In the wake of the hotly contested 2012 Elections in Ghana, we have heard both of the leading candidates make endless promises to build our education, health, economic, agricultural resources, oil and energy sectors. It seems Ghanaians are not the only ones with a stake in their affairs or success. International Media has given us some massive publicity as well as many of West African neighbours watching closely the state of affairs. To say the least, this spell of political promises is nothing short of “customary” in Ghanaian election season (an African election trailer). As the political intellect, awareness and sensitivity of the people is on the ascendancy, many important questions have been put on the table of debate by the general masses, most often, hinging on the feasibility of promised projects. “Where is the money going to come from?”, “Show us a plan”, “How much is it?”, “What is it going to do?”, “When should we expect the project to be completed?”, “Who gets the money/reaps the benefits” are question and statements flooding airwaves and media. When the silent begin to speak, you know that, we, as a people, are wide awake.
After many grueling years post-independence, we have heard a countless many times, promises of a better Ghana and have watched them prove empty or go awry quite as fast as the first time they were proclaimed. But again, our people are asking questions. Our people are weighing their options. The youth are taking stances. They are blogging about statements presidential candidates made and tweeting opinions. They are verifying with the facts. We, as a people are wide awake.
From ReportingGhanaPresidency.com to GhanaDecides; from The New Ghana facebook to Dust Magazine’s Politik; from the residences of Universities to the offices of the IEA; from Ghana News Agency opinion polls to MyjoyOnline. Ghanaians are asking questions, and valid questions as such. Ghanaians are challenging politicians to show us the evidence. Ghanaians are looking for solutions. We are searching for an equitable distribution of wealth from the North and South. We are searching for sustainable policies that will manage our oil, energy and agricultural resources in the West and East. We are searching for an education system that will nurture the intelligent brains of our young children, continue to foster the intermingling of different ethnicities that perhaps spurs the miscegenation we see in society (both racially and ethnically), and also, propel them to truly embrace an Afro-centric world view that is very informed about the global stakes at large. We are seeking health structures that thoroughly have the well-being of an individual at heart, are neither short-sighted nor long-sighted, but far-sighted and visionary, and build capacity and efficiency amongst local doctors and other health workers. We, as a people, are wide awake.
The awakening of a people signals many promises and dangers. When people wake up, they refuse to sit on the fence any more. When people wake up, they recognize that they do themselves a disservice and their children a disservice by not speaking up. This could mean that governments are held accountable and with the public gaze monitoring political activities perhaps, a better distribution of wealth and employment of resources. It also elicits more of the support of the international community, what with the democratization of information through social media.
On the other hand, the awakening of a people could also mean an uprising fueled by incensed citizens who refuse to be shortchanged for all their country’s worth and wealth. It could also mean finger-pointing exacerbating ethnic tensions, religious wars and divides between affluent and poor, elite and illiterate, employed and unemployed, immigrant and citizen. It could mean the youth uprising, be it through social networks and media, like they did in Libya or Egypt, or simply starting a conversation on their blogs, at the dinner table, in the classroom or conference hall. We, as a people, are wide awake.
We cannot overstate enough the wonderful prospects of Ghana’s future. The Black Star was meant to rise again. In Africa, revolutions always ripple across the continent. It does not matter if it starts in Addis Ababa, Dakar, Gaborone, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lusaka, Harare, Nairobi, Ouagadougou, Abuja or Accra. All that matters is that it starts somewhere. This is why Ghana, Rwanda, Botswana’s rapid growth spurts mean a lot to the continent as a whole, and we must see ourselves as only the pioneers. As currents of hope reverberate across the ten regions of Ghana, I cannot overstate enough: We as a people are wide awake.
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