Diaspora Letters Continue (1)Since many people are interested in returning to Ghana one day and were so interested in my letter and response [Sunday April 9, 2006 on Ghanaweb] from the American visitor, even though very much misunderstood, here is one from an elder friend, a senior I met at the University of California some 37 years ago, and my response. Like many, he is also working on strategy to return home after many years of engineering and management. I have received many boisterous comments from people who thought criticism of government implies criticism of the NPP. I intend to challenge anybody to do better and defend government. There is nothing to defend for government. Most of us have worked for decades where non-performance meant dismissal and we have not seen much in the current or previous governments. The officials have disgraced all of us and the challenge is on us all to face it, strategize, move home and face them and change the system. The envy factors will end once they know we are part of them, and coming home to help.
From: Jxxxx xxxx [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2006 8:14 AM
Subject: Your Letter To Ghanaweb About Your Guest's Experience At Your Rental Property
I read the letter from your customer about his/her experience at your East Legon property. I am sure you are aware of the complete unreliability of the utilities (water, power, telephone) system. Have you considered providing water for the rental properties by way of tanks which hold water you purchase for that purpose? Jxxx xxxxx
Those are the basics. I have a tank system on a 2 storey metal tower that cost C15 mil and a pump, and the guy even said they turned on the pump in the morning and evening.
Many people missed that point and I have received over 20 letters, some very boisterous about me blaming government for my problems. Why do I have to invest in a rental property, pay an estimated $24,000 for VAT + NHIL taxes on the building materials, pay $15,500 (C140 mil) in duties and taxes to ship 2 modest used Van and SUV, then C15-18 mil ($2,000) to build a reservoir, C25 mil ($2,800) to build a septic tank system, C50 mil ($5,600) to build a gutter to carry the drain in 2003 and another C45 mil ($5,000) to cover the gutter built in 2004 by government. Despite all that we still get mosquitoes!
The only thing I did not have was a Generator, which I am now shipping. I am shipping 2 Generators, one for the office and one for the house. By God! So what else would one need to invest in Ghana and to live there like a decent modern human being? Do I need my own Satellite Communication Channel and Phone Switching system? I better start looking at prices of those too!
The question is: WHAT IS THE USE OF GOVERNMENT, then?
Why should they collect taxes from the people? So they can buy their own luxury lifestyles, their $20,000 cars for MPs and deputies and $75,000 Toyota Landcruiser vehicles for the Ministers, $90,000 Mercedes for the Speaker of the House, renovate their houses (perhaps C300 million), and buy $5,000 Chrome bumpers for their cars [one officials reported in 2003].
Wofa, the nation has gone in the wrong hands, people who don't even believe they can help or use their full talent to seek answers for the society. It hurts the image of the whole nation globally and you know white people will not tell you their true feelings after they visit. I like to be open and even confrontational sometimes as a tool to teach others, and I don't mind those trying to insult me because they don't know what I have done and how much preparation I have done. I pity those behind. It is left to those of us who want to return to think seriously of "taking over" and running the nation. I use the word "taking over" with caution, because one needs an attitude of empathy and caring, else the communication comes out wrong like the old "London trained" people who showed arrogance and hence invoked unnecessary bad feelings. If there is one thing about American culture I like, it is their open-ness and down-to-earth attitude. I did live in Ghana for 3 months in 2004 and I sincerely believe the country is ripe for change and most people in their hearts are waiting for us.
I will be in Ghana shortly. I have defined it in my mind as a missionary journey back home, to help. Because honestly, any way you define it, business, lifestyle, conveniences, do not make rational sense to move from California to Ghana. We will do it anyway, but for a reason. It is our own country! I don't know if you are aware but I actually spent over 200 hours doing my PhD Dissertation research on the same problem of water, electricity, telephone and garbage delivery services [limited it to the Accra-Tema Metropolitan area], interviewing a cross section of business management people and correlating performance in delivery to leadership expectation and perceptions. Very interesting results indeed when plotted, and also when correlated with similar study in the US and then to some cultures in Singapore, USA and UK. I have shared a 10 page summary to Kwame Pianim, who is the Chairman of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission. He has the power to help if the right formula is used [as they do here with decentralized city and country control boards].
Cheers and see you one of these weekends. Why don't you come to the next meeting of the new group Dr. xxxx xxx and Dr. xxxx Kxxxx proposed and we started to formulate 2 months ago after the death of one of our friends who was a prominent Dr. Cxxxxx?
I am just hoping that our people back home will know that most of us sacrificed to live overseas longer not for ourselves but on advice of our parents and relatives whose lives would have been harder had all of us descended home after studies and taken government jobs that have now come under disrepute and seen as avenues for public thievery instead of public service. Or could we have lived home without jobs [what a shame and depression!]. If most of us older ones can return and help our towns and districts understand what and how city /district government are set up, and can work to elect their own council, hire experts to manage on their own, we would have done our best.
Philosopher Immanuel Kant would argue that the true value of a moral or ethical good deed comes when one has no self interest. Of course Jesus also said it better for us to love without expecting to be loved [Huh! hope I am quoting correctly, but anyway something like that!].
Cheers and smile.