Opinions Tue, 10 Nov 2009

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The Questioner

With the state of the nation after fifty years of independence, we have more questions than answers as to why.

Why have we built our cities with no parallel access roads within manageable distances crisscrossing each other to allow porous vehicular and pedestrian movements and nobody sees anything wrong with it?

Why do we build city roads miles on end without tributaries? We need to have parallel avenues (north – south), streets (east - west)

With the prevailing haphazardness and madness on our city roads, how do we expect the police to respond to crises and other security situations when the get stuck in traffic? How do we expect our fire trucks to get to fire outbreaks when they get stuck in traffic? How do we get ambulances to get to hospitals and respond to other medical emergencies when the get stuck in traffic?

Quantitatively, do we know how much petro/gas we burn uselessly on a daily basis by sitting in traffic? We buy the petrol and simply burn it off sitting. In a country where we have petrol shortages it is not at all prudent a behavior. Do we also know the number of man-hours we waste sitting in traffic and the amount of national productivity gone to waste? Billions of dollars, not just cedis.

Every house must have a street running in front of it to allow street addresses. The government needs to revisit the laid down city and town planning blueprints and pull down all buildings/structures illegally constructed blocking fluidity of our city road systems.

Why do we still have open drainage and gutters in our cities?

Why do we allow monopolies/oligopolies when even developed countries like the USA has anti – thrust laws that break up companies when they are getting too big and powerful? Cement prices in Ghana are too high because we have prevented competition and have allowed only two companies to produce cement in the country Why can’t we reduce the price of cement so that we can concrete our surroundings instead of open dust to increase the aesthetic appearance of our cities, towns, and villages? Why are some of our children still schooling under trees? Why are our school so much under-resourced? Why are our politicians playing politics with our educational system? 3-year HSS (NDC), 4-year HSS (NPP) interchanging. Simply stop the nonsense and just resource the schools Why are import duties on cars so expensive? What is the objective of such a policy and what does the government do with the millions it collects on these cars? Did I hear that phony companies have been set up to siphon off the import duty revenue and shared among the politicians and the police? Why do our governments contract loans in the name of the tax payer, but fail to show us what they do with the money? Why are our politicians so corrupt? Can we form pressure groups to monitor our politicians’ corrupt practices and demand our economic rights? For far too long the ordinary Ghanaian has been deprived of his economic right, which leads to the deprivation of human and civil rights Why are our politicians and their cronies, the only ones enjoying our national cake? Some of them have already lined up and scooping up the oil wealth? Why? Did we elect them to negotiate deals for themselves or to serve the country? Why are our politicians only party faithfuls and not national patriots? “Save the party and lose the Nation”. Because of this mentality, our politicians fail to take bold and decisive actions which will benefit the country as a whole for fear of losing the elections.

Why do we have a situation where the winner takes all in our voting system? Why don’t we elect our District executives, Municipal executives, and Regional ministers? We inherited a flawed system and we should not be afraid to amend it.

Why are we afraid to prosecute our corrupt politicians and other leaders? In New York, the former Police Commissioner, who almost got appointed by President Bush as ant-terrorist Tsar, Ghana’s equivalent of the IGP, has just been thrown in jail for accepting bribes.

Why do they become so filthy rich overnight?

Why are our politicians selfish?

What is all this humongous ex-gratia?

Why do our politicians promote hooliganism within our body politics? Our politicians must stop arming the youth to fight their dirty politics for them. Rwanda and Kenya must be a lesson to all.

Ghana is building sky scrapers. Have they thought about sprinklers in these buildings? And if they have them, is water running through them? Do our fire engines have ladders to reach the heights in case of emergencies? Why are our hospitals few and far between and so disastrously ill-equipped? Why do our politicians and leaders travel abroad for medical treatments instead of fixing our hospitals?

Why do we behave like a third world country? We do everything in the lowest quality manner. Look at how we build our roads. Look at how most houses do not have toilet facilities. Is it because we have been called third world country time and time again that we actually behave in such manner? When people usually call you “gyimi gyimi”, you tend to act in a “gyimi gyimi” way and that is what we have become.

Why are our politician stuck in the status quo of doing things? Where are our visionary leaders?

We need visionary leaders who would commence or encourage bold and futuristic projects that will take us into the 21st Century. Why do we still have the highways bequeathed to us by our colonial masters and have not been able to build new and modern ones?

What happened to our railway system? Why haven’t we been able to maintain them and extended them to northern Ghana?

What happened to our National airline?

What happened to our national shipping line?

Why do only party faithful get contracts from governments, even if they are not qualified?

Why to we practice politics of exclusion?

Why do we practice politics of hate, envy, vindictiveness and divisiveness? Our political parties are becoming MAFIA like.

Your political opponent is not your avowed enemy and our politicians need to get this right and change their mentality.

Not until we are able to deal with the opponent in a fair and equitable manner, we cannot say we are politically mature. All regions must be equitably developed. Development must be evenly spread around the country: Distribution of resources, infrastructure, business enterprises, etc. to stop the drift of the youth from the rural areas to the urban centers. Let’s promote healthy economic competition among the regions. Ghana must move on. We should replace a cycle of poverty with a cycle of investments and job creation, we must replace apathy with patriotism, we must replace complacency a can do attitude, enquiry, creativity, and innovation. We must make Ghana an OASIS of development within a desert of underdevelopment.

Dr. Kwasi Asamoah

Columnist: Asamoah, Kwasi

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