Politics on the Pavement - Vida Ayitah

Their backs are scorched,
darkened by the sun falling on them.
Their hands are bruised
so badly they refrain from shaking hands.
When they get home,
afraid even to hug their little ones and
touch their wives in bed,
they are too tired, in fact,
to even enjoy their evening meal.
But there they are
barebacked, sweaty, toiling under the
mid-day sun,
digging this long trench at the roadside.
Someone said new telephone wires would be passing through
all the way to that new tall building in the far distance
home to the foreign nationals coming to
dwell in their country,
eat their food,
look at their women,
refine their gold and take their resources to
enrich other countries.
So they dig this long, seemingly endless trench for
the telephone wires,
earning three Ghana Cedis a day
the worth of their toils, their dreams.
And nobody says a thing about the promises of
that last politician who stood on the podium
delivering speeches that said this and that
of how the young men would be taken off the streets into factories
of how shovels would be replaced by power-drills
and of how this country would be home
to its citizens,
offering better chances to everybody:
affordable education, health, food, jobs and shade from
the midday sun.
But nobody says a thing,
so they break their backs digging the pavement,
making way for the telephone wires
all the way to that new building in the far distance,
home to foreigners who know very little about
Ghana and her common people whose dreams were killed by
the politicians on the podium
saying this and that
promising everything.
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