuriously that it is hackneyed and unconscionable for anyone to suggest that although we started life with the likes of South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, we are happy to secure loans and other assistance from them.

Ghana’s independence, I must sadly admit though, will remain meaningless, so long as we continue to elect leaders who take delight in foreign influences, guidance and control.

Dearest reader, I am afraid, it would appear that we have not weaned ourselves from the developed countries. If this is not the case, why is it that we continue to seek policy guidance from IMF? If we are self-reliant, why do we constantly carry our begging bowl round seeking alms? If we are independent minded, why do we have to import common contractors from China to build our basic infrastructure? If we were that capable and foresighted, why do we consistently import foreign football coaches?

Our leaders, regrettably, more often than not, measure their accomplishments according to the amount of loans they manage to secure from the same countries we started life with. How pathetic?

I do not want to be seen as a pathetic doomsayer, but so long as we continue to elect the dreadful economic managers (like those who can drag an economic growth of 14% to a meagre 3.4% and single digit inflation to double digit) to take charge of affairs, Ghana may not see any meaningful development in our lifetime.

So long as we continue to elect leaders that are myopic, visionless, and only count their achievements with how much loan they are able to secure, and the number of schools they are able to remove from “under trees”, Ghana may sink deeper and deeper into the mire.

Indeed, so long as we have leaders that have no foresight, corrupt, greedy and incompetent; I dare state that Ghana may never advance meaningfully in our lifetime.

Independence, so to speak, refers to self-reliance, so, if we chose to depend largely on other countries for survival, then our independence will somehow remain “meaningless”.

Take my word for it, dearest reader, this is not an endorsement of former President Mahama’s infamous greedy pigs aspersions, far from it, but I would dare stress that in similitude to George Orwell’s animal farm narrative, Ghana’s independence has largely benefited, and continues to benefit only a few-the greedy and corrupt politicians and other public servants.

It is an illustrative case of “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

In sum, I dare state that so long as the elites among the ‘four legs animals’ are refusing to think outside the box, displaying existential selfishness, lacking patriotism and solicitude, and revoltingly looking down upon the ‘four legs downtrodden, Ghana may never develop meaningfully in our lifetime.

K. Badu, UK.


Columnist: Kwaku Badu