Ghana: Let’s collectively build our nation

ep-ghana_flagSINCE 6th March, 1957 when Ghana attained inde­pendence, successive gov­ernments have initiated policies and programmes to ensure eco­nomic prosperity, development.

Apart from the building and pro­vision of basic social amenities and infrastructure like water, electricity, roads, housing, schools, hospitals, and markets, the promotion of the welfare of the citizenry has been a major con­cern of every government.

Undoubtedly, since the era of Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, many development plans have been rolled out by the various governments to improve the living conditions of the people.

Notwithstanding these, Ghana, after 58 years of self-rule, has not attained the desired development and progress, and, is still in search of more proactive ways of tackling the deficit.

Indeed, many are those who wonder why the country is unable to eliminate poverty, disease, ignorance, illiteracy and unemployment, in the face of enormous rich human and natural resources, but the causes are not far-fetched.

Basically, we have to place the blame at the door steps of successive governments and leaders, who have in­variably ‘signed’ a social contract with the citizenry to govern, by ensuring law and order, development and the effective management and equitable distribution of the nation’s resources.

.Indeed, omissions and commis­sions on the part of the country’s leadership at various levels have con­tributed to the state of affairs – wrong decisions or policies, and the inability to implement decisions or policies efficiently and effectively.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President under the Convention People’s Party (CPP), immediately ini­tiated measures, the famous of them, the seven-year development plan, to provide infrastructure and amenities.

Sadly, after the overthrow of Dr Nkrumah and the CPP by the National Liberation Council led by General Akwesi Amankwa Afrifa and General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka, the plan was abandoned.

Since then, successive govern­ments, due to their political stance, have discontinued projects of their predecessors, and instead initiated new ones, at times to the detriment of the people. At times they do not consider the social or economic significance of projects, but the political benefits.

It is difficult for a nation to develop without good governance. It is, there­fore, significant for the ruling gov­ernment and the opposition to work together to promote the rule of law, good governance and development. While the opposition is expected to keep the government on its toes by offering constructive criticism, the government needs to accept advice in good faith, and not consider its critics as enemies.

After all, though political parties have different ideologies, programmes and prescriptions on how to administer the country, they all ultimately seek one goal – to attain national devel­opment.

Additionally, mismanagement and embezzlement of funds by public servants and politicians have hindered Ghana’s development, thereby causing a drain on the national purse.

The country’s culture of mainte­nance is nothing to boast about as peo­ple do not care about state property and huge sums of money are channeled into the rehabilitation of government schools and hospitals, offices, and infrastructure, such as roads.

The citizenry cannot be exonerat­ed from blame when it comes to the country’s socio-economic and political problems and development challenges. Though government has the onerous task of ensuring national development, it behooves the citizenry to be alive to their civic responsibilities to help push the national development agenda forward.

No matter the type of government and human and natural resources a country might have, it cannot develop without the loyalty of the citizenry to the state, as the state expects unstinted allegiance from its citizens.

There is the need for all citizens to promote peace and progress by willingly and habitually obeying the laws of Ghana, especially when it is operating a democratic government. But some citizens are violating laws with impunity. For instance, illegal mining, known in the local parlance as ‘galamsey”, appears to be a legalized economic activity in Ghana.

The administration of a country involves a certain amount of expen­diture, Ghana not an exception. These expenses cannot be met without rais­ing taxes. While some people think that not all economically variable people have been captured by the tax net, some evade taxes with impunity, denying government of the expected revenue for development.

This stems from the fact that some people are not public-spirited and seek their self-interest and are not ready to contribute to the welfare of society.

Vote is a sacred trust in the hands of the citizen, which should always be used judiciously but unfortunately, some people allow politicians to in­fluence them with money and gifts for votes, which can result in the election of incompetent ineffective leaders.

A country‘s progress also depends on the degree to which the citizens lend a hand of co-operation to public officials in the discharge of their du­ties. However, some Ghanaians are not ready to assist in eradicating evil and crime from society.

The police, for example, have time and again, complained of the lack of support and vital information from the public to enable them to maintain law and order and protect human life and property.

Every able-bodied citizen should work and try to add something to the social fund as idlers are a parasites on the society. Work brings in wealth and prosperity to the country. This is the very reason government should take concrete steps to solve the unem­ployment problem, especially among the youth

More importantly, it is the duty of a good citizen to resist injustice from any quarter. If the government is un­just, it may also be resisted.

Indeed, we need patriotic men an women to build the nation The Brit­ish colonial administration exploited the people of Ghana and made them highly dependent on them. It took the efforts and bravery of a few citizens, led by ‘the big six’ – Nkrumah, Obetse­bi Lamptey, William Ofori Atta, Ako Adjei, J. B Danquah, to liberate the country from foreign domination

Aside, the poor time management of Ghanaians cannot be overlooked, especially regarding public workers. Some workers go to work late or absent themselves from duty without permission because there are no strict measures to check these lapses. The lack of team work is another problem affecting the country.

Corruption, has since indepen­dence been a major set-back to na­tional development. Many people misconstrue corruption to mean illegal acquisition of wealth or money thereby thinking that only a few people are involved in the canker. But though it is difficult to quantify those practicing corruption, more people are involved in it than it is thought. In fact corrup­tion includes any abuse of a position of trust to gain an unfair advantage.

This includes both corrupting someone else and being corrupted. Major stakeholders in Ghana are corrupt, and for instance expect to benefit from almost every service or project that is supposed to be towards development and general welfare of the people.

The time has come for us as a nation to enforce laws to prevent corruption and to empower the courts to seize and order the sale of assets of public servants and politicians who would be convicted for white collar crimes and those who steal public funds—to enable the state to recover stolen monies.

Again, the practice by which Gha­naian superiors give unfair preferential treatment to one person or group of people over another is also a serious factor.

Managers or chief executives of organizations or companies some­times employ their family members or friends who do not qualify for a position to occupy vacancies in their companies, and because these people are mostly ignorant of their positions, they contribute nothing to the devel­opment of these companies, which goes a long way to retard the national development.

There are so many uncompleted projects in Ghana because of the changes in governments and it is important for every new government to complete the projects started by its predecessors.

Nation building is not an essay task and it would require the collabo­ration of all and sundry – individuals, groups, particularly civil society orga­nizations, and government, to ensure national development.

By Rev. Dr. Elias Kweku Asiama

l Ghana flag

No matter the type of government, human and natural resources a country might have, it cannot develop without the loyalty of the citizenry to the state, as the state expects unstinted allegiance from its citizens.

The writer is a Lecturer, School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana

By Rev. Dr. Elias Kweku Asiama

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