The UN environment programme tells us what we live and know, that Africa is rich in natural resources ranging from arable land, water, oil, natural gas, minerals, forests and wildlife.
The continent has 40% of the world’s gold and up to 90% of its chromium and platinum.
The largest reserves of cobalt, diamonds, platinum and uranium in the world are in Africa with 65% of the world’s arable land. This means Africa ought to be rich, not the symbol of poverty and underdevelopment.
It must feed the world and never be faced with hunger and starvation because Russia is at war with Ukraine. Ghana’s economy must not collapse because of bombs thrown in countries millions of miles away.
The little of the wealth that’s exploited is stolen and taken abroad. Africa’s leaders grow richer while their citizens seek greener pastures abroad or die trying, starve and die of common malaria. They go abroad cup-in-hand, borrow so much, and in Ghana 3 billion dollars is unaccounted for each year.
Africa’s youth with a chance to get an education in Europe and China are helping build their economies. Ghana does not produce even 1 per cent of the millions of tons of poultry it consumes.
The African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the similar ones before this don’t reflect beyond the paper they write these goals on. Mo Ibrahim reports that in 2017, 53.0% of surveyed members of extremist groups in Africa were between 17 and 26 years old when they joined, and the offer of employment was the most frequently cited incentive at the time of recruitment.
In 2015, 86.0% of all African-educated physicians working in the US were trained in Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. One in ten doctors working in the UK comes from Africa. In that year, doing a documentary for the BBC, I found Ghanaian doctors in New York alone far outnumbered the total number of doctors in Ghana.
More than 60% of Africa’s population is an energetic youth whose leaders have spent decades and generations promising them heaven and delivering them hell. This year, will Ghana spend money on 6th March to celebrate Independence Day or the fact that it is still in dependence 66 years on? Tanzania continues to show the way by cancelling the ridiculously expensive but unnecessary Independence Day ritual.
In 2022 it channeled the $445,000 budget for the celebration into building school dormitories. In 2020, President Samia Hassan’s predecessor, John Magufuli diverted the Independence Day funds into supporting medical facilities and to build a road in Dar es Salaam in 2015.
Instead of thinking, for instance, of an agricultural revolution and jobs, we are busily building a cathedral on the foundation of lies. Yes, voting public funds to build a cathedral at a time the Government says it is broke and cannot pay its debts. It will rather spend public funds on the cathedral than pay poor individuals it owes and who cannot pay schools or even feed because their government has mismanaged the economy to collapse it.
Some clergy who have lost their faith joined politicians to lie that the State was not spending on alternate rental accommodation and new buildings to relocate judges. They lied that judges’ bungalows that were being flattened for the cathedral were dilapidated when in fact, the majority were less than five years old while others were even yet to be completed, and these were being constructed with loans – public funds. They even lied to the Supreme Court that State funds will not be used, only to turn around to tell citizens the State will only provide an unquantified seed money.
Religious leaders who must be the voice of reason, speaking out and pushing back against corrupt politicians, have lost their voice. Those of them who, like Esau have sold their faith and conscience for a pot of soup, a brown envelope or board membership deceive themselves that people don’t know why they join their President to call the taxpayer some godless rebellious Sanballat and Tobiah.
Chairperson of Transparency International, Delia Rubio, notes that “[c]orruption has made our world a more dangerous place. As governments have collectively failed to make progress against it, they fuel the current rise in violence and conflict – and endanger people everywhere. The only way out is for states to do the hard work, rooting out corruption at all levels to ensure governments work for all people, not just an elite few.”
Dr. Randy Abbey puts it this way; “Every country that has a large and growing army of people who have nothing to lose, is a country that is facing danger”.
Please be reminded of the preamble of the Constitution that this democracy is built on the “principle that all powers of Government spring from the sovereign Will of the people, and that article 1 commands that “sovereignty resides in the people in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised.”
You will have no need to caution the military about anything if you pursue the instruction in article 36 that “the most secure democracy is the one that assures the basic necessities of life for its people as a fundamental duty.”
The curse of leadership in Africa must end now or it will spell our doom. And that’s My Take.
Writer: Samson Lardy Anyenini
Editor’s Note: Samson Lardy ANYENINI is a Ghanaian lawyer and journalist who works for Multimedia Ghana’s Joy Fm. He hosts Joynews and Joy FM’s weekend current affairs news analysis Newsfile programme. He won the category of Best Journalist for 2019 GIJ Annual Awards.
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