Any Koko for Baba? Keeping SDGs in mind
If you are well to do or you are perceived as such due to the way you dress or the kind of car you drive, you probably have been showered with accolades and requests, such as, boosu (boss), “anything for the boy?
We have those who mount road blocks and pretend to be filling pot-holes only to solicit for alms from drivers.
At peak traffic hours, on busy roads and intersections in the city, poor people, the disable and street children remind rich people and anyone with a beautiful car that they are hungry.
The inequality and the sorry state of the poor and the underprivileged in society have always been there with us.
It is the reason why those seeking the mandate to govern have the brazeness to talk, because there is much to be done.
The question that has been used for the heading of this article are words that greeted me a couple of days ago. It came from an old man I met while walking on an untarred road one hot afternoon.
The question, “any koko for baba?” shook me to the core when I heard the old man’s voice after he had greeted me politely with a smile initially. He did not look like a beggar.
I patted my pocket to indicate that I had nothing in there, while still walking away. I felt bad, as I turned to look at the old man from a distance, with a walking stick in hand, that hot afternoon.
“Koko for baba” is the latest phrase I have heard from those soliciting for arms for food. But there and then, it struck me the kind of hardship some are going through in the country.
I did not know where this old man with the stick was going to, who he was or what kind of family he belonged to. But one thing I was certain of was that he was hungry.
The last words he uttered before I walked away were “Just one cedi my son.” The “koko for baba” request is what has stuck with me till now and an indication of how many people are being left behind, as the minority few keep enjoying three square meals a day because they are the only ones that can afford it.
There will always be poor people in society as our individual abilities and advantages in life cannot guarantee all of us equal outcome of personal achievements.
But the system of government that we practice can give us a guidance on how to manage inequality between the privileged and under privileged in our society, so that everyone is brought on board as citizens with certain rights and dignities.
Democracy places principle of majority over everything. There is no way democracy should bring an outcome where the democratic dividend goes to the minority of the people and leaves vast majorities behind. After all, it is the majority that gives the mandate to whoever manages the affairs of the state.
While certain countries are competing for how many billionaires they have in their population, it seems we are rather expanding the number of poor people we have within our population. Not only increasing the numbers, but also improving the quality of the poverty status. This is not democracy.
Leave none behind
The youth or boys need something, at least noko fioo (something small – Ga) for the pocket and the stomach. Some “koko for baba” too is not too much to ask, as far as we have government in place.
The situation in the country now tells a lot. Vast majority of Ghanaians are being left behind in a race as important and natural as placing a food on one’s table.
We are part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encapsulated in the key words: “No one should be left behind.”
The writer is with the Institute of Current Affairs and Diplomacy