Source: ghanaweb.com Columnist: Yeboah, Nii Kenneth
History has taught us that in the drive towards development of a nation the citizenry must make sacrifices in order to ensure that the nation reaches the paradise of development were every member then benefits from the sacrifices they made when the nation becomes successful. The economic history of countries like the U.S and Japan proves that this theory works. The sacrifices the people of these countries made paid off in life time. In the USA this period was between 1865 when the civil war ended and 1898 when the Americans fought the Spanish. In the case of Japan these transformation took place between 1868 and 1904 when the Russo-Japanese war started. These countries had a transformation and switched their economies into industrial mode and have since never looked back.
In recent times Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE and China have all transformed their economies within a life a time. From the 1950’s to the turn of the new millennium, each of these countries, starting off at different times is almost there, if not there, in their drive towards economic development. Citizens of these nations who sacrificed to the cause of development in their life time lived to see the nation they have built for future generations.
Here in my dear Nation Ghana where I was born and have lived all my life, the call for citizens to sacrifice for a better future has been on replay on the stereos our leaders since the day I began to recognise the difference between Akpeteshi and water, and I have been told this mantra has been on replay since the early morning of 6th March 1957 at the Polo grounds when the founding fathers of the new Ghana declared our nation ‘’independent.’’ That new dawn which brought hope was also the day the ordinary Ghanaian signed his contract of perpetual sacrifice with the new political class.
As to what kind of sacrifice is expected from the people of Ghana in the drive towards development I have not been able to find in any document or any book, but anytime the ordinary worker of Ghana complains of a ‘’take home’’ that is not able to take them home, they are told by politicians that it is a sacrifice they have to make towards development. Therefore I have come to a conclusion that living on low salaries, not having access to basic social amenities and paying for services that one barely enjoys are some of the sacrifices the ordinary Ghanaian have to contribute in the drive towards economic development. Since 1957 Ghanaians have been making these sort sacrifices as their contribution towards development. But has the politician who stares the wheels of development been able to make the best out of the sacrifice of the young teacher who accepts posting to the deprived places like Adaklu district? Has the politician been able to make best out of the sacrifice of the farmer up North?
As things have been and still are; it is clear to me that the politician has no part to play in these sacrifices as they get their fat salaries and allowances, ride the best cars and enjoy the best of any sort of service both within and outside the country. They feed on the best, they drive in best, and they sleep in the best while the ordinary Ghanaian continues to sacrifice. They have no part to play in the sacrifices so when the Ghanaian complains of hardship, he/she is referred to the sacrifices some people made for their country but forget that the examples they refer to paid off in a life time, ranging from 20 to 3o years.
They also fail tell us the other side of the story: what the leaders of these nations did while their citizens were sacrificing to ensure their success. Perhaps they don’t know or have forgotten about that aspect of the drive towards development. China was not closing its industries while hoping to develop, they rather empowered industry. The U.S and Japan was not importing everything and anything and expected their local industry to grow. The leaders of the UAE did not leave their natural resources in the hands of foreigners while they concentrated on winning election by making sure there were enough imported products in shops. The leaders of these countries concentrated on structural changes such agriculture transformation, industrialization, transformation of domestic demand and production which produced a by product called employment.
I don’t know what more sacrifice is expected of a single mother who makes a profit of GHC 3 on her wares on a market day in the Ho market but has three children to feed and a light bill of GHC15 to foot. After over 50 years of perpetual sacrifice by the Ghanaian towards development, what the Ghanaian has been left with is pseudo development, long political talks and propaganda. Most if not all Ghanaians have long lost hope in the cause for which they have been asked to make sacrifices. Why this has happened I believe lays in the sort of life people in authority live before the very eyes of the ordinary man and woman in the streets.
‘’How many rivers do we have to cross’’ Bob Marley’s asked. And I also ask the leaders of our dear mother Ghana, how many more rivers do we have to cross to get our destination? How long are we going to continue sacrificing? Haven’t we sacrificed enough to start seeing the results of our sweat? And what is your own sacrifice, Mr Politician, on this journey?
By: Kenneth Nii Yeboah