By: Dr. Kwaku A. Danso
In Ghana and Africa when people talk of bravery we usually think of men.
CNN just profiled on Saturday June 11, 2011, the life of a 20 year old Mexican Woman who became Police Chief in one of the towns where the Mexican Drug Cartel call the shots, walk tall, and the gun is the King of the road! It is a town that makes the American wild west in the 1800s look like a peace treaty meeting.
Don't ask me how she got the job! She did or was voted Police chief.
Within days the cartel started threatening her with phone calls. She ignored them but her office and home started seeing strange vehicles and the fear of God came in her. This smallish beautiful woman was not even targeting the cartel, as she said. She started projects to help the women and children who had been the victims of the drug wars.
Within four months the persistent calls came in, and one day when the call with the same voice came in and said "we are coming to get you", the smart woman took her husband and kids and parents and crossed the US-Mexican border to the US. It is not that easy for people in Ghana to come to the US or UK by merely crossing a border. Nobody knows how many would leave if there was such a porous border. CNN showed a very simple road and even nicely done concrete walkway, and I don't know why it was so easy for her or who assisted her to cross. Nobody saw her for months, and finally she has reappeared, with a lawyer, seeking political asylum in the US. The lawyer says if she ever returns to Mexico she will be killed - very believable by any judge. Knowing America this should be an easy case for the former Police Chief, and it won't be long before somebody gives her a high paying job for her courage, in America.
IN GHANA - we used to have women who would take the double-barreled gun and lead wars, as Yaa Asantewaah did in 1900 when the British banished King Prempeh I for daring to stand in the way of the abolition of slave trade, as we later learned during one discussion on Okyeame forum. Of course some of us were not born, but such were the days when men were men and women also could act as men and nobody worried who was on top! The ethics of war and of slavery were not a matter of discussion at the time. Gold and Schnapps were the trading points of the day and it took years before our own men learned that catching a fellow human being and selling them as slaves was abominable!
WOMEN POWER - Women have power, and some have erroneously argued during the 1970s it was all "bottom power" for Golf cars. However, others suggest women have more assets and competencies men may even lack, such as the ability to negotiate a deal smarter and in areas where men dare not tread except with a gun. In Management theories now academicians talk of the soft approach, a methods where aggressive or "patapaa principles" of management are put aside for the soft approach or women.
But are our women using these competencies to help develop Ghana? Are they using their skills to push for change?
> When was the last time you saw a woman's group camp out at the Ministry of health and demand we have clean hospitals, sanitary environments and decent roads that have been killing their children!
> When was the last time anybody heard in Ghana a group of women meet at the mayor's office and demand that gutters at major parts of town be covered and underground sewage be developed since Dr. D.D. Daaku, Director of Urban Roads, says we do have the technology in Ghana to develop underground sewage. We know from studies that such a system will reduce to a bare minimum mosquito breeding and the 55,000 estimated annual deaths due to malaria!
> When did a woman's group meet the President office and promised not to go home till a plan was provided for such projects that affect the children and their businesses in town!
> When was the last time anybody heard 300 to 500 Makola women put their wares down and march to the offices of the Minister or Metro chief executive and demand cleaner environment than we see currently at Agbogbloshie market or around the Korle Lagoon.
DEMOCRACY has been poorly and wrongly interpreted into the local languages in Ghana as "free speech". For God's sake, can a man talk to the stomach of his wife and children! Democracy is about representation, usually through the ballot box. It starts from the bottom up, not the other way around as we have it in Ghana. People in a community or town or nation elect representatives, a Mayor and City or Town Councilors, and given them the power to collect taxes, design a budget and develop the community for all. Of course they have to provide accountability. Has the black man and woman in Africa done that?
TODAY the women assist their husbands in nefarious activities, including even treason such as armed insurrections or coups, political chicanery, or other forms of fake corporations and become the CEO of corruption enterprises. After sustained operation if they are not arrested and their heads severed to drink palm wine, as done in the olden days, some of these women eventually gain enough confidence and want to stand for legitimate offices in our nation. They can even step on the balls of men, some of them with far more education and even former Professors!
Our women overseas usually have the greatest entry barriers and most refuse to even return home to Ghana after living in America or other parts overseas for years. They usually let their men come home first, and as we know most of the women are dying overseas now. The women who have lived overseas just can't stand daily chores such as washing clothes by hand or hiring domestic servants to wash their underpants for them. One woman told this writer how her underpants were stolen by relative when she dried them outside during one trip to Ghana. Are the men aware of the difficulties caused by women bending over to do these hand-washing, as the washing machines cannot function well due simply to poor electricity delivery! Societies that lack basic infrastructures such as water and electricity put undue burden of life's load and pressure on women.
QUESTIONS to think of are:
Where are the men?
Will the women succeed in their businesses without pushing the men?
Do the youth have any chance without actively participating and confronting the elected officials as required under a democracy?
How many times do you think our men should sit down to allow their balls to be stepped on by armed robbers masquerading as Politicians?
How long will it take us for our people to see that they have the power and right to confront authorities, hold the shirt-collars of these elected and appointed officials to clean up the cities, develop such projects as underground sewage, and provide a clean health care facilities and atmosphere where businesses can prosper, and people can live in good health as other humans live in other nations!
The challenge is up to us all, and in this case the women can lead!
For comments, Contact:
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso at email@example.com.
President- Ghana Leadership Union (NGO), and Moderator -GLU Forum