In June 28, 2017, The Finder, a privately owned Ghanaian newspaper published on its front pages a story under the headline, “Foreigners taking over Accra”. According to the paper, the Ghana Real Estates Developers Association (GREDA) is warning of a complete takeover of Accra by foreigners who are acquiring houses from Ghanaians at an alarming rate.
GREDA is reported to have said, “Accra is becoming like Johannesburg; every property which is good is now owned by foreigners and we are moving to the outskirts and becoming watchmen and house boys servicing those properties.”
Indeed, a story like this should concern every well-meaning Ghanaian about the consequences of this phenomenon in the future. This story is enough to awaken the government to do something to correct the situation and stop the complete takeover of Accra by foreigners.
Sadly, we live in a country where there is no properly functioning authority responsible for the sales of land and the regulating of such sales. Every individual sells whatever he has to whoever can afford. Nevertheless, it is sound to suggest that the prime properties in Accra must remain in the hands of Ghanaians and we must not become watchmen and house boys in our own land.
Perhaps, this story reiterates the long-held belief that Ghanaians are their own enemies and suffer from self-hatred. A Ghanaian will prefer to do business with a foreigner over his fellow countryman or woman and will be more willing to release a property to a foreigner than giving that same property over to his fellow Ghanaian. We love foreigners more than our own.
The Ghanaian Hospitality
Ghanaians are very hospitable people. We love foreigners. When they come into this country, we treat them nicely and go all lengths to make them feel welcomed and comfortable. We are a friendly people and a friendly country. Our generous and friendly reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers is perhaps incomparable the world over. It is ingrained in the typical Ghanaian to help foreigners and extend a high level of generosity and courtesy to them. This is what we have come to be known by and defined as a people and country. Our hospitality has become a source of pride.
The Deep Pockets
Owning properties in prime areas in the city of Accra requires significant amounts of money. In prime areas like Cantonments, Labone, Airport Residential Area and others, properties are being sold in dollars and an acre of land in those areas is being bought for $2.5 million. How many Ghanaians have the money to pay for such properties quoted in dollars?
Sadly, the wealthy foreigners have the money to spend and are therefore the highest bidders. Since money talks and answers all things, those who have deep pockets invariably have an advantage over those with shallow pockets. This scenario of a second Johannesburg happening right here in Ghana is as a result of the visitors among us having the deep pockets. They have the money to spend giving them a clear advantage over the ordinary Ghanaian.
A Case of Self-hatred
It is a true assertion that Ghanaians love foreigners more than their fellow countrymen or women. We hate our own and the typical Ghanaian will prefer to do business with a foreigner than a Ghanaian. The Ghanaian is more content to see a foreigner prosper than to see his fellow Ghanaian rise.
Sadly, in order for a Ghanaian not to let people know he owns a choice property, it is likely he will rather give it out to a foreigner than to a fellow Ghanaian for the fear of investigation or victimisation. There are some few Ghanaians in this country who have the money and can buy properties in any location in the city but who may never get the opportunity. As a people we love to see foreigners rise and we pull one another down instead of helping each another. A story is told by a prominent preacher in this country who was in the city of Amsterdam, Holland and lodged in a hotel with a Nigerian worker. After three days, the Nigerian realised the identity of this preacher and approached him requesting for prayers for his fellow Ghanaians. Prior to his arrival, there had been a fight between two Ghanaian workers in that hotel, and as a result, one Ghanaian went to the city authorities to report his fellow Ghanaian worker of his illegal immigration status.
Sadly, we blackmail one another and seek the downfall of our very own. We celebrate others more than our own and hold in higher esteem the achievements of foreigners. We promote foreigners but fight and sabotage other Ghanaians. We rejoice with foreigners, envy our own, and get happy when that of a Ghanaian is destroyed.
The Jewish Example
Ghanaians should emulate Jewish people and nurture love among ourselves and begin to seek the elevation of one another. We must start promoting our own and celebrate the success stories of each other.
The Jewish are very united and connected people who seek the welfare of one another and when you touch one, you touch all, and they will use their strength to come after you. The Jewish do not pull down nor destroy one another.
The Fears of Tomorrow
A country in which all of its prime properties are in the hands and control of foreigners is a country in error. It’s a country which has sold out its first born rights and reduced herself to a status of a servant. The rise of this error makes the indigenes servants in their own land instead of princes. A situation where as princes they walk instead of them riding on horses.
Ghanaians should be princes in their own land and not servants. We should control the affairs of things and the best of our land should be in our hands. We shouldn’t become servants in our own land and reduce ourselves to mere onlookers, and at best, watchmen, gardeners and house attendants servicing those properties for the foreigners.
South Africa today is home to xenophobic attacks, where the youths of South Africa accuse and attack foreigners for having taken over their jobs. Ghana mustn’t be like South Africa where the young people of this country will take up stones, sticks, cutlasses or arms to attack foreigners in our land and accuse them of taking over their lands and properties. Should this occur, it will be the darkest day in the history of this country eroding all the gains we have made over the years as a country to be defined as a friendly people and a friendly nation. We must do all we can to avoid such a scenario from materialising. Are we ready to preserve and protect our own and stop this self-hatred?