Getting Ghana out of a treadmill race

I love auto-(bio)-graphies, because it therein that l understand the gaps in life – the gaps between birth and death. For it is in those gaps that the issues of life are located. It is there that we encounter reality.

Today, May 15 2022, I enjoyed watching a recorded version of a biographical-sketch interview Lawyer George Loh granted to Citi TV.

Even though l don’t know him personally, he once served the North Dayi Constituency as the Member of Parliament (MP).

Given that my “twin brother” Kofi Semanu Atsu Adzei from Anfoega is a member of Loh’s constituency, l heard quite a lot about this former MP.

From his narrative and life’s trajectories, l am convinced that giving simplistic answers to Ghana’s complex issues is a deservice to God and Man.

Clearly, the issues confronting and fixing Ghana are complex and would require us to overreach ourselves beyond the charade of partisan interest to get our country out of an unfortunate treadmill race.

Let us understand that if Ghana needs fixing, it is human beings who constitute Ghana. So, we need individual and group fixing to reshape Ghana – an abstract entity.

At a point in our post-independence history,, the military thought they could fix Ghana with a military antics.

But overtime and with overbearing difficulties, they called for a collective efforts at fixing the country – this led to the infamous Unigov or “Nkabom Aban” of Ignatius Kuru Acheampong.

The outcome of that is recorded in our history books and stacked in the minds of the older generation, some of whom dread Ghana’s treadmill race.

The idea of Ghana is a geographic space. But more so, it is a socio-philosophical construct, made up people with competing interests. Ghana is also known because of creative symbols and its people. It takes people, not symbols, to build Ghana.

Impliedly, to fix Ghana’s challenges, we need to identify the competing interests that are entangled in politics, religion, ethnicity, and gender issues.

When we do that, we should be able to fix the country. But if we play to the gallery by pretending a few groups of people should fix the country, l am afraid, we would keep sweating in a treadmill race.

We all have a duty to Ghana. Some of us, in the performance of our duties, would be known and celebrated. Others would be unknown angels, whose contributions would be known by God.

Nevertheless, we all have a duty to Ghana. Our country has come quite far. We have made successes, but there is still more to be done to break free from the treadmill race.

We should not unreasonably overtask ourselves with comparisons, especially with the west. Let us also refrain from rushing to offer simplistic answers that are hardly carried through.

Certainly, as nations of the world, we share similar aspirations in overcoming universal human challenges.

However, the approaches we adopt to solve our common challenges to support human flourishing are not universally shared.

Some nations are better at both managing and international looting – an intermeshing of history and contemporary. Others are poor managers and unwise petty thieves.

Either way, as a people, let us resolve to fix the country together. Let us see Ghana as a constituency of agentic human beings.

As agentic human beings, we cannot pretend that only politicians can solve our problems. Undoubtedly, they are in positions of authority. So, more is required of them.

The truth, however, is that politicians can only do something, but not everything to appease all of us. Anytime l reflect on Ayi Kwei Armah’s “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born”, l wonder whether the Beautyful one would ever be born.

Even so, with a nuanced pessimistic view about any utopian leadership, l sincerely think we can be the Beautyful Ones as individuals in our own corner – a part of Ghana.

This implies that we should minimize the collectivism, though, we need collectivism to advance.

But sadly, we usually hide behind collectivism to absolve ourselves of individual and personal responsibility.

For example, in the fight against corruption, the usual refrain is that, “Ghanaians are corrupt”. The paradox herein this statement is that the accuser is a Ghanaian who thinks he is incorrupt.

Looking outward for the perceived or real corrupt politician, we become angels of the light. We go ahead and do things our own ways – some of which are counterproductive.

As a young man with a deep-seated concern for my country, l always want to go personal with moral issues, including corruption.

This is because, l support the sagacious view of the late Ghanaian professor of Philosophy, Kwame Gyekye, that corruption is a moral challenge.

As a moral challenge, l believe we have to personalise the fight against corruption. So, moving away from the simplistic chorus answer that, “Ghanaians are corrupt,” why don’t we rather ask: “Am l corrupt?”

Given that we all see corruption as the greatest threat to Ghana’s development, once we fight corruption as individuals and groups, l believe we can significantly liberate ourselves from the treadmill race.

The above implies that we should hold leadership accountable, even as we hold ourselves accountable.

In the end, Ghana is made up of human beings who have agency.

God help us to fix the country together.


Charles Prempeh

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