Dark Days in Ghana

Osagyefo,

A year from today will mark half a century since that imperialist orchestrated event took place. You left Ghana for Hanoi on the 21st of February 1966, never to return again. They struck while you were away on a peace mission. On a peace mission. Imagine that.

Exactly 49 years ago today, the train that was on its way to the total liberation and full development of Ghana (and Africa, at large) was derailed. I mention Africa because you have always been of a very strong conviction that the hope, aspirations and destinies of all the people of Africa are innately intertwined. For that, some criticized and accused you and your work. They say you were too preoccupied with the continent that you lost sight of the development to be undertaken in Ghana.  I ask them to show what all subsequent governments – who have been oh-so-concerned with Ghana’s development- have done in comparison to what you achieved in eight short years?

Speaking of your achievements, institutions, industries and all, it will devastate you to know what is left today. Some have been ignored to rot, others mismanaged and pillaged into nonexistence. We still benefit, even today, from what’s remaining.

The Akosombo Dam is one of such infrastructures that continues to pump life for the country, some 50-odd years later. But the problem, Osagyefo, is that Ghana’s population has swelled to five times what the population was at the time you led the dam’s construction. Our leaders are apathetic about how the nation has outstripped the capacity of the dam. As a result, Ghana has daily experienced an energy crisis over the last six months. We now call it Dumsor. But you predicted it back in ’68 from lessons learned firsthand with our people. Seems not much has changed.

These leaders are so unlike you. Visionless vultures. It’s heartwrenching, Osagyefo, to witness how disconnected political leaders are from the concerns of citizens, how easily amnesia sets in after we transfer power from our thumbs into their hands. What does it mean to serve? I remember Mr. K.B. Asante telling us at an event about how you eventually made the weekends a part of your working days – you and all the ministers. In true leadership style, he says, you set the precedent. We’ve lost that now.

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Today, our government does nothing but insult our intelligence. Ministers of State mock and disrespect us, blatantly and constantly, all the while, looting taxpayer money and participating in the glad rape of our resources.

Times are rough, Osagyefo. So rough that some of our own people have expressed a desire to return to colonial rule. Preposterous, right? It only goes to show how shambolic things have gotten. They blame you for our current state of affairs, for making the colonizers “leave way too early.” That’s a laugh considering they never left and colonization is still alive, well and rejuvenated. It’s shameful and saddening how these puppets perpetuate the ridiculous assertion that we are incapable of governing ourselves.

What hasn’t been done to taint your image? Just a few weeks ago, it happened again. The political elite making unfounded claims, publishing letters, determined to win sympathy by playing victim and attempting to distort history. You were called “heartless” and a “dictator.” I  laugh and say “it’s only a fool who will make a dog bite them, when they have a stick in hand.”

It all seems so distressing, but don’t you worry, Osagyefo. There are some of us who seek a different understanding and existence. Thank you for documenting your experiences. It has helped immensely. We are heartened by the fact that they didn’t succeed in burning all your writings.

We will try, until the death of us, to represent what you stood for. The struggle for the realization of your dream is also our dream. It echoes from a chamber deep within – a united Africa, liberated through it’s own totality – and rid of exploitative profit practices. Rest assured, your sacrifices shall not be in vain.

In solidarity,

Moshood Balogun

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