Somehow for the Ghanaian, the way to a destination is if there is no clear-cut road to help him find his way.
We like ways, figuring things out. We don’t really like roads. Finding paths through the bushes doesn’t kill anybody. But using a straight road on the N1 Highway kills.
We have done several street-naming exercises but E-Lab here has never felt inclined to tell anybody that I lived at 309 Mahogany Street. This is because E-Lab may have to explain what Mahogany is, where Mahogany is and why the tree should be there in the first place.
And so we all fall back on the traditional practice of using lotto kiosks, yellow coloured walls, the three houses after the blue gate and the chemical store to the left of the AMA stop-building sign.
The other option is to use those old house numbers that look like algebraic expressions inscribed on walls.
Otherwise it’s “God will make a way where there seems to be no way”.
Take another tendency of human nature for example: The problem is always external not internal.
Although every opportunity for sex can result in a pregnancy, we don’t blame or banish uncontrollable lust as the problem, we blame uncontrollable sperms and eggs.
The solution? Simple – we invent a device to ensure we don’t become a father of many nations but a fan of many ladies.
Jesus Christ has told us that ‘seek ye first the kingdom of God and everything shall be added unto you’.
But for the Christian this directive is too long a road.
Someway, somehow he believes that a facebook post that says God is about to send you three cars, three houses and three ladies to make a choice, send to 7 people or click ‘Like’ is enough to force heaven to obey a facebook post.
Lastly, if a bus has a lingering smell of something foul we do not entertain, the slightest possibility that it doesn’t have to be that the mate doesn’t use deodorant but that it may be you who did not use a brush.
So you see, for human nature the problem is external, hardly internal.
And that’s why most people don’t like buying mirrors or looking into one. For a guy all he has to do is to check if the flap is zipped.
For the woman, although she has a six-foot mirror in the bathroom and another in the bedroom, the verdict of the reflective object is never believed until her husband can say ‘ wow! you look beautiful today’.
E-Lab here has had to force a look into a mirror and what he saw was a very ugly man. The problem is internal, it is not external.
And that is precisely the case in our search for a 40-year development plan.
The entire discussion on whether it should be binding or not tells you it won’t work.
Because a good plan should be binding on a black man’s conscience before it can be binding on a white man’s paper.
This is not cynicism.
The British have an unwritten constitution except some loosely arranged sheets bound strongly by practice and steeped in tradition that is guiding the former empire to date.
We have a well-bound, neatly-arranged, yellow-coloured constitution which is also on App you can download from google store.
It doesn’t work.
Government couldn’t pay statutory funds as stipulated by law. There is a ruling that directs the police to release radio equipment it seized from Tarzan 20 years ago. It has not released it.
The law provides that a certificate be obtained from court before judgment debts are paid by the state but somebody got three state institutions to siphon over 52 million cedis without a court certificate.
We have laws on rent, on littering, on buildings, on seat belts, on driving while making phone calls, on mining, on fishing, on…
They don’t work.
And to date E-Lab just can’t understand why I still have to beg motorists to stop while I stand over the zebra crossing
So E-Lab finds it !@#$%%^&**(*())(?????@!@#$%%^&***?? that we can all have faith in the success of a plan only if it is binding.
So the NDC or NPP government disregards one provision in the Ghana@100 law and the punishment is what? Deduct 50,000 votes in the next elections?
C’mon. We really need to be more honest about what we see in the mirror. Of course we need a plan. This plan will be great. It will be grand, it will be awe-inspiring. Why? Because God doesn’t cheat any race or people with a short megabyte of creativity.
But this thing won’t work – binding or non-binding, legal or illegal not even if we send it to the UN and ask them to send it back to us as an international convention.
Why? Because the problem is internal – not external.
We don’t need a long-term development plan if we can’t kill short-term greed.
We don’t need a long-term development plan if we can’t kill short-term indiscipline and the politics without principle so dominant in our fibre today.
Chinua Achebe wrote ‘The Trouble with Nigeria’, a very short 62-page book. In it says:
Listen to Nigerian leaders and you will frequently hear the phrase, this great country of ours.
“Nigeria is not a great country. It is one of the most disorderly nations in the world. It is one of the most corrupt, insensitive, inefficient places under the sun…it is dirty callous, noisy, ostentatious, dishonest and vulgar. In short, it is among the most unpleasant places on earth”
Chinua Achebe died in 2013. If he ever wanted to write another diagnosis like ‘The Trouble with Ghana’, he just would have to change the green cover to Ghana’s colours.
Why? Because once again, the problem is not external, it is internal.