Birth, according to our mothers and wives, is one of the most painful experiences they go through and yet just after one painful birth, they are on their way to another painful one.
Nature has created the human being in such a way that we can easily forget even though certain events and situations cannot be completely erased from our memory. Time, it is said, heals wounds and reduces the desire for vengeance. It is this part of the human nature that keeps the human race along. However, it is also important, while forgetting the unpleasant situations of life, to learn lessons from the past. Every event which occurs in the life of a person or a nation is either internally inflicted or externally induced.
Whichever way the problems come, a lesson has to be learnt to ensure that they do not happen again. Indeed it is our ability to use the bitter experiences of the past, as a guide into the future, that makes a successful individual or a nation.
It seems to me that Ghanaians, as a people, so easily forget the bitter experiences of life without taking lessons from them. This nation, on a daily basis, goes through very avoidable challenges which sometimes are fatal in nature, and yet we do not seem to learn anything from those experiences. We are aware that road accidents in this country have become one major source of death, and yet we seem helpless in stopping the carnage on the roads. When it happens, we scream and shout from the point of view of the ordinary man, while from the policy level, we simply admonish drivers and the police to do ‘something’ about it. What something?
We are very much aware that a greater percentage of the drivers on our roads have fake driver’s licenses because of the menace of ‘connection’ people within the system. Commercial drivers who do not know very basic driving regulations in this country outnumber the good ones, and yet we only sermonize instead of take very drastic decisions to get them off the roads.
Nobody wants to take away anybody’s source of livelihood, but if that source of livelihood would end the livelihoods of others, then that source of livelihood needs to be curtailed. If people want to make driving their source of livelihood, then they need to train as professional drivers as well as have the mental attitude of a driver. As a nation we have not done anything about it.
Indiscipline has become part of our everyday life in this country. In fact the Ghanaian today is synonymous with indiscipline and the state seems very helpless about this threat to our collective national survival. Politicians make political pledges to clear the country of filth within 100 days of assumption of office; somehow they manage to do that within the first 100 days in the euphoria of taking power. From the 101st day, the filth begins to mount with such speed and velocity as if it is a revenge for being cleared in the first instance.
Politicians and policy makers become disarmed and look stupid while the filth covers more space and pushes the policy makers back into what looks like a war of attrition. Unlike Gaddafi who has promised to fight to the death, our policy makers retreat and engage in a war of words and promises while the filth gains more grounds and unleashes some of its deadly arsenals like cholera and dysentery, which claim the lives of its opponents; that is the policy maker.
Every inch of space in this country is being covered with one form of structure or the other. Apart from the traditional sandcrete blocks normally used for houses and offices, wooden structures are openly constructed on drainages and waterlogged areas in the full glare of policy makers and town planning officials. Gradually, those wooden structures give way to metal structures popularly called ‘containers’. These structures, used for varied economic activities, have become an eyesore in our towns and cities.
Officialdom is looking on because more often than not these activities are carried out with the connivance and blessings of public officials for some ‘noko fiooo’. Houses and other huge structures are built on water courses without creating access for the unhindered flow of water. In one fell swoop of rainfall, a whole area becomes flooded, lives are lost, property destroyed, and the same people who engaged in unauthorized construction plead with the state to come to their aid.
Yes, magnanimous that the state is, policy makers visit the affected area, offer some blankets and some weevil laden expired rice to the victims, and the problem is solved. The rains, humane as it is, unilaterally cease fire in the hope that offending parties, that is the developers and the policy makers, will think like human beings and either evacuate from the areas, or put in place the proper infrastructure to ensure that when the rains visit again, the next time in its most torrent form, it will have a free flow and passage to its destination.
We are all witnesses to what happened at Agona Swedru last year. We did not do anything as citizens or policy makers until the rains came again this year. What kind of people are we? No, no, I do not understand our inability to do things right. Well perhaps we are expecting God to come and do that. Disappointingly, after all the monthly national prayers, it rains and God’s children have nowhere to lay their heads. People live in homes where rains visit and eject them each year, and as soon as the rains voluntarily leave, they scoop the water from the rooms, fix their beds, and the cycle of life begins again until the next rains visit them again. Why? What happened in Ashaiman last year, what has been the solution? It looks as if as Ghanaians, we are very good at using our browns more than our brains. It is sad.
Policy makers and leaders of this nation want to be remembered for the number of schools they built, the roads constructed, the many boreholes built, as well as the number of KVIPs available for the President to inaugurate. We do not seem to be concerned with the mentality and attitudes of the human beings whose acts of omissions and commissions are key factors to our national growth and development. We are proud to tell the nation what we have done in two years, as against what our opponents did previously, but are very quiet when some unruly foot-soldiers ransack state institutions.
If one takes a look at the kind of rainfall which virtually devastates towns and communities in China, with reasonably limited fatalities, and the kind of rains which drive us from our homes and pull down our structures, one is tempted to state that should that the kind of rains in China visit this nation, the country called Ghana would be completely wiped off the continent of Africa. Indiscipline and indecision. Plastic materials are destroying our water bodies and our soils, yet we are quiet because of financial reasons. The selfishness of our generation has blinded us to the needs and survival of generations unborn. Sad.
As I write, the Missisippi River in the U.S.A has over flown its banks and is doing havoc to residents in North Dakota, but the number of reported cases of death is so minimal. Should that happen in this country, again we will all be wiped out because by our own misdeeds, we would have given the river more ammunition to spread its tentacles to cover everybody in its destructive mission. Official inaction, policy deficiency and political considerations, as well as blind political criticisms, have enslaved all of us to a very mediocre way of life born out of indiscipline.
I keep on telling people that much as I would always serve this nation to the best of my ability, I have checked myself. As advised by uncle J.H. Mensah, I will never ask anybody to vote for me as the president of this country. But if the people of this country make the mistake of making me the president of Ghana one day, walahi, not a single of these structures will exist. Houses built on water courses as we all know, will give way to the water. In fact no school or road would be built; I would spend all your money on instilling discipline in ourselves.
Why should everybody congregate in Accra central to even purchase koobi? Why should we allow cargo trucks to load and off load in broad day light in the centre and business areas of the city, taking over a whole street and creating needless traffic jams; the cost of it to the nation we are not calculating. Houses in the cities without toilets? They will cease to be houses.
This is my manifesto pledge. If I become the president of Ghana, no heavy commercial vehicle will end up in the center of the cities. End at the outskirt and continue your journey with trotro or a taxi. As president, no foodstuff would be offloaded at the Takoradi Market Circle. I will build a huge shed at Agona Ahanta, where all the food stuff would be offloaded, then the retailers would go and cart them in bits to the centre of town. I also pledge that I would not seek re-election because my policies would be so drastic that I would lose the next elections. Vote for me for a disciplined nation. Mahogany bitters is my symbol.
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