We Are All Politicians in Ghana or Something Like That

Sat, 10 Oct 2015 Source: Brako-Powers, Kwabena

Kwabena Brako-Powers

I have oriented myself to learn useful lessons in every situation. As an upshot, I am attentive to events, and often take the posture of a listener. I would listen, flash a smile, and follow the event with my eyes. During such moments, persons who are at the center of the event are wholly bathed with my ears and eyes. I give them the magical feel of a loser who has won a naïve and significant person on his side after a torturous cats’ arguments. That’s how it works. People must be made to feel special because they are.

On Monday evening as the commercial vehicle I joined in Nkrumah Circle approached the Kasoa community, there erupted fierce argument between a lady (who confessed working at the Tema Ports and Harbor) and a man (whose identity was disclosed or perhaps it was not needed) about the slow progress of work on the Kasoa Overpass project. It began as a friendly comment. This lady who hanged up an hour-long call or perhaps a wrong-dial-call from Lapaz to Kasoa was terrified by the traffic situation. She chuckled on seeing the traffic. Her throat gave up.

“I will get pregnant, deliver my child, and he will complete Junior High before this road would be completed”. “The minister in charge of the contract has taken his percentage -- so he would care not if the road is not completed on time”, she continued. Her breath was heavy with complaints.

The man who was then sitting two rows before me laughed. “It was the president who trekked to Brazil to bring the contractors and not the minister as you claimed. He didn’t receive a dime from them.” The lady felt a burst of her ego so she raised her voice since it stung the inside of my ears as though a siren had gone lose within me. Another man sitting by me said something to support the woman. “For so long, the contractor is yet to construct a pillar. This whole business of construction of the Kasoa Overpass is one of the usual political tactics by the N.D.C government ahead of their campaign in 2016.”

The lady heaved a wind of smile into the tensed argument. She was buoyed. Her argument has been animated by this show of support. She likened the New Patriotic Party (N.P.P) to a child who’s disobedient, disrespectful, but diligent and dutiful at household chores. This child would do all the things expected of her without a word of complaint. Yet, however ugly her attitudes are, the parents could not help, but to like her because she got things moving in the home. And the N.D.C is analogous to a hungry child who would skip hand washing at the sight of food. “The N.D.C is a hungry party”, she delivered mockingly.

The man in the front row turned to face the direction of the port lady. He grinned, but it couldn’t crack his cheeks. “This is commonsense. There’s enough money in Ghana to go round so why should you blame someone. Let your thumb do the talking if you’re dissatisfied with the government”.

“Mahama and his cohorts will be gone before the closing of next year”, she shot back.

Though glued to my sit, I felt an inner drive to join the discussion -- to correct some of the fallacies in their argument or it appeared that way. They are right. And yes they could be in the wrong. At least someone needs to do that job. How about reforming the Ministry of Communication and Information to Ministry for Communication and Public Education? Are we being told the truth in this country? Aren’t we sacrificing our patriotic gifts for political expediency? Beneath the argument lurked the truth. The truth that we have allowed pettiness, envy, holier-than-thou postures, paltry compromises, academic incredulity, tribal sycophancy, and naïve superiority to have a steal of our left-over conscience. We suddenly feel superior to our people, but the white man.

This shot to mind the current fashion in our offices. Man hours are being expended on political discussions, listening of political programs, and hefty disregard for corporate rules.

A typical day in the life of Ghana is politics as usual. The radio stations, both public and private, churn political programs from dawn to dusk. Persons, who are not experts and could pass for propagandists, are invited to such programs to misinform the public compounding the already sordid situation. Persons who are not better qualified to educate the public have assumed midnight prominence because media men flock to them for every inconceivable information.

Politics has taken the better part of us, and we have come to cherish political smartness to enterprising individuals, entrepreneurial aptitude, or business finesse. We see government as a milking money-machine that could be used for uplifting one’s family from abject poverty. We have come to comprehend the words “use” and “exploit” to the chagrin of our constituents. We want to use exploitatively anything and everything we could lay our hands on in the society without equal responsibility for the needs of future generations. The politician in us hates good things happening around us, so long as we’re not the originators.

Columnist: Brako-Powers, Kwabena