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21.06.2003 Feature Article

Who'll Take Up Guns?

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Thievery, Class War and The Media in Ghana

Who’ll take up guns? Who’ll take up guns and join me in a crusade to purge the Ghanaian society of the “Elite Thieves” who have invaded us, and making fools of the ordinary Ghanaian?

Unfortunately, this is not my ambition, and neither is it the ambition of any well-meaning Ghanaian of today’s Ghana. And I hope no one, and I mean no Ghanaian soldier or civilian ever decides to do that. For we shall vehemently oppose that!

But ask yourself, does this go through the minds of some people? “Tighten your belts” and “theirs” are loosened. High electricity tariffs and “they” enjoy it freely. High water tariffs and “they enjoy” it freely. Why? Low wages and salaries and “they” receive various fat sums of wages, bonuses, and allowances. Why? With all these, we see no sense of dedication to duty, there’s no iota of patriotism to “build a country”, from government circles through institutions.

I was happy to read the assertion by Lt. Col. (rtd) Emmanuel Dawuni, a former Central Regional Commissioner during Acheampong’s regime, that indiscipline within the rank and file of the military is the root cause of coup d’etats in Ghana. But he forgot to add that indiscipline within the rank and file of government could also trigger the trigger happy to take up guns.

What do we see now? Instead of “BUILDING A COUNTRY”, they continue to drag the ordinary Ghanaian into “their” class war whilst they continue to live lavishly at the expense of Ghanaman. Don't you think these revelations at the NRC, and this class war, also have their negative repercussions? Are we grooming grounds for strife and civil unrest in Ghana? Are we allowing ourselves to be taken back into history by the same people who have shaped the history of Ghana? Are we allowing ourselves to be dragged into a war which is beneficial to “them” but that will leave the ordinary Ghanaian still impoverished?

Are these things of any good to the young Ghanaian? The ordinary Ghanaian? Does it make us proud as a people? Let’s pause a while and put “party fanaticism” aside. Let’s think as “true patriotic sons and daughters” of Ghana.

These are the questions that go through my mind when I ponder over the attitudes of our leaders today. However, I’m strengthened by the courage of the dedicated Journalists around, journalists who are unbiased in their reportage, journalists who seek justice for all, journalists who want to see the development of the nation, and unity among its people. But not journalists who seek to propel their own personal ambitions and interests at the expense of the ordinary Ghanaian, at the expense of the future of their own children.

At times I ask myself these questions:

1. Why did Rawlings and his people want to take over power as they did? 2. Why did Rawlings and his people torture some personalities? 3. How did Rawlings manage to win the support of the ordinary Ghanaian and did so massively? 4. How was Rawlings able to convince able bodied, old Ghanaian University students of the time to carry cocoa at their backs from the forests to the harbors? Remember the university students at that time were older than we find today.

All these stem from history, and I believe that our journalists have a role to play to avert a possible return to history, a repetition of history.

Gross THIVERY still wages on in our fragile society. Wireko Brobbey makes a mess, and no one seems to care. Who said all these monies given to board members couldn’t have gone a long way to reduce the burden of electricity tariff paid by the ordinary Ghanaian? These men who proclaimed to us that they were self-made men and would not spend Ghana’s money, continue to live at the expense of the ordinary Ghanaian. Did anybody care about the M-Class Mercedes Benz cars that were being secured for the newly constituted board members of GNPC?

Victor Selormey is in prison and I’m happy because in his extravagant and lavish lifestyle then he didn’t know there are people in Ghana who couldn’t afford a tin of milk throughout the year, although he happened to be the Deputy Finance Minister. Peprah and Ibrahim Adam have joined him and I’m happy. Do you remember Peprah’s birthday party? His father’s funeral? They were both like festivals! In that same vein, I believe that a lot more of this “elite ruling class” would follow suit and Ghanaians would be a happier people.

I believe that journalists have nothing to apologize for if they are implementing provisions in Article 162(5) of the 1992 Constitution that mandate them to hold government or public officials accountable to the people of Ghana.

Ghanaians appreciate and congratulate you for various watchdog roles you’ve played in the past, that Gulf Stream jet, the quality grain scandal, the Keta sea defense one and the unlawful arrest and the subsequent haircut of Djentu at the Osu Castle, not forgetting the exposure of the number of children of ex-ministers and government officials whose children's fees were being paid by faceless friends.

We appreciate the relentless war you waged against the IFC loan the government was pursuing which forced them to cancel the agreement, the purported intention by the present government to sell Ghanair to their South African counterparts. Wireko Brobbey’s arrogance, Broni’s kululu Landcruiser, and all.

Thus, it behoves all Journalists to understand that society, and for that matter, all Ghanaians imposes a high responsibility on them to feed us with nothing but the truth, to continue to play their watchdog roles, but not to help perpetuate “arrogant leadership”.

Journalists should strive to help achieve development in Ghana, to avert hatred and vendetta from all circles, and halt any attempt by one class to dominate in Ghanaian leadership. BUILDING A BETTER GHANA must be the GOAL!

May God bless us all! Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Steffen Schmidt
Steffen Schmidt, © 2003

The author has 3 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: SteffenSchmidt

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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