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Opinions of Monday, 23 May 2005

Columnist: Adomako, Appiah Kusi

Positive Change Chapter Two: Attitude Change Chapter Zero

One political catch phrase that has performed miracles in Ghana is the New Patriotic Party?s slogan ?Positive Change?. In deed the events that preceded the 2000 Elections were indicative of the fact that the whole population was demanding change and lo and behold God almighty showered on us ?change?.

The high expectation that gripped the first chapter of positive change was so great, a greater percentage of the populace being optimistic that Kufuor?s government was going to make a one hundred and eighty degree turn of their miseries and plight. But most people see themselves completely disillusioned.

We did believe that everything was going to change for good. Well, we can see some signs of the positive change. Micro economic stability, increase in domestic revenue mobilization, increase in cocoa production and many others.

One thing that is militating against the realization of our much cherished positive change is that we have not changed our character and attitude. In the Bible Jesus said no one would put a new wine into an old wine skin. The policemen have not stopped collecting two thousand cedis from commercial drivers; public servants have not stopped staking lotto during official working hours; cocoa purchasing clerks have not stopped altering their scales; doctors have not stopped collecting illegal monies from patients; teachers at secondary schools have not stopped doing their private extra classes when they are supposed to be teaching; custom officials have not stopped collecting monies from importers; judges have not stopped collecting bribes to temper with justice; government officials have not stopped using public vehicles and fuel for their personal errands; ministers have not stopped under and over-invoicing government contracts; Internal Revenue Service personnel have not stopped condoning and conniving with businessmen to under pay taxes.

This is not all. We have not stopped going to work late; we have not stopped leaving office and work place some minutes and hours before closing.

Though we are in chapter two of JAK positive change, the people of Ghana are still in chapter zero of attitude change. It is like the children of Israel leaving Egypt from slavery and yet Egypt was still on their minds. We need to decolonize our minds and attitudes.

We always talk about change. Of course change is a hallmark of human nature. But we need to realize that change is never automatic. Rev Martin Luther King Jr once said that ?human progress does not roll on the wheels of inevitability. Rather it comes through persistent work and dedication.? We can go to Atwea Mountains, pray to God, declare 40 days prayer and fasting but if we do not change our attitude; we will not see anything. The Almighty God will not send matching armies from heaven to change our attitudes.

Every year we cherish our pilgrimage to Christian conventions and camp-meetings among others and we come back with the same attitude we claim we have thrown away.

I am certain that we need to pray for God?s help and guidance but we are gravely misled if we think that only prayer will cause a change. God, who gave us minds for thinking, and bodies for working, would defeat his own purpose if he permitted us to obtain through prayer what may come through work and intelligence. Prayer is a marvellous and necessary supplement to our feeble efforts, but it is a dangerous substitute. When Moses strove to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, God made it clear that he would not do for them what they could for themselves. ?And the Lord said unto Moses, wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.?

We must pray earnestly for economic prosperity and a peaceful Ghana, seek to have ourselves tuned up to the frequency of God but we must also work vigorously for it and change for the better. We must use our minds as rigorously as we used them last year during the elections. We must pray with unceasing passion for a better Ghana, but we must also use our minds to develop a program, organize ourselves into hard working people and employ every resource with our bodies and souls.

Many years ago a great philosopher by the name John Stuart Mills said when society requires to be rebuilt there is no use in attempting to rebuild it on the old plan and attitude (emphasis added). This means that new challenges come with new things. As a nation, Ghana has wallowed in the valley of non-performance since we got independence such that our ?mates? -Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea have outdistanced us.

No courts can legislative good attitude. What the law can do is to control the external effects of bad internal attitudes. We will have to come to our senses like the prodigal son, who realised that he had wasted his life, changed his course and headed back home to start life all over again. If we do not play our cards well a pre-pubertal country like East Timor will over a post-menopausal country like Ghana in economic and developmental terms.

Until we change our attitudes to meet the frequency of positive change chapter two, we will ask in pathetic amazement ?where is the change that Kufour and his government promised us?? It will be an illusion.

The good thing is that it is still not too late. We can begin from somewhere. We can think big but step out with small steps.

Appiah Kusi Adomako is a freelance writer and student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He also works with an NGO called ?LEADERS OF TOMORROW FOUNDATION as an administrator. He can be contacted on: Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation, P.O. BOX. KS 13640. Kumasi-Ghana, West Africa. Tel 027-740-2467
www.interconection.org/lotfound


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