National Mosque, National Cathedral, what next – National Shrine?

Over the past few weeks with the rantings and debates on social media, digital media and our airwaves, i’ve been planning on getting across what’s on my mind like i do. I chanced upon a piece by my personal brother and friend Michael and decided to share, as it is. He scooped the information right out of my mind, like how moms scoop oil off the surface of palm soup. Delve right in. Michael takes you on from here. My pleasure comrades!

I have closely followed the various debate on the need for this country to have a central point of
worship for the Christian community whereas our brothers and sisters belonging to the Islamic body are
currently witnessing a progressive development on their National Mosque that is been built by the
Turkish Government since 1995. As reported by various newspapers on February 17th, 2018, Vice
President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia inspected the ongoing construction of the national mosque to
familiarize himself with the progress of work -the trait of a good leader. Ghana, my motherland, a
country that have proven over a period to be concerned about the equality of human rights and
freedom in the scope of religion/worship. When would government announce the construction of a
Nation Shrine?

Around 6:40am, as usual, listening to one of my favorite radio programs on Citifm, Citi Breakfast
Show with Bernard Korku Avle, I again noticed that as a country, we proudly misplace priorities on
national development projects. Allow me run you through some major issues that would affect our
generation greatly, if and only if, our leaders continue to disappoint us.

2nd March, 2017, Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta announced during the budget reading that
source of funding for our free SHS education is the country’s oil resources. Over the period, there has
been lots of development (successes and failures) concerning the free SHS policy. To ensure that every
urban and rural child get accessible education, the idea of double-track SHS system would be adopted.
Monday, 30th July, 2018, newspapers reported the reaffirmation of His Excellency Nana Akuffo Addo of
his decision on the introduction of the double-track SHS system which will accommodate the increase in
enrolment in the Senior High School. The president indicated that it will further reduce the class sizes of
students and also increase contact hours between teachers and students. I personally applaud the
president and his government on such a wonderful initiative to make education access to every
Ghanaian. I have my own objections to the proposed double-track SHS system. To the ordinary
Ghanaians, this system works like this – First batch goes to school (i.e. first semester) whereas the other
batch is at home (i.e., first vacation). After a fixed period, say 12 weeks, the second batch goes to
experience their first semester for the first batch to experience their first vacation, say 4 weeks. During
the vacation period, students according to government would be given projects/assignment to work on
coupled with internship opportunities. Do not forget the first batch before vacation did not write end of
semester exams. Now, after the second batch have completed their first semester period, they stay in
school to be joined by the first batch that went on vacation to write end of semester exams. So many
questions after this explanation – How does this system promote quality education? How does this
system ensure we have improved the quality of teaching? Would the incentives of teachers be
increased? Does the government have plans to build more schools? What plans do we have for the
universities 5-10 years from now?

17th April, 2017, the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said the government has been able
to arrest the free fall of the cedi in its first hundred days in office. Fast forward, as at 28th August, 2018,
the dollar rate against the Ghana cedis is at Ghc4.81 (close of business). For the average Ghanaian,
whether the dollar is depreciating slow or fast, there is A DEPRECIATION. My little economic
understanding informs me that the depreciation of a nation’s currency affects merchandise trade, i.e., a
weaker currency will stimulate exports and make imports more expensive, thereby decreasing a nation’s
trade deficit (or increasing surplus) overtime. One of the things we should be doing is knowing how to
“arrest” the slow/fast depreciation of the dollar, create more jobs for Ghanaians, making sure the
money reflects not just on the headlines of newspapers but rather in their pockets, spendings and

Every government that has come into power and left preached the development, managing and
promotion of local industries, i.e., those in charge of constructions, agriculture, banking, packaging and
many more. What do we as a country continually experience – DISAPPOINTMENT. It did not just start
with the trade of our gold, it’s now another precious mineral, Bauxite. As a Geomatic student, I
understand that bauxite is used for aluminum production. With the many benefits of aluminum such as
airplane manufacturing, electric machine, chemical industry, and cooking utensils. Our able leaders in
parliament have passed the master project support agreement for a 2 billion dollar facility for the
construction of priority projects by Chinese firm SynoHydro Corporation. Such priority projects are
roads, bridges, interchanges, hospitals, housing, rural electrification. Every major project in this country
is handled by a foreign industry. No one is saying that schools, hospitals, etc. are not important but
rather we should have a progressive plan to make sure Ghanaian Entrepreneurs handle such projects.
We would continue to pay national debts directly and indirectly as long as we continue to be myopic.
Now, let’s talk about the health sector. This is the statement on the ministry of health website –
“As a critical Sector of the economy, the Ministry of Health seeks to improve the health status of all
people living in Ghana thereby contributing to Government’s vision of universal health coverage and a
healthy population”. 13th June, 2018, the health sector made major headlines with the title – Bed
shortage / No beds taking lives in Ghana. May the soul of the 71 year old Anthony Opoku-Acheampong
who died from this horror at the LEKMA hospital in Accra after seven hospitals turned him away. The
hard truth is that politicians and our leaders do not care about this horror. Statistic shows that our
population currently stands around 29 million sharing about 60 active ambulances nationwide. Aside the
60, about 100 ambulances are broken down due to various engineering faults. While this situation is not
new, it has reached a level that requires urgent action. Shamefully, this canker killed our very own
Amissah-Arthur who was reported to have been transported in a pickup as a result of no ambulance as
reported by various newsrooms. 20th January, 2018, the Presidency has revealed the Vice-President Dr.
Mahamudu Bawumia had been flown to the UK for further medical treatment after he was reported
unwell. Imagine our able president or the vice rushed to Korle Bu, 37 Military Hospital or Ridge Hospital
and informed that there are no beds so therefore he cannot be treated. If every Ghanaian can be like
our President / Vice president, then we would never visit the hospitals in Ghana. Ah well I am just a
citizen and not a spectator.

Whose money is used to pay the following ministers and the people that work under them –
Minister For Planning, Minister For Special Development Initiative, Minister Of Inner Cities And Zongo
Development, Minister Of Business Development, Minister For Parliamentary Affairs, Minister For
Monitoring And Evaluation, Minister For Regional Re-Organisation, Minister For Railways, Senior
Minister And National Security Minister? The tax payers’ money! We all have subjective views on the
above new ministries. Over the period of one year, what can we say about these ministries? Even
though it’s said that numbers show strength, it does not also in return show positive result.
My “religious” brothers and sisters in the traditional sector have started showing the red flag to
the need for a National Shrine. Interestingly, as a country, we “strongly” believe that the solution to our
problems is found completely in religious bodies. For us to completely solve all problems, we are waiting
for the major announcement from our leaders to build a National. Which government / organization
would build the National Shrine for us?

“Although people are complaining about the cost of the facility, there are lots of waste in the
nation that have been ignored” – Rev. Dr. Paul Frimpong-Manso. Even though this facility has lots of
benefits to the Christian family and the nation as a whole, I believe that as a country we continually
misplace priority. Our educational sector is struggling, the health sector is not looking good, even though
jobs are “claimed” to be created daily, it’s not reflecting in the pockets of citizens, valuable resources
are traded in return for basic amenities like schools and hospitals, offices like passport and DVLA offices
continue to frustrate Ghanaians by taking bribes before their documents would be processed. The
country is not experiencing technology revolution even though we boast of having a ministry called
Environment & Science.
Enough is enough!!! The value of the black star in our flag is gradually losing meaning.

Writer: Michael-Sam Vidza Jnr
[email protected]


Editor – Perry Tintin

[email protected]

Perry Tintin

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