For some time now, we (Ghanaians) have been pointing accusing fingers at politicians for being responsible for our problems. They are a set of people we perceive as heartless thieves who milk the nation dry to feed their selfish interests, cater for family and friends at the expense of the poor tax payer.
There is an element of truth in that wild claim. Most of our politicians lack conscience. The first thing they think about after grabbing power is how to amass wealth. They look for and capitalize on every single loophole in the constitution just to create, loot and share taxes and other resources to build generational funds for their children and as well secure enough money for the next election.
However, COVID-19 outbreak has made me better understand that, the politicians have been subjected to bias judgments over the years. The hard fact is that, the ordinary Ghanaian is equally a potential thief who just lacks the right platform or opportunity to exhibit this hidden instinct.
Few days into the outbreak, the market women, who usually grant interviews to the media to cry on the government for hardship were the first to skyrocket the prices of foodstuffs including common Gari. The gentleman at the mall who constantly complains about how this country is submerged in hardship and blames leaders for bloating budgets and contract amounts, quadrupled prices of hand Sanitizers and face masks.
This attitude run through every single fibre of our society within the shortest possible time. Given the least opportunity, the people were quick to shoot up prices illegally and heartlessly to profiteer from items needed to survive a pandemic. Just imagine these same set of people holding power for four years(per the constitutional demand), have access to resources and control security. They will do worse than the people they accuse. They will tear down this whole country.
There is a quite unfortunate trend that runs through the thoughts and activities of most of our opinion leaders. They are fond of dividing the populace into two groups knowingly or otherwise. The political elite, perceived as the thieves and the masses, seen as the innocent lambs and mostly incite the latter against the former.
Although very young in age, my little experience thought me that, it’s a complete waste of time to deal that way with the Ghanaians I have grown to know. That formula of ignoring the flaws of the masses or exaggerating their problems to focus on the elite is what produced the same type of leadership over the years. Simply because, these leaders are selected from the attitudinally bankrupt masses.
I belong to the school of thought that believes human behavior can be tamed with strong and efficient institutions and system of law enforcement with due reference to how Ghanaians breach all the laws back home but find their sense of good social behavior when they travel abroad but the bitter pill we all need to swallow is that, the political will towards law enforcement in Ghana is DEAD.
It was long killed by the unproductive system we operate. If party A initiates an action to deal with defaulters, party B and C will quickly jump in to sympathize with them to score cheap points. If Government initiates an arrest of those who increased prices unduly during this pandemic, opposition parties will form nonsensical associations tagged with all the funny names, “friends of the hustlers”, “association of concerned sellers” etc and solidarize with them for votes, resulting mostly in the reversal of such orders for fear of losing elections.
The will is dead. Law enforcement is dead and there’s a huge gap of attitudinal deficit. We are in crisis but the solution we seek is certainly not in the hands of the politicians, neither are the politicians the sole problems of our country. The reality is that, they have long lost that firm grip on the situation at hand. The change discourse must start on Individual levels. If the desired change cannot happen from the top to buttom as the norm demands, we can build it right from the base. It is possible!