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Sighing, the obstacle to Ghana's progress

Sat, 6 Mar 2004 Source: GNA

A GNA Feature By B .D. Pobia

Tamale, March 6 GNA - Ghanaians are fond of sighing. They sigh in the streets; in schools; at workplaces; marketplaces and home and on the farms.

Many Ghanaians are sighing to express their feelings of disappointment, tiredness, or displeasure. Sighing has become a characteristic of Ghanaians.

After sighing, they throw up their hands into the air in despair, leaving their fate to be determined by God. They do not have the courage to speak out or point out a mistake. They only sigh over problems without resolving them. Sighing has made Ghanaians to behave like earthworms that cannot come out into the sun for fear of death. Some married women are sighing because their husbands are spending more time outside with their girlfriends and diverting family wealth to them. Wives are worried and sighing because their husbands are unable to provide them with their basic needs. Children sigh at the injustice in the kitchen as their mothers give the best parts of the meat to their husbands leaving them to chew the bones.

Some married men are also sighing because their unfaithful wives are giving birth to children, who are not their biological children. But both have no courage to speak out their feelings or point out their mistakes to each other. Each of them is blaming God for the mistakes and, therefore, looking up to God to find comfort for them.

Farmers are sighing that the middlemen do not give them good prices for their produce. They are sighing because the Government has withdrawn subsidies on agricultural inputs but they lack the courage to organise themselves to tell the Government to restore subsidies to boost agricultural production, as well as their incomes and those of their families.

The Government is sighing about the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionalities attached to loans that the Government contracts. The Opposition Parties are sighing because the see the Ruling Party as manoeuvring to stay in power.

The Contractor is sighing because somebody is going to ask for 10 per cent share of the contract money, compelling him to do shoddy work, which if he had his own way would not like to be associated with. At the workplace, Managements are trampling upon workers' rights and the workers are sighing. None is prepared to say anything. The few who always have the courage to fight for their social rights are very often betrayed. Workers are sighing at the poor take home salaries, which cannot take them home or meet their budget.

The traders are sighing because workers are not patronising their goods due to their poor salaries.

School children have no say but to sigh at the poor teaching they receive from some of their teachers at school. They sigh because their parents are unable to pay their school fees. Parents are sighing because their children no longer respect them.

The sick is worried and sighing about high medical bills, which most of them are unable to pay. Some doctors are sighing and prefer an easy way out by leaving for greener pastures in foreign countries because of poor working conditions and salaries as well as inadequate tools to work with.

Physically challenged persons are sighing because the society is not giving them the recognition and respect that they deserve. But listen to passengers, the "fathers and mothers" of sighing. They are worried about careless driving; speeding, wrong overtaking, wrong parking of broken-down vehicles and over loading by drivers.

A good number of them may perish on the way through accident because they are unable to speak out to the drivers when they know that the wrong thing is being done and which can lead to an accident that might result in their death.

Passengers are unable to tell the driver to stop for them to get down when he is speeding or doing wrong over-taking or when they are crammed in the vehicle.

For fear of being betrayed, they sigh over wrongdoing and die together. Many human resources are either destroyed or maimed on the road daily and this should not be allowed to continue. Ghanaians are unable to point out a mistake to effect a change of attitude or character. They only know how to sigh and when they sigh, that is all about the problem.

Unless Ghanaians are prepared to speak out their minds and express their feelings and are courageous to point out mistakes in the society for redress, the country cannot see any progress or development. "Where are we going with sighing?" This writer is of the view that sighing has done Ghana more harm than good and the time has come for Ghanaians to have an attitudinal change. Ghana has been sick of sighing and as a result, she is lagging behind in development.

Let all Ghanaians speak out their disappointments for policy makers to readdress. In this way the country's young democracy will grow and flourish. It is about time Ghanaians broke the shackles of sighing.

Columnist: GNA