Whining is a favourite past time that most Ghanaians engage in. We especially love to whine about how this country is run. The good thing is that enough freedom prevails for us to whine without fear. Indeed it is important that people are allowed to whine, because, as the saying goes, “you cannot beat a child and forbid it from crying”.
There is so much going wrong in Ghana, which results in stress for the Ghanaian, and whining may be good for our health as a means of relief from the stress of it all. Moreover at times, all that needs to be done is for us to whine. The question however is, for how long are we going to keep whining without doing something meaningful about our situation as a people? And indeed whining may not be completely needless, because actually, persistent, loud-enough whining has been known to trigger useful reactions in this country from the powers that be. There are even some who believe that inadequate whining is the reason we have not made the expected progress.
Many of the activities that we engage in aside whining are arguably the causes of our problems because many of them create problems about which others would be compelled to whine. We cannot however keep whining about stuff simply because they are not our fault, or whine only about those things that affect us, whilst on our part we perpetrate offences, which others would justifiably complain about.
The journalist is collecting money to kill a story or side-stepping one because his friend or relative is involved but strictly holding some government official to his duty. The armed robber is complaining about ECG putting off his light “by heart” and the woman who dumps her refuse in the gutter is whining about a nurse disrespecting her at the hospital.
The young man is wondering what kind of work DVLA does if such rickety vehicles ply our roads, but he just bribed the police officer who accosted him for running the red light. You are whining about not having a job and blaming government for doing little but you passed your exams at tertiary level and submitted assignments mostly by copying from others. The corrupt official collecting money before discharging his duty as a public servant is whining that NHIS does not work.
The moral right to complain must be backed by a personal commitment to do the right thing at all times even when no one is watching. Very few of us wake up thinking of ways in which Ghana can become better and actually take steps to bring those ideas into reality. With so few Ghanaians having this consciousness it is no wonder that our progress is so painfully slow.
The rest of us are busy looking for ways through which we and our families can ‘make it’ irrespective of the difficulties that Ghana is facing. Some of us too are actually busy destroying the little Ghana has managed to achieve, by corrupting the systems of state, abusing well- intentioned policies, stealing from our coffers, destroying physical infrastructure, etc..
If in the absence of any serious natural disaster, war or terrorism and we are crawling like this, then we have little to be proud of as a people. There is need for a certain critical mass of us Ghanaians who wake up each day and venture out with a goal to work for Ghana’s progress. Without this no government can succeed in bringing Ghana to a level we can be proud of.
Rather than whine daily I suggest that we all must do more to address what we find wrong with our country. We cannot always be expecting someone else to do it. That someone seldom does it. It is time to whip up our patriotism and self-belief as Ghanaians and begin to take action when we can. If we think we are too busy to confront wrongdoing then wrongdoing would fester and ultimately hurt us as individuals. Simply confronting someone who is littering is hard for us to do. Reporting a crime or exposing someone for vandalizing our infrastructure is unusual of the Ghanaian. Public servants must no longer keep quiet whilst selfish politicians work against the national interest, just because of fear of job loss or loss of favour. We must all whine loudly and persistently about the delay in passing the Right to Information Bill. Private businessman must quit colluding with government officials to rape the national kitty in an attempt to kill their family poverty.
It seems we generally view government as a rival or unworthy of taking our money. We would rather carelessly lose or toss it to a beggar by the roadside than happily use it to pay for a new tax or increase in an old one. We make every effort to ensure that as little money as possible goes to government coffers whilst at the same time we grab with both hands any opportunity we have to take from the national kitty even when it is not our due. Meanwhile we keep whining about poor infrastructure. Main opposition parties are the worst offenders when it comes to this ‘offence’ against the nation. Instead of depriving the national kitty of funds, we ought to be pursuing actions that would ensure that those in charge of it do not misuse these resources.
Let us all work to ensure that the national kitty is adequately filled for government to do what it has to do; and let government enforce the laws, implement the policies and resource the systems that give life to mother Ghana and bring her progress.
Dr. E.M. Sowah