Feature Article of Thursday, 7 March 2013
Columnist: Essuman, Kow A.
This year, I made up my mind that I was not going to write any blog, post, article, note or whatever you may call sharing one’s thoughts on an issue, regarding Ghana’s 56th independence anniversary. My reason was that the posts, articles and blogs, etc on Ghana’s independence anniversary have always had the same themes. Even the ones criticizing Ghana have the same themes. And they all have the same quotes (“the Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up to the total liberation of the African continent,” “the black man is capable of handling his own affairs”) and shower praises on Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, most of which he honestly deserves. I even wrote one of such articles titled “The Independence Of Ghana Is Still Meaningless Unless …” in 2010 when Ghana celebrated its 53rd independence anniversary and upon reading a copy, which was posted on GhanaWeb, I find that the content is still relevant today as it was 3 years ago when I wrote it.
Anyway, I changed my mind about writing or perhaps, I should admit that my mind would simply not allow me not to write. It decided to wander and proposed to me: “why don’t you compare Ghana to a living being? Compare Ghana to a human being who is 56 years old. Consider that perspective.” So I will; and I want you to join me in doing so. Ghana is 56 years today and if it was a hard working human being, he will be nearing his pension unless Ghana is an entrepreneur, business man, etc but unfortunately, he is not. Since his birth on 6 March 1957, Ghana has had its troubles in life just like all other human beings. It encountered some ups and downs, and finally in 1992 took the decision to take up a job in the Office of Constitutionalism and Democracy (the “OCD”).
Ghana has been working at the OCD for the past 21 years and will soon be retiring in 4 years. Ghana has about 25 million children and like every responsible father, he is required to ensure that all his children are taken care. What is interesting is that Ghana’s 25 million children love him so dearly and are prepared to die for him. I happen to be one of such proud children. However, as a child, I looked up to my father for direction in life and to be quite honest the direction in which my father is heading is worrying. I am about 20 something years old now and would soon be taking care of my father so I have cause to worry about my father’s direction.
We happen to be in an ICT age where we spend almost all our time on computers and other electronic gadgets. Computers and electronic gadgets are powered by electricity. In 2013, and in my father’s 56th year, he has been unable to provide his children with constant electricity supply to power our gadgets and to ensure that those of us with businesses can contribute to the family wealth; and also to be competitive on the global stage. Instead, our father has been lying to us through his messengers, or his messengers have been lying to us. Either way we are always being lied to. We call our father’s messenger, the president.
In the last 21 years since our father joined the OCD, we have been experiencing irregular electricity supply and every year his messenger comes and tells us that the problem will be solved. As for our father’s current messenger, I think he has a degree in “Lyingcology” because he is so good at telling lies. At the time he was applying for the job of messenger, we were experiencing erratic power cuts so we asked him about it and he told us that it would be over by 15 November 2012. Today is 6 March 2013 and we are experiencing even worse power cuts.
When some of us complain about our father’s inability to provide us with constant electricity to be able to compete with the rest of the world, some of my brothers and sisters say we should not complain because providing our basic needs is irrelevant to judging how successful our father has been. In addition to failing to provide us with constant electricity supply, our father has decided to ration the so-called clean water we have been enjoying. And even the water that we are supposed to be rationing as my father’s children is not even clean. Last Saturday, my sister called me and said, “The water that daddy sent to us is coffee water”. She explained that the water flowing through her taps was as brown as coffee. There is also a shortage of gas and fuel prices have gone up by 20%. My siblings and I are suffering and my father’s messenger does not care because we, my father’s hard working siblings, are paying for him, the messenger, to enjoy these basic amenities.
A couple of weeks ago, we had our annual family meeting (state of the nation address), at which we expected our father to address some of these issues but instead, he sent his messenger who painted an “all is well picture”. Our father cannot deny the fact that he did not know of these issues because I expressed my concerns to him and so did many of my siblings.
I know God has blessed my father richly and he should be making so much money from his blessings but some of my selfish siblings and his messengers continue to give out my father’s money to his supposed business partners. Not so recently, we discovered oil in my father’s backyard and we thought to ourselves, another family property we can keep in the family and use to take care of our younger siblings. But our father decided to give the proceeds of the oil away; and he, his messengers and some selfish siblings of ours are enjoying the proceeds to the detriment of the rest of us and without any regard to the future.
Nonetheless, we, as our father’s children, would have to take care of him when he goes on retirement but where is the money to look after him? He has spent all of his resources and borrowed more in the last 4 years than he has ever borrowed since he was born. I am told that each of my siblings would have to contribute at least GH¢1,500 to pay off our father’s debt. About 3 weeks ago, I stumbled upon a letter from a credit agency named Fitch Ratings and the letter stated that my father’s credit outlook had been downgraded from stable to negative.
There is also a huge family dispute over who gets to be my father’s messenger for the next four years. The family is seriously split and I am quite surprised that we are not fighting. My father is trying to sort out the differences between these two factions and I hope he does so fairly, justly and quickly.
At 56 years, I expect my father to have more assets and fewer liabilities. He should be preparing to retire so that we can look after him. His life should not begin at age 56, but instead, at least at age 36 when he started working with OCD. When my father hits age 60, we should see his pension and returns on his pension flowing into his bank accounts for us to enjoy. Then we can celebrate his 60th birthday in grand style and I can proudly say, “There goes my dad, Ghana”. Until then, there is nothing to celebrate about because Ghana has failed us, his children.
By Kow A. Essuman, Esq.
LL.B. Hons (Westminster), PgDip (BPP), LL.M. (Cornell)
Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln’s Inn)(England and Wales)
Attorney and Counselor-at-Law (New York)
Barrister & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana
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