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Edwinology's Lab: When Zoomlion sweeps the streets, they are simply sweeping the wrong place

There has always been a rattling feeling whenever E-Lab hears of a new plan to tackle poverty. For it always felt like abattoirs planning to tackle the problem of slaughtering.

It will take some time for a collective understanding that poverty is not a problem for what we see is always temporal. The unseen is permanent.

No country has solved the problem of poverty by not first solving the problem of greed. If poverty is visible in the streets, it is always because greed is invisible in the office.

When E-Lab sees Zoomlion sweep the streets. He just shakes his head. They are sweeping the wrong place. For the reason why the city is dirty is that the cleaners sweep the wrong place.

Take this problem of galamsey. It is not a problem of poverty. It is really a problem of greed. For the man who dug out some stones of gold got enough capital for honest business. But his greed won't let him.

A woman can make a case of seduction once. If she makes it 10 times, she was not seduced. She induced herself to be seduced.

The easier statistic to collect is the level of poverty. But the most useful statistic to collect is the statistic of the greedy for without it, the poverty stats are useless.

Just look at this statistics. Jesus asked which is easier to do; Heal the sick or forgive sins? We must ask, which is easier? To reduce poverty among 8.6million Ghanains or remove greed among 86 plutocrats? 

Jesus may have felt it was easier to heal the sick but harder to forgive sins because not everybody is sick but everybody has sinned. 

So for E-Lab, all the poverty reduction programmes gave us facts, looked at the facts and still lied.

We have had several national conversations about how to attract competent private persons into the public service by agreeing to pay handsome pay packages.

It made sense at first hearing but after passing through the Lab, there was the good delight in knowing this is false.

If we pay the competent so much more for the promise of making us comfortable, we have bribed them not to accept a bribe.

Chesterton would say we have put silver spoons in their mouths so we don't find silver spoons in their pockets.

No poor country got rich by paying high wages for public servants. They first got high morals before high wages.

Take teachers and education for example. For years, they poured themselves into us because it is the most inspiring thing to do. But they no longer do because the inspired grew up and despised their work. So teachers now want more.

Our greed killed their selflessness so much that heaven is no longer a good compensation. This is why education is presently expensive. School fees have gone up because the poor want to escape poverty. 

Tuition is up because schools are important. But it is actually because it is important that is why tuition ought to go down.

Some say this is populist. And after saying this, will pick Uber to pay 6cedis for a taxi trip which otherwise can cost him 60 cedis. If transportation is important to everybody it must not be costly.

Someone will say this view is socialist, and then immediately afterwards apply to Finland for a tuition-free Masters in Petroleum Engineering.

So this is the problem we face in this country. It is greed not need. 

It is easy to send Operation Vanguard to galamsey sites but if we send Operation Vanguard to offices, there will be no need to put boots in muddy waters. The menace won't exist.

If you lump the SSNIT and galamsey saga together, then you can conclude, the pensioner in the SSNIT saga, is being saved from drinking polluted water so he could pollute his pillow with tears.

It is easy to condemn as bad, a good shot at the culprits by a firing range. But it is hard to condemn the slow death of pensioners because of this mismanagement. And it is because when this pensioner dies poor nobody sees it to condemn it.

We condemn what we see. But what is most condemnable is what we do not see. It is the same for hawkers. We chase them because we see them.

All the fine arguments to clear off hawkers from the streets has had the strange effect of being unconvincing. All the fine prints of the regulations they breach never appeared clear enough even under a microscope.

For whenever the hawkers stepped on an illegal space, it suddenly looked legal. 

All the harassment they face sounds very much like a man angry that his neighbour dirtied his white carpet while trying to escape robbers.

For the hawker walks the streets with his hands up like a suspect as he carries his wares. If a hawker knows it is illegal to sell in the streets but still dares to sell, he must be told to carry on for his faith has made him whole.

But if a CEO knows it is illegal to mismanage 72m dollars and still dares to do so, he must be given an opportunity to hang on the cross next to Jesus and hope to hear the words, 'today you shall be with me in paradise'.

So this is the problem we face in this country. It is greed not need.