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Opinions Sat, 4 Jul 2020

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Ghana: The pride and the shame at the age of 63

Growing up in the 1950s and recalling the transition from dusty rural roads, filthy river and well water to drink and bathe, and candles to study at night, life has seen major transformation fir some of us!

We were lucky to grow up under a leader who inspired us to think that “Whatever others have done in other nations to survive, we too can”. Our study and love for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics did not come in vain as some of would find at major world-renowned Universities at Berkeley, California, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale, or other top Universities in America, Europe, and the Western as well as Russia and the Eastern bloc nations.

But where are the thousands of Scientists and Engineers and Medical Doctors? Scattered all over the world! No opportunities in Ghana as factories producing goods we consumed ourselves were mostly closed down!

Today Ghana is almost at war with our friendly neighbour Nigeria simply because Ghana cannot still have integrity in land registration and title search! The story of a chief as landowner hiring bulldozers to tear down modern buildings the Nigerians claim they have paid for and have papers is a major disgrace for Ghana!

Ghana can do better! The NDC and NPP political parties have failed! The 1992 Constitution has failed!

In the 54 years after Nkrumah was overthrown, our leaders have hardly ever used much of the best brains Ghana has produced, and the Civil Service that is supposed to be the engine for operation for Ghana to move forward has also become a den of arrogance, mediocrity and unchecked thieves with lifelong appointments.

It is left to us putting pressure on our elected leaders. Change must come! Ghana has too much talent scattered around the world to be ruled by two political parties that operate like crime syndicates- major Billion dollar loans and $100 million contracts that still cannot provide stable electricity, water, and cannot regulate private communication operators or replace them. And the irony is that Ghana Government has closed all avenues for citizenship feedback to improve services!

The concept of Organizational Feedback is how human societies, like any engineering systems, keep improving! In Electrical Engineering we learned long ago in a course called Control Systems, that to Optimize any system you design a loopback from output to input to correct errors and make things better. That course in 1969 at the University of California at Berkeley, later taught me about the natural systems God the maker created- and that we all need feedback or constructive criticism to get a better-desired outcome.

In 1957 when I entered Abetifi Boys’ Boarding School, one teacher laughed at my handwriting and after class let one Kumasi boy write the Alphabets in cursive for me on the blackboard to copy. Obviously as the eldest of the family then and nobody ahead of me to help or give me feedback, my standards were not at par. In a few years, I learned to have very good handwriting such that in 1962 at Prempeh College our Geography teacher noticed my handwriting during exams and could not believe it! I had one of the best handwriting in school and the small benefits of being a favoured boy.

Last I checked on Modern Ghana and Ghanaweb I had written more than 500 articles but how many of them do our leaders and officials read to help correct and align our leadership implementation of their own sometimes noble stated visions?

Engineers can only design solutions for society offering design from Science and technology; and it is left to the private sector to finance and put into operation (to make money), or the Government to align their vision and build a better modern society with services like water, sewage systems, power and energy, and communication systems!

And please don’t blame the Engineers or Scientists if corrupt politicians cannot or will not implement simple land database systems and good specifications for road construction methods and sewage systems. Ghana is losing more than 100,000 people annually through environment filth and poor sanitation as well as poor roads!

I heard that President Nana Akufo Addo has suspended the Auditor General - the only man in Ghana public service who points out the rot in the system. If this is true, this is the lowest Ghana has sunk since Nana’s uncles and family were reportedly involved in assassination attempts on Kwame Nkrumah’s life! It seems the shame and curse on Ghana has not been lifted yet!

Columnist: Kwaku A. Danso, Contributor

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