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Jul 29, 2009 | Opinions

Hello Ghana

Hello Ghana

“Hello Ghana. If there is anyone out there who still doubts that Ghana is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders whether the dream of our founding fathers that Ghana will be the Black Star of Africa is alive in our time, and who still questions the industry, the tenacity of our people, here is your answer…”

If it had to take a celebrated sitting American President to come here and throw a challenge to those doubting Thomases who do not have faith in possibilities that abound here in Ghana, then, indeed, the Bible said it for us — no prophet is accepted in his own country. It is a fact; we do not appreciate what we have here in Ghana.

As a proud Ghanaian who breathes and lives Ghana every day, I get convinced from all the happenings around us, from our tainted culture to our lifestyle today, from our dressing to music and sometimes even the way we talk suggest the disappointment in some of our kith and kin with the Black Star of Africa.

That is what all the adulteration around us suggests to me. Sometimes, our poor attitude and approach to things give no hope and credence to what others see in our Ghana, a land of real possibilities.

The entrepreneurial spirit, the can-happen and must-happen belief and attitude of some foreign nationals who come in here to do businesss and quite profitable ones toos confirm to me that one can make it here.

It needs a total mindset and a determined attitude. Some of the foreigners have settled down to some ventures that are raking in good dividends.

They have invested in the areas of manufacturing, wholesaling, distribution, transport, real estate, and the hospitality industry. They remind us on daily basis as we patronise their businesses that yes, the possibilities abound here just that we are not ready to explore them. Our mentality is that prosperity only exists in travelling abroad.

Sometimes you want to give those who, to them, a land of possibilities are too far-fetched, a little benefit of the doubt. The frustrations of some of the systems and processes are enough to drive you to a complete halt. Our ports procedures in clearing goods will drive you bananas.

The laborious procedures one goes through when registering a business, the snail paced bureaucracy at the state departments and agencies if you want to transact a business, the squeezed faces that greet you and the unnecessary delays in getting responses to simple questions are enough discouragement.

These are some of the things that we need to change if Ghana must continue to live the dreams of our founding fathers.

All things apart however, those who have travelled the world over, far and wide, and who are in a position to compare and contrast will testify for Ghana.

For most, Ghana is after all, not bad at all. That is my comfort. Of course as a developing country, we have to go through the many steps to get to our final destination.

But we do stand tall in a lot of ways including the freedom to move about and speak your mind, relative peace if you may call it so.

We do have a lovely weather 12 months of the year.

We have good food, the warmth of the people and our beautiful countryside with layers of untapped greens, rivers, streams, our golden beaches, the freshness of the air with less atmospheric pollution are all pluses for Ghana.

One thing, however, which is fast creating a wedge between neighbours and communities is partisan politics. It is becoming far too much now.

Our democracy has been touted as one of the best on the continent. However, underneath it, there seems to be a deep-seated polarisation in this country which gets deepened every day and which is raising temperatures to unhealthy levels and more importantly, for our country's peace and stability.

It is difficult to appreciate for a moment that our founding fathers, in their dreams to build a shining Black Star of Africa, ever imagined a nation that was going to be divided against its own.

Our founding fathers dreamt of a united country. Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah thought his country was so united that 52 years ago he was bold enough to use that as a springboard to declare his passion for a totally liberated united states of Africa.

Not long ago, was a media headline, “Bad blood over cocoa spraying.” According to the story, some aggrieved youth in the Western Region who were engaged for a cocoa spraying exercise threatened to unleash conflict in the constituency should the government take them off the project.

There were allegations that the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area had instructed the District Chief Executive (DCE) to retrieve machines used for the cocoa spraying from the youth because they were suspected to be either supporters of the NPP or sympathetic to its cause, and hand them over to the youth of the NDC.

Earlier, there had been reports of some seized public toilets in certain parts of the country because “NPP is no longer in power.” I was reminded recently that in 2001, some NPP youth also seized some public toilets because “their party was in power”.

Just last week, there was a report of a transport union feud in Kumasi traced to partisanship. Where does such politicisation take us in our quest for development? There seems clearly to be two Ghanas today. One Ghana for NPP and another Ghana for NDC.

The media is not helping us to heal our polarised wounds. Every twist and every turn in this country is interpreted by sections of the media as pro this political party or anti that political group. It is getting too boring.

Some seven months after the general election and six months after a new executive has been sworn in, it gets difficult for some of us to understand why the political temperature has still not cooled down.

The media go on as if a fresh general election is going to be carried out tomorrow. Why should media houses continue to encourage “representation from all political parties” before issues of national interest (not political interest), are discussed in the media?

Do people not realise that encouraging such panel formulation which feeds unnecessary serial calls and text messages rather deepen the polarisation which is becoming unhealthy for our national unity?

You talk to many Ghanaians on development issues and they want to switch off because of the proportions it has taken in our development agenda.

The social challenges facing us are huge and they need the supporting tender hands of all Ghanaians to soothe. Instead, the media, rather than create a platform to bring us together, cool tempers and approach the solution with a cord that cannot be broken, continue to add oil to the simmering fire.

My article of last week entitled, “Youth Empowerment… It all sounds familiar” has generated more e-mail messages for me both from within Ghana and outside Ghana.

The e-mails counted so far is second to my article entitled, “Migrating abroad, the grass is no longer greener”.

First and foremost, these responses confirm to me that people do read the newspapers contrary to views that Ghanaians do not read. Secondly, I am encouraged from the responses received that the youth are active readers too.

One of the e-mails received was from a young man who wanted me to be his mentor, coach and counsellor. In his mail, he said in part, “Thank you Mama for that informative and inspiring article.

How I wish the radio stations could inform the youth better instead of the daily political arguments on air. Thank God we have people like you to inform and inspire all of us….”

I do agree with the young man. We no longer need acrimonious politics which is taking valuable effort and time from our goal to unravel our national possibilities and potentials, particularly for our youth.

There certainly is a lot of optimism this day for Ghana. A new credible face has been opened for us to ride on. We have got a valuable brand endorsement.

What we need is to take away the unhealthy party politicisation and re-package Ghana well to stand tall so our young ones can have hope.

So that the youth can begin to realise the dreams dreamt by our forebears 52 years ago, we need to unite and strategise together.

The talents out there do not reside with only one political party. Ghana is possible and Ghana is promising if only we will sing the song of unity. Hello Ghana, is anyone listening?

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