“There shall be a President of the Republic of Ghana who shall be the Head of State and Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces….The President shall take precedence over all other persons in Ghana, and in descending order, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice, shall take precedence over all other persons in Ghana….The President shall not, while in office as President, be personally liable to any civil or criminal proceedings in court”.
— 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana”
“Ghana was the first place in sub-Saharan Africa where Europeans arrived to trade – first in gold, later in slaves.It was also the first black African nation in the region to achieve independence from a colonial power, in this instance Britain. Despite being rich in mineral resources, and endowed with good education system and efficient civil service, Ghana fell victim to corruption and mismanagement soon after independence in 1957”
After sixty years of independence, there appears not to be a single state institution which is functioning as it should be. The sad truth is that all the institutions left behind by our colonial masters which were working well at the time they left have all fallen into disuse. Worst still, the ones we created for ourselves by ourselves since independence have also gone down the drain. The state institutions which have the semblance of life in them are doing so because they are driven by the force and mechanism of the global village, the axiom being that either we keep up with the world outside or we sink. Let us take a cursory look at the situation confronting us now.
The railway network which was functioning pretty well at the time of independence have completely disappeared despite more than three attempts to resuscitate it by past post-independence governments. The railway lines have become victim of criminal activities of either scrap dealers or galamsey operators while railway lands have been taken over by the selfish and unpatriotic powerful and rich in society with the active connivance of the corrupt people at the Lands Commission or greedy traditional rulers. We have to create a special ministry for railways to kid ourselves that we can revive the network once again. I chuckled when I read Sydney Casely-Hayford’s article in the DAILY GUIDE on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, page 20 titled: “Zooming In”. He appeared to look like a village champion eyeing a village queen with all the appetite of romantic dalliance he could muster.
The ports and harbours, the betrothed cousins of the railway networks at birth, are working today, far below the effectiveness and efficiency levels known in Singapore or Rotterdam. They function like a sleep walker luckily not by our own making but because they are driven by the force and mechanism of the global village. Since as a modern state, we cannot do without the ports and harbours, we must find some means to keep them going even though they provide massive avenue for corruption for all the people who are lucky to be connected with them.
The management of the postal system failed to anticipate the onset of information technology and today must hope to seek salvation under the almighty consolidated fund to survive. Today, DHL a postal agency, has been transformed into a mighty successful multinational with supply chain as its core business. The efficient public service left behind by our colonial masters have today become the avenue for personal aggrandizement and the looting of the national resources by the educated elite, people who were educated at great cost to the state and expense of the poor cocoa farmer and mines worker.
Today state cars are stolen shamelessly, the registration numbers fraudulently changed with the connivance of DVLA workers. State lands purchased on a silver platter or stolen have registered papers falsified by the people at the Lands Registry once the criminals involved get to know that the law is after them. In societies which have made it like Singapore, state lands are auctioned publicly after public advertisement and not sold under the table to the powerful and well-connected in society as it is done here.
The Ghana Airways and the Black Star Line we created for ourselves after independence were all destroyed by our own diabolical, evil and satanic ingenuity, driven by greed which characterise everything in our national lives.
The democracy which was handed down to us by our colonial masters was dismantled at the first whistle after independence when the new black masters forcefully decided to introduce one party state and socialist ideology. Today our democracy is wobbling on one leg like Long John Silver of Treasure Island fame. Criminals who waited for the sun to set and pick arms to destroy the democratic system we tried to nurture, vagabonds who introduced violence into our society and created avenues for themselves, their families and cronies to loot and share the nation’s resources among themselves have the impunity and audacity to mount political platforms and preach probity, accountability and integrity to us while we give then space and hearing.
Today, we have given ourselves a constitution which not only grants immunity from prosecution to criminals but also allow more avowed potential criminals to assume the position of the Head of State and Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, take precedence over all other persons in Ghana, and worst still make it impossible to hold them personally liable to any civil or criminal proceedings in court while in office.
Our course has been that of failed leadership, corruption and mismanagement driven by greed perpetrated by the educated elite who find themselves in entrusted positions and power. Our situation is simply summed up by Lee Kwan Yew, the late venerable leader of Singapore when he visited Africa.
“I was not optimistic about Africa. They (Ghana and Nigeria) were the brightest hopes of Africa, the first two to get their independence, Ghana in 1957, followed shortly by Nigeria. Three days after we arrived in Accra, we were told by our hosts that there had been a bloody coup in Lagos. Prime Minster Abubakar had been assassinated and so had Chief Festus.
“Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s President did not rejoice at the news. He himself had had a narrow escape about two years before, just before I visited him in January 1964. By 1966, Osagyefo (Redeemer), as Nkrumah was called, had recovered enough of his bounce to give me dinner with some of his senior ministers and a bright young vice-chancellor of his university. This man, Abraham, was only about 30 years old, had taken a First in Classics at Oxford and was a fellow of All Souls’ College. Nkrumah was very proud of him. I was impressed, but wondered why a country so dependent on agriculture should have its brightest and best do Classics – Latin and Greek.
“One month later (after the coup in Nigeria), on 24 February, as Nkrumah was being welcomed with a 21-gun salute in Beijing, China, an army coup took place in Accra. People danced in the streets as the army leaders arrested leading members of Nkrumah’s government.
My fears for the people of Ghana were not misplaced. Notwithstanding their rich cocoa plantations, gold mines, and High Volta dam, which could generate enormous amounts of power, Ghana’s economy sank into disrepair and has not recovered the early promise it held out at independence in 1957.
“The news I read saddened me. I never visited Ghana again.”
Source: Kwame Gyasi/[email protected]/Daily Guide