Business in Ghana

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I 6th March Not. Critical News, 8th March 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on March 10, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

The American is a freedom fighter, a go-getter and a person of courage. Brits are known for their stiff back and upper lip and are pursuers of right and justice. The Germans are hard workers and great engineers. Swiss are precision oriented and private. You can just as well describe Chinese and Japanese in their own way and skin.

And the Ghanaian?

I so struggled with a description for my Ghana-self and others who are Ghanaian just like me, but I was clearly looking in the wrong zongo.

The whole of my 6th March was captured behind a dvd player, watching a series of memorable movies, looking for the substance of the Ghanaian. I reviewed my connection with Gandhi, took a long walk to freedom with Mandela and fought a great battle with Chaka “Zulu” kaSenzangakhona. And in the process I missed the great march at Independence Square.

I have no movies of the great nation Ghana and how it came to be.

But I hear there were military people, police band and fire service, prisons service people, armored tanks and cars, a platoon of Special Forces and a buffoonery of masqueraders. The school children came, marched in the sun, no headscarves and headkerchiefs and fainted as they always do.

Then Prezdo stood on the back of the open-air car, saluted everybody and finally gave a rousing speech to urge the people on to the new level of “dumsor” and how to use it to counter religious conflict.

I was not there and you too were not there, so I am only recounting what I have been told and I am no wiser.

In times gone past, we struggled for a right to self-governance. Between the Aborigines Rights Protection Society, the Congress of British West Africa, Ga shifimo kpee, Railways Workers, Unions, even Tema Oil Refinery, at one time so powerful, could shut down pipes and fuel stations to force Government to back down on the foolishness of Union Government.

Our fathers in those days used their knowledge and training to pitch their wits against the British, following them from the Gold Coast all the way to the Crown Courts in the UK to insist that the right to self-rule must be honored.

Ghana did not come to just be. There has been a fight for the independence of this country from as far back.

Even the adventurists who came in the guise of saviours and Junior Jesus’ eventually had to leave after their self-imposed chaos exhausted its lifeline.

Dictators who implemented a one party state and hounded all opposition out of the country and died outside the borders of the country have given way to challenge in hegemony and time has warped our minds, taking us through bitter memories and ways in democracy still too imperfect for the Ghanaian to believe he is capable, if he ever was, to make his lot better.

Democrats, whose belief sets metamorphosed into petty dictatorships and squabbles and Military rulers who thought the will of the people could always be bought with a little green ink.

And through all this, what is missing is the real description of the Ghanaian. What do we end up with as a descriptive of who really is Ghanaian.

In its reduction to a one-line statement, we become a “peace-loving God-believing people”. That is all I have for us.

Whether good or bad, I see no other description to bind us as a family of persons. Some dangerous and radical elements have beaten us into submission from time to time, imposed their will on us so hard, we have caved into our cowardly selves and assumed the position. Peace lovers.

Some dangerous and radical elements have abducted judges and murdered them, tied god-fearing persons to stakes and shot them without trial. Some of these radical elements have created havoc, burning down markets and stripping and beating traders openly in public space, blaming them for economic failure created out of ignorance.

Even as we sit now, we are in the beginning throes of a religious undercurrent, a political water dam, which I understand is a diversion from what we have been plunged, a barrage of incompetence, in sore need of an overcoat to protect the “politic-corruptico” from a never-materialising wrath of citizens.

However, we harbor a feared possibility that gun-wielding adventurers, who having once tasted are ready to repeat-dip their power mastiffs into the docile Ghanaian life.

But look at the state we are in today. We are in a power crisis. We are sitting in a depressed economy with no solution except to stay calm, patiently, not rock the boat, as we “Ghanaian-ise”.

The double-edged “Fear God and Love Peace” foundation, which tolerates much nonsense, is building up one more time as election fever meanders its way into 2016. Soon we will sound alarms for prayer to avoid violence and allow a flawed process of electioneering to continue as imperfectly as we always do and peace trains will run through non-existent cloud rails to allow purveyors of violence to have their way.

That is today’s Ghanaian and I am not too proud to be this version. I am the cynical Ghanaian, whose voice finds its way into budget speeches, State of the nation Addresses and various media, encouraging Ghanaians to rise and occupy their rightful place as leaders of black Africa.

I want to be the Ghanaian who pushed the white man out of the way; I want to be the Ghanaian who takes to the streets after he has exhausted the peaceful pathway to change; I want to be the Ghanaian who dreams of a future where my country is progressively blazing the path for others to follow in my wake, the Ghanaian whose intellect and smartness, blazes a trail so hot, the rest of Africa look at the sand under my feet, see this comet and wonder how far in space and time will it take to reach that height.

And that Ghanaian is not the one who goes to Independence square for the fiftieth time to watch a display of outmoded military vehicles displaying to themselves a faded power of force, which we no longer fear. I 6th March not again, certainly not this way again if I can avoid it.

But at this point, that dream is far away, I cringe at the children in my wake, whose debt burden transcends all other generations and who is being told that his/her medium to long term prospects are bright, they can go to sleep, not bother to comment or criticize and wait for “atemuda”.

And if they do so, they will continue to be the old style Ghanaian, not my New Ghanaian, whose description I would love to write before I hand over to another generation; this one of fighters and survivors, not docile faith pushers as we now are.

I am cynical. I can’t see us out of this abyss. Especially after this government came and canted a litany of lies as a State of our Nation. Is it fair that our President must engage our lives for nearly three hours with untruths easily unraveled within twenty-four hours?

Is it fair that after nearly six years of a failure to manage I cannot call for an early election and I cannot move member bills in Parliament? Fair that I do not have free access to information and I cannot reject a bill in Parliament because my voice is a minority and small?

And at this point we are seeing the leading Star of Africa trailing the drool of Africa. The leader of Africa is now led by braggarts, laggers and followers, who never thought for a minute that Ghana could fall so far back. Even Mugabe sef!

So may the feet of the eagles on the crest slip and dislodge the slogan of Freedom and Justice. At 58, the eagle is too old to remain perched and its message has become ananse sem.

Ghana, Aha a ye din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!

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