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Opinions Wed, 26 Jun 2013

Have you observed that...?

Have you observed lately that certain vultures are desperately trying to snatch Martin Amidu’s game from him shamelessly though they have absolutely no hand in hunting down the game? There are hyenas that are sniffing around to pounce on any piece of flesh that may escape the firm grips of Martin Amidu. Tried as they have, they have failed miserably in their quest. The lone ranger of anti corruption still remains the lone ranger of anti corruption.

Recently, certain elements within the Attorney General’s department have, without any sense of shame, tried to associate themselves with Martin Amidu’s successful campaign. They claim they assisted him in many ways which to some of us were reckless attempts by them to wipe their tainted image. Why were they slumbering before Martin Amidu took up the case?

And now there are government communicators trying hard to diffuse the weight of shame engulfing the presidency by spewing forth lame equalisation theory. If you have Murtala Mohammed and other coached communicators blaming the erstwhile NPP for abrogating contracts illegitimately, then one questions that pops up is what prevented their government from stopping those dubious payments when there was no iota of valid contract?

In any case, it is on record that Messers Kwadwo Mpiani and Kwaku Baako before those dubious payments were telling government Woyome, Waterville and Isofoton were not entitled to any form of compensation. But Betty Mould Iddrisu, Okudzeto Ablakwa et al were insisting those nation wreckers had a legitimate claim to compensation.

At present, it is amply clear the level of sanity prevailing in the country has dwindled. There is madness everywhere. And this madness has taken a different shape or twist. As a result of institutional lethargy, if you are a careful observer, you will agree with me that persons with psychological disorder are increasingly inundating our streets.

Almost all the major streets of the regional capitals are occupied by individuals who are in tattered clothes, dirty in appearance, and strapped with empty tins and bottles that trail after them noisily. Some of them have made the streets their homes as city authorities look on unconcerned.

Have you ever been embarrassed by any of these mentally derailed persons who at the full glare of the public urinate cheerfully as they stick out their sticks and pendulums without shame? It is even more embarrassing when their female counterparts do same. I must admit that sometimes those of us who claim to be sane are found easing ourselves in like manner.

I witnessed an unusual but funny incident at the Kumasi central market some two weeks ago that is worth sharing. A mad man had the audacity to torment a trader for reasons best known to him. He closely followed the poor trader as she hawked her food items. Suddenly, he grabbed her buttocks with his two hands and expertly squeezed them.

The poor girl out shock screamed and took to her heels upon seeing the person who had committed the unthinkable. The mad man took his time to pick the food items on the floor and graciously pocketed the polythene bag that contained the girl’s money. The girl was in tears and shivering all over. It took the some bold men to grab the mad man to retrieve all that he took illegally.

In all these, the questions that keep recurring are, are there enough mental hospitals to cater for the increasing mad men on the streets? Are the existing mental facilities well resourced to treat patients? Is government able to honour the budget requirements of the psychiatry hospitals in the country? What steps have been taken by government to address Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ startling and disturbing revelations at the Accra psychiatric hospital in 2009?

Come to think of it, it is only mad men who are becoming a nuisance on our streets daily. Have you noticed that the future of some of children is being moulded on the streets? Female minors are now at the mercy of miscreants who take advantage of them as they lure them into their rooms to rape them. These minors are forced into street hawking by their parents to support their impoverished families. And yet we are told that there is a vibrant ministry headed by woman who is charged with seeing to these challenges.

What is so worrying is the phenomenon where these children are deprived of the benefits of quality education. Instead of being in the classroom, these children are rather schooling on the streets. Without any doubt, these children in no time are going to graduate as street scholars with no or minimal skills to fend for themselves. The only skill they may resort to is to harass individuals for their wealth through armed robbery and other social vices.

The future of the country as I see it hangs in a delicate balance. If you have minors as young as eight years practising head portering(Kayayei) in the heat of the sun, then one wonders what future is in store for them? There seems to be no palpable evidence of government policy in place to keep these children off the street. The social welfare department appears to be nothing short of an ineffective government machinery.

Other than our politicians flaunt their expensive toys about and siphon state funds into their private accounts, why can’t they be humane and rational enough to address these challenges confronting the country? Interestingly, almost every day they file past these vulnerable minors in their expensive, luxurious, fully air conditioned SUV cars as some of our future leaders bake under the heat of the sun.

Still on the street, have you observed that of late domesticated and farm animals are now sharing the streets with cars and human beings? It seems that cows and goats are competing with human beings for space in our suburbs and portions of the cities. When I was growing up, there were these town council officials who intermittently took captive of animals that were not kept properly but let lose to roam the streets.

Our city authorities are seen to be working but not working. They are sleeping on their jobs. In Kumasi, the KMA boss’ palpable achievement is his penchant for splashing and littering his image on erected gigantic billboards. If competence is relegated to the dustbin and political cronies are honoured, they act in the interest of the party and not the masses. In fact, these cities bosses have their salaries thicker than their beards, fatter than their bellies and our streets are engulfed with filth and they are practically bereft of ideas to tackle the situation squarely.

Pathetically, floods come in and we are heavily exposed. The poor are left to the elements they have little control over. Fire razes our markets every now and then and politicians without any empirical fact or evidence hurl accusations at unknown saboteurs and political opponents other than initiate practical and pragmatic measures to salvaging our markets from further destruction.

The earlier the government stopped busking in its pyrrhic victory the better it will be for all of us in the country. Enough of the propaganda and the needless blame game. Power was given to the government to address the nation’s problems and not for the government to serve us daily with hot meals of the causes to our present predicaments. Ghanaians deserve better.

SOURCE: OKOFO-DARTEY SAMUEL

E-MAIL: sodesq2000@yahoo.com

Columnist: Okofo-Dartey, Samuel