POLITICAL GREED; THE BANE OF OUR UNDERDEVELOPMENT
“In the turn of events, the sweets of economic, political and social privileges, that are a monopoly of only one section of a community, turn sour even in the mouths of those who eat them”. These are the words of Chief Albert Lituli, a South African freedom fighter. For some school of thought, of whom I subscribe to, politicians are presumed to be servants, to the masses, synonymous to men of God, and are obliged to work in the absolute interest of the populace to ensure economic and social justice.
Though, that is an expectant of many, our contemporary political setting across our rich continent, has endured many forms of despotic and greedy style of governance, which have been the bane of our socio-economic development, despite the enormous natural resources our soil is endowed with.
In Ghana, we are far from exemption. Ever since, we shed off the rags of colonialism and imperialist rule, our country has witnessed successive governments, both democratic and military rule. However, some may justifiably give excuses on the deficient in the rapid transformation of the economy in the first, second and third republic, due to interference by military juntas, hence I will specifically focus on the forth republic of our constitution, which has witnessed un-interruption, by coup makers, to analyze my stance critically. Indeed, I shall remain as objective as I can, in view of the fact that, the issues at stake is of national significance, and transcends any political establishment.
Why are majority of our pupils still schooling under trees? Why are majority of our people still illiterates? Why are 60% of our population farmers and yet we cannot boast of food security? Why are our taps and electricity still not flowing, even in major city centers? Why are second cycle and tertiary institutions panning out to be, just for a privilege few? Why do we still resort to foreign donors when we call ourselves an independent nation? Why do politicians become so rich over night, especially when they find themselves in the corridors of political power? Why do politicians accord themselves bountiful privileges and emoluments without recourse to the masses that are hovering in the shackles of poverty? These and other legitimate questions shall remain on the lips of many, for decades, and posterity shall demand answers from our current crop of leaders.
Undoubtedly, one can purport, we elect leaders to enrich themselves and their cronies other than looking beyond themselves. This perception is rife, and it cast a slur on the integrity of all politicians, be it good or bad. I believe therefore, some progress have been chalked; however, much could have been done to alleviate the woes of the people. Our nightmare could be linked to, lack of political will, leadership, greediness, corruption, misplaced priorities etc. Our economy today, can best be described as a “stagnated economy”, successive governments especially the forth republic, which has enjoyed the sweets of political stability, has failed to turn the fortunes of the nation around, to meet the aspiration of its people. It is intriguing, when during every electioneering year; all political parties keep repeating the archaic message of providing basic necessities such as water, shelter, food, schools etc to the people. Humiliating it is, after 53 years of independence, we are still struggling to provide basic necessities of life to our people, whiles our contemporary's in other continents with little or no natural resources, the likes of Malaysia, have been able to wane themselves from those doldrums
Indeed, some few years ago, I went on an expedition in the countryside, and en route to the Upper West Region, Wa specifically, I couldn't believe what I saw, in this epoch of civilization. My heart was saddened, by the “first degree of poverty and underdevelopment” I witnessed. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to comb through all the districts in the region and even some part of the Northern region, and it was worse-off.
I couldn't agree more to a woman; I met in a Bus, sitting beside me. During our engagement, she realized I had so much interest in politics and therefore decided to explore my opinion on some governmental policies. I did say to her, if I were in a position of power, I shall make - Infrastructural Development, Education, Healthcare and Youth empowerment, my four thematic areas, of which, I will dwell extensively on. Astonishingly, she spewed out and I quote, “that is what they all say, but when they get there, they forget about us and amass wealth for themselves and their relations”
Initially, I became dumbfounded; however, I came to her understanding by correlating the expectations of the masses and the poor delivery, by most politicians, who yield political power, to effect positive change in society, and on the life of people.
Today, most people, take-up politics as a short-cut to riches, endangering the growth and transformation of the economy and as well, denting the image of persons with good intentions and pure motives to serve the country, for the common good of all.
Africa and for that matter Ghana, need a different approach to its style of leadership and governance, if it is poised to succeed, and be part of the over-growing transformational world. All persons, yielding political power, must be prepared to sacrifice and put the nation above them and their interest; that indeed, will arouse the true beauty of patriotism, nationalism and restore the hope and progress, our forebears had fought, and always craved for.
I dream of a Ghana, were young men and women, will have access to a better education and secure better jobs, so they can live independent of their parents. I dream of a Ghana, were housing will be “affordable” to all manner of persons, be it rich or poor, and that basic amenities will be available to all, irrespective of their geographical location. It is not beyond us, we can, if therefore, we set our priorities right and respect our nation and the office, we hold.
Long Live Patriotism and Service to Nation!
Chief Obosu Mohammed
***The author is a Student, Youth Activist and a Radical adherent of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition, with a strong appetite for grass-root politicking. He is also the Country Representative for the World Youth Alliance and a Board member on the “Shelter Project”, a Social Welfare and Government of Ghana initiative.***
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