A Covid-19 patient receiving treatment at the Ga East Hospital

One of the most frequently quoted passages in the Bible is Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. I am certain King Solomon meant that the mass of the people (the led) perish when those we make the mistake of electing into leadership positions have no vision.  

I have said this, and I will repeat: even a Junior High School (JHS) student will deliver roads, clinics, schools and toilets if they become President. What it takes is money, and the IMF and World Bank will give tonnes of it.

The IMF and World Bank, however, cannot get you what money cannot buy, and as has become evident since 1966, money has not bought us leaders. 

It takes a leader to stop mass deaths from mosquitoes year after year; in Africa, we invest in the medicine for malaria rather than preventing its outbreak. We’ve lost the ability to communicate health messages to the people – outside of pandemics.

The mass of our people in the market, on trotro and taxis are genuinely surprised that anybody should be arrested for littering or selling cooked food near a stinking public toilet. Ask the Multimedia news team.

Even when it comes to anti-malaria, we’ve convinced ourselves to accept only the imported ones recommended by WHO, not what our national Centres for Plant Medicine produce, like Nibima discovered by Ghanaian researchers at Akwapim whose efficacy has been proven in local and external laboratories. Our scientists can do so much; getting the products accepted, even locally, goes beyond science: it takes government facilitation.

See where leaderlessness is taking our Covid-19 case count. Neither Akufo Addo nor John Mahama was leader enough to insist on nose masking and social distancing during the just ended political campaigns. Then a month after winning the election, Akufo Addo comes on national TV to blame the people for the increase in case count!

The result is the open rejection of his message. For the first time since March 2020, ordinary Ghanaians do not fear to be seen on TV and heard on the radio saying no to face masking and social distancing. Their reason “Nobody told us to social distance and wear a mask at the political rallies”. So now police must cow them into obedience with arrests.

In this, Akufo Addo failed as a leader. The President’s first nationwide broadcast should have been a confession and an apology instead of berating Ghanaians for breaking Covid protocols. His Sunday, January 17 broadcast amounted to telling us to do as he says not as he does.

Readers, do you insist we have leaders in Ghana? Go to Graphic Road in Accra, the part leading from the newspaper’s print house up all the way to Cocobod (to the right) and all the way nearly hitting the Kingsway Junction (if you remember Kingsway!). All that area is now a market where goods, including foodstuff, fruits and vegetables, are displayed on the ground! 

Our ancestors counselled that the best image of death is sleep. Go to the area between James Town and Lavender Hill. It is the fastest developing slum in West Africa. This is how Agbogbloshie Market and Sodom and Gomorrah got their origins? Because our “leaders” looked on, afraid of votes.

You know why these developments have left us without solutions? Simple: there are no examples of them in books produced by Western Europe and North America – for our “leaders” to copy and paste.

Anthropologist-author Margaret Mead was right. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world,” she said. Anybody born in Ghana (Africa) knows this is a truism.

In the early 1960s Kwame Nkrumah banned the sale of cooked (including fried) food in the streets if it was not displayed in glass or any dust and flies-protective cabinets.  

In building Tema, Nkrumah gave them a central sewage system, rendering cesspit emptiers unnecessary. Busia’s policy to take it to the national level was cut short by the 1972 coup.

Within living memory, Paul Kegame has transformed Kigali from the world’s dirtiest to Africa’s cleanest city. It has nothing to do with strong-arm measures or totalitarianism. It has everything to do who is the leader. 

In the 21st century, the most hollow political promises came from the lips of Prof Atta Mills (promising a clean Ghana in his first 100 days), and Akufo Addo’s “I’ll make Accra the cleanest city in Africa”.

As far back as 1961, Prempeh College was producing gas for use in science laboratories from human waste via digesters.

The answer is at the CSIR Institute of Industrial Research. They have technology that ensures zero waste. If in doubt, call the Director, Dr Boateng Agyenim, on 0202698369. Brilliant scientist!

Harry Truman said, “In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still”.