18.08.2019 Feature Article

You Are The Government And The Government Is You

Author: Amankwa Benjamin KwameAuthor: Amankwa Benjamin Kwame
18.08.2019 LISTEN

There are many of us who complain daily about the happenings in our society today. From false religious prophets misleading people to government officials stealing monies meant for development. The issues we face today are enormous, serious and damaging enough to our cities, towns, and villages. Whilst almost all of us agree that we need to find antidotes to these societal problems, very few are ready to stop the complaining attitude and put the narratives into action by trying in the smallest way possible to help solve the problems.

From our very small communities, we face issues of sanitation like desilting of chocked gutters, throwing waste in waterways thus preventing the smooth flow of rainwater with the attendant effect of flooding in our major cities and towns. In all these, there is always someone to complain but basically none to attempt solving the problem. From individuals to media houses, we highlight, talk, chastise and complain about these issues. The question, however, is what have you done about it? Yes, I mean you as a person, what have you done? Or you think it is not your responsibility? Whose responsibility is it then? The government? Of course, it is the responsibility of the government. But is this really true? Who is the government?

We are often under the impression that the government is not us but the few people we elect to run the affairs of state. This is however not true. You are the government and I am the government. If it were possible, every citizen of Ghana, for example, should have been in parliament to represent himself or herself, participate and vote thus contributing to issues that will help in the development of Ghana. Assuming this is possible, setting the constraints of scarcity of resources and natural limitations aside, would it not be that after taking these decisions in parliament, we come back to our communities and implement same? Yes, this should have been the natural course of things I guess. But due to resource constraints and the fact that all the citizens of Ghana cannot possibly go to parliament or gather at one place to represent themselves, we elect periodically a group of people (Government) who we expect to take these decisions on our behalf so we can all help implement it. Where then are you as an individual or group left out of the process? How then are you different from the government? You are the government and the government is you.

Imagine for example that you wake up one day, pick a shovel and start desilting gutters in your community where there have been persistent floods. Though no one will seem to care at first, a week or two of your efforts will surely attract others to join in this task. Very soon, it will become a norm that all the members of your community desilt gutters and do communal labour on Saturdays because you have started it. This does not end there, the next village near you will soon replicate this and soon it will be all over Ghana. The benefit of this may not be immediately visible to some but imagine the millions of cedis that government through the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and the drugs purchased during cholera outbreaks being used for other projects like books for our siblings in basic schools, increase in salaries and building health facilities. That will great huh? Of course, that will be great!

From providing information to the police to apprehend criminals in our communities, giving small attention and helping check the erosion that is eroding the path leading to your house to paying taxes on time for big development projects, you are being part of the solution and not the problem. So you see, we can all help in the smallest way possible to solve the problems that we face in Ghana. Don’t wait for the government because the government is you and you are the government.