For the past few days, I have been wondering whether mother Ghana would ever come good; whether in my lifetime or in the next generation.
I have listened to colleague professionals lament about their profession, the poor systems and how livelihoods seem never to improve. I have ended up sending messages to friends in the media about how disillusion seems to be creeping on me.
I have listened to a growing number of people who seem to be losing faith in the ballot box and will not vote in subsequent elections because only politicians get their lives improved when we queue to vote them into power. We basically vote to grant them access to our national kitty, authority and unbridled access to everything ordinary citizens who put them there will never get in their lifetime.
In this quagmire, I read in the news that Asantehene has stated that we are going to be saddled with NDC and NPP for a long time. I sunk a little lower. Really? Not a pleasant truth. But over the years we tried through Occupy Ghana to seek a third force or a semblance of a national gatekeeper.
Some of them took the opportunity in the limelight and ended up jumping on the political bandwagon and are now in the thick of national partisan politics. So clearly that window is closed for a large number of people. I wonder whether I will ever support a third force which ideally could be the best option.
“To give up or not” is my what keeps me awake. I really need to clear my head. I need to clear my head…this country is going nowhere slowly. I want to try and dispassionately explain the reasons for my stance. There are key areas of our socio-cultural and socio-economic fabric that over the years should have seen gradual improvements and there are very few.
Top of my list are interest rates along with the value of our currency, education, superstition, corruption, insecurity, leadership, work ethics, justice delivery system, infrastructure, the general quality of life and the list goes on and on…. I have given up on all these; most of these are on the decline and I wonder the commitment of leadership from either side of the aisle towards arresting this decline.
The last of my vigour should be put into the sustenance of my practice and family. Everyone for themselves and the politicians not for us!
In Ghana, the political class has seen remarkable improvements in their lives. Overnight success in our part of the world is not because they produced something with an overwhelming appeal. It is political office that gives overnight success; houses and their patronage to Land Cruisers simply sustains Toyota sales in Ghana.
Overnight they do not pay tolls and simply drive through. They drive on the shoulders of our roads damaging road aprons that the taxpayers (and tolls) have paid for and invariably the integrity of the roads are undermined and the cycle of poor infrastructure continues.
They refuse to obey all traffic regulations; cross red-lights, drive on opposite side of prevailing traffic and tint their windows to even obscure their faces. These are people who sought the votes of the masses and even pounded fufu for them to get them to vote.
The political class do not educate their kids in the schools they develop policies for. They fly business and first class and go for medical checks abroad. How would they make these environments better? They end up completely insulated from the system they govern, make policies and laws for and are clearly insulated from the reality ordinary people face.
Since the beginning of the Fourth Republican Constitution, this trend has continued and we still wallow in filth, poor infrastructure, deteriorating educational standards and difficult business environments. I wonder why I should continue to have faith in the system.
I have been in deep thought. I ended up sending the following text to a friend. It sums up what I feel.
Lately, I’ve been listening to your lamentations. I feel your pain. I want to assure you that things won’t change and every day I seem to believe that. There is no reward for living right Ghana. Neither is there a consequence for doing wrong. And this is everywhere; churches, schools, politics, construction, selling, everywhere………… maybe we need a new paradigm.
If democracy fails in this country we are doomed. If the masses lose faith in leadership and governance we are doomed. If a critical mass lose faith in the ballot box our democracy and a decent system of governance will be under threat.
If living right does not give a reward in Ghana we are doomed. If the consequences of hard work, honesty ceases to be the basis of success we will be undermining the very foundations of our country.
If citizens are murdered and we take forever to solve the murders would there be any deterrence? Our nation would be doomed if our justice system that is the sanity of our moral and social fibre fails. If our faith in all these diminish, and it is diminishing, then our hopes for a better Ghana could just be a mirage?
Many more Ghanaians will agree with the aforesaid observations. At what critical mass will this fuel civil strife? At what point of lethargic leadership will voter apathy set in?
As much as I believe that Ghanaians are peace-loving and committed to democracy, but this may be weakening. I still wonder at what point we could have a trigger?
Should I give up?
God bless our homeland Ghana, make our nation true and worth dying for.
Columnist: Tony Asare