BY J E SOLOMON
On Sunday, March 6, 2016, Ghana celebrated her 59th Independence Day anniversary and a very embarrassing thing happened. It was, without doubt, a national day of shame. Something as ordinary as a brochure that was made for the occasion and distributed among invited guests, had the visiting Kenyan president mentioned as the President of the Republic of Ghana in the brochure. Unbelievable. Yes, that happened. As if that wasn’t enough, there was also another glaring mistake. Instead of “Coat-of-Arms” in a heading, “Coat of Arm” was conspicuously displayed at the top of one page. The Information Services Department was responsible for the brochure.
It’s been a few days since and I still can’t bring myself up to imagine how such mistakes could have passed through undetected before the brochure was finally presented at the ceremony and handed to both local and foreign dignitaries. Dear reader, perhaps you might be asking the question everyone is asking; that is, “Didn’t anyone bother to check the final print of the brochure, at least, a day or two before the event to ensure that everything was okay?”
The only scenario currently running through my mind tells me that, the printing of the brochure was contracted to an unqualified individual with connections to those in charge of affairs. That person designed and worked on the brochure in the privacy of his living room while sipping his favorite alcoholic drink, perhaps whisky, vodka or local gin. Maybe this might not be exactly the case, but other than that happening, I can’t figure out how a document of national importance could’ve been handled in the way it was handled.
There’s an Akan proverb that says, “S3 y3kasa kyir3wo, na wo se wo’ntie a, daakyi wo de wo tu ‘bin bekor abonten.” That’s to say, “If you refuse to listen to good advice, you will one day go out publicly with your own poop in your back side.” That’s exactly what the Mahama administration did on Sunday, March 6, 2016.
Here’s a government that has been ignoring useful advice and criticisms from well-meaning Ghanaians. The administration’s attitude towards such critics sometimes makes one to believe that the government is very insensitive to the needs of the people. “Y3ntie obiaa,” (we’re not listening to anybody) had been their catchword.
The words are part of the lyrics of Daddy Lumba’s hit song – “Y3 Nea Woho B3to Wo”. Today, the “we won’t listen to anybody” mentality has finally paid off in an ignominiously big way, a harvest of a kind. In the wake of such a shameful blunder, president Mahama simply laughed. It’s been said many a time that, “As you so, so shall you reap.” Some of us have no tears to shed for President John D. Mahama for this unpardonable gaff. It’s a vivid reflection of his administration’s incompetence.
This was one independence anniversary some Ghanaians had suggested the NDC government should NOT spend money to celebrate. Some patriotic Ghanaians had wanted President John Mahama to follow the example of Tanzanian President John Magufuli who cancelled ceremonial observation of Tanzania’s 54th independence that should have been celebrated on December 9, last year.
Postponing a 59th anniversary and assuring the nation of perhaps a much welcome 60th Independence Day celebration next year would have been a good move. The money that would have been saved could be used to provide school desks and other needed logistics for many of our public schools that are without desks.
This is a failed government that’s refusing to admit its incompetence. The problems that faced Ghana before Mahama’s ascension to the presidency had been compounded under his rule and he’s obviously clueless as to how to deal with them. For instance, in the wake of a flood disaster in Accra in 2014, he announced the setting out of flood prevention plans and assured the nation that such floods would “not happen again.” That was on June 5, 2014. He had made a similar promise in January of 2013 at a sod-cutting ceremony to start Accra’s Flood Management Project.
Last year, 2015, sad to recall, the worse flood disaster caused an explosion at a gas station in Accra that reportedly left over 200 dead. Meanwhile those responsible for keeping the citizens safe from such disasters still have their jobs. What reasons would they have to shake themselves out of their ineptitude?
The Independence Day gaff can’t in any way be corrected. It now belongs to history. The big question is, will the Mahama administration ever listen to well-meaning criticisms from Ghanaians who are NOT members or sympathizers of his ruling NDC party? Or it will be the same old attitude …. “Y3ntie obiaa?”