29
Thu, Oct

On Democracy

Here And There
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And these potholes, and sinking sands, will persist until the power mongers cede initiative once more to the resource planners. Until then, I might have to accept the rivulets that plough valleys on the dirt road outside my house and the potholes waiting to gobble my tires.
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There is a nebulous transition zone between Legon and East Legon. Somewhere as one leaves the University Gate, crosses the dual carriage and gets onto the long winding road of an affluent Accra suburb, the grounds of the university ends and East Legon begins. The wealth does not exactly reflect in the roads, and one notices the abrupt end of the order and lay out of the university, as buildings bulging with commerce, tussle on both sides of the narrow roads for every inch of expensive prime real estate. And here, some buildings ooze wealth, and class, and attainment, and some don’t.

It is not the buildings that come to mind at this time, it is a single pot hole in that transition zone. It has become a target to avoid, as I leave the university and enter the East.  The pothole sits in the center of a tarred road, just before it becomes a T junction. There is enough space on each side to bypass it, but just enough. It has been there for some time, because in the center is a patch of lush green grass, surrounded by a puddle, festering... I imagine, with tadpoles, bugs and mosquito larvae. Someone has added a car tyre to the mix; it lies encircling the grass patch, a light absorbent counterpoint to the lush green grass, and a merciful warning to unknowing drivers.

Read also: Novel group look to maximize potholes and manholes use in Ghana

One mistake and I am sure it’s depth could take a wheel off easily, hit at the right speed. One misjudged swerve as one gets unto the T junction, and it could be another car, or pedestrian.

In these times, as the time draws near again to exercise my duty in the furtherance of national democracy, I have thought quite a bit about that pothole. How it’s supplanted itself... in an area where real estate is way above my pay grade. How did it persist long enough to host a mini grass forest? Which Good Samaritan put in the warning tyre? Has it caused any accident yet?

I am a surgeon. I have what is called the warrior’s curse. I am programmed to think worst outcome, so I can properly assess risk. In my trade, Hope is a dangerous commodity in surgery. It is dangerous to hope a problem away. Risk is purposely assessed, planned for and strategized out. Every case is a battle, and like a warrior just before the scramble begins, we are cursed to always think bad outcome so we can push for good.

So I just can’t avoid the stress that pothole piles on me every time I pass it. Sometimes I wonder however, which one is better... the tarred road with potholes strategically placed to toss speeding cars at each other and unsuspecting pedestrians, or the mud red sinking sands that roads in my area have become, as strange  October rains pile on.

And as the campaign heats up, I despair, that as the focus zeroes in more and more on the corridors of power, the accountability in management of our resources, will wane. And these potholes, and sinking sands, will persist until the power mongers cede initiative once more to the resource planners. Until then, I might have to accept the rivulets that plough valleys on the dirt road outside my house and the potholes waiting to gobble my tires. And the so many other needs that have persisted for years because power mongering always gets in the way of optimal resource distribution.

We have to find a way, as a country of maintaining a buffer between the corridors of power and the storehouses of our resource. We have to strategize so that the ability to manage political power does not translate to an entitlement to manage resource. Because the mindsets are different. Power is meant to be accumulated, and resource is meant to be distributed. It is a difficult transition to make, for any mere mortal. And if we as voters do not ensure that the people who manage the power we give them, have shown some capacity to manage resource, then we should not be surprised if all they do, when they get the chance is to manage power. And leave the resource optimization and mobilization untouched.

We must vote, and insist on only the best fruits of democracy.

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