I learnt a lot about Ghanaian hypocrisy when it comes to order enforcement during my days as the Canteen Chairman of Unity Hall (1999-2000) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana – a lesson which has served me well even to date…
The Hall of Residence was experiencing an influx of hawkers, which was causing problems for students, especially during lecture hours when most of the students were away. Hawkers roamed freely throughout the KNUST halls. Not only were they noisy, some of them did engage in acts such as stealing and other vices which was very inconvenient.
One of my major campaign promise was to bring some sanity in the activities of hawkers in the Hall. The students voted for proper regulation of the activities of hawkers in the Hall and it was my duty as the new Canteen Chairman to enforce these regulations – which was basically ensuring that hawking was limited to only registered and known bread-sellers and that they were allowed to hawk only in the morning hours when most of the students were around and getting ready for lectures.
To aid me in enforcing order were the Porters – these are men employed by the KNUST halls to assist in the management of security. I trusted and respected these men since they were old enough to be my Uncle or Father besides the fact that they knew their jobs. There was only one entrance to the hall and the Porters’ Lodge was right at that entrance, so basically, no hawker could enter the hall without being seen by a Porter, in addition the Porters’ Lodge was manned 24/7.
This looked simple right? Nope! Well I thought to myself: all I had to do was liaise with the Chief Porter, meet with all the Porters and Hawkers and bingo, everyone will be happy, right? Nope, wrong! Despite the assurances from these Porters and Hawkers, the problem wasn’t being solved after several months into my election, putting my reputation at stake. I was actually accused of being weak and taking bribes from the hawkers, this accusation was of course unfounded.
Unknown to me however, the hawkers and the porters had studied my lecture schedule, so as soon as I left for lectures – it was free range for them all. One day, I skipped lectures and hid in my room, together with my roommates we successfully accosted several hawkers and seized their wares.
That was when I realized the true nature of the problem, after seizing the wares, that is when different delegations representing each hawker showed their respective faces. Some of the delegations included porters themselves – the hawkers were either their nieces and or nephews, wife or girlfriend, some of the delegations included Mature Students whose girlfriends were hawkers, some even included Lecturers of the KNUST – the hawkers were their maids… talk about Ghanaian hypocrisy.
Now tell me, how was a poor Canteen Chairman supposed to maintain law and order when all those expected to assist in the fight, were actively engaged in the trade from behind the scenes, take your time because I’ll await your response.
God be with President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo in his fight against Galamsey, may he be able to surmount this problem and Ghanaian hypocrisy. May all well meaning Ghanaians join in this fight to save #StopGalamseyNow and save Ghana.
Source: Kwame Ahenkorah Osei-Agyepong, NPP-USA