He scribbled AGAMA LIZARD boldly on the black board.
“Do you know that the lizard breaks off its tail when it is being pursued or feels threatened?” Our teacher quizzed. “HUH??!!” was the general response. Nothing else he said that day sunk in. Can a lizard actually break off its tail? How does it do it? Our young minds questioned. That day, immediately the bell rang for break, we decided to go find out for ourselves if it was true. We went behind our classroom block, where we knew for sure we will find lizards on the walls. We started chasing a particular one. As the chase got intense, the lizard actually did break its tail off; and the broken bit started wriggling so fast, we didn’t see where the lizard passed again.
I only found out recently that Caudal Autotomy is the name for this tendency among lizards to break their tails to distract predators. The other thing I have found out is that most politicians are just like lizards. They won’t sacrifice an arm or a leg. They won’t sacrifice their money or their lives; just their tails- because they can easily grow a new one.
I look at the state Africa is in, and I can’t help but pray for a new breed of politicians whose passion will be the proper development of their nations. We need politicians who will sacrifice everything they have, to fulfil the manifesto and promises they made when they were asking to be voted for. We need a few good men and women with a conscience and a vision and loads of hutzpah.
Most Ghanaians; and Africans in general don’t ask for much. Honestly, they don’t even expect much of their leaders. All they need is reliable supply of electricity, pipe-borne water, and food in their stomachs. Throw in a few holidays where they can go have fun at the beach and they’re happy.
It is only in Ghana (Africa) that experts plant trees in harmattan, chop down forests to plant trees, don’t water the young trees they’ve planted, and justify and laugh about it when they’re interviewed on TV. How can we as a nation be taken seriously when we explain inflation as a condition where dwarves spiritually snatch our money? Where is the seriousness?
I keep encouraging the good people I know to consider politics; instead of just focusing on their careers. It is burdensome when you let the incompetent lead. It is troubling to listen to some of our leaders talk. You’d think they’d left their brains at home on their way to work.
Africa doesn’t need leaders who will give a bit. We don’t need leaders who will give a lot. Africa needs men and women who rise to their calling and give it their all. This is the only way forward. Africa at the moment, isn’t even playing catch up. In a lot ways, we still haven’t even taken off; and yet we have a long way to go.
Anytime I talk about where we’re failing as a nation, someone is always in a hurry to let me see how others are worse off. Since when did failing states, autocratic-buffoon states, oil-money looting states, the president-is-richer-than-the-country states become the benchmark? Since when did we sink so low, no level of corruption and incompetence shocks us anymore?
(Photos are from the beaches of Kokrobite, in Accra, Ghana... and aren't necessarily related to the text. Pictures and words are all copyrighted to Nana Kofi Acquah @africashowboy).