Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Governments hands off?

The founder of ICGC has proposed that his church will be starting a model city in the country. His reason was that since the government has not taken it upon itself to do so, they as private (or should I say as a non-governmental organisation/charity) will take the lead. This is good news.

Well I have just a few comments (as usual to make). The thing is, in Africa , every individual is his/her own government. By this I mean that as a person,

• you have to provide your own water,
• in most places your own electricity generator ( or if you are lucky- you buy your electricity poles to connect your power)
• hire private security personnel
• or in some cases contribute with your neighbours construct roads, as well as provide street lights.

The list is endless, and for years, for inexplicable reasons we have accepted it as part of daily life in Accra and beyond. This is all good, as we take on our roles as responsible citizens, except that by doing so we are in effect making government weak. It is like body muscles of sorts, through exercise it becomes stronger and the muscles build up. What we need to do is to ensure that government takes on its roles and plays its parts responsibly. That is what our taxes are for! Please do not ask me how to do this, I don’t ! I wish I knew! Maybe by voting governments out as we did recently could be one way to go about it.

The concept of model city works well if only the general populace also sees some development. It is not wise for the well off to barricade themselves into a whole city and pray that things will go on well inside and outside. It would be like the proverbial ostrich hiding its head in the sand, soon and very soon the real world would catch up with it.

A real example is India. India has a lot of these model cities. Though some are religious most are industrial in nature. The December terrorist attack in Mumbai woke up the elite (who live and work in these model towns) across India. Whilst privately India is a technological giant its government machinery is not so efficient. Software companies in India provide top class internet security worldwide but its police force is still way behind it terms of development. (2 police officers were caught on camera trying to stop the free shooting terrorists by sharing a single AK 47 between them). The elite/well educated/middle class/religious (whatever you choose to call it) in India have left government and running of the country to a certain class of people to run their country. The result is that the country is moving forward, but a whole lot more are being left behind.

Societies/towns/cities are not independent of their countries no matter how much they separate themselves from it.

The solution though very difficult, is for those who can, to work hard to change the status quo for the majority. The easy part is to throw our hands up and give up, saying Ghana is never going to be any good. By giving up we give chance to those no ‘’gooders’’ to continue their inefficiencies.

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