In the past week, I’ve read ‘A Man of the People’ by Chinua Achebe twice. The dominant theme in that work of art in my thinking, is the indifference of citizens toward political activity and the development of their country. The unflinching and unquestioning support some citizens give to politicians is also called into question.
This is not a review of the book but an essay to raise some questions. Questions inspired by the aforementioned book and the unceasing and unrelenting posture of Manasseh Azure Awuni.
Tune in to almost every radio station in the morning and you will be greeted by an incessant flow of complains. Mostly, about the acts and inacts of our leaders.
Almost no action ensues after the chatty conversations.
But a few who set out to ensure that the complains don’t remain as such like
Manasseh Azure Awuni encounter a strong defence of ignorant, and fearful personnel in our public institutions while undertaken their investigations.
Manasseh has been writting incessantly about certain contracts signed between our local authorities(MMDAs) and the Jospong Group of companies – the specific subsidiary being Zoomlion.
In his write ups he makes clear numerous defects in the contracts.
One being the fact that Zoomlion receives 500 cedis from the government as the salary of each of its employees but pays a meager 100 cedis to our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers who sweep our streets everyday.
Meaning the company keeps the remaining 400 cedis.
As a result Zoomlion gains 18million cedis every month, Manasseh indicates.
He describes the contracts as ‘stupiddest’. I think they are cruel and parochial.
You will ask, where does the ordinary civil servant comes in?
According to Manasseh what has stalled the investigation and prosecution is that ‘The Local Government Ministry and the District Assemblies’ Common Fund Secretariat are withholding vital information and documents from the Police CID and the Attorney General.’
He recounts numerous times when government employees at the local authorities have been instructed not to talk to him in his bid to uncover the rot in the said contracts.
I guess some of these civil servants are genuinely fearful of losing their jobs if they disagree with the powers that be.
Or is it ‘Primitive loyalty’ as Achebe puts it?
I wonder who loses when a vital document which can help prosecute a plunderer is hid by the one whose house has been plundered?
You might say that the analogy is flawed because the items stolen are the sole properties of the owner and not the state’s, so the owner will muster courage to pursue the properties.
But that is where we get it all wrong as a people. This posture of the citizenry towards public properties and services is clearly one pertinent reason why our advancement has been wobbling.
What will be amiss if we safeguard public property as we would ours?
President Akufo-Addo rode on the back of the ills of the past administration to assent to the Jubilee House. Promises were rife as to how fast prosecution of corrupt officials were going to be.
Nana, how are those promises going to materialise if your own people are blocking the path to justice and you are
enblodening them by endorsing Mr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, who in any serious country would be under investigation?
Lest I forget, the Deputy Minority leader in Parliament says he doesn’t trust the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Did he trust them when the NDC government pleaded for help from the IMF in 2015?
Or is it because the incumbent is receiving pleasant appraisals from the IMF for how they are managing the economy?
If the MP for Ketu North, says he can’t feel the strides made by the present government in his pocket, how much more us commoners?
I don’t blame any shrewd -streetwise- politician or business man for our woes.
Our susceptibility to some less skillful tricks of these elites make some of us feel pains akin to a woman in labour.
Let’s refuse to be used! Too many Esaus are in the land!
Kofi Boateng(Ghana Institute of Journalism)