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Feature Article of Thursday, 28 February 2013

Columnist: Pele, Abuga

Building Ghana - calling for all.

There is only one Ghana on this earth belonging to Ghanaians. This constitutes the only reference point for all people who describe themselves as Ghanaians. Therefore, the very substance of our existence and being begins and ends with this part of our world.

If there is any meaning of sentimental description of love for country, Ghanaians must love Ghana and act to preserve, defend and develop Ghana. All developed countries trace their success story to a generation that paid the price with hard work and patriotism to lay the foundation on which the successes were built.

More often than not, as a country, we have allowed our political leanings to eat into our responsibilities towards the country that has given as all that we have.

It has become the norm that when one party is in power, the other in opposition must do everything within it means to ensure that the one in power fails to deliver to brighten their own chances of winning the next elections. Instead of focusing on developing the country after elections, we rather begin to strategize on how to win the next elections.

Is Ghana all about election?

For how long are we going to place our party’s success ahead of our country’s development?

For how long are we going to form alliance against our country and look forward to a miraculous turn of our living standards? I have come to the point of realization that the winner takes all kind of politics we are doing in this country is serving as the hindrance to us achieving the much anticipated development. As a people, we must get to the point where person with good ideas on how to develop this nations are involved in the governance process irrespective of their political affiliation.

The fact that the NDC’s program for the country was chosen ahead of the NPP does not imply that all the NPP strategies is not going to be helpful in our quest to develop.

If we have come to accept democracy, then we must learn vividly how it works in the countries we are learning from.

We cannot pride ourselves with just the fact we are able to hold a more transparent and violent free elections when in actual fact we spend everyday trying to make the nation ungovernable by the government in power. Democracy is meant to bring development and not impede effort to make a nation better.

If democracy is all about free and fair elections and freedom of expression, then I am tempted to believe that is not the best system for us.

Democracy is also about the citizenry involvement in the governance process and not leaving government to do it all alone.

Whereas accusing fingers are always pointed at the government in power when things are not going well, search shows that the contribution of the citizenry contributes over 60% to the development of every nation.

It is a fact that any country that has a deep political polarity like in our case always straggles to meet their development agenda.

Despite falling short of the MDGs, despite failing to give our people portable water, despite failing to give majority of our people decent jobs, we direct 80% of our effort at achieving our political goals and give a paltry 20 to the whole nation. My fellow countrymen, we can’t afford to shirk our responsibility towards this country in the name of our political paltry.

The situation might not have been this bad if the mainstream politicians were left to grapple with this kind of “madness” alone, unfortunately, a greater percentage of the electorate have hopped on to it.

Today, we have born and breaded Ghanaians, who deliberately increase the prices of their goods to make the government unpopular and also to create the impression that the government is not sensitive to the plight of the people. From food items to automobile spares parts, there are unreasonable price hikes all in the name of politics.

In the name of bringing a party in opposition to power; we stifle our fellow countrymen, make life extremely unbearable for them all for our political expediency.

NDC and NPP can not put bread and butter on the table of all Ghanaians single handedly; Ghanaians also have a role to play. But where are we headed to when the very people government works for corrupt the system?

When Civil and public servants are influenced by their political affiliation and work in the interest of their party at the expense of the state, nothing works. For how long would government take the blame for our inefficient, yet highly paid technical men whose lackadaisical approach to work deprive the people consistent flow of quality water and consistent supply of electricity. For how long would the NPP and NDC pay the price for persons who deliberately deprive the nation of its deserving portion of social amenities?

I am obliged to believe it is deliberate because this same “incompetent” technical people work efficiently when they are engaged by private organizations.

The current electricity and water problem is a clear example. Whereas the technical men of ECG, VRA and GWSC are hardly mentioned, not a single day passes without government being on the receiving en of criticism.

Aside politics, another canker eating into the fiber of our very existence is tribalism. After co-existing for over 500 years, how long is it going to take us to identify strength of every tribe and plug them to the benefit of all Ghanaians. Tribes and ethnic groups should be seen as mini countries coming together to form Mother Ghana. As a country, we have a responsibility to identify the strength and weakness of all tribes, make moves to derive the maximum benefit from each tribe’s strength and together work towards reducing to the lowest minimum, the vulnerability of each tribe. Ghana is Ghana because of the diversity of our culture and tribal differences. In the olden days when formal education was actually a luxury and not a necessity as it is today, our forefathers who we usually presume to be barbaric forsaw the essence of intra tribal integration and Ashante Region for instance endorsed inter marriage between Ashates and Northerners. Today, there are many from the northern sector who have adopted the Ashante Region as their home and coexist peacefully with the Ashanti’s. Why then should tribalism be an issue in 21st century Ghana? Everyday, I see the sense of patriotism and pride of Ghanaians waning. The joy of being a Ghanaian has steadily declined to a record low since the collapse of the Republic under Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. For the very first time in my life, I saw a section of Ghanaian jubilating because the Black Stars failed to qualify for the finals of the African cup of Nations. Their school of thought was that, the government was going to take credit for the success. Hardly did these people think of how it was going to help Ghana. Why? Because Ghana is not loved as she used to be. Ghana has become the victim of our “dirty” politics and “barbaric’ tribal discrimination. It is also a fact that, successive government with the exception of Dr. kwame Nkrumah’s have failed to make conscious effort to implement programs and initiatives that reignites the sense of patriotism and pride for being a Ghanaian. Gone are the days when everyone was obliged to stand in an attention position just by hearing the national anthem being played. When the Red Yellow and Green with the Black Star was the symbol of all Ghanaians and not the flags of political parties. With this trend, our generation stands the risk of being labeled the worst generation in the history of this country. We inherited an independent nation from the blood and toil of our forefathers, we inherited a better education system that actually imparted knowledge and not only prepare students for examination, and we had adequate supply of water and electricity. My question is what have we added to what we inherited from our Colonial masters and the First Republic. what are we leaving behind for our children and grand children? As it said, a good father always endeavors to make his children better than he is. Can the same be said of us?

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Hon. Abuga Pele MP, Chiana-Paga Constituency

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