I am no preacher-man, but certain things in life amaze me that I can’t help but share them on our Ghana Leadership Forum, and ask more questions if God is watching over us in Ghana as he is doing in other nations such as USA, UK, or Singapore. If so why is it that after almost 50 years we are where we are? Is the fault, dear friend, in our stars or in us? (if I may paraphrase the once mighty Julius Caesar of ancient Rome).
I have not written any article since we returned from our exploratory tour of the grassroots political landscape in Ghana in July 2006. I opened my mail today and found this from a friend [don’t worry, he is not a Preacher, but close to one] and I read it. Here are a few that will make your hair stand out a little.
It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7): "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”.
Folks, I am one of those who do not play the lottery, because honestly, I always believed that whatever I get I have to work for it. I don’t believe much in chance and circumstances, even though I have to admit certain things that have happened in my life were not predicted. I always leave a little room for the unknown. However, in contrast, a large percentage of our illiterate population believe in Ghana that that for every headache there must be a devil under the pillow. I do not say this in jest. Last year a niece of mine who is a police officer in the Kumasi area had a stroke, completely paralyzed. Instead of the folks around taking her to the nearest hospital, she was sent to some preacher-man who suggested a fasting and prayer, and of course driving away the devil.
Many in Ghana are not so keen on which side of the political divide God belongs. They want jobs and they want opportunities. There are some who have suggested that there is no God, and that the world was created at random when forces they do not understand were put in motion by some forces they don’t know, to create the earth and the stars and some distant objects circulating by forces they can calculate but don’t understand, at speeds they don’t understand. After that, they claim, human being were eventually created to have the same intestinal organisms across the globe. Hmmm!! Whiles I do not doubt the rights of any man to believe as they may why they go to sleep and rise in the morning, some of these events in life become interesting indeed, even if mere coincidences, to say the least, and are worth reading. My mind is always asking questions. I read my friend’s posting to me fully and I select a couple of interest to share:
“Here are some men and women who mocked God:
JOHN LENNON: Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine, he said: "Christianity will end, it will disappear. I do not have to argue about that. I am certain. Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, Today we are more famous than Him" (1966). Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.
She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show. He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her. After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said: "I don't need your Jesus". A week later, she was found in her apartment.”
When you mention Marilyn Monroe in America, or John Lennon around the world, people listen. Their eyes bulge. These people were almost regarded as semi-gods! So did these people make God mad? Did they reap what they sowed?
Personally the issue is not to judge others, but to evaluate and learn. Folks, do you know I read every flier [handbill] that was handed out to me when I was a young student at Berkeley during the anti-Viet Nam war era in the late 1960s. Until I suffered my first tear gas on campus, I thought it was kids’ play to participate when their country was going wrong and that students were too young to bother. In January 1969, the US Army had sent troops to campus when the Black American students [the name in those days] were going on strike to demand that Black Studies be part of the teaching curriculum, just as Asian and European studies were. I never knew students, young college kids, could be so involved in the process of changing the political direction of their country – but I did learn something during those days. And I can assure you I for one am not going to mess with God during this time some of us are turning the big 60 and are still so strong we want to sacrifice whatever we can to change the political direction of our country. We need the youth to work with us!
Consider these facts if you have not heard them from me before or you are not a Professor of Economics: In the same amount of time some of you have consumed 100 lbs of breast milk and 2 tons of salt, or even longer from 1957, as of 2005 Ghana was still at GNI/capita [the average personal production of goods or services in the nation per year] of $320 [reduced from $400 in 1959], whiles Singapore had climbed to $21,230. - The percentage of people in Ghana living under $2 per day is 78.5% whiles the percentage in Singapore is 0% [UK and USA are also 0%]. - The number of children dying before the age of five in Ghana is 97 per thousand, whiles the number is 4 in Singapore, 8 in the US and 7 in UK. - At birth the average life expectancy of a person in Ghana is 55, whiles it is 78 in Singapore, 77 in USA and 77 in UK. - Agricultural productivity from 2000 to 2002 in Ghana was rated at 571 whiles Singapore was 42,020 and USA was 59,907 [all World Bank reports 2005].
Folks, some may not care how these dramatic changes in fortune came about in Singapore, a third world country who were at the same level as we were in 1959. However, as the first quotation said in the Christian Bible (Galatians 6:7), “whatever a man soweth, so shall he reap”. I can bet we are stronger in muscle power than these guys! At least the ones I have met. Some may even say that they are different people and under different circumstances. Yes, but their progress did not come about by accident. Using others as a yardstick is not an insult. That is how the world moves, by comparative analysis, discipline, hard work, under effective leadership and management. Ghana’s culture, at lest in the post independence era this writer can testify to, seems to condone or overlook crimes, give comfort and safe haven to drug barons and dealers under our fama-Nyame [give it to God] and gyae-ma-no-nka [let it be] principles of life. This writer can observe some cultural changes over the last half century since childhood. In the post-Rawlings, era, our people seem to praise and admire “rich” men no matter how they came about their fortunes. People consider a man “slick” if he steals from public coffers, and societal condemnation and uproar is weak. Leaders are not afraid of the wrath of the populace. Weakness in law and code enforcement is the norm, whiles judges, construction permit and/or quality inspectors and government officials make the art of public service an art in self-service. Missing C10 trillion get overlooked as much as $500 million in loans for water, even whiles people suffer. Let us compare to our brothers in Singapore. In my research I found that in Singapore,
- crimes are not forgiven, ever, and laws are followed to the letter; even school kids are not forgiven even if they are American, for simple acts of what others may call children’s pranks, vandalism and graffiti (recall the Michael D. Fay incidence in 1994);
- politicians and public officials have to prove how they acquired their wealth when any signs of suspicion are reported or exhibited by their lifestyle;
- convicted drug dealers and barons are given the death penalty, Period!
- defaming public property and throwing trash in the streets is punishable by jail and fine.
Singapore is rated as the cleanest city in the world, number on in ICT deployment, one of the best in retirement and pension for their people, one of the best in medical benefits, a higher rating in corruption perception index than even UK and USA. Their national Airline is one of the most friendly and profitable, and state-owned enterprises were run profitably till they were sold to the public.
It appears the people in Ghana think they will find an easier path to Heaven if they forgave crime, looked the other way, or give every crime and rule-violation to God to settle in the last days. These are all due to leadership failure. A group are formulating strategies on how to rescue Ghana and move it forward from where our uncles left it.
This is no advertisement. The Ghanaian worker is working hard, but most cannot make ends meet. We need to have some hope for a better future of Ghana and a better adaptability to changes to become more globally competitive. Do we want to mess with the Man up there [God], or shall we work hard to have hope based on how much we sow? We can all help and support others in the change efforts to
- create a new leadership Vision for Ghana
- create opportunities for job creation in our nation,
- set the mechanisms in motion to design and budget for every community using acquired skills and knowledge, and our own funds;
- set the structures in place to instill discipline, define job functions and pay people as and when they produce;
- define and design our cities and towns as modern cities have done, and empower and educate our people to move forward in time.
There is a Law in life. Let us not trust in chance or some Manna from Heaven, but work hard and smart, and deserve that the formula will be in place for a clean environment and atmosphere of health, trust, ethics, and hence investment and capital flow in Ghana. These will lead to job creation and social and economic development of our nation. Some of these are articulated at the website of the United National Party, and our contributions are welcome: www.natlparty.com
I said I am no preacher-man, so I end here and wish the United National Party all the best of luck.