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GHANAIANS’ IRRESPONSIBILITY: KWESI PRATT HITS THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE SPOT!

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People have these cross-culture attitudes or mindsets such as “I don’t see myself ever agreeing with this or that person” or “that group never makes sense so there is no need to listen to what they have to say.” But, there is also an enduring advice cross-culturally that “NEVER SAY NEVER” because none of us as mortal humans knows exactly what tomorrow may bring.

People have these cross-culture attitudes or mindsets such as “I don’t see myself ever agreeing with this or that person” or “that group never makes sense so there is no need to listen to what they have to say.” But, there is also an enduring advice cross-culturally that “NEVER SAY NEVER” because none of us as mortal humans knows exactly what tomorrow may bring.

So when one good friend in Ohio here in U.S. sent me a YouTube video on September 18, 2018, encouraging me to watch a discussion involving Mr. Akwesi Pratt Jr. on the Peace FM Radio, my initial reaction was: “Why do I have to waste my time to watch this rabid socialist rather than use the time to grade my students’ assignments?”

Setting my preconceived biases aside, I hesitantly watched the YouTube video which was apparently a debate on the ongoing saga regarding the Menzgold and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Without mincing word, I was blown away not only by Mr. Kwesi Pratt’s bold truthfulness about Ghanaians’ sense of governmental entitlements and lack of taking responsibility for their actions, but also his non-partisan critical analysis of the Menzgold fairytale and other national issues. 

On the YouTube under reference, Mr. Pratt said many things that cannot be recalled here word for word, but to paraphrase some of them, he reiterated the fact that many Ghanaians appear to speak from both sides of their mouths. On one hand, Ghanaians know corruption is sinking the nation’s economy where many businesses and others are also not meeting their state tax obligations, but they blame the government instead of our self-serving attitudes toward Ghana. And on the other, this president is doing all that it can within the scope of the law to put screws onto the various illegal operations going on in the country—many of them inherited—and yet Ghanaians are complaining the government under Nana Akufo-Addo is “killing their businesses”? 

Seriously? How is Ghana’s most pro-business growth Danquah-Busia-Dombo pedigree sabotages the business community on the basis that its offshoot NPP government is pushing for economic sanity and fairness into the financial sector? Or how does any serious government have the capacity to create sustainable jobs and attract the needed foreign investments in the midst of financial chaos? As Mr. Pratt correctly alluded during his Peace FM discussions, if the “Trotro drivers, taxi drivers, the average sellers in the markets and many others’ operations throughout the country are regulated and taxed, why Menzgold be left off the hook?”

Evidently, the nation’s banking or financial belt was sneakily in turmoil—in a sort of bubble, about to burst when the current administration took power in January 2017. Thus, avoiding the likely financial rapture calls for prudent economic measures, including reasonable regulations in an effort to stem the tide of years of neglect of proper fiscal or monetary discipline under the previous regime. Based on the information surrounding the Menzgold’s activities as revealed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Central Bank of Ghana, the state does not have a choice but to step in to protect the financial interest of the nation. 

Again, Mr. Akwesi Pratt hits the nail right on the head in regard to his assertion that Ghanaians must learn how to take responsibility of their (mis)behaviors and stop unnecessary buck passing. It is unfair and probably ungodly to say the least, to blame someone else almost all the time for one’s ethical lapses or misdemeanors. The hypocrisies and the contradictions among my kinfolks in Ghana are legendary and some of us are wondering if the complaints are not nearing psychotic level. Ghanaians bitterly bleat about everything the government does whether they truly understand the basis of the policy or not. Once again, Mr. Pratt’s suggestions were right on the money; Ghanaians simply like to talk and blame everyone else except themselves.

It is worth noting that in almost all the developed societies their respective governments does not do everything for the people. The citizens do not sit down, complain, and expect the governments to keep their residential areas clean after personally leaving garbage, choke the open gutters with empty drinking bottles and commit other irresponsible acts that retard a country’s progress. There is this stomach-churning story from an acquaintance whose relative in Ghana is a tractor-trailer (articulator truck) driver. According to the alarming account, there are many custom officers, especially at the Tema Harbor, who knowingly allow haulage trucks load imported goods ostensibly meant to be transited to the landlocked Burkina Faso but the trucks turn around and offload all the goods somewhere in Ghana to avoid paying the right custom duties due the nation.

How can a country we claim we love prosper with this kind of selfish cultural mindset? One distasteful thing about it all is some of these officials end up joining the chorus that blames the government for the slow pace of progress in Ghana. One can also talk about some police officers in Ghanaian roads and highways who willingly accept bribes while teasingly blame the poor motorists for voting for the “government they want now.” Let Ghanaians blame and change government every day, it will never make any difference until we change our unprogressive cultural tendencies. 

Ask the Americans, British, Japanese, Canadians, or even the Chinese and the like, whose economic systems are supposed to be based on pure capitalism.  None of the above nation-states can claim to have real capitalist model. In fact, the U.S. or British economy, for instance, is based on regulated capitalism. At any rate, their countries are advancing every day because they realize that democracy per se doesn’t have self-correcting mechanisms; that is why they have strong internal controls and functional rules in their economies. And their state institutions also support each other; and lest l forget, most of the citizens do not just complain and blame their governments at every least opportunity they get, nor do they encourage societal rot and corruption while shifting the blame on the government of the day. This time I salute Mr. Akwesi Pratt Jr. for getting this one right.