|Let Freedom and Justice Reign in Ghana!|
I have not blogged in a long time. Recent events have however created enough psychic dissonance for me to write again especially the fiasco surrounding the renaming, unnaming and renaming(a very untidy process obviously) of the Madam Okoh rectangular hockey patch. I must indicate some disclaimers as I make my points on this matter. I am a scholar by profession and vocation.I am not a politician( in truth there is nothing necessarily ignoble about being one ) even though I am deeply interested in power and who(and which groups) wield it and to what ends. I am not a sleight of hand purveyor of public displays of righteous indignation on matters of state in order to endear myself to any group of politicos so tomorrow I will get a post and drive some humongous, pitch black four wheeler bought, fueled and maintained by taxpayers money.To be sure this has been the path plodded by some individuals in government today. I am perfectly satisfied and content with my hard earned resources derived from gritty, back breaking honest labor shorn of the exploitation of my fellow ordinary compatriots.
My interest in inspiring public support for the Accra Metropolitan Authority boss to leave office is born out of my belief that civic Ghana must work again. Any close watcher of events in our Republic would have noticed since 1992 the emergence of the petulant, pompous, arrogant, show boating. swashbuckling politician who does not tolerate critique and is given to acting in a manner aimed at constantly insulting the intelligence of his or her fellow citizens. This breed of politician has fed off the poisonous substrate undergirding a national discourse in which shallow and narrow political interest is the only legal tender. Under these circumstances the supreme national interest has essentially been orphaned and with it the everyday questions of life and survival of ordinary folk.The Madam Okoh Affair is the latest most gruesome reflection of the banality of such a posture.Who then speaks or must speak for the future, welfare and progress of our Republic beyond the self serving confines of usually jaded partisanship? Civic Ghana of course. I draw a clear distinction between civil society(here focusing on NGOs and think-tanks) in Ghana and civic Ghana in this regard. The former has become too smug in its repetitive cycle of proposals- donor funding-research-dissemination-communiques-workshops to be counted upon to deal frontally and viscerally with the concrete conditions of Ghanaians( of course they have played a useful role thus far). Civic Ghana implies the exercise of active citizenship(all citizens rich and poor, educated or not) propped by vigilance and the national interest in ensuring that the public good is protected and pursued by especially officers of state. The point here is to give meaning to the I992 constitution when it asserts that the sovereignty of our Republic lies with her citizens and that public officials elected or otherwise serve at our sufferance.
Civic Ghana has a long tradition in our country. One recalls here the incomparable John Mensah Sarbah without whom Mr. Vanderpuye will not have had the land to stand on to dream let alone effect a name change.Mrs Okoh herself belongs to that tradition of selfless devotion to the Republic not for personal pecuniary gain.Public-spiritedness, decency and the common good has inspired such national heroes and heroines . These were the noble ideals upon which our Republic was founded and which animated the genius of some of her greatest minds some of whom walked the streets of Accra. Civic Ghana has made it self heard loud and clear over the Madam Okoh Affair. It is clear the AMA boss has pushed his shtick too far. His one man orchestra is sounding malevolently discordant. History offers the president of our Republic a rare opportunity to restore confidence, hope and trust in our public officers and institutions. Mr. Vanderpuye's continued presence will constitute an insult to Ghanaians and the failure of the chief of state to exercise presidential power in the interest of the public good. Accra needs a new leader who will be dreaming and building a new Accra and not raising the blood pressure of a senior citizen whose only crime was to have served her country with distinction in designing the national flag and promoting hockey as a sport.
I have lived in Accra since I was four years old. I learnt the Ga language at the feet of unforgettable Ga teachers as a toddler. I have lived in virtually every part of Accra on the compass. I have lived in some of its most exclusive neighbourhoods and played in some of its grimiest. The smell of Accra lives in my nostrils. The taste of her kelewele is locked on my palate. The sound of Wolomeii bangs in my ears and the magic of kpanglogo dancers always lifts my spirit. I feel Accra in my very bones.Today our number one city exposes our shame to the world. It does not bespeak the greatness, the rich history and the confounding possibilities that beckon. Accra must rise out of the ashes, proud and self confident and shine again as the heart beat of the great continent of Africa. Can we not build for ourselves an Accra of green, verdant parks, bicycle lanes,reliable, comfortable public transport, public libraries brimming with books, decent housing and hospitals for all; an Accra where all citizens of Ghana can play, live, work and die in peace? Is Mr. Vanderpuye the man who can inspire us to march towards this constructable Nirvana?? Over to you Mr. President. Civic Ghana and history is watching.