(A Rejoinder to Prof. Kwaku Asare)
By Kwaku A. Danso
In an article posted on the GLU (Ghana Leadership Union) forum on March 6, 2016, Prof. Kwaku Asare asks readers to evaluate first premier Kwame Nkrumah's motion of destiny pronounced some 59 years ago, and ponder on what Nkrumah said:
"And while yet we are making our claim for self-government I want to emphasize, Mr Speaker, that self-government is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end, to the building of the good life to the benefit of all, regardless of tribe, creed, colour or station in life. Our aim is to make this country a worthy place for all its citizens, a country that will be a shining light throughout the whole continent of Africa, giving inspiration far beyond its frontiers. And this we can do by dedicating ourselves to unselfish service to humanity. We must learn from the mistakes of others so that we may, in so far as we can, avoid a repetition of those tragedies which have overtaken other human societies."
(Kwame Nkrumah in Motion of Destiny)
K. Asare poses the following questions:
"2 score and 19 years later, it is time to ask:
Where is the good life to the benefit of all?
Is Ghana a worthy place for all the citizenry?
Is Ghana a continental shining light?
Do we serve humanity?
Have we learnt from the mistake of others?
Should this day be a day of reflection or a day of celebration?
Should this day be a day of sorrow or a day of joy?"
It is a shame for any group of people to be doubting the value of their independence. I wrote this in response and want to share, with small edits, with a wider readership:
Young people have a right to be disappointed. The people of Ghana need to think seriously if they want a nation to themselves or have their best human talents “stolen” and be absorbed into other nations, or have their nation’s natural resources benefit other nations. There is even the question of China trying to take over some African nations through the trickery of loans to corrupt leaders who do not disclose full details of loans or projects to their people.
The purpose of any good, effective and transformational leadership is to inspire and motivate others to achieve life's visions beyond even their own imagination, and to intellectually stimulate others. It is not to feed them with any manna conjured from Heaven! Humans in any society contribute through taxes, duties and tariffs for services provided by government (Ref: Danso, K.A., 2007: Leadership Concepts and The Role of government in Africa: The Case of Ghana). All people pay taxes directly or indirectly through sales taxes, VAT, imposed duties, property taxes or tolls. Public service is therefore not a gift or services to pay bribes for.
For those younger than say 59, your perception of Ghana may be due to the picture painted by others of past glories and past visions and accomplishments of the black man led by many including Kwame Nkrumah; or perhaps of past gloom!
All wise people, after the influence of their palm wine subsides, realize that the world existed before they were born and hence measure their utterances, criticisms and analysis based on what others have done before them.
Some perceive peace as mere filling of the belly and a place to lay one's head at night; they leave the weeds to grow and birds to sing as they may, and make no effort to cultivate or even appreciate the flowers of nature. They could care less if they are somebody's "obedient servant" as people used to sign their signatures under British colonial government. You may ask: “How dare any group of people travel to somebody’s land and succeed in making them servants?” The answer will take more than today’s dialogue but I try to explain some of these global power relationship issues in my latest book: Life is War (Danso, K.A., 2015, Page Publishers, New York).
Evaluating life and what others did for us to be where we are, be it in America, Europe, Australia or Ghana, and able to speak our minds, pursue any course we desire in school and be what we want to be, cannot be taken for granted! We must always remember somebody dreamt of, managed resources, and brought people together to move us from caves or servitude to where we are where clothing, books and computers, communicating with others or transportation systems to travel around the world in 24 hours, cannot be taken for granted; and we have an obligation to continue to study and understand life, and make life better for others as others did for us.
Politics has been known to be dirty in most countries especially the newly independent nations trying out democracy for the first time. Hatred for the people, once elected, even if we disagree with them, only breeds more hatred and society suffers when the will of the majority is subjected to the desires and whims and hatred of a few who feel more entitled! I ask everybody who can read what I have written here to examine their own hearts and think for themselves and ask if all the many revolutions or change-activism by a few to overturn the will of the majority in the last 59 years has helped Ghana!
Yes! It is 59 years and are we necessarily a better people who believe in laws and living like other civilized people, exerting ourselves on our assigned jobs with honesty and discipline to live a better life instead of taking from the public purse or even stealing from family members! And how prepared are we to carry our individual spears in this life and contribute to the overall wellbeing in these rough roads and forests facing man to win the war of life and live in peace; and how do we respond to the question if we can leave Ghana and the world a better, cleaner, and more beautiful place than we found it!
The answer may be in the mirror; and remember as Cassius once said to Brutus in Julius Caesar: “The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings”.
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso
Livermore, California, USA / East Legon, Accra, Ghana