By Michael Addai
The last article before this, under similar title, attempted to highlight the colonial remnants of entitlement culture and the need to fix and change attitudes, right from the top to the bottom and from the bottom to the top simultaneously but not in tandem. That is to say, if there was any chance of dismantling this colonial entitlement chain of mindset/attitude for many a people in “Ogyakrom” — that attitude/mindset which could, aptly, be described in a famous quotation; ‘what the country can do for them’ rather than ‘what they can do for the country’ — then both the ‘top-down’ leadership societal attitudinal change and the ‘bottom-up’ societal attitudinal change approaches are needed at the same time.
It was also established that the previous self-governments that “Ogyakrom” experienced after independence had tried and used the ‘buga buga’ form/method of ‘top-down’ approach to deal with this entitlement culture/attitude before the 4th republic but all failed massively because the so-called redeemers and ‘junior Jesus’(s) turned out to be more corrupt and more entitled than those they accused, abused and murdered for the very same sins. They all blew the opportunity/chance to change this cultural mindset of entitlement in our society bigly.
The current democratic dispensation
Is the current democratic dispensation a victim of this entitlement culture?
Understandably, an average voter wants to see or witness structural changes economically and socially within the space of 4 years and hence governments are usually pre-occupied, seeing to that demands and thus tend not to devote much time to engage in any civic sensitivity education on this subject. With that said, it appears that the various governments in this 4th republic democratic dispensation, continue to treat this entitlement culture as ‘business as usual’. When in opposition they make huge noise about what is going wrong in government and in society and make huge promises in changes and reforms but when in government they only pay lip-service to these promises and, pathetically, become victims of this pervasive culture.
Despite the current understandable prevailing cry of frustration, doom and gloom coming from certain quarters of the citizenry including the government’s own discerning party members as well as the opposition groups, objectively, there are a lot of things that this government can be praised and appreciated for, since they came into office in 2016. Examples of such praised-worthy initiatives, among others, that can be attributed to this government’s good works include the following:
i) the implementation of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) programme — which has come to stay,
ii) the 1 District 1 Factory (1D1F) and 1 Village 1 Dam projects,
iii) the 1 Constituency 1 Ambulance,
iv) the use of medical drones,
v) the national digitization process,
vi) the national railway lines rehabilitation and network expansion,
vii) the timely banking sector reforms,
viii) the establishment of car assembly plants
ix) the creation of 6 more regions — to enhance decentralization, and above all else
x) the management of the COVID-19 pandemic — a huge chunk of our resource expenditures had been devoted to this cause to deal with this global health issue — which has helped prevent the country, so far, from experiencing major pandemic crises that are happening elsewhere in the world.
It is also worthwhile stating that the successful conduction of the 2020 presidential as well as parliamentary elections in the middle of a pandemic, (even though with some few hasty announcement hiccups) by the Electoral Commission (EC) clearly demonstrates that when institutions are properly resourced with the tools, dedicated personnel and law-abiding individuals who have integrity and feel accountable to the people, goals can be achieved, and targets met without any fanfare or drama.
However, if there was one thing that this government can be faulted for, in one’s view, is their abject failure, so far, to effectively deal with this pervasive culture of entitlement that continues to plague this country despite all the promises and rhetoric. It’s one considered view that their promise of sparing this country of the needless consequences of this pervasive culture of entitlement by meaningfully tackling and dismantling it was what endeared them, mostly, to many. To be clear, it was also very true that when the president came to power he never said, ‘he alone can fix it’, he, in fact, called on the people to be citizens instead of being spectators albeit there are still some areas that one would have wished the leadership had shown more grit, actions rather than just mere tokens, talking/preaching and promising.
This reservation stems from their inability to fully prosecute the former NDC officials who had allegedly embezzled public funds. The question remains why after years of shouting corruption, incompetence from the ‘roof top’ about the alleged corrupt practices of these former NDC officials, there hadn’t been any meaningful prosecution brought to bear on these alleged malpractices yet? One shudders to think if there was any deliberate attempt to go soft on these former officials and allow them to go scot-free so that the proverbial treatment of ‘You scratch my back and I scratch yours’ would be meted out to them on their day of reckoning and wanting. This would, surely, be sorely mistaken and wrong on their part if that was the case. Or is it perhaps the current leadership has succumbed to this very entitlement culture by wrongly assuming that it is ‘business as usual’?
The lack of clear conviction of purpose to prosecute these alleged criminals leaves much to be desired and maybe contributing to this entitlement culture in our current democratic dispensation. This leadership cannot afford to be complacent to this entitlement culture since they have the men and women to be different from, and better than the rest and live up to the high expectations they set for themselves.
The next article would look at the various attitudinal ways/forms that this entitlement culture shows itself in our society.
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