Did you know that the UK has a Minister for Loneliness? Former Prime Minister Theresa May, in announcing this unique Ministry in January 2018, quoted from the report of a commission that found that more than “nine million people in Britain, often or always, feel lonely”.
Her solution reveals what actuates, or should actuate, an elected leader: everything that affects that significant percentage of the population is priority.
That, to my understanding, is all that organisers of the “#Fix Ghana” campaign are asking for; that Ghanaian elected leaders would be more sensitive to the plight of the people. That is why I took part in last Sunday’s May 9 online demo in Ghana. I rang a bell from my balcony, something I have never in my life, and shouted “Fix it”.
I did it not because I thought Akufo Addo had failed; I did it to add my own perspective on the things that need fixing in Ghana. Mine is a call for restoration of a abandoned national value system – the values that should undergird or direct every individual and national conduct.
I didn’t see it as a demo against Akufo Addo because the rot predated him. The coups d’etat, the student direct confrontation with Dr Busia at Legon, the anti UNIGOV campaigns against the SMC led by General Kutu Acheampong, the June 4 uprising that overthrew Dr Limann and the Kume Preko demonstrations against the Rawlings were all signs of a people holding their nose against the stench of corruption and misrule. The #Hashtag Fix It movement is preferable because it is bloodless.
Of course, the NDC are no fools. For them, what an opportunity it presented to ride on the tide of a fortuitous Christmas to eat crackers! I was only a little surprised that suddenly the party’s spokespeople seemed to have all the answers and sounded so sanctimonious.
My perspective on the issues which need fixing in Ghana insists that if this country fixes its integrity deficit and returns the people to the days of yore when honesty was the best policy, and a good name was better than riches, Ghana will have no problems to fix.
People are not agitating because all Ghanaians are poor; they are angry because over 28 million out of the 29 million population are on the breadline. And we are on the breadline because a handful of people who find themselves in privilege have greedily stolen, and are stealing, all the flower to bake cake. It is called corruption.
A 2019 study reported that “Corruption costs Ghana US$3 billion”. Twelve years earlier, a World Bank report, based on which the water sector restructuring was undertaken in the first decade of this millennium, said that Ghana needed US$1.6 billion to provide potable water to all homes. That leaves us with another $1.4 billion with which we can begin to fix roads and rural health issues.
Alas, that is not possible because a project that costs ¢z30 million will be bloated to ¢50 million to take care of the greed of the top civil servant, the Minister and the engineer. No small money. The CEO of a state organization could fatten his bank account with ¢3 million from one project. Everybody knows, but nobody will talk. Even the contractor who gives the kickback and turns round to complain privately will deny it in public, warning that he will refuse to own up as the source of the gossip.
That is we must target our values. I tell you, every single evil that has brought Ghana to its knees can be traced to values-lessness. Mention the Bus Rebranding saga, the Airbus scandal, the Woyome payments, the NPP Ameri deal (leading to the firing of the Energy Minister before his passing). Their genesis is values-lessness.
How can a President put his office on the line over the war against Galamsey and fail? What is the guarantee that the soldiers, policemen, chiefs et al will, while our attention is turned to other matters, turn down the golden bribe this time?
I will repeat what I wrote a few weeks ago. A person with values is attracted by achievement, courage, dependability, friendships, honesty, Integrity, a sense of accomplishment and being well respected.
Will anybody who still has them show by hand, please.
The biggest problem in this country is that the ruling class does not see how crucial the values issue is, and therefore does not have a clue how to programme the people back into a voluntary desire to do the right thing.
In the absence of a consistent push for voluntary upholding of values, nothing can save Ghana – NOTHING. The more Dubai we turn Ghana into, the poorer the majority will continue to be. At the height of Nigeria’s oil boom, the poor got poorer. The ruling class, including civilian politicians and military Generals, negotiated oil contracts and stashed billions of dollars into their overseas bank accounts.
In Accra this week, did you hear the lamentations of the Korle Bu neurosurgeon? On the Citi Breakfast Show this week, he said he cried tears on learning that the 15 year old boy with brain tumour on whom he and his colleagues had operated, had died. Cause of death: the tragically chronic shortage of the most basic diagnostic equipment and reagents. So blood samples had to be taken to as far as La and beyond for testing.
He advocates a dedicated one-stop Neuroscience Centre estimated at 500 million dollars. No chicken change, yes, but it is not impossible money in a country whose priorities are right. At any case, we would find the money if it were for a project for the political class.
#Fix our values.