I saw a very interesting quote on twitter some time ago that got me thinking. It read ‘America has hurricanes, China has Tsunamis and Africa has leaders’. Well of course Africa isn’t the only continent with leaders, so what was the person behind this tweet trying to say? He is making a very important point: a point so drenched in truth and humor that one could laugh and cry at the same time at the veracity of the tweet. He is comparing African leaders to hurricanes and Tsunamis; he is saying African leaders are as destructive, inhuman and merciless as natural disasters such as Hurricanes and Tsunamis. That is scary, yet very true. Our leaders, just like Tsunamis and Hurricanes, step into beauty and leave chaos in their trail. What those natural disasters are to those two countries, our leaders are to us.
Greedy leadership has been the bane of Africa since time immemorial. Colonialism obviously, has had a toll on the development of our continent. When a thief enters your house, it’s wise to let him know he isn’t welcome. It is absurd to go into a contract with him and agree on certain terms of payment after you have assisted him to plunder your property. It seems outrageous for one to be involved in such a self-destructive act, yet our chiefs did it with a smile on their face. They exchanged their own subjects for insignificant items such as mirrors, sugar and whisky. That is the value they placed on human life. I believe I would be pained for the rest of my life knowing somebody valued me at the price of a mirror. We have no justification blaming our current state on the white man. Sometimes, when you think about it, you would realize that neither democracy nor autocracy has been helpful to us. For in practicing both ideologies, we seem to cleverly find a way to be greedy and satisfy our selfish desires.
When I started my National Service 8 months ago, the fare from the Kwame Nkrumah circle to Dansoman was 90 pesewas. As at last month, one had to cough up blood and 1.50 Cedis as a commuter from Circle to Dansoman. We are in hard times. We are really in hard times. The government’s hands are deep in my pocket. The little money you make is taken from you. It hurts and I find it rather disturbing that at this point in time, Ghana is still battling with enemies some countries conquered many years ago. We are at war with filth. We are in a hand-to-hand combat with diseases like cholera. And we are standing face to face with corruption in a bout, only to realize we are actually standing in front of a mirror staring at our own image. Hence, that enemy of corruption we are supposed to be boxing is ourselves; no wonder we have made little progress in that fight. Just stick out your index finger in the direction of the nearest person around you, and voila! – you just pointed a finger at someone. It is that easy. It requires no training at all, my friend. Pointing a finger at others, blaming them for your woes is the easiest way to become a world class lazy person. Nevertheless, taking up the responsibility to become a better person by fighting the ills of society in front of the mirror is a thing we rarely practice in this country. How about battling corruption in front of the mirror? No! The average Ghanaian prefers pointing fingers at politicians. Well of course we have had (and still have) very corrupt politicians. In statistics, the ‘theory of Sampling’ implies that a considerable section of a large group reflects characteristics of the entire group. With this in mind, then it is ok to assume that the problem is more widespread than we think. This government has been a very poor one so far. I say this without any prejudice or malice against any personality. In my bid to call a spade a spade and not Daavi’s ladle, I just had to say that. Some time ago in Nigeria, the government signed a deal with the Abacha family to return some of the money Sani Abacha is known to have accumulated wrongfully. The family returned $750 million dollars. Not long after that the government could not account for $705 million of that money. Isn’t this amazing and appalling? My point is, usually the people pointing fingers at corrupt officials are twice as corrupt. There is the need to bring corrupt government officials to book and also to deal with corruption in the private sector and in our individual lives.
There is a Twi adage I find very interesting, it goes like this *transliterating* ‘when you see that your neighbor’s beard is on fire, keep a bucket of water by your side’. This is wisdom. In the light of this wise saying one would expect the biggest opposition party in the country to be putting things together to present themselves as a better alternative. No! Members are too busy in petty squabbles. Already, the party seems to be split along tribal lines and personality-factions. We keep hearing about groups within the party like the ‘Kuffour faction’ and the ‘Akuffo Addo faction’. Just this week, there was chaos at the headquarters of the party. Irate members of the party went to the headquarters wielding cutlasses and what not, and engaged themselves in a bloody fight for reasons best known to them. Clearly, whatever their differences were, those members of the party seemed to cherish them over gaining power. I believe even if things change for the better in this government and the NPP presents a more unified party come 2016, they might win the elections hands down. But then again, their desire to win it should be reflected in how they deal with internal party issues. Who would like to vote for a candidate who cannot unify his own party? If he can’t do that, will he be able to maintain peace and stability in the entire country?
I believe there is hope for this country and the continent as a whole. There is hope. I loathe it when people let out tirades from their lips that are so drenched in hopelessness. Yes, things are bad, and if you really think they are that bad, then there is a need to hope for a positive change – a positive change, either in the present government or in the next. I see light at the end of the tunnel. I care less if you don’t see it. Dr. Ravi Zacharias said ‘Show me a man in whom there is the death of hope, and I will show you a man in whom there is nothing left but the hope of death’. There is the need to hope for the best, my dear friends.