A piece of my mind: When the rains come

When I was a child, the rain always was something that aroused feelings of awe in me. Who was up there who was crying and letting all these tears fall down? Or who was hidden in the sky and pouring down on the garden called earth all these buckets of water? Of course, as I grew up to learn more about God's Handiwork through condensation resulting in cloud formation, moisture moving along the three-dimensional zones of temperature and, eventually, rain that waters the earth only to rise again, I began to get it...


When I was a child, the rain always was something that aroused feelings of awe in me. Who was up there who was crying and letting all these tears fall down? Or who was hidden in the sky and pouring down on the garden called earth all these buckets of water? Of course, as I grew up to learn more about God's Handiwork through condensation resulting in cloud formation, moisture moving along the three-dimensional zones of temperature and, eventually, rain that waters the earth only to rise again, I began to get it. So how come something as beautiful as rain has now become the ugly and perennial purveyor of gory death?

This morning I am not mincing words at all! I mean, how can we continue living like this? Have you realised that, even among animals, who are out in the rough, in the open, who are exposed to the elements, rain does not kill them as much as it appears to do to human beings in Ghana?

It is high time we got past the rhetoric of we shall or we should move all buildings off waterways like Hon. Atta Akyea, Minister for Works and Housing, proffered recently to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly. We should do more for the people of Ghana as institutions and cease the perpetual merry-go-round of NADMO pretending to manage damage after the AMA has failed to avert the damage, after which the Executive and Legislature will also pretend to be sorry that people have been displaced and others have died, and we all, Ghanaians, even media people, will pretend we are so concerned about it all and then, after a few days, we shall all go to sleep, stop piling on the pressure and pretend those events never even happened. What a people we are! In Twi there is a saying that goes like: "Y3 y3 wo ayakayakde3 na s3 any3 wo ya a y3 nyae wo fay)." To wit, "If you do not feel pained or protest when bad things are done to you, those things will not stop being done to you."

It is high time we took on our authorities, people of Ghana, and demanded safety, proper mechanisms toward restraining flooding to the barest minimum, responsible, effective and efficient leadership. I have a question for the authorities, this morning, our men and women who claim to serve us: if you lead and your leadership yields next to no results, what kind of leadership is that? A lot of you are a shame to our country! You are Christian, Muslim, and what have you! You are church elders and occupy the front rows in our churches and act like angels, but you are zillions of miles away from being that; you pray five times a day and quote copiously from the Qur'an, but what do you do when you are placed in positions of authority? You have all failed us, you so-called scholars, men and women of the cloth, civil society groups - media people! We have all failed the voiceless people who die silently, without a peep - who go into eternity stricken and with their destinies unfulfilled - because we did not speak out and work for their causes!

This country is a killing field, in case you haven't noticed. We define genocide as this or that, but genocide is legal in Ghana every year - because through the clueless and lackadaisical attitudes of our leaders, many tens of thousands of the citizens of this land, especially children, succumb to malaria; because we take kickbacks and allow contractors to do shoddy work on our roads which leads to carnage; because we go late to work, sit at post and do next to nothing but plot our next corrupt move; because in this country you can die like a fly or a chicken of the most common ailments or the slightest of accidents since you may not get treatment quickly enough; because in some parts of Ghana, today, you cannot even get potable drinking water or electricity; because toilet facilities are still not commonplace but a privilege in many parts of the country, and so our country loses many tens of millions every year trying to deal with open defecation. My question, though, is: why try to manage the situation when you can simply resolve it? Does what we do make any sense to you, fellow citizens?

Our children still school under trees and we look on unconcerned. We propagate miseducation to keep the masses from being too intellectual to challenge the powers that be. Our elections are zero sum and we use them as tools for exploitation. We put in our all to become leaders, only to prove ourselves to be the worst of failures!

Mr. President, NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, you speak well, but if eloquence were the only criterion for leadership, the likes of Shakespeare, Martin Luther King Jr. and maybe even Dr. Myles Munroe, all of blessed memory, would have been kings or presidents.

You've spoken enough, Mr. President. Now let's see some real work being done! We don't just need a GHANA BEYOND AID AGENDA. NO! WE need, even more - we need a GHANA BEYOND FLOODING AGENDA! We need a Ghana that is safe, even when the rains come - even when the rain pours for days - even when the weather gets to its ugliest. It rained heavily yesterday, but for how long? As it poured, I shared with a colleague of mine how I hoped that this one time, at least, there would be no casualties. Yet this was not to be. Have we even sat down, as a people, to quantify the losses to ourselves in terms of flooding? Do we realise how expensive flooding is - how much it impacts our fledgling economy - how badly it affects our collective psyche, even? Just like "DUMSOR," which, though I shall commend the erstwhile administration for resolving, left many children with contorted emotions about electricty, so, too, now flooding, in case our leaders have not noticed, evokes fear in the hearts of not just children but even adults. Yesterday a colleague worker saw me move my vehicle to avoid a rock that was likely to fall on it from a wall. I quickly got a call from him about where I was going in such blinding rain. I'm sure he was thinking, "This is Ghana o!" True, driving in a heavy downpour is a great risk to take, but in Ghana almost every rain comes with flooding and the rain, which even the Bible puts forward as a blessing, we appear to have turned into a curse. Now the rains only sow the seed of panic in Ghanaian hearts and evoke images of suffering. If anyone superintends over a country that still has perennial flooding after 62 years of nationhood and does not change the situation, then that person is the worst failure in my books. Who the cap fits, let him wear it.

Some people do not like the fact that I am this blunt and uncut. Well, that is their problem. This country called Ghana is SCARILY SICK! It needs people like me to speak up in order to ginger up people to do their work so it can be healed and be well again.

Maano bokiti, nso ka de3, m3 ka - because I am a citizen, not a spectator! MY NAME IS BENJAMIN AKAKPO AND THIS IS A PIECE OF MY MIND.

-The Author is the Host of the Executive Breakfast Show on Class 91.3 FM.



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