I have so many dreams and so do you too. But amongst them, there are only a few that I really want them to come true.
Of course I don’t want all of them in my life now, thanks to the knowledge in economics; ‘scale of preference’. A dream can be defined as a hope or wish, a visionary scheme; a wild conceit; an idle fancy one has for the future. Sometimes, dreams could be illusive, notwithstanding the fact that it can be real motivations to one’s soul too.
I always dreamt of attending no other university in Ghana but KNUST. Here I am, a proud and bona-fide student of the only University in Ghana.
Over here in KNUST I have never stopped dreaming too. My friends pull my legs often that I dream unnecessarily because I am addicted to campus g)b3 (gari and beans) especially the one from Queens hall but I query myself whether truly this palatable meal could be the cause of my dream to become a politician in Ghana after tertiary education. It has been the only dream that I have constantly had for the past years on campus. I am of no doubt at all that politics ‘elsewhere’ is completely different.
Over there, it is experienced professionals such as the retired army generals, civil rights activists and people with tall CVs of impactful community service, who go into politics. With their wealth of experience, they take strategic decisions and help shape the destinies of the people they represent. But have you wondered the kind of politics here in this country? In our republic today, however, it is different. You must start on university campuses. So here comes my dearest dream; All I will do is contest for student positions like the SRC president and disguise myself as student activist. You don’t need to look beyond my campaign posters to know which political party’s interest I will represent. This is where the game of dishonesty starts and it is the cue I have gathered from student politics in Ghana today and gingers me to begin right from nowhere but here in KNUST. As a student leader I will be a young devotee of either of Ghana’s two main political deities, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or the New Patriotic Party (NPP). I am optimistic this will aid me climb the seat as SRC president whether through foul means or whatever you can think of. It wouldn’t be a herculean task for me at all. I just need to hook up with one of those ‘political gods’ on campus because they dine at the same table with the big names in the big political parties. They will be glad to manage me as a candidate. Their rewards are not in heaven like my old grandma usually say to me when I run an errand for her. I will strike a deal with them to pay for their services when I win power. Isn’t it so simple to just wrongfully channel the SRC funds into my pocket and pay them with some of these funds, after all it’s the norm in SRC? I will get the support to put undeserving students on SRC KBN scholarship scheme, NOKOFIO and connive with them to get a 50% share or whatsoever of the money they are awarded as the scholarship. Do I look like I care about the genuinely needy students out there who can’t even afford a two square meal in a day not to even talk of paying their school fees? I will not be put to any thorough scrutiny and audit so I can build the financial aspect of my life right from here. I won’t even bother fulfilling any of my fallacious campaign promises because, I only had to come up with them to buy votes and deceive the intelligent students of this noble school. I will forget my own deceitful but enticing campaign slogans like; “We Dey For U”, “I see a new KNUST”, “You First”, “First things First”, “unbroken resolve” I can’t name them all. Notwithstanding, I will appoint others of my caliber; other students who share the same dream of political ambitions, fallacies, corruption and deceit; to head the various committees in the SRC administration. I will only pacify the students of this school with ‘Fun city’ during the SRC week celebrations. Even with that, I bet I will inflate the budget for the event so I can accrue more funds into my personal accounts. But I won’t be guilty alone because I will achieve this with the help of the others I will serve with in the administration. Besides, many past administrations did the same thing.
Members of Parliament are paid huge and at this moment, after school I will dream bigger this time. I will appoint myself to speak on the countless number of radio stations with which our democratic dispensation has been cursed. My ability to insult and vilify any voice of dissent is peerless. But the story will not end there. I am of high hopes that they will reconnoiter my so called talents in insulting, and I shall get appointed to high public offices by the political party I represent. That is the platform, tried, tested and proven to earn me the ticket to contest for the parliamentary seat in my village because my village folks only fancy people who serve in high public offices and contest parliament seats. That’s how I get to be called honorable. Obviously I will be very much aware and informed about the deficiencies in development in my constituency but I would not be perturbed to make any positive impact because you remember the saying, charity begins at home; I will get my way out like I did back in student politics. My sole interest will be in looting public funds into my pocket not development of my area. I will enjoy many free stuff like water, electricity, accommodation, fuel, allowances and bonuses, and the ex gratia too. Becoming an MP, I am sure of driving around town, one of the latest four wheel drives and so I will not care if the roads are bad; I will live in a 5 star home where I will know nothing about “dumsor”; I will not have to be worried about the mess in makola, kejetia, agbobloshie, etc markets because I will shop online; my kids will be educated either in the Europe or Americas and so education here can rot! I will only go to my constituency when elections are near. That is when I will donate food items to the zongo communities during Ramadan, visit some churches during their fund raising programs, sponsor picnics and other fun activities for the youth; they are enough for me to win another term of office. I am hopeful becoming a Member of Parliament would increase my chances of getting ministerial appointment and finally I can run for President of the Republic. At that climax, I will not be able to count the money, cars, houses, etc I will own. I cannot talk about all my dreams just in this piece. It would take me days before I can be done with them all. Don’t blame me for having such a dream because that is the path some politicians used to reach their destinations today I speak to you. Maybe I can be different anyway. And I want to be! In view of that, I have thrown unto the stinking filths behind Unity and Republic Halls all these ambitions I have in politics. I have just one dream now; the dream that our student politicians will stop dirty politics and sincerely work for the well-being of every student of KNUST.
Our CVs may not be able to fill an A4 sheet of paper but we need to be up and doing in various offices we are chosen to serve. Let us say no to the NDC, NPP student politics. Because our wise elders say,” if you find a bird dancing in the middle of the road, know that its drummers are in the nearby bush. If the bird is wise, it ought to find out why its drummers do not expose themselves to the dangers of pitching camp in the middle of the road”. There are political godfathers who will want to exploit us in our student politics. They will support our campaigns financially and all but know that these people have outlived their usefulness and it is for their selfish interest. What future are we building for ourselves? These political parties will be happy with us as long as we are useful in propagating their diabolic agenda, but they will not be proud of us as a person. Everybody loves a fool, but no one wants him for a son. Our dear student associations are in crises, and those who matter cannot afford to keep quiet. If we can get out of our current quagmire of hopelessness, then we need a revolution. We need not a violent revolution, but a revolution of values and conscience. We need a peaceful revolution in our student administration for this school as well as for the country and we must start right here in KNUST. John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” In speaking up, we student activists should be guided by what Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the call to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us. Hence, I call on every student to always choose the right leaders but not just following the crowd. Those who see no need in this perhaps, need a reminder by Charles de Gaulle that “politics is too serious to be left only to the politicians”. Our SRC is not only for the Katangees and Continentals, especially those ones who think youthful exuberance is wealth; I wonder why everybody is not rich. We can no longer sit back and watch them spoon feed us with these ‘dreams’ and claim they are the rules, recipe, tactics of politics and play by them if you want to win. We can do far better.
My name is evans boateng-boakye and I am not Martin Luther King Jr. but I dream of a better student’s politics. Long live KNUST politics, long live Ghana.
The writer is an activist for accountable and selfless student leadership and what he describes as his dreams are solely for writing purposes to uncover the filth in today’s student politics on campuses especially KNUST and the roots of such canker.
EVANS BOATENG-BOAKYE PHARMD KNUST