Stroke of my pen: In the heart of a municipality.

Thu, 6 Aug 2015 Source: Blege, Alex

In her heart, a pop-corn machine on a table and a deep blue painted box on which mobile telephony recharge cards are sold. The setting is the Metro Mass Bus Terminal, Wa Municipality. You can’t miss it.

There are two friends – entrepreneurs, national service persons and graduates of the University for Development Studies, Wa Campus.

In the spirit of friendship and scholarship, friends, school and course mates of the two meet to talk about issues from archaeology to zoology - issues in Ghanaian development: graduate unemployment, education, entrepreneurship, politics and activities of politicians, women and marriage, food security, wealth creation, security, and opportunities for further studies.

In the course of the conversation, the politicians are easily identified -their lines of thought betray them. However, no matter how delicate the matter may be, it is about who makes a cogent argument.

There is a trend in Ghana which is subtly creating a culture of see-no-evil, hear no evil, and talk- no- evil. Once you say something that a particular political party does wrong, you belong to the other side.

What happened to freedom of speech? Okay, freedom of speech without insults, or in political terms, constructive criticism. Well, perhaps, criticisms have become an anathema to our politicians and their political kith and kin when they are the butt of it.

The issues that confront the Ghanaian far outweigh the whims and caprices of those who avail themselves for us to put them in the helm of affairs of our nation. It does not matter who has the reins of power.

On one occasion, a gentleman said, Ghana is a f**k**g country. All of us there disagreed with him vehemently. No matter how a group of people decide to run this country, “this is the land of my birth” to borrow the song title from the Jamaican, Eric Donaldson.

Ghana is the land of my birth. I believe in the Red, Yellow, Green and the Black Star in the middle of our enviable flag. I have come to accept a philosophy that I will never be happier in any other country than in my mother land.

I will study abroad; however, the very day I graduate, I am on the next plane bound for A-C-C-R-A, where, no matter how imperfect the situation is I can walk without looking over my shoulder – at least I will not be an immigrant.

Wa, the Upper West Regional capital is a nice place; the indigenes and those who lived in Wa before the coming in of the University for Development Studies and other infrastructural development will attest to the fact that Wa is becoming bigger and bigger.

However, as Wa gets bigger, it is not without its accompanied consequences- crime and an unreasonable increase in rent.

Motor-bike stealing, burglary, mob lynching and killing of children; as for the stealing of domestic animals, the less spoken of it the better. A friend narrated how he was once approached by a group of young men to pay an amount of one-hundred and fifty Ghana Cedis or risk losing his motor-bike.

The gentleman, bargained, parted away with seventy Ghana Cedis to save his motor-bike. On the UDS Campus, students are not spared. There was a situation where a course mate of mine was robbed off two-hundred Ghana Cedis on her way to lectures.

It is no longer safe to walk on the streets of Wa in the evening or ride a new motorbike. Unlike five years ago, as a service person, I could walk from STC yard to the Jahan College of Education area without looking over my shoulder.

Mob lynching is equally gaining grounds in the Wa Municipality and the Upper West Region. There had been situations where suspected thieves are lynched.

This is killing the unity philosophy of “Tizaabunyeni”, meaning we are one people, with the speed of lightening.

For one to rent a decent room in Wa, is such a wicked experience especially for students. A single room in Wa does not go for less than six hundred Ghana Cedis a year. It is not as if the prices of these rooms are stable for a year or two; every academic year comes along with its own price.

The University for Development has five halls. These halls cannot accommodate the increasing number of students every year.

Every academic year poses the trouble of school fees competing with money for accommodation. It is a sad story. Parents have to provide pots of money for their wards every year.

Rent is increased at the beginning of every academic year. Sometimes, students are taken for granted and given rooms that do not merit the good money they had paid.

With my head above the parapet, the University for Development Studies needs more halls of residence, and more lecture halls to reduce the burden of parents and students at the beginning of every academic year.


Columnist: Blege, Alex