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ON GHANA, I REFUSE TO BE GAGGED

Thu, Jun 16, 2016

Thoughts of a Native Child

BY J E SOLOMON

IT always seems to me like a dream to imagine that Ghana my motherland, the country that once was the beacon of hope for Africa’s emancipation from foreign economic domination has today been plunged deeply into the inescapable claws of the very economic powers it was breaking away from after independence.

The country has had to repeatedly go to the World Bank and donor nations for help in the hope of extricating itself from economic woes, borne out of gross mismanagement.  All because of successive poor governance since the first military takeover.  A general reckless attitude, and corruption in high offices have become endemic and seemingly out of control. The whole governmental machinery today has become the personal enterprise of a few selfish, greedy, insensitive and clueless bunch.

 
Interestingly, some of the key players that were once the monarchs of a previous administration, and who now find themselves marginalized, are out there openly chastising the present administration for its incompetence.  They never saw their own faults.

 
There’re some of my folks who think, erroneously though, that because I now live in a foreign land I’ve chosen to be critical of my own country.  That’s NOT true. I’ve been critical of poor governance and negative attitudes very evident among the generality of Ghanaians from way back in the eighties. Things have gotten far worse and there seems to be no end to the rot going on.  And so, for as long as the insanity that has bedeviled my motherland goes on, I will continue to rant and rave.  I refuse to be gagged.

 
When you’ve lived all your life in the country of your birth, and you get to a point where you have to go down on your knees in desperation and ask God to find a way for you “to get out of this mess” (your own country) and you end up in another country with your family, you can be more than certain that God, indeed, made it happen.

 

In 1992, my five-month pregnant wife was miscarrying and I rushed her to the Ridge Hospital in Accra. She was in great pains. With all the blood dripping down between her legs and despite her screams, she was refused attention at the hospital and asked to go to Korle Bu Hospital because there was no doctor and no bed to put her in.  There was no ambulance. I was to take her to Korle Bu by whatever means. Korle Bu at the time was terrible. It would’ve been a disaster and she would most likely have been gone. Thank God for a private gynecologist less than a mile away. We headed straight to his residence/clinic. It was a holiday, July 1st. Luckily Dr. Karikari was home at the time and he went to work on my wife with the utmost urgency, and single-handed, too. We lost the unborn baby boy, but thank God I didn’t lose my beloved wife.

 
In 1994, again at the Ridge Hospital, pregnant women in labor were abandoned by nurses and staff on duty who chose to watch a FIFA U-17 soccer match involving the juvenile national soccer team, the Black Starlets, on TV. Meanwhile, desperate laboring women were crying for help. Only one compassionate nurse stayed to handle cases. That was when we had our son. Thank God for His mercies. What has become of us as a people? Where lies our humanity?

 

I need not go into other painful experiences but, verily, I must have walked difficult paths and came face to face with heart-rending challenges in my life in Ghana more than those who tend to trash me and call me names. Maybe they’re fortunate to have had, and still are having things very easy in Ghana unlike most people. As such they’re NOT as angry as some Ghanaians currently are. Or, perhaps not as angry as Jerry John Rawlings was when he dared to confront the corrupt military leadership of the country in May of 1979.

 

In April of 2012, a cousin of mine, who personally drove to a popular clinic at Osu, in Accra, for colonoscopy was pronounced dead on the table 45 minutes after arriving for the procedure. No one is held accountable. People needing urgent medical care would be rushed to hospitals in Ghana only to be turned away because of lack of beds and all kinds of excuses. Eventually they die. My own brother was one. A friend of mine took her seriously ill mother to an Accra hospital and they were directed to another hospital that also sent them to another. Her mother died on their way.   Such stories are many and yet there seems to be no answer to the deplorable state of affairs in the country.

 

Frustration and desperation have combined to make life very tough for many. The social and moral lives of the people have sunk so low and the insanity has permeated every aspect you wonder whether people really have conscience.  Armed robbery has escalated and strangely, women are even used as players in such heinous crimes. Our ports are a disgrace to our image. While power supply had been outrageous for years, electricity tariff currently has hit all-time high. It’s said to be higher even than housing rents in many cases.

 
Too many people are dying as a result of a failed healthcare system and perennial disasters for which the government can’t find answers. Meanwhile, our leaders continue to walk with pride and arrogance because “they’re enjoying life” and nothing else matters to them.  May God almighty have mercy on the suffering majority of my people.

 

 

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