CHRIS-VINCENT Writes!

The Struggles of Africans: Ugandan Weightlifter Disappears from Tokyo Olympic—Adding to the Hundreds Who Have Ran Away Over the Years

The African continent is bleeding. It does not matter which country you find yourself in, the problems are almost the same, and the actors causing the problems are the same. The actors are the corrupt, incompetent, and heartless politicians called leaders.

Ghana has electricity, water, and security problems. This is not exhaustive because unemployment, housing, and transportation crisis have always lived with the people. Remove Ghana and put Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon, Uganda or even South Africa and the sentence will still be correct.

In 2018, the number of athletes and officials who stayed in Australia was about 250. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London, saw about 82 athletes and officials seeking asylum to remain in the United Kingdom. This included five boxers, a swimmer and a footballer from Cameroon who “defected.”

And at least 200 Ghanaians who entered Brazil for the World Cup as tourists sought asylum in 2014.

The New York Times in 2018 spoke to Mr. Lamin Tucker, 35, a former sprinter and the then team captain for the Sierra Leone team who disappeared at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006. He said: “My passion was to run and represent my country, not to stay and kill my career.” But a frantic call from his wife as he prepared to compete, warning him their family was in danger and planning to flee to Guinea, made up his mind. “This was my last option,” he said. “I prefer they put me in jail here than go back to Africa.”

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Some members of the Uganda Olympic group

Yesterday, it emerged that weightlifter from Uganda-Julius Ssekitoleko who went missing from an Olympic training camp on Friday reportedly left a note in relation to his intention—with the note saying, he wanted to stay in Japan as back home was too hard.

The above captures just a small dot of the bigger picture of how if many Africans get an opportunity, they would run away from the gloomy continent they find themselves in. The struggles back home are real—and without sight of redemption, hope does not even mean anything anymore.

It is not a laugh that in 2018, Pew Research Center in a survey found that about 75% of Ghanaians are likely to leave for abroad immediately should they be given the opportunity. Perhaps, the number has even increased now, considering the increasing hardship in Ghana.

They say the grass may just look greener at the other side but if where you sit has no grass at all, then it does not matter when you turn up at the other side and the grass is not that greener—at least, there is a grass there which can turn green.



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