A Conversation with Manasseh

In Manasseh Azure Awuni’s article “The tears that wiped Akufo-Addo’s ‘great’ speech,” here, he paints in vivid words the picture of hardships suffered by the masses of poor to merchant class people affected by the lockdown for the COVID19 pandemic in Ghana, and makes the reader see in their mind a clearer picture of how life is in Ghana through the eyes of its citizens and, it’s truly disturbing.  Now that the lockdown has ended. His words sadden me and cause me to really see the plight of Ghanaians from the point-of-view of the people, but his words also make me wonder?

Ghana is only sixty nine years old far younger than the Americas two hundred and forty four years. Even in America’s youth, Americans have always protested civil injustice even so far as to take up arms against each other to so do. Even in chains, black Africans in America retaliated against unjust rules, black codes and laws, used to nullify their existence as a people. Going so far as to risk their lives by jeopardizing the slavemasters work flow during slavery straight to collective bargaining and forming unions in the nineteen hundreds. Many poor white Americans also struggled alongside black Americans to accheive desired Civil Rights for all. Why aren’t their more organized protest amongst Ghanaians?

Since I’ve been in Ghana I am very hard pressed to decipher any dissatisfaction in Government policy on the part of Ghanaians collectively. The masses of people are silent but in one on one discussions I hear the outrage about corruption more precisely. So far I haven’t seen Ghanaians organize rallies, marches, or civil protest even during this election year when legislative changes are more easily influenced. Atmost, Ghanaians seem at peace with their current situation, atleast Ghanaians think the current President is an eloquent orator but no action. Is the peace all just an illusion? Is there an underlying tension building waiting to explode? Do they expect their elected officials to actually have compassion for the poor and offer them a hand out without a demand? When does that ever happen?

The plight of many Ghanaians as described by Mannaseh is a daily wage earning existence surviving on the wage they receive from hawking their merchandise each day. I have seen merchants in the street hawking items like water, paper towels, bread, plaintain chips, handkerchiefs, accessories for your car, and other sundry items. Occasionally, I buy from them, while we wait in traffic, water cost anywhere from one cedi to one cedi, twenty pesewas, a bag of plaintain chips one to two cedis depending on the size of bag or bottle, paper towels cost fifteen cedis, I purchase according to my particular need at the time. I buy from them because I’d rather patronize them than the huge chains of foreign owned supermarkets. I want  Ghanaian entrepreneurs to succeed but I am just one person, there are many others who do as well. Shouldn’t Ghanaians want the same for themselves? Ghanaians should patronize Ghanaian owned businesses and Ghanaian merchants.

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