Destroying the begging bowl

Posted by By at 26 August, at 11 : 00 AM Print

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Destroying the begging bowl


Have you hear the good news, my friend.

What news, now, my friend? I hope that you’re the bearer of some good tidings, I need some stirrups.

Wow, the president has done it again. Our brand new president has pulled off another nice one. This is simply magnificent.

What are you talking about, what has the new president done this time?

You, sit down there. Where have you been hiding that you didn’t hear the news?

What news. Pray, tell me.

The big news is that Cape Coast, our nation’s first capital, is going to get a stadium. And a very modern stadium, at that – ultra modern, world class stadium we talk about here. Wow! You can hear the joyous ovation of the people!

Oh, that is good news, indeed. Mr. President must be congratulated.

That’s not all.

You mean there are more goodies coming to the Cape Coastians?

Cape Coastian, what kind of appellation is that? Anyway, the stadium is not going to cost our nation a single pesewa.

Now you kid me plenty; how do you build a stadium without spending money? Things like iron rods, cement and sand cost money, even if our people donate their labour free of charge. Don’t tell me that Mr. President has become a magician, a conjurer who could conjure a whole stadium from thin air! That would be something.

Ah, you don’t get it, my friend. It is all a gift!

Now you are talking, who is our generous benefactor?

Not so fast, my friend. Were you not among those journalist people who wrote that the president, then vice president, was wasting time and money travelling around the world? You call it useless junketing then, didn’t you?

Yes, I remember writing a thing a thing or two about his constant travelling, what with all those fawning officials who consume per diems like there is no tomorrow.

Maybe there is indeed no tomorrow, and maybe you can now swallow your word as their efforts are now paying off big time.

What do you mean?

Have you not been listening to me?

It is difficult for me to follow your train of thoughts. You started with stadium, a freebie and eating words. Can’t you get straight to the point?

I said that you and your fellow poisoned pens fraternity can now eat your words, as the efforts of the vice president, now president, has resulted in the Chinese offering to build a stadium for us at Cape Coast, absolutely free of charge.

Now, you kid me thoroughly?

And why should I? The president himself announced it and you don’t get more authoritative voice than that, do you?


You and your hmmms! Do I read that to mean that you have swallowed your words, and that you will admit that it pays off for our officials to go around the world?

You can read it whichever way you want, but I still maintain that it is plain wrong for our officials to keep going around the world with begging bowls. It is simply demeaning. I don’t mind their going around the world to get better deals for our raw materials, but they shouldn’t appear to be the world champion beggars. That is not all; you didn’t say why the Chinese decided on giving us a free stadium.

You, do you have to question everything? Do you always have to look at the horse in the mouth?

I like that expression, but, sorry, writers have inquisitive minds.

Are you telling me that you didn’t know that the Chinese built a complete headquarters for our African Union free of charge; and here you are casting aspersions on why they should give us a stadium?

Ah, that is another of our problem.

What do you mean?

I meant that we in African appear to do nothing except to wait for the Americans, the Europeans, the Arabs, the Brazilians and the Chinese to give us freebies, only for us to become giddy with excitement.

You really can insult, can’t you?

So sorry you felt that way. But there is something called shame, and I think that it is time we in Africa develop a little sense of shame. Why are we the world’s perpetual beggars and not givers?

What do you mean?

I think you know perfectly well what I meant. The last time the government of Ghana gave money to Haiti during the earthquake in that country, many of our citizens were up in arms. They questioned why we should donate our meager resources to other people. But we do not see people ask why we receive this or that from country x or y. Today I do not see our people decrying the Chinese gift of a stadium, when only few weeks ago many of our citizens paraded our streets baying for the blood of Chinese traders. How many of us who today dance for joy about a free Chinese stadium come out to defend the Chinese when our own people molested them? We are such a pathetic bunch of selfish and greedy ingrates.

Are you done with your insults?

Call it insult or whatever you will, but hypocrisy in any form or shape makes me sick. We want to eat our cake and have it. We think it right when other people make donations to us – we feel entitled to it; but we cannot stand the sight of other people making it in our country. Actually, that is not my biggest worry. My biggest worry is that we are, as a people, becoming too accustomed to getting freebies that we do not appear to want to wean ourselves off it.

Those are very grave charges!

And I do not make them lightly. I am not against receiving help, per se. The trouble starts when we become accustomed to other people helping us that we have stopped thinking about how to help ourselves. At the same time our president announced the gift of a stadium from the Chinese, he should also have announced what steps he and his government is taking to ensure that in few years, we would have developed the indigenous capacity to build our own stadia. And he should have also announced that in, say, ten or twenty years, Ghana will also be donating free stadium to other needy nations. We need to start building indigenous capacities; that is the only way nations become developed. We gain the respect of the world only by letting others see us doing things for ourselves. I mean we should be seen to be trying to lift ourselves up by our own efforts. Our development should not be anchored on what other people can do for us, but what we can do for ourselves. Other people might chip in to help, but we should be the sole developer and motivator of our development agenda. The science and engineering of building stadium is hardly a mystery. We have about ten public universities across our land; we have numerous architects and builders in the country. We are blessed with plentiful labour force and we have highly qualified Ghanaians scattered around the world. Rather than beg the Chinese to come and help us build a stadium, our brand new president should have appealed to our sense of patriotism and call upon all of us, to chip in our widows’ mite to build a stadium in memory of our departed president. Were that not to be possible, he should have begged of the Chinese to help train enough Ghanaians who, in say five years, would be qualified to build the stadium. After all, it was the Chinese who says that it is better to teach a man how to fish than to give him fish.

To those that read and comment on my articles, I say a big thank you.

As a rule, unless the reader requested a reply or directly asked a question, I do not comment on responses to my articles. I believe that people are entitled to their opinions, as I’m to mine.

A lot of efforts go into writing. The writer would hardly be productive if he expends his energies to fight wars with people whose raison d’être is to insult.
To those that passed insulting comments, I say: To insult is quite cheap and easy; thinking is the major challenge.

Below is what I wrote on my blog: ; the same rule applies here.

“You are welcome to my blog; read and enjoy to your heart content. Do, however remember that no matter how strongly you might disagree with the opinions expressed here, they are MY OPINIONS to which I am perfectly entitled.

I shall endeavour not to write anything herein except that which is true, factual and verifiable.

If you find errors, I will appreciate your bringing it to my attention. I shall try and take note and correct them.

If your intention is to bandy insults around, I advise that you set up your own blog.
As my Yoruba people say: “Oju orun teye fo, lai fara gbara.

It means that the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly without touching wings.”


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