Feature Article of Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Columnist: Tuokuu, Francis Xavier

Indiscipline Is Our Problem In Ghana

Ghanaians have often asked for development projects in their communities ranging from hospitals, good drainage system, schools, good transport system to security and protection. The various governments both past and present have done their best to provide these development projects based on the resources available. However, many factors have militated against our development which encompasses financial, technological, political instability and lukewarm attitude to work. Indiscipline is one of such factors which have often been overlooked.

The question is, what country were we Ghanaians operating? A country after 50 years of independence was ran down by filth, knocked out by disease, over-powered by hunger, saturated with doses of armed robbery, petty thievery, unwilling to be honest, chewed up by bribery and corruption, overflowing with lies, plastered by inimitable inequalities, inequity and iniquity counting down to the last hurdle before a dangerous death! It is also true that morality has been thrown to the dogs, disease to the doctor, pleasure to ourselves and God be our keeper! (Public Agenda, 28th April, 2006, Page 11). These are all acts of indiscipline which have eaten into the Ghanaian society.

To start with, the idea of ‘African time’ is retarding the progress of development in this country. It is a common practice in government institutions where some workers often go to work late, go for break before time and close from work earlier than the time given. It is not uncommon for people to go for a programme scheduled for 10am at 12pm believing in the concept of ‘African Time’. How do we expect our productivity to increase when we do not respect time? Time management is very important in every sector of our economy and that explains why we have planning officers in every unit or department/agency to plan our projects and programmes according to a stipulated time period. If we fail to plan our time wisely, disappointment and failure will plan for us. A closer look at the performance of schools in Ghana shows that, schools with high sense of discipline perform better than those that lack discipline. And that is why students from mission schools where discipline is the order of the day often perform better than their counterparts in the government schools. Hardwork and discipline equal success but hardwork without discipline can never bring success. Therefore, the success of every person depends largely on his/her own prayers, hardwork, integrity, discipline and acceptable behaviour.

Secondly, the many road accidents on our roads especially in the early part of this year can be attributed to acts of indiscipline which include; over loading, over-speeding, drunkenness on the part of drivers. Many innocent people have lost their lives due to the carelessness and negligence of some people.

Furthermore, it is common to see people in Ghana attending to the call of nature in gutters, even in the market and along our beeches which serve as tourist sites. It is also common for passengers in a vehicle to throw polythene bags or containers through the window of a moving vehicle after eating. We litter about anyhow and anywhere. No matter the good work of Zoomlion Ghana Ltd., if we do not change our attitude, their work will always be in vain. Why can’t we in Ghana learn from those in Malaysia, Singapore and our North African counterparts where it is a crime to litter or even throw a chewing gum on the ground. It is about time the law enforcement agencies did their work without fear or favour. Some people have argued that the government has not provided enough public toilets and urinal pits. Whether that is true or not, we should all “be part of the solution and not the problem” by playing our role, for the government can not do it all alone.

In addition, children no longer respect their parents, guardians and teachers. Parents now fear their children instead of the other way round. Recently, it was reported in one of the dailies about how a youngman led his friends most of them in their early twenties to robb his father and when they were caught by the police, he said his father does not provide him with his needs. One of the children unfortunately died as a result of gun battle with the police.

Corruption, nepotism, ethnocentrism and tribalism have now all become norms in our society rather than vices. Most of our leaders are greedy, selfish and are concern with themselves and families rather than the larger society. But let us remember what President Obama told the Parliament of Ghana, “no country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves or if the police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20% off the top or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt.

In conclusion, “Africa’s future is up to Africans” and Ghana is no exception. We can only come out of poverty if we are discipline and do away with negative practices which undermine our development as elucidated above. Now is the time to change the status quo and do away with mediocrity. The better Ghana promised us by Professor Mills and his government will become a mirage if we continue to allow indiscipline to show its ugly head in our society. Added to this is what Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. Said, that, “the urgency of the moment calls for leaders of wise judgment and sound integrity. Leaders who are not in love with money but in love with justice. Leaders who are not in love with publicity but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egoes to the greatness of the cause.”

Francis Xavier Tuokuu

University of Ghana P.O. Box LG 59 Legon – Accra (mactuokuu@yahoo.com).