Hurray! Our timidity has been cured

BY: Doreen Hammond
Doreen Hammond, author
Doreen Hammond, author

One character trait of the Ghanaian that has been known for ages is calmness even in the heat of extreme provocation.

The Ghanaian is known to remain calm on issues where some of our neighbours are known to have gone to war.

Worst case scenario, the Ghanaian will put the matter at stake in the hands of a supreme being, a phenomenon which has become known as the ‘Fama Nyame’ syndrome.

So, for example, a Ghanaian could wake up as early as 4am to join a queue in a hospital to see a specialist and while in the queue, would see some other patients jumping the queue. All he or she will do is to frown, sigh and still be in an imaginary queue even if he becomes the last to leave.

In a school where the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is more interested in monetary matters and keeps bringing up new levies to fleece parents, the typical Ghanaian will only be heard complaining in whispers and will even go and take a loan to pay the levies even if he is not seeing justification for paying.

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In church, whatever comes from the pastor is sacrosanct, even if deep within the member knows that whatever payments are being demanded are to enrich the pastor.
The average politician, being aware of the nature of the Ghanaian, has over the years taken advantage to manipulate the Ghanaian to his advantage. Promises after promises are made which are never fulfilled and then another set of promises come up in the next elections.

If we were to have a quarter of such promises fulfilled, Ghana would not be littered with pothole-riddled roads, inefficient railway systems and even no beds in hospitals and schools under trees.

Our politicians fight tooth and nail during elections just to win. And we see the kind of money they display just to win elections saying they want to serve us.

There is this story of a politician who won an election in India to serve people in his district. After that, he was hardly seen in the district and the people had their hopes for development dashed. Well, after he had served the term, it was time for another election for new leaders.

This man went boldly in a convoy to the district with body guards hoping to present the same promises he had given previously to win their trust.

The people had been waiting for him in fury, but he had no idea. As soon as he stepped out of his vehicle, the beatings that engulfed him was the usual for a common thief! He was in shock!

I will never advocate this kind of behaviour here in Ghana because I believe in the rule of law. But there is still a lot to learn in the Indian scenario.

It just means that we should be able to hold our elected leaders to their words! There is definitely the need for accountability and it cannot be business as usual.

Thankfully, recent events indicate that the Ghanaian is turning over a new leaf and is no longer the docile type that we used to see.

Could this be a response to the President’s call to us to be citizens and not spectators? All of a sudden, there seems to be a new zest with people speaking their minds, insisting on their rights and damning the consequences.

Just by speaking their minds and holding on tight to their belief, policies have been changed.

The case of the fishermen and the ban on fishing readily comes to mind even if the policy was meant to help them in the long term. The public outcry in the case of the woman who was beaten by a policeman in the Midland Savings and Loans Limited, forcing the police to take swift action against their own is another example.

And then also is the case of the recent reactions to the ‘so-called’ re-negotiated Ameri deal which is believed to have caused a minister his office and has also resulted in the whole process being nullified.

The use of social media and the proliferation of Frequency Modulation (FM) stations have been helpful in these fights.

Yet there is still a long way to go. We need to continuously fight and speak on issues relating to our welfare and development as a nation. If we do not fight for ourselves, nobody will do so for us.

As Asebu Amenfi’s song encourages us to do: “Kane wu, Nsemfo ye hi”.