This last quarter of 2021 is showed itself as quite eventful in our country; not least because of the excitement created by the decisions discussions and determinations related to the Anti-LGBT Bill presently under Parliamentary processing.
But there is also the COP26 and the honest perspectives our President indicated, on the need for Africa to develop using her natural resources just like others have done, in his address to the delegates in Glasgow.
Also there are some social media concerns about why rich African business people are not employing more of our countrymen in the high positions of their corporations; their response being that folks are not honest in business.
Ghana is growing, but the trajectory is complex; much like the journeys of other countries, even those who have laboured for centuries, like China, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Arabians. The story of Africa has a lot of external interferences; and this, because of the selfishness, greed and quest for control desired by depraved homo sapiens, has made our pathway to true development not just bushy but possibly misleading.
If for nothing, we would have been nearly wholly misled by the western concept of human rights as it now seeks to promote LGBTQ+ in the vehicle of “human rights”. But this is after we seem to have been misled to conceptualise human rights as the right to do anything as a human being more than the responsibility to do what is right as a human being. both perspectives constitute freedom.
Another area we may have been misledis to build our notion of development on material wealth as an end and not a means. This we know by experience: material wealth, if at all necessary is not sufficient for human wellbeing.
When the West gave to themselves the status of “developed countries”, we all have realised that material wealth does not provide the answers to the human problem; it has not provided the security expected and has fuelled the inequality that catalyses terrorism and cybercrime.
Efficient sapience is more than the pursuit of GDP, Stocks and electric cars or taking a jolly ride to space.
We have to manifest our conceptualisation of “development” in more human terms, not on material indices. For example, our notion of poverty should be about a person who lacks contentment, has inadequate appreciation of complacency for which reason he/she has resigned unto fate; and one whose mind-set is to control another person for selfish gains.
This, and other related indicators such as lack of industry, joy, peace, long-suffering, meekness, faith, patience and godliness, is what we should build our notions of poverty and sustainable development on.
A wealthy but corrupt person should be seen as being in extreme poverty. But we have aloud ourselves to label these human values as religious notions, allowing religious bigots to hijack humanity into unreasonable traditions, rituals and unfruitful outcomes predicated on mere superstition; which they use the fear and hope of the unknown to propagate. Surely this is not Christianity.
It is the lack of industry, or its inadequacy, that perhaps underpins our under-development in many ways. We have such quagmire of poor productivity, that has led us into a disbelieve in ourselves. But this lack of trust seems to have empirical evidence; because the many rich people who refuse to invest in-country and in our people have numerous examples of unfaithfulness, dishonesty and sheer incompetence of local labour.
We have inadequate health facilities; poor roads, poor quality schools, an almost absent research industry and almost fully dependent on other countries for our economic survival. All this is hinged very much on inadequate productivity.
Our industry experts are in an endless debate with our academia on how our students should be trained so that they fit into productivity when they come out of school and hunt for jobs. But what is our concept of productivity?
Blind productivity, such as the West has followed into destructive materialism, is not the way to go. Blind productivity is what has created this monster of climate change we are finding hard to deal with. Blind productivity is what has filled our world with weapons of mass destruction and an arms race with no end. It is blind productivity that created terrorism and “superpowerism”. Blind productivity is atomising the human society, pushing us out of a burning earth into unknown space and leading us to create artificial intelligence to run a world of automation we vainly trust to keep in control. Folly! Blind productivity Is making us inhuman, trans-human and a self-claimed species headed towards self-annihilation.
In many ways blind productivity is worse than under-development, is it not? We are Sapiens because we are expected to have the sapience required to determine and do what is right. But we have developed a philosophy that has destroyed the standards of meaning, with the inordinate relativism that is the diadem of our science and literature laureates. The world has promoted sophism, thinking it was enhancing philosophy. This is why Ghana has a chance to transform Africa and change the world. This is how: we should train ourselves to determine and do what is right across board.Arete is the way to go.
