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27.08.2004 Press Review

EDITORIAL - How Not to Build a Nation

By Chronicle
EDITORIAL - How Not to Build a Nation

AS UNLIKELY as it may sound, there are people in this country who see nothing wrong with the exodus of Ghanaian professionals, especially doctors and nurses, to other countries in search of greener pastures.

These apologists argue that our professionals are equally entitled to the good things in life and must exercise their right to the good life, just as any person should in a free society. For them, the fact that millions have been spent on training these professionals is neither here nor there.

The saddest aspect of this continuing loss of our professional classes is that it took the toil and sweat of the very ordinary Ghanaian to provide the state funds, which were spent on training these professionals. After these huge expenditures, one would have thought that they would at least, out of a sense of gratitude, devote a portion of their career to giving back a little to Ghana.

In the medical field for example, were it not for the kind support of the Cuban government, which gives us over 1,000 doctors, the health delivery system would have collapsed. Out in the rural areas, these Cuban medical doctors are the mainstay of health delivery. Where our own indigenous doctors refuse to go and serve, the Cuban doctor agrees to go.

Can anybody claim that the Cuban doctors in the rural areas who live in poor conditions compared to the urban centers do not know or also yearn for the good life? Could they also not insist that they must be given cross-country vehicles in order to give off their best services? Do they also not wish they had modern equipment, lived in fine houses and had access to the better creature comforts available to those in the West?

The Chronicle is saddened by the attitude of our professional classes especially when it comes to the equitable distribution of the national cake.

However, to be fair and just, it must be conceded that proportionally, some classes seem to enjoy an unfair advantage in the sharing of the national cake. Our politicians, for example, give the impression that life is only worth living when one goes seeking political power.

For some inexplicable reason, most Ghanaians still see politics as a means to an end and not an end in itself.

For the untutored masses, wielding political power denotes instant success in pursuit of wealth. Our psyche as a people is one that worships the trappings of wealth and power to the extent that politicians without money are considered as nothing but fossils best kept in zoos and museums.

Thus, the conspicuous consumption of politicians is only in keeping with the expectations of the people.

They do what we want them to do. Therefore, a person who has toiled and studied for so many years to become a medical doctor will feel peeved when he sees a schoolmate, now a successful politician, exhibiting all the trappings of wealth and power.

In the United States, one has to have made his money already before going to seek public office. Indeed, to even seek to be a Congressman or Senator, it would need the deep pockets of a millionaire to succeed. As for seeking governorship and higher up, the presidency, you have to be a multi-millionaire.

Thus when one gets power, it is not because one needs it to succeed in life. Rather, it is to make a name, to leave a mark for posterity.

In our corner of the world, our political classes are demonstrating negative traits, which encourage other professionals to say, "To heck with it all.

This is not a country worth dying for." So they leave our shores in droves: doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, etc. And these are those who can help us to build a strong, viable and prosperous country.

The brain drain has now become acceptable, or so it seems. We must weep for Ghana.

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