What does it take to fix an economy?

Why on earth will a pupil teacher pose the above question to his class? Eh? Sure it was a difficult one which they were always bound to get wrong. As it turned out, none of the over-exuberant students attempted an answer immediately. Dead silence.

Wait a minute. A hand just went up somewhere in the corner of the room. Rising warily from his seat, all the young chap could mutter was “super glue” – a popular adhesive. Suddenly, there was burst of laughter and applause.

The teacher looked on rather stunned. “How is that an answer?” he seemed to ask himself. Well, who would fault the courageous boy? Of course it doesn’t take superglue to fix a broken economy, but that’s the sort of answers you get when you ask the wrong people the right questions.

What it takes to fix an economy? Definitely not empty promises. No. Not judgement debts, not corruption which we seem to have had an overdose of. Let me be charitable here. The economy is too broad. Let’s look at various sectors and issues: sanitation, transport, energy, health, education and, lest I forget, corruption. I got you, right?

Honestly, which of these sectors are we proud of as Ghanaians? “Everything make ‘basaa’ and ‘nyamaa,’” one trader lamented while hawking her wares near Agbogbloshie in the Central Business District. You don’t expect me to translate “nyamaa” and “basaa”, do you?

It is not uncommon every morning to find people muscling out each other to join a rickety “trotro”. In most cases it’s a fierce battle. No consideration is given to the elderly, pregnant women or even children. Most people, clever enough, do not struggle to enter through the door, they use the window. No wahala!

After the fierce battle is the long-winding and tiring vehicular jam. It’s really stressful. You see, if you are not fortunate, you could be delayed by a scuffle between a passenger and a “trotro mate” over a few pesewas worth of change in the heat of the jam.

Who condemned us to this life and what did we do wrong to suffer such condemnation? The modern means of transport, the subways, the Rapid Bus Transits, trams, etc: are they really above us, eh?

A fortnight ago we celebrated our 57th independence and my oh my! It was a reality check for us. The rains or showers, whichever you prefer, exposed our 57 years of celebrating mediocrity. I agree we have made some achievements, but are they worth celebrating?

While Ghanaians consider electricity as a privilege, somewhere outside Ghana one politician is busy convincing investors to come put up businesses here. Ghana, they say, is the gateway to Africa and best place to do business in the sub-region.

Who are they deceiving? Recently, Abraaj Group, owners of Fan Milk, said they will cut investment in the country due to our unstable electricity supply. I am sure many companies may have taken a similar stance, albeit quietly.

How long has this “dum-sor, dum-sor” being with us? We elect people, pay them and what they do is explain what the problem is or blame others for causing the problems. A year or two to elections, money exchanges hands with the electorate and the cycle is revisited.

Our current political leadership has failed us bitterly. I don’t care what any bootlicker thinks or what the heck the previous administration did wrong. In any case, it is for the other side’s wrongs that this government was elected to give better leadership.

There’s no clear leadership, yet government officials would not let us have any of that. Need I blame them? No, that’s where they have their bread buttered. I think as media men we have also played a part in creating this mess. We always indulge in generalisation of problems. A spade is not a big spoon. We should be bold and hold politicians accountable when they go wrong.

After 57 years, you can see people openly defecating in gutters and streams — in fact any pool of water, whether stagnant or flowing. Sachet water bags are flying everywhere, buildings collapsing at will yet the government has the effrontery to blame previous regimes for these problems, oh yeah?

Running a country is not like managing a tabletop shop. That’s why people like me did not put ourselves up for election. We left it for people who are supposed to be competent and able to solve problems. It’s high time people put partisanship aside and be firm.

Every time my car bumps into a pothole just after driving past a toll booth, or my taps go dry for no reason, or my power is taken unannounced, I begin to curse this government. What do they get paid for? To sit on radio or go holidaying in Dubai and tell us to patronise locally manufactured goods? Tweeaa!

You see, one way we can make the system work is to make the leadership part of it. Ironic, right?  Why should they have access to generators when the whole country is plunged into darkness? Hell no! Wards and kids of government officials must be enrolled in government-run schools, not private ones.

Also, they should be made to sign up onto the National Health Insurance Scheme. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. We don’t need charlatans who would profit from the malfunctioning of the system.

And oh, despite all these, I think the call for a citizen uprising is clearly misplaced. If the current leadership is not good, we have to wait till 2016 to show them the exit. However, if in 2016 the electorate are compromised or they feel otherwise and go in for a government that turns out to be a scam, then we may have to wait till 2020. That’s democracy; forget about what’s happening in Ukraine: pure lawlessness.

While we wait to go to the polls, we can only demand from government what is rightfully ours: electricity, water, good roads, a better transport and health system. I am not asking for too much, am I?

If the economy is broke, fix it; of course, not with super glue!

I’m out!