NOWHERE ELSE BUT GHANA!
7/9/2012 9:44:25 AM -
As a writer, my theme has always been Ghana, and my focus has never drifted. I constantly talk about Ghana because Ghana is my home! I constantly talk about Ghana because no matter how far I drift, no matter how far I go, I still have nowhere else to return but home. In calling a place home, Ghana is my first point of contact. I have nowhere else to call home but Ghana. For this reason, it feels me with great anger and disgust when my Ghanaian brothers and sisters treat my home with complete disrespect and complete disregard! Rather sadly, we are teaching foreigners to do likewise! That is unacceptable!
Whenever a Ghanaian travels outside the shores of this country, we always receive stories about the development and progress being made there. There are always stories and perhaps, pictures on how orderly and organized things are. Our 'borgers' usually rob it in our face how efficient the health delivery system is in the western countries. We are always told how efficient the transportation system is. We are always told how humane the accommodation is. We are always told about the consistencies in the utilities network. When it comes to the services, the yardstick is perfection! Of course in the end when a comparison is made back home, we are often left in a state of hopelessness and a sorry state! Our 'borgers' always never stop to make the comparisons everywhere they go. Even in the markets, this comparison is unending! On the streets when we encounter littering, we never fail to hear about stories in America, Germany, London, Italy, among others. Most often, we end up tired of listening.
What never seizes to amaze me is that, as soon as these same people settle, they become like everyone else! In foreign countries, we learn to conform but when we get back home, we become lawless! Of course, the statement 'When in Rome, behave like the Romans' is applicable in the western countries. When we get back home, we become lawless!
Has the Ghanaian really considered the full implications of his actions and inactions? If we do, we would recognize the impact of our behavior on the socio-economic development of this country. Ghanaians would travel outside the country to involve themselves in all kinds of menial jobs but would consider it demeaning to engage themselves in similar jobs back home. We only return home to rob it in our faces how inefficient the system is. If all were to travel, who would then stay on to develop this nation? People leave our shores for several decades without returning, during which time they labour hard to develop other economies. In the end, these same people return to only complain about how underdeveloped the country is. If all were to travel, would we not return to find things exactly as we left them?
It is said that there is no place like home. No matter how long we travel, and how comfortable that place might be, home is always where the heart is. There is always a void that can only be filled whenever we return home. Most often, no matter how accepted we feel we are in these lands, it can never be compared to that of our native land! Ghana, our motherland!
Rather sadly in Ghana, there is the breaking of a new dawn! The new dawn that is giving way to the infiltration of foreigners who are claiming the land. This article is not to encourage any form of racially motivated attacks but only seeks to draw the attention of Ghanaians to a basic truth. We are allowing foreign citizens more leverage than is necessary. Our various diplomatic missions are not helping at all! It is sometimes disappointing at the various embassies when we encounter several Ghanaians queuing just to obtain visas. The general hospitality at these embassies, located within the country, leaves more to be desired! The interview itself, for most people, can be described as the most humiliating experience ever! Most of these people are in the end robbed and disappointed. Of course when situations reverse, Ghana always opens her doors widely! Nowhere else but Ghana!
In recent times, there has been an increase in crimes being committed by people believed to the Fulani. In various towns and villages, there have been attacks, robberies, and murders, associated with these people. Rather interestingly, some people are siding with these foreigners. Ghana in the name of widening markets, globalization, and cross-country trading, is selling over her land to these foreigners. Our own leaders have given these people the authority and effrontery to operate! The cattle, being driven by these Fulani herdsmen are partly owned by some Ghanaians! It is therefore not surprising that day in, and day out, these people are allowed to go unpunished. I sometimes even wonder how these people come into the country! Nowhere else but Ghana!
Each day, we hear stories of how a group of Asians, usually Chinese, is gradually destroying our lands in the name of surface mining. It is only in Ghana that such an occurrence can be allowed to go unpunished! In our very own neighbouring countries, such occurrences would be met with severe consequences. Nowhere else but Ghana!
In our various manufacturing and construction companies, we usually hear stories of the ill-treatment of Ghanaian workers, often ending in strikes and demonstrations. These occur only because the interests of our workers are not being met or addressed. All in the name of Ghana-International relations, our government conveniently turns a deaf ear or a blind eye to these offences! Our various trade union groups and leaders are in connivance against us! Oh Ghana, when would we wake up? With all that is going on within this country, how long would it take our leaders to make the right policies? When would the right actions be taken? Nowhere else but Ghana!
Ghana has always been noted as a warm and welcoming country. The truth however is, Ghana is perhaps a weak country! People are taking our leniency to be a weakness! Ghanaians are undergoing all forms of slavery on their own shores and no one seems to mind. Nowhere else but Ghana!
Each day in Ghana, nationals of various countries sneak in unnoticed through our borders. Each day, criminals make entry into this country. Most often, we identify this with our widening markets, globalization and our trade liberalization. But that is a fallacy! People are showing interest in the country not only because Ghanaians are perhaps warm and inviting or that the country is relatively peaceful, but mainly because, our security system is weak! Our security systems are being breached and infiltrated each day. People in the name of tourism come in and spy on our markets and then penetrate to our disadvantage. State secrets are leaking each day! We might only wake up tomorrow and discover that we have sold everything or perhaps, allowed everything we pride as a nation, stolen or taken away from us! Nowhere else but Ghana!
We keep handing out huge areas of land to foreign developers! We keep handing out huge contracts to foreign investors and yet, the Ghanaian is always left disappointed. Our trade laws are surprisingly more foreigner-friendly than Ghanaian friendly. Once again, the Ghanaian suffers! Our tax laws are more foreigner friendly, than Ghanaian friendly. Once again, the Ghanaian suffers! Some job descriptions are interestingly more foreigner-friendly, than Ghanaian friendly, IN GHANA! Our very own law enforcement agencies and agents are more foreigner-friendly than Ghanaian-friendly. Our hotels, restaurants, transportation systems, healthcare delivery systems and other services systems are all in conformity. Even at the government offices, they are not ruled out; a Ghanaian always encounters difficulty in obtaining any goods or services but rather surprisingly, foreigners are able to penetrate. Even our various institutions especially tertiary, are priding themselves internationally as more foreigner friendly! Our churches are not better examples themselves either. And the Ghanaian suffers! At our various work places, a Ghanaian can no longer complain to a fellow about a foreign boss because the next day, he or she would find himself or herself outside the gates! So much for allegiance! Who do we now turn to? Nowhere else but Ghana!
Our leaders are aware of this truth, and so are you! What have you done to protect your legacy? What have you done to secure your tomorrow? Let us not only think about ourselves in making our plans, but plan also for the future of others. We must strive to influence the lives of others in our dealings. Although we might only be individuals, our lives have been shaped to influence the life of another. Someone's future is perhaps dependent on your today! Someone's future is perhaps linked to your future! Let us be hospitable but in doing so, let us consider the first citizens of the land! The Ghanaian first! If we awake to chaos tomorrow, the foreigner will immediately flee our land. As Ghanaians, where would we go? Would the shores of the other countries be widely open to us?
I have nowhere else to go but Ghana, and so, I lay in bed each night, worrying! I worry about tomorrow! I worry that I might awake to an empty tomorrow!
Anna Esi Hanson (email@example.com), Takoradi.