A long standing tradition of the human race that seems not to fade anytime soon is the reality that he who fails to think is always dictated to by the one who actively engages his brains positively. That is, one’s failure to think is subjecting one’s authority to another. And in thinking, it is the products of our thoughts that will determine the quality of our minds. So we read the works of Chinua Achebe or the achievements of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and we reckon these are men of refined minds and character despite their flaws.
What am I driving at? When one considers Ghana as a piece of artefact in progress, one can only surmise that the craftsman moulding Ghana is either an amateur hence lacking the needed expertise or the craftsman is failing to apply his intelligence in creating a masterpiece. The crux of the argument here is that, it appears our political elites and some of our intellectuals who are the moulders of our beloved country are misapplying their intellects.
In fact, they have not failed to think and implement what they think is best for their personal welfare. Their failed success stems from the simple reason that they have failed woefully in terms of birthing and sustaining a national developmental drive. That is why they have no sense of shame to ride in the best of four wheel cars while most of our major roads are full of potholes or totally out of shape. Do not be surprised if they are able to educate their wards in the best of schools abroad while innocent children school under trees.
Due to the fact that our leaders have failed to think and act selflessly devoid of undue political inclinations, we have been reduced to habitual beggars. The national budget is heavily funded by the largesse of donors. You travel to other developed jurisdictions especially outside Africa and the only question that pops out is, what at all is wrong with Africans? Indeed, one may argue that Africa is a young democracy so we need not be hard on ourselves. That is true.
However, when one takes a critical look at the actions and inactions of some of our leaders which are somewhat infested with corruption and the fact that almost everything in Ghana is perceived from the political lenses, one wonders when we shall emerge from our economic doldrums. It seems we are not capable of managing our own affairs but you put a Ghanaian in a different country and you will be shocked the sterling results that will be churned out of him. So, is it that Ghanaians especially our leaders only express their sense of patriotism insincerely?
From all indications, all is not well with Ghana and its people. Despite our vast human and endowed natural resources, we are crawling at a snail pace. Fifty six years of nationhood appear to be a waste of time and resources. If Ghana were to be a civil servant, it should be gracefully preparing to retire. If the negative prevailing conditions are not dealt with effectively, in the no distant future time, Ghana will spiral out of its economic axis and the net effect will be that Ghana will graduate from being a habitual beggar to a chronic pauper.
Well, let the politicians and their charlatans continue chanting the empty progress tunes when on daily basis there are dirges pouring out of the mouths of the poor and deprived to the effect that only a chosen few are stuffing their jaws with the juiciest of the land. Matters relating to the economy must not be politicised in the face of incontrovertible proofs. As it stands, the country has so much borrowed that our total external debt has increased from $ 3.9 billion in 2008 to $ 7.1 billion by 2011, an increase of 82%.
These figures of course exclude the expected $3 billion Chinese loan. Ghana’s national has also increased from 9.6 billion cedis in 2008 to 25 billion cedis as of 2011. (See Total debt of Ghana today, spyghana.com).
There is in fact basically nothing wrong with loans. The common sense in the securing of loans is to use it for the intended purpose for which they are secured. On the contrary, without sounding speculative, most of these loans end up being misapplied. That is why inflows from our numerous creditors have slumped and the economy seems unsustainable. Now, there are proposals to scrap research and book allowance due university lecturers as well as the allowance for teacher trainees. If our leaders and well meaning intellectuals fail to think through our predicaments, it would not take long for government to withdraw its subsidies for tertiary education.
Even the President alludes to the fact that the economy has been skinned to the bone. Now, the question is, how best do we fix this bony economy? It cannot be done on the wings of propaganda as Fiifi Kwetey sought to indicate that it was the election petition that has rendered the economy stagnating. Pragmatic measures must be devised and implemented to tie the loose ends of the economy.
What happened to Kwame Nkrumah’s seven years development plan that was aborted before birth? Partisan politics has rendered our supposed sage leaders incapable of drawing a COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN for all successive governments to pursue. The country has been reduced a guinea pig suitable for political experimentation and exploitation. In this regard, politicians after annexing power place much significance on their myopic manifestos over comprehensive national development plan. Therefore, the observation that Ghana lacks a simple national vision and good leadership by Dr Mnesah Otabil perhaps is a timely intervention. (See Ghana Lacks Simple National Vision and Good Leadership-peacefmonline.com).
On the global scene, what is happening to the major economies is frightening. Menial jobs that were meant for migrants which of course were considered low in income are now almost taken over by indigenes. In Australia, asylum seekers are being ferried to Papua New Guinea other than integrated into the Australian society. Have you asked yourself, why? No country wants to entertain additional burdens it cannot accommodate. Italy and Spain are now restructuring their economies. The least said about Greece the better.
The UK’s 3,000 pounds cash bond deposit for Asians and Africans should send clear signals to our leaders to raise the level of development to stem the tide of the mass exodus of Ghanaians in search of greener pastures.
Pathetically, they end up becoming voluntary slaves in these lands. Why was this bond not extended to the other European countries? It is obvious this attempt is not xenophobic but economical to safeguard their economy.
The BBC recently reported that, there were public address vans in the UK announcing to illegal immigrants to find their way home. Do you think these Brits are doing these things for fun? It is a signal to the effect that most developed nations are looking more inwards to preserve their interests and that of their citizenry.
Nonetheless, when it comes to Africa and for that matter Ghana, our case is different. We are rather selling our pride and resources for temporal pleasure. We are experts at winning political power but when it comes to the real work of national development, our leaders conduct themselves as if they owe Ghanaians no palpable progress.
The time has come for national leaders to think through our economic challenges and proffer solutions to them. To liberate the country from the claws of poverty and constant ridicule on the international scene, our intellectuals and politicians must double their effort towards national development. The problems suffocating Ghana are clearly defined; our leaders know them. Instead of waxing them in lofty speeches and addresses, there is the need for practical solutions coupled with an unflinching commitment to execute them.
As indicated earlier, if our leaders fail to think and act wisely to spearhead national development, we shall always be dictated to like infants by multinational institutions such as the World Bank and IMF. If government does not put its house in order, we shall always export our raw materials cheaply and eventually use our scarce resources to purchase expensive finish products. In sum, if we do not become pragmatic, our economic revival will only become a marathon in circles.
Ghana deserves better. Ghanaians cannot be beggars in the land of plenty. Our intellectuals and political leaders must resurrect from their perpetual slumber for the sake of posterity. Otherwise, Ghana in some years today will be licking its wounds and counting its losses.
OKOFO-DARTEY SAMUEL < firstname.lastname@example.org>