Traits and habits pulling Ghana back

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It’s a great feeling, when you wake up and you realise your country has made several stride in in terms of economic development. Being Ghanaian is now more fun, and knowing we are now a middle-income country heightened the fun even more.

I however feel Ghana would have gotten higher than where it is now if only we could find ways of eliminating some negative traits we breed in us. I am happy I am writing this piece as a Ghanaian who has tasted this motherland for more than 20 years.

I guess this makes me immune to the “We love Ghana” pundits who are out there to shoot anyone who speaks negatively about the region they mostly think belongs to only them. Ghanaians are known to be welcoming, peaceful, hard-working , religious and football lovers and worshippers of politics.

If you’ve been in this country before, I am pretty sure you’d use similar adjectives to describe us with very little margins of error. These are the good sides. We however have the other side which doesn’t necessarily help us with our current socio-economic situation. If we could find a way to kick these not-so-helpful habits, we will find ourselves progressively getting closer to prosperity.

The “Let it go”  instinct :
According to the CIA, more than 70% of Ghanaians brand themselves as Christians in one way or the other.  We can have a full day’s debate about who a True Christian is, so for the purpose of this post, let’s just assume  those who claim to be followers of Christ, indeed understand what it means. One of the basic pillars of Christianity, forgiveness, has blown to become a national pillar.

It is not uncommon to see aggrieved person or a victim refuse to take legal action against someone who has clearly harmed him/her. I see Ghanaians exhibit this trait in many different ways. To a large extend, it is one of the reasons why we refuse to hold our leaders accountable. We prefer to wait for another cycle of 4-years and kick the greedy politician through the ballot than push for the setting-up of a commission to look into a reported case of mis-demeanour by a public figure.

Not too many people resort to court action against service providers even when the service provider had clearly violated service level agreements. Partly because not too many of us believe in the judicial system in the  country and partly because a good number of us prefer to just let it go.

For this very reason, we don’t demand for for better customer service or request that we are delivered exactly what we paid for and nothing less. As much as this has helped maintain a peaceful environment in Ghana, we’ve been short-changed by politicians and service providers who very well know our limits and know our worst actions cannot be anything which will cause them their jobs!

“This is Ghana” Syndrome :
Doing the right things and getting away with it is quite common in my homeland. On daily basis I see drivers of tro-tros (public transport) use the wrong sides of the road just because they intend to beat the long and winding traffic jams in their ways. For them making their daily sales target is more important than sticking to the traffic regulations, after all they are used to getting off the hook by paying their way through when a Police Officer stops them for such reckless offences.

It is disheartening when you are branded too-known guy when you are the one who insists on seeing to it that the right things are done. I experienced one of my happiest days when I witnessed a group of young men parked and got down from their cars to advice an older man who had apparently parked wrongly just to buy some roasted corn by the road side.

Later on, I came to realise the young men did not know each other prior to that experience. Getting support when you rebuke someone taking the  wrong path is not too common, at least not from the many experiences I’ve had in the past.

If you are not lucky, you’d rather get insulted for speaking against a wrong act, depending on the circumstances. This has led to a reduction in what I’d call citizen vigilantes. Sons and daughters of the land who don’t care about what others think, they will stand for what is right in any case.

The results of the  ‘this is Ghana’ syndrome can be seen in the filth that lines the city, the men who stand by the gutters open their zips and just let it go, the school-teacher who doesn’t care about how many days he’s absented himself…to them, this is Ghana!

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