61 Years On: Has The Average Ghanaian Regained Economic And Fundamental Freedoms?
This is not an attempt to discredit the dint of efforts put in by our Forebears in securing the ultimate freedom from the British, far from it. It is rather an honest assessment of life after the independence on 6th March 1957.
The crucial question however is: does the average Ghanaian have inalienable human rights, economic and fundamental freedoms following the attainment of independence from the British Sixty-one years ago?
Make no mistake, it was, indeed, absolutely right for our Forebears to bulldoze their way through for the independence, notwithstanding the fact that all human beings are born equal in right and dignity, and hence no one has an absolute right to trample upon another’s inalienable human rights.
Indeed, Martin Luther King Jnr of blessed memory, hit the nail on the head when he aptly opined during Ghana’s independence celebrations in Accra that, “The oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed; the oppressed has to work tirelessly for it (King 1957).”
I must however confess that I am in acquiescence with Dr Martin Luther King Jnr on his incisive observation. Freedom is, indeed, gained through hard work and persistence, but not through listless resignation.
But all said and done, looking at our contemporary political landscape, it would appear that all the hard work put in by the Founding Fathers’ has been in vain. I bet, they are mourning their beloved Ghana in their graves.
Ironically, one can sadly witness how some individuals would hypocritically hide behind the ideals of the independence and patriotism and then turn around to perpetrate all sorts of unpatriotic deeds against the country they claim to cherish so much.
How could true Ghanaians knowingly defend a sibling of a former president who blatantly refused to pay import taxes to the tune of GH12 million?
I bet, no true patriot, in all honesty, can conspire and clandestinely withdraw a whopping $400 million of Ghana COCOBOD’s money meant for the upkeep of poor farmers.
Where was the so-called patriotism when individuals who nauseatingly claim to be social democrats incredibly dipped their hands into the poor farmers money and built a luxurious mansion at an alleged cost of GH7.7 million for their own comfort?
Do they really have the interests of Ghana at heart at all, when they could import about 43 vehicles at a staggering cost of $9 million at the blind side of the incoming NPP administration?
If those politicians aren’t heartless and unpatriotic, how come they conspired and paid dubious judgement debts to the tune of GH800 million?
If, indeed, they are morally upright, and have the wellbeing of Ghana at heart, how come they created loot and shared monies belonging to GYEEDA and SADA, which were meant to transform the lives of the needy in society?
Where was their much-touted patriotism when they squandered funds meant to transform the lives of the penniless in society through dubious deals such as the Brazil World Cup, the infamous bus branding, SUBA, SSNIT among others?
Let us admit, though, there is nothing seriously wrong for anybody to claim birth right to patriotism. However, patriotism is not a mere rhetoric, for we could only evidence our patriotism through our actions and inactions. That is by showing our affection, solicitude and strong predilection towards our country in whatever we do as real patriots.
It is, indeed, extremely troubling that after sixty-one years of independence, Ghana continues to lag behind the rest of the pack in respect of economic advancement.
In fact, I have always held a contrary view to those who contend somewhat speciously that it is hackneyed and unconscionable for anyone to suggest that, even though we started life with the likes of South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, we are happy to secure loans and other assistance from them.
Let us face it, though, the Founding Fathers of Ghana, so to speak, were true patriots whose blood and toil won for us the desired independence in 1957.
So if you were to quiz me on my dispassionate and honest opinion on patriotism; I would dare state that the Founding Fathers were the real patriots, who deserve every commendation for taking it upon themselves to muscle their way through for our ultimate freedom from the British.
Yes, our Founding Fathers’ rightly sought to resist the colonisers suppression, which in my opinion, was a laudable feat by all counts.
However, as to whether the vast majority of Ghanaians have gained their economic and fundamental freedoms and the inalienable human rights following Ghana’s independence, is a million dollar question that would be opened to different interpretations.
The independence, I must sadly admit though, will remain meaningless, so long as we continue to elect leaders who take delight in foreign influences, guidance and control.
I am afraid it would appear that we have not weaned ourselves from the developed countries. For, if this was not the case, why is it that we continue to seek policy guidance from IMF? If we are self-reliant, why do we constantly carry our begging bowl round seeking alms? If we are independent minded, why do we have to import common contractors from China to build our basic infrastructures? If we were that capable and foresighted, why do we consistently import foreign football coaches?
Our leaders, regrettably, more often than not, measure their accomplishments according to the amount of loans they manage to secure from the same countries we started life with. How pathetic?
Candidly, I do not want to be seen as a pathetic doomsayer, but in so far as we continue to elect the dreadful economic managers (NDC apparatchiks) to take charge of affairs, Ghana may not see any meaningful development in our lifetime.
I must admit, for so long as we have leaders that are myopic, visionless, and only count their achievements with how much loan they are able to secure, and the number of schools they are able to remove from “under trees”, Ghana may sink deeper and deeper into the mire.
And what is more, in so far as we have leaders that have no foresight, and are corrupt, greedy and incompetent; I dare state that Ghana may never advance meaningfully in our lifetime.
Let us therefore remind ourselves that independence refers to self-reliance, so, if we chose to depend largely on other countries for survival, then our independence will somehow remain “meaningless”.
Take my word for it, this is not an endorsement of former President Mahama’s most recent infamous greedy pigs aspersions, far from it, but I would dare stress that in similitude to George Orwell’s animal farm narrative, Ghana’s independence has largely benefited and continues to benefit only a few-the greedy and corrupt politicians and other public servants. This is indeed an illustrative case of “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Take, for instance, in spite of the economic hardships back then, some ravenous NDC politicians were living opulent lifestyles to the detriment of the masses. How bizarre?
The officials of the erstwhile NDC government, purportedly, squandered Ghana’s scarce resources to the detriment of the poor as if there was no tomorrow.
Apparently, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks came under the spotlight for numerous bribery and corruption allegations, among others, ‘the furtive gift (the Ford Expedition Vehicle) from the Burkinabe Contractor Djabril Kanazoe, the Embraer 190 scandal, Armajaro, SADA, GYEEDA, SUBA Info Solutions scandal’.
To be blunt, and rightly so, President Mahama and his NDC government alleged corrupt practices resulted in excessive public spending, less efficient tax system , needless high public deficit and destabilization of national budgets, increasing capital flight and the creation of perverse incentives that stimulate income-seeking rather than productive activities.
In sum, I dare state that in so far as the elites among the ‘four legs animals’ continue to exhibit existential selfishness, lack of patriotism, and revoltingly look down upon the ‘four legs downtrodden, Ghana may never develop meaningfully in our lifetime.
K. Badu, UK.
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