Yes, it is true we are suffering!

ghana-flag1It was a Friday. The date was July 4, 1969. It was 8:15 AM: and the venue was the Kade Local Authority (LA) Primary School. We were made to stand in straight lines according to sections. There were four sections: red, blue, yellow and green. My section was blue. A teacher whose name I have forgotten came to inspect our school uniforms, finger nails and teeth; and those who were found unkempt were punished.

A tune of a song for us to march to our classrooms was given; and we started singing:

We are marching to our classes
We are marching to our classes
We are marching to our classes
And no more return
And no more return

So, we marched joyously into our classrooms. I was in class three. Many years later when I grew up I wondered why such a song of “no return” was allowed to be sang by school children. Interestingly, some of my mates “returned no more” – they died at tender ages. And there was a particular case I vividly recollect. One of my classmates died from a nasty sore on his ankle!

Every evening, with the help of four strong boys my friend’s legs and hands would be firmly held to resist any slightest movement, then his mother would treat his sore with steaming boiling water. The excruciating pain my mate went through was indescribable. So, my friend had a plan. He decided to play a hide and seek game with his mother when it was time to treat his sore. In some instances he slept outside home. And for several days his mother didn’t get the opportunity to treat his sore. Sadly, the sore got infected and he died. Albeit the treatment was very painful, he would have survived if he had endured the pain.

This true story brings me back to the present state of our nation and steps being taken to address some of our challenges. Not too long ago, on June 3, precisely, over a hundred and fifty lives were lost as a result of flooding and a fire outbreak. This necessitated the demolition of Sodom and Gomorrah, a slum in Accra. Most of the affected persons in the demolishing exercise are our brothers and sisters from the northern part of the country, and in order to ameliorate the situation, government decided to transport volunteers back to their hometowns. Hundreds of victims bought into the idea, and were transported freely to their various destinations. Each of them was given GHC200 as pocket money.

Additionally, each of them was going to be given a MASLOC loan to start a business of his or her choice at their hometown. Kikikikiki, some interesting things happened during the “exodus”. Do you want to know? Don’t worry I will tell you. When buses carrying our friends to the north got to Nsawam, some people told the driver to stop for them to urinate. The driver obliged, but chai, the people vanished into thin air and came back to Accra with their GHC200 pocket money!

As much as some people think it was not “humane” for the people to be forcibly ejected, I feel otherwise – I think it was a bold and decisive decision. A life-saving intervention for that matter. Sodom and Gomorrah is a flood-prone area, and it is possible for the over 10,000 residents to be washed away in case of a continuous torrential rain. In this case, I would prefer that my relative or loved one is forcibly ejected to losing him or her forever.

Aah! What is this? Fuel price-increase again? Does government think of the poor people of Ghana at all?

These were some of the statements I heard from some people. But is it true that President Mahama and his government are insensitive? What will they benefit if Ghanaians suffer? Are they happy with the names calling and insults? No, I don’t think so. And I don’t think President Mahama would like to be a one-term president. I believe he would like to do things that will make Ghanaians comfortable and happy for him to be retained in 2016; but like every great and visionary leader, President Mahama wants to lay a solid foundation that will move the country to the next level. He could have decided to reduce the number of infrastructure development going on, and use the funds to increase salary of workers, subsidize fuel prices, shore up the cedi, etc., and people would have applauded him.

And as much as such policies could have given the people of this country some temporary respite, there is no way our beloved country could develop. Positive change calls for tough measures, and these come with uncomfortable biting policies. And as with the case of my deceased classmate, it is better to endure temporary discomfort than suffering perpetually.

To borrow the words of the 32nd president of the US, Franklin Roosevelt: “only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.” Yes, it is true that we are suffering as a people, but it must happen so that we enjoy later. We must die to resurrect. We must sow in tears and reap in joy! A maize seed must die and rot before it can germinate to give us corn for us to enjoy our banku. I have faith in the system; and I believe soon, and very soon we shall reap the good benefits of the policies of the young man from Bole.


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