The fragility of our infant democracy ….
Ghana prides herself on being global leader in seeking independence, but so many of her offspring (Ghanaians) feel alienated from our infant -democratic process now. But do we blame it on 'politricks' or on the culture of entitlement?
Over the years, “politricks”, culture of entitlement and the government have undermined the virtues in democracy.
“Politricks” (sort of rhymes with “playing-tricks”) is the derisive term that's been coined to identify the greedy politicians who have looted the Ghanaian economy and so far have gotten away their crimes—crimes that we now know hurt the country so badly they border on treason.
Even at this hour, our own government can't do the right thing that will ultimately change the socio-economic equation in the country; or come up with a realistic master plan to free us from mental slavery and consumerism. As a nation we need to explore various ranges of solutions to address fiscal crisis as well as long-range business strategies to jump start our economy, fix our accident –prone roads and build our hemorrhage schools and health systems.
I doubt if there is anyone who can make an intelligent argument against the fact that we have become a society with bigger sense of entitlement. Some People actually believe that they are owed a living while doing nothing on their own to make sure they are gainfully employed or have any savings in the bank or retirement income. Sadly, in this day and age, some people still believe that they owed to be employed, knowing very well that they did not even put out the work they were being paid to do to stay employed in the first place. Indeed, we live in an illusioned nation.
Regrettably, our national and local politicians and other decision-makers have inadvertently master-minded this culture of 'what-is-in –for –me?'
Mark my words, we can pray till the Kingdom come for our blessings, but nothing will happen. Unless we work on our laziness, honesty, responsibility , ever-declining work ethic ,our sliding scale of morality and the gray area of integrity that runs rampant among almost all workers and corporations .Add to that ,our greed and unhealthy appetite to expect---- (make that ,demand )for more without any sweat.
In the wake of our relentless efforts to move the nation forward for development, not only can we not see the socio-economic 'Promised Land', but progress is elusive as a nation if we remained illusioned. Today, we have a carbon –copy of the so-called 'DemoCRACY (MoneyCracy) and we have fated to yearn for qualities that we find missing in our present community leaders, civil servants and politicians. So Ghanaians are now intrigued by unpolished, knock-some-heads-together, ego-centric, cutthroat, no-holds-barred brand which is practiced in Ghana.
Yes, I'm talking about the local and national 'Politricks' and the leaderships that seem to lack any source of earth-shaking ideas that can revitalize our communities, towns and villages. I wonder what kinds of books our local and national leaders and policy makers read—if they read at all. By the way, where this nation will be ten years from now will be directly influenced by the type of ideas of the people who run the show now have and the kinds of books they read; if any !.
Indeed, we lack the substance that requires us to be active participants as citizenry. What does it mean to be actively engaged citizens? How can we stimulate more critical thinking and more deliberate approach by the citizenry?
Even our popular culture cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy. We are now dangerously and religiously depending on spectacle of false hope and magic oils to cure any and every disease and aliments. We have turned our wants into needs, thereby fueling a huge appetite for an importation and consumption of foreign cultures wantonly. All these have created the illusioned nation in which we live now.
It has also created an allusion about who we are, about where we are going as individuals and as a nation, about what we need (instead of what we want), and it has disconnected us so deeply from reality that we can no longer make rational decisions that affect our future, the future of our nation, children, schools and other areas of our lives.
At a time when six in ten Ghanaian school children read below intermediate level or are illiterates and only fifty -percent of the JSS students who recently sat for the national basic certificate examination passed, how is our society affected by the barrage of negative images, messages and mediocrity emanating from our media and politicians? They go around the world 'vuvuzelazing' or trumpeting how they are satisfied with the standard of our education system.
How are the impossible standards of our appetite for materialism, consumerism and the culture of lies and deceit, reflected in our money-soaked -syndrome culture ;impact on how we see ourselves vis- a -vis our role in the nation's development equation?
How does journalism based on sensationalism affect the functioning of our so-called Democracy and the nurturing of refined future leaders?
What are the consequences of the behaviors of some of our police officers, politicians and civic leaders that sometimes seem to normalize such traits as self-aggrandizement, the capacity for manipulating the system and the inability to feel remorse?
How did this happen? How did we reach this point?
Well, over the years , Ghanaian virtues of self-reliance, personal responsibility , industriousness and a passion for freedom and justice have declined tremendously .I argue that this is due largely in part to
visionless ,ineffective, corrupt and selfish leadership, in our system which has refused to promote those virtues.
In short, politicians and decision-makers are deliberately perpetuating policies that will make us live the life of mediocrity while they remain in positions and enjoy their entitlements.
Even the middle-class families no longer have to practice thrift because they know they can beat the system and get rich. Dads no longer have to marry the women they impregnate or take care of their offspring because the society is not forcing them to take care of their own kids. There has been a tragic rise in single parenthood across the land, thereby children go astray and being the prime recruits for neighborhood gangs and potential armed robbers.
This family structure breakdown won't spontaneously regenerate without some serious activism from both religious community groups and government agencies.
Finally there is a problem of the government sucking resources away from the most productive parts of the economy –--, health, entrepreneurship, road, education, apprenticeships training---and directing those to politically connected parts.
How do you explain the reason behind the idea of our students who are required to buy special cards and travel miles to internet café just to check on their examination results? And, why should JSS students have to wait in the house for months; after graduation before they find the direction of their educational goals? It appears the Education Service (the government) has teamed up with the WAEC to slow down the education process of our students.
In other words, the building of the human capital is not a highest priority in Ghana. An active government will encourage parental and early childhood education; straight up through adult technical training and investments in scientific research.
Then there is prolonged stagnation of business start-ups. Job creation has decreased because the government is not promoting that. In this computer age, how long does it take to register a company and why can't one register a company in regional centers across the land?
Mark my words, I assure you, the continued decline of Ghana is inevitable because we live in an illusioned nation. And, the person responsible for this is the person you see in your mirror every morning.
Since government upon government is not doing anything to grapple with and address these deeper structural problems, we need to ask tough questions during the upcoming election campaign and debates. So I'll start with this one: “since Ghana's problems cannot be solved by the government alone, and cannot also be solved without the leadership from the government, what would you do if elected, to address the entitlement mentality , diminishing social trust and the politricks?”
We surely need answers because when things fall apart none of us will be at ease !.
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi (Voice of Reason)
*The author is a social commentator and the founder of The Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment Foundation for the disadvantaged Youths of Asuom.