Ward-Brew and Ghana’s Retardation

Published on 20th June 2008

Thomas Ward-Brew
Thomas N. Ward-Brew is presidential candidate of the Democratic Peoples' Party (DPP) for the impending 2008 general election. Like most of the small parties, the DPP is known to howl from the fringes.

From a distance, Ward-Brew’s thick grey beard  makes him look more like some of the booming juju-marabout mediums and other spiritualists disturbing the Ghanaian development scene than a politician of substance. His statement that “Ghana had retarded in her development agenda due to structural defects and behavioural shortcomings of the Government,” goes beyond mere political rhetoric and shows a country far from grasping the complexities of its progress.

Hear Ward-Brew: "In Ghana, instead of going forward in development, we appear to be going backwards due to the absence of much needed reforms in economic, political, cultural, sociological and psychological spheres." Although this is not true, Ward-Brew has had the privilege to use the platform of his DPP under the 16-year-old on-going democratic dispensation to articulate his views, no matter how hollow they are, and could not do so under 26 years of military juntas and six years of one-party is one aspect.

Ghana is “retarded” because it has had elites  who cannot contemplate Ghana well, understand their immediate environment, reason from within Ghana’s rich cultural values, blend Ghana’s cultural values with the global ones, and who for long-time, have been blaming all of Ghana’s problems on outsiders. So, if Ghana is “retarded,” then its elites, like Ward-Brew, as directors of progress, are responsible.

Ward Brew rightly acknowledges that in 1957, Ghana “was almost at par with Singapore and Malaysia.”  Why? Singapore and Malaysia have good elites who have been able to reason and think very well from within their cultural values up to the global prosperity ones, blending here and there, and in the process, created what they call the “Asian Way.”

Fifty-one years after independence, Ghanaians, who pride themselves as the “Black Stars” of Africa, in progress context, are yet to see their elites like Ward-Brew create a “Ghanaian Way” as a development paradigm that could be replicated by other Africans.

While the developing democracy with its evolving decentralization reveal Ghana’s progress, and not “retardation,” Ward-Brew and his cohorts, for some time have not made better choices for Ghana’s development, chunking out policies that do not reflect the real Ghana.

A re-examination of Ghana’s “development strategies both from the stand point of structures and behaviours of national leaders and the citizenry”  is warranted, according to Ward Brew. Re-examination from where? Re-examination from within Ghanaian cultural values and history in relation to the global prosperity values.

For, if in 2008, most Ghanaians - educated or not - still think certain deaths or misfortune or crime are caused by evil spirits or witchcraft, or juju-marabout mediums virtually influence crime, or there is still tribalism without Ghanaians knowing that they all have practically the same culture that could be used to further consolidate the nation-state, or they have to wait for “Others” to develop them, then Ward-Brew and his cohorts are really “retarded,” and this makes Ghana’s progress not only “retarded” but also the political and development processes infantilized.


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