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Opinions of Monday, 18 July 2016

Columnist: Anthony Gingong

Ghana: A nation in dilemma

In the Western Region town of Takoradi where I recently went for a capacity building programme for Health Insurance Staff, I sat in a group work session at Atlantic Hotel, the best hotel in

Ghana (my personal view), with a fantastic manageress. During deliberation, one of the female participants suddenly asked: What is wrong with us Ghanaians? Do we really know what we want? Are we all mentally well? Whilst trying to unearth the cause of her anger and digression, I still had to respond that we are all suffering from anxiety.

Anxiety is said to be the fear of the unknown, which is presented in various forms and classified under mental illnesses as a minor mental illness.

Feelings of panic, fear, uneasiness, sleep disorders, heat swings, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, uneasiness, dry mouth, numbness or tingling sensation of hands or feet, nausea, muscle tension and dizziness are some of the signs and symptoms.

There is another group of presentations that are not well documented but include falsehood, lying, imaginations, unsubstantiated claims, distortion of facts, antagonism. This period is transited into major mental illness where one is finally detached from reality into false beliefs and perceptions.

We seem to be in the first state as a country, but we have every opportunity to recover by accepting the reality of our situation and confronting with the right therapy not the convenient remedy, whether it is an issue of fuel, electricity, transport, food, water, accommodation or health.

This is a country we want interrupted electricity supply but hate to hear of increase in tariffs. We do not appreciate why the machines should undergo routine maintenance yet we go for routine medical check-ups to remain healthy. We send our cars for routine servicing with the mechanics.

This is a country where we want quality education yet we hate to hear of cost sharing. We want free education and when we are given free education, we send our children to private schools, where fees are charged in foreign currency.

This is a country where we want to travel on tarred roads yet we resist road tolls. We will condemn the closure of roads for periodic maintenance. We will demonstrate and burn tires and other materials on asphalted roads. We will dig newly constructed roads to build community initiated speed ramps with no respect to laws governing such activities.

This is a country where we want uninterrupted potable water supply yet we will resist increase in tariffs. We will use treated water to wash our cars, water our gardens, as well as do general house cleaning. We pass by, stand aloof, sit aside and watch burst pipes gush out treated water like a cholera patient.

This is a country where we want free medical care yet will resist any attempt to increase NHIS premium. Trades unions will fight against their members asked to pay premium for their own healthcare needs but not resist payment of dues. We want quality care but will hail medical professionals when they go on strike. We want all about our health to be covered under the NHIS but not increase in tax or premium.

We fight for freedom of speech but resist freedom of the law to check irresponsible speech. We repeal criminal libel law, then we complain of irresponsible journalism and journalistic practices, including attacks on individuals and state institutions.

In all these moments of reflection, my main worry has always been the comments of the religious leaders, our men and women of God. They stand on pulpit and call politicians corrupt, most often blaming the President for the prevalence of corruption.

Meanwhile, every political appointee in this country belonged to a religious sect long before joining politics. The religious leaders who have failed to build moral aptitude in their congregants turn to blame the appointing authorities for the ills of their members.

Interestingly, these leaders are sent envelopes for contribution; they are invited to chair religious functions, and demand from all, including the leaders, are forwarded to them. They organise special thanksgiving services to thank God for the appointment of their members, describing it as divine gift gotten through prophesies and prayer intervention.

How can you recognise corrupt individuals in the house of GOD when our Saviour chased such people out. This is really a nation in dilemma. We do not know where we should be neither do we know where we are.

The future is bright only when we accept the reality and work towards overcoming it. We have to pay for our comfort. We have to invest for our future and the future of our children. Let us stop shifting the blame to each other and accept we are all responsible for the progress of our nation.