We were in Koforidua one weekend to attend a nephew’s wedding ceremony. On our return we stopped by a petrol station to buy some fuel but to our shock and horror there were no attendants.
The reason for the absence of the staff from work was because there was rainfall on the day. The opening of the heavens is good reason for absenteeism in a large number of workplaces in Ghana.
The second incident relates to a young driver who was employed by me for the period of our three- week stay in Ghana.
He reported late for his first day at work and refused to show up the next day for work without prior notification resulting in me nearly missing a very important Radio interview at the GBC Morning Talk Show.
When I decided to terminate his short term contract there were pleas from complete strangers for me to rescind my decision.
The reality is that there are a large number of unproductive, incompetent and inefficient employees who are a serious strain and drain on the nation’s resources and yet for some unexplained reasons they continue to keep their jobs.
A taxi driver I hired for the day allayed my despair for mother Ghana and gave me some cause for hope for a better Ghana in the future. At the age of 25 years, he is self-employed and owns his own taxi cab and supports his younger brother in JSS.
After hearing my experience with the indolent driver and without any prompting from me, he was able to find me another driver whose hard work was exemplary.
Personal interest/selfishness seems to be a national trait. The old adage ‘everybody for himself and God for us all’ is apparently the common verbal currency and belief system.
The general public good appears to be far removed from a pure self-centred and individualistic mindset. Intrinsically entwined with this national destructive tendency is the maximising of party rather than the national interest.
The party which wins power (winner takes all) allocates financial and other national resources to their faithful supporters and their tribal cohorts.
Thrift, a key value for national economic development, is scarcely practised in Ghana.
The wealthy Ghanaian has to show the trappings of their financial success which gives him/her an enviable status in society – nobody really cares about the source of an individual’s wealth whether it was acquired by fair or foul means — The negative impact of such a morally deplorable and detestable attitude on the youth today, is extremely disturbing.
The future leaders of tomorrow are committed now to an insatiable desire for material affluence by hook or crook.
Ghana is ‘an exhibitionist society’. The palpable absence of the invaluable asset of the practice of thrift (saving to invest for the future) implies that businesses hardly invest to expand.
Invariably the demise of a business magnate or proprietor spells the death knell to the business enterprise of the modern Ghanaian businessman. Sound, prudent business ethics and management skills are virtually non-existent in our business culture.
At Independence, about nearly 60 years ago Ghana was adjudged to be a leading light in the African continent- the first sub-Saharan black African nation to attain political independence.
Notable amongst her sterling achievements were a relatively high per capita income, low national debt and a sizeable foreign currency reserves inter-alia.
It is a myth to suggest that this impressive economic statistics can be attributed to the Colonial Government’s benevolent administration.
The truth is that the imposition of colonialism was not intended to benefit the colonies.
It was a purely exploitative system. It is a reasonable presumption that Ghana’s impressive economic record at independence was the result of the sweat and toil, enduring work ethic aggressive pursuit of wealth by our ancestors.
‘Sankofa’, a mythical bird which flies forward with its head turned backwards reflecting the belief that the past serves as a guide to the future must be used not only as a national symbol but to explore the implications of this symbolism for our society’s development.
The cocoa industry was and has been the backbone of Ghana’s economy for a long time and at one point Ghana was the leading producer of Cocoa in the world. Contrary to popular belief the extraction of Gold in Ghana preceded the advent of British colonial rule.
Our ancestors across the regions of Ghana possessed the invaluable cultural values of hard work, an impressive work ethic, a strong sense of competitiveness and an aggressive pursuit of wealth qualities which were invaluable for the massive economic development in the Gold Coast.
Even though the Gold Coast experienced a foreign colonial governance which was exploitative ‘democratic principles’ were to a limited degree permitted which provided the soil for a sustainable economic development.
The current generation of leaders must assiduously and vigorously endeavour to rediscover what made Ghana great and seriously collectively commit themselves to inculcate these invaluable cardinal values to our sons and daughters in order to ensure that the next generation will make Ghana the star of Africa.
By Alexander Kwasi Kufuor