First, we should jealously guard, maintain and entrench our faith in God. Faith in God is the first right thing to do. We should insist on our national position as a country of faith; and endeavour to make our people understand that faith is not a blind trust because of the unknown but a very reasonable believe in the Supreme personal being God, who created existence and to whom we will give account of how we respond to his abundant love and freedom. Our churches have purported to do this, so we need to support them to keep at it. We must assist our church leaders not malign them. One way of supporting is to keep religious leaders on their toes to focus on the moral wellbeing of our people. This thing of operationalising godliness by material gain is not righteousness. So our charismatic preachers should put away the quest for wealth that is causing many young people to use “ways and means” to grab inordinate wealth. “kpakpakpa” is not a Christian virtue, is it? In Christianity, there is a doctrine called the “Fruits of the Spirit”, which focuses on character and good behaviour. That is what Christian leaders should insist on; not on fat tithes and empty fame. Immorality in the church must be stopped. Ordinary Christians must be more responsible to their personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and stop the abuse of His grace. If we claim to be born again we should not be dead again in sin. Ghana should be proud to be a people of godly culture. If the West and others do not again believe in God, we have the blessed responsibility to bring them back to sense, by showing good fruits from our religious tree. Religion is today ridiculed because for many it is a hiding place for laziness, levity and false hope. Many corrupt politicians are hiding in our churches and mosque. Let’s stop abusing God. Godliness is a blessed national culture and we have the chance to show it.
Second: we must promote godliness in the secular space. Godliness is more than sentimentalism. It is realistic, pragmatic and productive. It should not be limited to church auditoriums, must be practised more at the work place. Some call it “Jesus in the market place”. We have to demonstrate godliness in governance and Development, Education and Training; Science and Technology; Philosophy and the Arts; Finance and Business; Relationships and Family; Missions and Apologetics and in Communication and Media. If we are a god-fearing people, let’s show it in the way we work. Employers, employees and regulators should demonstrate the fear of God in their secular responsibilities. The dichotomy we seem to have created between what we believe and what we do in real life is unreasonable. If you believe in God, show it in how you improve productivity at your work place. In the unity of human actions there is no discrepancy between spirituality and secularism. The latter is merely a physical expression of the former, not so? Surely, secularism needn’t be godless and atheistic, as some seem to think. The expression of freewill is not bound to be atheistic, is it? We could also choose our free will to joyfully seek and follow after God. After all, “in Him we live and move and have our being as certain also of your own poets have said” (Acts 17:28).
Manifesting godliness in the work place means the worker should convince himself of the eternal value of the impact of his or her labours. We do not work only because of financial remuneration. We work first because of job-satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment and love for the job. It is only outcomes with eternal value that can satisfy the human soul. This is not religious dogma it is the natural and social science outcome of the human experience. This is why soft skills, packaged as so-called emotional intelligence is now of prime consideration in measuring industrial competence. Human beings are eternal because they are spirits, created in the image of God. Spirits are eternal, so only things with eternal values harmonise the soul. What is the eternal value of working in an IT company, or in the Media industry, or farming on in the transport, manufacturing or telecom sub-sector? Surely, there are eternal implications and consequences of the outputs you help produce at your work place. Take time to find it out. That is what will propel your productivity, increase your performance, attract the interest of your boss and open more chances for you; while generating true satisfaction in your secular work.
Third: we must pay serious attention to performance measurement. Every work unit should have a mechanism for measuring efficiency of each staff. Some place run timesheets, based on specific work plans in the context of staff terms of reference. In Ghana, the Civil Service has a clear framework on the duties and responsibilities of every staff level. But this is not very well monitored, otherwise we won’t have the low productivity we experience in our public institutions. We should go to work on performance monitoring. Often, people don’t do what is expected of them. They do what would be inspected. So let’s crack the whip on supervisors and get them to monitor the outputs and outcomes of staff under them. We can achieve cross-cutting excellence if we scale-up performance monitoring in our work places, especially in the public institutions. There is some level of output monitoring but it is not sufficient to get us out of mediocrity. Sometime ago we had a ministry for monitoring and evaluation, what has become of it?
Civil society must go to work: let us rally our people unto doing what is right. Let’s enforce accountability systems and entrench consequence for all actions, especially those that use public resources. If we move, we will achieve. Righteousness exalts a nation!
By Farmer Mensah