COMMENT: Moving Forward In The Right Direction

Surely, if a country should be more difficult to manage, (I mean govern, or run), than our Republic, (The “Republic of Ghana”), it seems God, with all His power and, but also with that giant CHUNK of unimaginable WISDOM, has not as yet thought of creating it. Don’t ask me, if I am serious, because the answer would be an emphatic YES! When we got the last general election behind us, following the rumours, the fears, and what have you, some ordinary people like me thought we would get up early mornings, 2009 and beyond, and enjoy newspaper reviews that would talk about technical, philosophical, ethical, and “competitive” problem-solving gimmicks in our country, and won’t carry the political wrangles of party A, party B, and party C that so characterised the electioneering in front of us, and embrace the heat, when in 2012 we would want to keep what we hold, if we are the ruling party, or snatch power away from the ruling party, and call everybody, (with apologies), the dunces. We are now in 2009, and it lingers on with the pattern; “when you, of party A, were in power …” The activist from that party would try and defend bad policies of yesteryears, after which everybody had meanwhile gotten wiser. He/she must be seen to be trying to score points for his party, or otherwise…! The debate for the next election has already started, and the nation must hear it four years long, and of course, its acrimony at the end should it be drawn into a debacle, similar to what we just went through. We have a mind-set, (and I doubt if it could be “genetic”), that seems to dictate; “You may not differ in a debate about an issue, and still stay a friend.” Differences of opinion are not very welcome in our midst. I would wish I were wrong with my understanding of the issue that much as we have moved into “a democratic dispensation” since 1992, power seems to be enjoyed, almost in absolute terms, by whoever sits at the top. We may need to tally a bit to come by a befitting stigma for the incumbent to stay fair. Imagine someone at the rudders of a nation, and getting into a situation in which a Cabinet Minister stumbles into “some palaver” and thereby compromises his position, and does the nation the favour of resigning, as recommended appropriately. He does resign, but the National Chief Executive keeps the post fallow and enjoys deep sleep at night for over a year-and-a-half, only to call back his beloved protégé, against all odds, and restores his otherwise entrenched position. This is a country in which you need six hours to travel a distance of 180 miles, twice as long as you did in 1960. The Ministry in question is, ladies and gentlemen, that of TRANSPORT! The National Chief Executive has the prerogative, to keep things waiting, until in his mind the time gets right to appoint someone, to hell with getting things done, so it seems. [There was a consensus, to see him from his back] If you happen to stumble into a friendly group, where a glass of beer may be offered and enjoyed, even in the presence of a Pentecostal ordained-man-of-God, the atmosphere may turn sour if the presidential prerogative should once again surface. There should not be the need to inquire about party loyalty, or even affiliation. English may stay English, and at times, with a little bit of luck, may turn so stylish that you might enjoy it. Until very recently, and let’s take that to be the last five years, comparing our nation with another from the Orient or Europe, was not so welcome. “We are doing well,” is what you heard from most quarters, and I am sure you wouldn’t expose the extent of your naiveté by inquiring from whom. How about the health care delivery? You would be treading on dangerous grounds if you were from that group, (like I am), and you did pass a sharp comment on what you saw. The piece of advice you would get, would be, “why don’t you do something about it, now that you have come into the system?” Then, automatically, you would ask something like, “what, for example?” and in the process, expose yourself. “You may have joined your fold, coming from a background where studying to become a “HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR” takes you the same number of years as someone else studying Medicine. Then, you might become such an efficient administrator, even if you happen not to be particularly talented. How about getting it doled onto you in reward of your party loyalty? That might be the summit. I have since, quite a while, tried to imagine, or accommodate a situation when the forty-seven-year old Barack Hussein Obama was a Medical Doctor, but also an effective politician. In his way, he did bid to run Cook County Hospital in Chicago, but at the same time act as President of the United States of America. God help any such country! Come early morning, he would attend to matters concerning the biggest hospital in the United States of America, and at exactly 12 noon, the Air Force I would whisk him to the Andrews Airbase, from where a ’Copter would shuttle him to the Oval Office. A candidate among the seventeen presidential aspirants told Ghanaians in 2007, that he would be able to do that for our beloved Republic. He would run a clinic, manage the nation’s biggest hospital, plus the Presidency, -one man! You would have to agree that a man like that has, beyond doubt, untold talents and energy reserves for the nation. On the other side of the coin, someone else stands with a placard in his hand, and it has a message, “just how much serious could he be taken?” Adolf Hitler pronounced, on many occasions, “I wonder whether Germans deserve a leader like me!” Intellectuals maintain that must be a true statement, either way. ”Critics” of our pathfinder Dr. Nkrumah ask the question, why he was unfriendly to the notion that in his time he could have done with a DEPUTY. When he traveled, he had at times, as many as three men act, where he alone performed. Jokes did fly that he chose people with such divergent interests, such that they might not think of overthrowing him. Well, we all know that he was overthrown, nonetheless. The party, now in opposition in our Republic, has recently sat together, and in a brainstorming exercise, (for want of a better phrase), decided to keep the number of aspirants, come next time, at just three! Well done! The youth of our country, an unreliable census puts them as in the majority, have very little idea about the history of our nation, and sadly so, not even since independence. I recently offered a young man a ride to the City Center of Adum in Kumasi, who otherwise ekes out a livelihood, by keeping an Internet Café’ for his boss. I know him as a staunch supporter of the party now in opposition, and we discuss an awful lot divergently, whenever we both can snatch the time. He told me in a discussion that “General Kotoka built the Kotoka International Airport” in Accra. Even though, since the beginning of this year there has been a flurry of lectures and discussions highlighting the stormy last fifty-two years of our national life, very little has seeped in. When you want to watch a program like ”Talking Point” in Kumasi, or anywhere other than Greater Accra, the sound is off 75% of the time. The Minister of Communication, mind you, in his view, “we are doing so well.” After all, we are a democracy!