In the past year I’ve had to use this proverb as my whatsapp and facebook status twice. In both instances,I did not mention any names. The proverb was quoted without reference to any issue or person. However, I got some friends who called me to say they thought I was insulting the president. Well, today i’m admitting that it was in reference to the president. I still maintain though, that i do not find it insulting in anyway.
President Mahama is a fine gentleman. Allegations of the number of children he has fathered probably bears witness to his ”niceness”. He came into office with a lot of goodwill. Young people identified with him and the old saw him as the continuation figure of a man i think remains the best canonized president we’ve had in this country ; Prof Mills.
About a week ago, I listened to Ade Coker ascribe the NDC’s loss to the gullibility of Ghanaians. That was a confirmation for me of what i had always suspected. All through the presidency of Mr. Mahama, I had always felt that he had very little respect for Ghanaians. Not the aboa-kwasia kind of disrespect, but the kind of disrespect that causes a person to actually place you below your actual level of attained self-consciousness and expectation.
Growing up and getting involved in leadership, one of the things you’d often hear people say is that in leadership, once you satisfy the basic needs of the people, you can ”chop” as much as you want and the people won’t care. Be it True or False, the crucial question is exactly what it means to satisfy the basic needs/expectations of a people. I think President Mahama bought too deep into this philosophy but failed in recognizing exactly what the basic needs, aspirations and expectations of his people were.
Abraham Maslow draws a beautiful pyramid in which he theorizes the needs of man and presents it in a schematic format portraying a progression to the next level upon attainment of the previous. According to Maslow, every human being first seeks to satisfy physiological needs such as food and water. Once obtained, the satisfied man moves to a higher need and now seeks shelter and protection. When a man has a place to securely lay his head, he begins to search for love, belonging and association. Then one progresses to think of and seek SELF ESTEEM, RESPECT AND SIGNIFICANCE. This pushes people to the point of hoping to feel self actualized.
President Mahama miscalculated and disrespected Ghanaians by downgrading us to the second tier. In his estimate, Ghanaians wouldn’t be bothered about diplomatic and serious governance issues. Ghanaians wouldn’t care much about issues of the judiciary(Muntie 3). Ghanaians wouldn’t care about the GITMO two. Ghanaians wouldn’t care about interest rates. Ghanaians wouldn’t care about Woyome, GYEEDA, SADA, AMERI etc. Ghanaians wouldn’t care about GDP and all the big arish arish arish grammar Nana Addo and Dr Bawumia spoke. He doubted Ghanaians would see through the sudden ”end” of dumsor and the politically ‘astute’ decision of commissioning multiple projects close to elections. He presumed all we needed were roads; public toilets; boreholes; school buildings when teacher trainee allowances had been cancelled; hospital walls when nursing trainee allowances had been cancelled and the country battled a huge doctor to patient ratio; and beautiful pictures of interchanges adorned with coloured christmas lights.
In his estimate, once he provided these, he had bribed us enough to push himself through the gate called beautiful. But of course, Ghanaians have proven him wrong. Very often you would hear very educated sympathizers of his government openly say these things. They would ask if you really think that the ordinary Ghanaian whose road has been constructed would care about Woyome or Muntie 3. They’d laugh and ask why you’d think the Ghanaian that has seen the new public toilet would care about the president’s tribal comments or about the president’s brother getting fingered in a 54million dollar Merchant bank deal. That was sad. They took pride in openly declaring their disrespect for the ordinary Ghanaian. They would often remind us that Dumsor was only a thing for city dwellers who weren’t really their target population for votes. ”we know where we get our votes from and in those places, voters neither care about dumsor nor Bawumia’s GDP/GNP PhD lectures”.
Well, the ordinary Ghanaian is no more ordinary: We’ve all been wizened. We are beyond that. We care about our dignity. We care about our intelligence. We want to be respected. We want to be treated with seriousness. We don’t want to see people we consider either of equal or even possibly lower intelligence tell us cock and bull wanzam government propaganda versions of issues which only required common sense to interpret. We are no more the hungry 1957 nation. We are no more the homeless 1983 Ghana must go nation. We have moved up the ladder. We demand respect and an appreciation of our sense of awareness and consciousness This is where President Mahama went wrong. He disrespected us.
But we stilI wish him well. If for nothing at all, he has been the agent through which the ‘ordinary’ Ghanaian has made known his progression to ‘not-ordinariness’.
And oh, sorry about your time, Kofi Boakye writes long things .