Why I cry for my beloved Ghana

Fri, 18 Mar 2016 Source: Vicky Wireko

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When something you love so much seems to be slipping away, you shed a tear or two and try to do everything in your power to bring it back. It also happens in relationships.

I have been travelling a bit between November last year and this month. In my comings and goings I have been making a lot of observations. I see my beloved country sliding a bit and I am asking myself, “Why this?” Why this because Ghana deserves better than what I have been observing.

Travel and see

“Travel and see” is a familiar inscription on some commuter buses popularly referred to as “Trotro”. The inscription is succinct because travelling opens one’s eyes and a lot of the times, one is able to compare and assess what Ghana could have done and where it could have been 59 years this month, given the same resources that some of these countries have. Such comparisons sometimes get disappointing, calling for tears for Ghana.

A trip to Cape Town just a couple of weeks ago brought tears to my eyes for my beloved country. My second visit to that city and my fifth to the beautiful sister African country; each visit to South Africa leaves me broken hearted for my country. How could we be so much apart in terms of development and yet coming from the same continent endowed in so many ways?

Ghana is endowed

A little comparison of the two favourite African countries makes one ask the question, “What has South Africa got that Ghana is not blessed with?” The mines? We have them. The diverse habitats of South Africa are comparable to what we have in Ghana. We have rocky mountains just as South Africa.

We are blessed with beautiful golden beaches just as one would find in South Africa and even in our case, we have all year round sunny weather to promote all year round leisure tourism. We also have hundreds of species of birds and butterflies, the types that attract tourists and students of natural habitats. The list for comparison could be endless.

Ghana has all it takes in terms of rich natural resources to be where South Africa is today. Yet Ghana seems to be trailing way behind this sister African country in terms of development. Infrastructure in South Africa is just marvellous, all developed with the rich resources at their disposal.

The endless shopping malls, the beautiful restaurants, affordable hotels and plush guest houses set in serene environments, the exquisite tourists sites, a national airline proudly South African, the tasteful airports, rich natural resources which are world envies and all the other tourist attractions that are earning good foreign exchange for the country are all pluses that Ghana can easily achieve too because South Africa has the sunny weather for a few months of the year while we have it for 12 whole months, all year round.

From Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe

We travel the world. It is sad that our officials use the taxpayer’s money to attend conferences from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe but they come back with little or no learnings to build, operate or transfer. In the midst of abundant resources, we are happy with mediocrity. No wonder we do not seem to have much to show 59 years of self-rule. We have, meanwhile, proclaimed to the world that we are capable of taking our destiny into our own hands?

Our continued celebration of mean achievements year after year does not excite any more. We need to focus on big things which would add to our image out there rather than celebrating just numbers and making ourselves the toast of international ridicule.

The shameful production of the high- profile anniversary brochure which was unprofessionally done with lots of unpardonable mistakes shows how we have little regard for flawless execution, a sign of professionalism. Commitment and passion do produce great work but is that what we saw last week? No. The embarrassment of last week shows the attitude out there for Ghana.

We travel to other countries and participate in well-planned activities that take months of preparation and commitment. Unfortunately, no earnings are brought back to transform Ghana. The country deserves better if it has to transform to the levels that others have reached. But who ensures that?

The each one for himself attitude would not see Ghana through to where it is capable of being as we move towards age 60. That is the reason why I cry for my dejected but beloved country.

Columnist: Vicky Wireko