In May 2012, before I left Ghana for Turkey for my first degree, we (the beneficiaries of the Turkish scholarship) asked the Turkish why wouldn't they sponsor us to rather have our first degrees in Ghana instead of taking us to Turkey. They told us they wanted to train us to be leaders in future with the mindset of the Western worlds and the best way to do that would be to let us live with the Western people and learn their culture and how they manage issues.
They also swore that if Ghana was to have three leaders who reason as the Whites do, we would have been a developed nation by now with our abundant natural resources.
We were furious by their assertions and asked them if they were serious about what they were saying. The said yes!
Just three forward-thinking leaders, they said.
They argued and buttressed their assertions by stating that Ghana has more natural resources than Turkey yet Turkey is far a developed country and Ghana is not. Hence, it is, therefore, the mindset of those who run a country that makes it a developed one and not by a virtue of its resources. It did not take us two months staying in Turkey to conceive their statements.
An ordinary Turkish man on the street is highly honest to the extent that you can intentionally and unintentionally leave your briefcase at any point in time with a million dollar in it outside and still come back for it with your money intact without anybody taking it.
Current happenings in our country have caused me to recall what those Turkish said to us in May 2012.
Indeed we have a chunk of Nation Wreckers who called themselves Politicians in our country; mismanaging our affairs and embezzling our resources.
Until we fish those politicians out of our political space, we would effortlessly and shamelessly continue to borrow from our colonial masters and other Western countries till Thy Kingdom come.
If indeed we are to also continue on this current tangent with these crop of politicians at the helm of our affairs with their methods of politicking, I do not see Ghana becoming a developed country even if we are to make King Solomon the Great our President.
Why am I saying this? Beneath are my reasons.
Do you know that the building that houses England's parliament also known as the House of Commons is over one hundred years old? The building was actually built on 22nd January 1801. The building got gutted by fire in 1840. They demolished it and rebuilt it in-between 1840-1876. Even the final building which was built in 1876 is 143 years old today.
When the need arises for England to expand their parliament to accommodate more legislators, they expanded and extended their very same old parliament in 2008 to its current seats of 650 without building a new one. Remember they did not demolish it to build a new one even though it was over one hundred years old in 2008.
Ironically, Ghana's Parliament was built in 1965 by Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana's Parliament is 54 years today. In 2013 Ghana's Parliament was marginally expanded to its current seats of 275. Today the Majority in Parliament is yearning for a new, bigger chamber to be built with a budget of not more than 200.00 US Dollars.
They claim our Parliament is too small and cannot contain the 450 seats they intend to expand it to and hence there is a need to build a new Parliament House.
At this juncture, I want to compare Ghana’s Parliament to that of England’s for you to better appreciate how some of our parliamentarians have been untruthful to us and taken us for granted for far too long.
1. Ghana’s parliament is more luxurious and much more comfortable than that of England’s yet the English Parliamentarians are not calling for a new parliament house to be built for them
2. Ghana’s Parliament is just 54 years old but that of England is 143 years old yet the English are not calling for a new parliament house to be built for them.
3. Ghana’s Parliament has comfortable desks with swivel chairs but the English Parliament has no desks and their legislators sit on bench-like chairs yet they are not bothered; neither are they yearning for a new Parliament to be built for them.
4. Ghana’s Parliament has more empty spaces with only 275 seats whilst England's parliament has little spaces with 650 seats yet Ghana wants to expand its Parliament and intends to rather build a new Parliament House.
After comparing Ghana’s parliament to that of England’s, common sense would tell you that it is England that needs to be thinking of building a new Parliament House and not Ghana yet stupefyingly, it is rather Ghana that is thinking of building a new Parliament House just because some of our leaders refuse to have the nation at their hearts and also do not want to be candid to themselves. If they did, they would have realised that the idea of a new Parliamentary chamber is a misplaced priority.
If our politicians think there is a need to expand the current chamber, why wouldn’t they rearrange the swivel chairs and the desks in the parliament to accommodate the extra seats they intend to add instead of trying to spend huge sum of money to build a new one?
Go check how nicely the Turkish Parliament is arranged with simple furniture.
Furthermore, Ghana’s economy is nowhere near that of England’s but England who is a super developed nation with a massive buoyant economy, a huge GDP and whose citizens live and enjoy better living conditions and services, as well as good governmental policies, do not see the need to build a new parliament but Ghana whose economy is not buoyant, who is a highly indebted nation and continues to borrow from the Western Worlds to execute its projects, whose GDP is infinitesimal when compare to that of England’s, whose unemployment rate is very high, whose hospitals are not adequately resourced, whose numerous roads are shockingly poor, whose illiteracy rate is high, whose most pupils continue to school under trees, whose citizens are always complaining of living conditions and questioning its government’s policies is rather thinking of building a new parliament house.
Are our parliamentarians and politicians trying to tell us they are wiser and more dignified personalities than our colonial masters or what? This is because our colonial master’s parliament is very old and tiny as compare to ours yet we are rather a yearning for a new parliament whilst they are rather thinking of other pressing issues. I think our politicians who are calling for a new parliament house rather just want to create an avenue to unnecessarily spend the taxpayer’s money because everything clearly shows that we currently don’t need a new parliament house.
It would baffle you to know that Ghana’s parliament house is much more comfortable than most developed nation’s parliaments but astonishingly, Ghana still goes to England and some developed nations to borrow money and aids before it could implement most of its projects. Why wouldn’t those countries try to impose on us same-sex marriages and other things which are alien to our culture and traditions?
At this point, I hope you have realised why England is far developed whilst Ghana is far undeveloped? The reasons are simple. England’s leaders are more proactive, more economically sound, think divergently, have their nation at hearts, protect their country’s coffers and make judicious use of their money.
It is highly about time Ghana stopped taking aids and funds from other countries. If only our leaders are to sit up properly, manage the state’s coffers very well, stop implementing unnecessary projects, think divergently, have the nation at hearts and work selflessly diligent and efficiently, Ghana would also start supporting other underdeveloped countries with lesser resources in our sub-region because she has abundant natural resources to do that. No wonder Barrack Obama once said in Ghana’s Parliament in the summer of 2009 that he one day wants to see Ghana supporting other countries because she has what it takes to do that.
What baffles me is that you would see some intellectuals who are supposed to be criticizing this development rather calling the politician’s idea to build a new parliament house a good and a call in the right direction just because of the infinitesimal gains and favours they get from some of the politicians.
In conclusion, it is high time the electorates began to vote on merits and rather on sentiments, tribalism and favouritism. This is because if a particular politician or a parliamentarian or a political party is underperforming and we vote him/her out, he/she would do his/her homework very well when he/she is in opposition and the next time he/she is voted into power, he/she would never think of repeating the previous mishaps and would begin to have the interest of the electorates and the nation at heart. But if we continue to vote for someone or a political party who is not performing just because he/she is our tribesman or in-laws or whatever sentiment, they would continue to make needless and baseless projects, policies and decisions for us and at our expenses. Long live our motherland Ghana!
The writer is a concerned graduate nurse and a regular columnist.