If lawmaking could make volunteering for nation building, there would no sharp teeth munchers of the national cake. In our current state of more political office holders largely chopping as if being in political office means uninhibited access to the ‘choppable’, volunteering could completely disappear. It does not matter whether a legislator wants it or an executor wants it.
By far, the single group of the motherland’s population that used to indulge in volunteering was the schooling. In times when they used to be fed free, they had enough energy and time off work to donate effort freely.
Maybe the honourables preaching volunteerism may want to devote their time and persuasion efforts towards redeeming their comity from allegations of sumonu bribe, pc bribe, ayaribribe and now lotto bribe. It is of crucial importance that they do all they can to prevent a dis prefix, created by allegations of bribery doesn’t get attached to the ‘honourable’ title; no metamorphosis of ‘honourable’ into dishonourable. It would cost them a heavy reputation price.
It is not unlikely you will even hear some ‘how dare they ask for anyone to volunteer.’ Some would want to know how much they have volunteered or are volunteering now. Knowing their leadership in volunteering would give them the moral authority that would attract others to follow. My compatriots could be unhappy about the call because they see among the lawmakers, a number of babies with sharp teeth who have munched greedily munched unfairly and disproportionately, shares of the motherland cake. From nowhere, they have mansions and fuel dispensing stations all over; regularly holiday in Dubai and chop chopped faking they were bringing Dubai to the motherland capital.
Volunteerism in the motherland had been fired by the state helping foot much of schooling bills. The national service idea was from student leaders who visited Tanzania in the early 1970s and saw its ‘giving back to a generous society’ version that was being practised by graduates of University of Dar-Es-Salaam. They were on the minimum wage for a year or two as their contribution to the national development effort.
Volu (epitomised in the activities of the international organisation, Voluntary Work Camps Association) was another prominent movement in the Acheampong days. If you ever happen to be in the Berekum suburban town called Kato, there is a school building there which was constructed by the volu people. They had converged from across the world to voluntarily work on that project.
Volu people must have undertaken other projects across the country I would not know. I do remember, though, that as a teacher at the then Akosombo Secondary School, I had led a group of volu students to St Mary’s Training College, where they joined their teacher trainee counterparts in undertaking some community development activities in Somanya. Like the spontaneous student freely volunteered labour in the early Acheampong administration, it was that other spontaneous free labour offering that supported physical development for needy communities.
Some will say the national service as is practised today is what we would call ‘volucompo.’ Voluntary it’s supposed to be. Yet, in character and form, it’s compulsory. Graduates compulsorily need its certification to qualify for even private employment. In a sense, it is shaping up as blackmail. Post-service graduates would beg to continue with it because there are no jobs. The motherland’s graduate unemployment statistics are horrible and unacceptably high. Motherland compatriots have been suffering that in recent times.
The good old communal labour may be a typical volucompo example. Its usefulness in ensuring community hygiene and building common facilities is unparalleled. By far the greatest practitioner of indigenisation or finding room for, and exploiting our indigenous values for ‘modern’ development, Blaa Kutu infused nnɔboa principles into his practice of constructing cooperatives to include the less resource endowed in national economic activity. That, somehow, drew the informal into the formal economy. Sharing the key attribute of volunteerism was aggressively being exploited then.
When I read the ‘MPs call for volunteerism spirit,’ my key terms were ‘patriotism and volunteerism,’ ‘contribution to the development of the nation,’ ‘nationalism to accelerate the development of the nation,’ ‘inculcate volunteerism,’ ‘sacrifice.’ Hmm, only a 42 year old, born at the crest of Kutu’ achievement from where he went downhill to be followed by chaos culminating in a false revolution, would talk that talk.
If his kind, and he, wants to know, the key’s shedding the ‘create loot and share mentality.’ For as long as their generation and those after crave and steal public money to acquire mansions, V8 cars and fuel pumping stations within an economy of joblessness and exorbitant school fees, they should forget about any sacrifices of volunteerism from others so they can take bribe to deprive children with disability of schooling. It shall forever be ghost volunteerism.
By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh