Dishonest behaviors are all too often in Ghanaians' daily lives, earning the nation the unsavory moniker "country full of dishonest people." The Ghanaian government has been working hard to educate its citizenry about the detrimental implications of this negative tag. Some well-meaning scholars and individuals have tried to help Ghanaians tear this negative cloak of dishonesty, but their efforts have yet to deliver the desired results.
To help Ghana tear this cloak, I am making the following suggestions. Education should be the first step in eradicating this unfavorable label. The Ghana Education Service must provide a platform for extracurricular integrity education programs. This must include schools using newspaper articles and radio stations to create a culture of integrity on campus and instill in children the moral qualities of incorruptibility, honesty, and law-abiding.
The National Commission on Civil Education must vigorously promote integrity education among Ghanaians. This institution must educate public officials to help them develop proper thoughts, encourage them to follow rules and regulations, do their jobs honestly, and strengthen their moral defense against dishonest activity. The Commission must initiate integrity education for university, senior high school, and elementary school students to promote their moral consciousness and legal integrity, honesty, lawfulness, and integrity awareness. The Commission and the Ghanaian government should provide newly elected, appointed, and recruited public officials with integrity training in their official tasks.
In the 1970s, when I was growing up in my holy village of Sefwi Sayerano in the Western North Region, the NCCE came almost every three months to give us moral and civic education to develop our characters and values that will guide us to make ethical decisions and contribute positively to society. It made us more aware of the implications of our actions and helped us build a solid moral compass and ideals such as honesty, integrity, respect, and empathy. Some readers will say my time has passed, but believe me, the education provided enlightened us about our rights, obligations, and duties as citizens. This civic knowledge and abilities enabled us to participate in political processes, advocate for our rights, and help our community. It is worth noting that when citizens preserve moral ideals and participate in civic activities, the social fabric of a country is strengthened. On this basis, the NCCE has a significant role in the present battle against dishonesty. Whoever is responsible for making this national institution function as it did in the 70s must help it with whatever it needs to carry on its duties.
Enacting Whistleblower legislation is another weapon that will be useful in dealing with this societal problem. This measure will safeguard whistleblowers from any adverse repercussions for coming forward. However, whistleblowers must be protected from harassment and intimidation for this act to be effective. Their reports must be given attention because when nothing happens to the wrongdoer, people may be reluctant to report any wrongdoing. Still, when people feel protected, and laws do not respect persons, they will feel safe to blow the whistle.
Every citizen must be totally devoted to the war against activities that bring a poor reputation to the nation. Ghanaian officials must take the lead in combating any anti-social action that harms the country's image. The country's anti-corruption laws must provide sufficient deterrence to social deviance. The Office of the Special Prosecutor, law enforcement agencies, and others must be made powerful to investigate all misconduct or violations of laws. For example, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) must be funded and empowered to operate independently of the government, as must the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), and Citizens' Movement Against Corruption (CMAC).
One other effective strategy to combat dishonesty is to raise public awareness. Understanding how individuals engage in dishonest conduct must be among the steps toward resolving the issue. Sensitizing Ghanaians about the many types of dishonesty would enable them to identify them when they meet them and provide them with the knowledge they need to take preventive actions. Ghanaians must understand that no organization or person can combat or prevent dishonesty. Collaboration is required among the government, corporate sector, higher education institutions, civil society groups, and the people. Forming alliances among these institutions will aid in the struggle to rid the nation of dishonesty. Sharing knowledge, skills, and resources will result in more effective preventative initiatives, public awareness, and stronger regulation.
I will end my submission by pointing out that citizens' lack of integrity has had far-reaching effects on the nation. It has hurt the economy by weakening trust and earning a negative reputation. Maintaining and encouraging integrity in Ghana is critical to supporting a healthy and productive economy. When Ghanaians defend and protect their integrity with steadfast commitment, the country will gain the world's respect and admiration.