Start dismantling this chain of entitlement culture (III)
By Michael Addai
The previous two articles dealt with the destructive surviving colonial remnant of entitlement culture that continues to plague the mentality of some ‘Ogyakrom’ citizens, causing them to treat anything government as foreign and thus are entitled to partake in its exploitation, ‘looting and sharing’. The articles also touched on the urgent need to fix and change this colonial mindset/attitude/mentality, and the apparent lack of enthusiasm by the present government to dismantle this entitlement culture.
This piece will attempt to show the different ways that this destructive colonial remnant of entitlement culture exhibits itself in various attitudinal forms in ‘Ogyakrom’.
Forms of this pervasive entitlement culture in society
The examples below of how this entitlement culture/mindset manifests itself in our society in different forms will suffice here for the purpose of discussion.
a). A recent example was this ‘fix the country’ agitation and demonstration that occurred not long ago. The organizers/conveners accused the government of using the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions to block their planned demonstrations using the courts. They claimed the government had no moral right to do that because the government itself had broken and flouted its own pandemic restrictions regarding large gatherings.
Granted, the government made mistakes and flouted its own pandemic restrictions as they claimed, did this justify the organizers/conveners to feel entitled to make the same mistakes by going ahead with the ‘fix the country’ demonstration amid the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as the Delta variant was then surging in transmission within the country? How was it conscionable for them to think that they were entitled to feel that it was OK to put their own lives and that of the people they purported to be fighting for, at risk of infection by the then devastating Delta variant? Where was the moral responsibility on the part of these organizers/conveners towards their followers? This attitude should have clearly sent the warning signal to those followers that the organizers/conveners of that ‘fix the country’ demonstrations really didn’t have their best interests at heart. Yes, the people might have had a legitimate reason to be angry and frustrated with their present condition in “Ogyakrom”, but those organizers/conveners appeared to be just in it for themselves, and just like their forebears of revolutionaries, they were only capitalizing on people’s legitimate frustrations to advance their own political careers. Otherwise, why would they dare to put anybody’s life at risk? Irresponsible behaviour? Absolutely!
b). It’s this entitlement attitude that allows some people in both civil and public institutions to feel that they’re entitled to take advantage of their positions in these government institutions to enrich themselves by expecting ‘favours/compensations’ from clients for rendering the very same services they’ve been tasked and employed to do so in the first place.
Understandably, it’s a cultural thing in “Ogyakrom” to give gifts/presents to show one’s appreciation for a good work done even if one is entitled to have that work done for him/her anyway. But to, subtly, make this gift-giving a prerequisite before a required service is rendered, is a culture turned on its head. When the intention of a cultural practice is reversed, it only becomes a problem and that’s retrogressive.
c). Again, it’s this entitlement mindset of some civil/public servants that enables them to decide to while away their time at work and prefer using government facilities to carry out their own private enterprises to doing the job they are paid to do or the services they are obliged to offer, causing unnecessary delays and financial loss to the state.
Others decide to use their government positions to amass wealth on the street, under the table, behind the desk and scene. Diabolical!
d). This entitlement culture has forced some government hospitals to become graveyards. In some cases, patients are, reportedly, directed to private clinics at the expense of the government ones. And in some instances, government hospital facilities are, reportedly, used to carry out private ventures whilst care is rendered to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, surgeries are botched, and no one is held accountable for them.
A comprehensive public and civil sector reform requires a complete change of attitude and mindset of some of these workers to act with integrity and, of course, render the best customer service to the public.
e). How could it be morally right and acceptable to have security personnel, charged to protect our natural resources turned around to give security protection to Chinese nationals (foreigners) and, apparently, condoned and connived with them to plunder our natural resources in our forest reserves whilst sabotaging our environment beyond repair? What happened to that case and the so-called investigation?
The colonial mindset of treating state properties as foreign is so deep-seated to an extent that some personnel of our state institutions feel so much entitled to plunder, ‘loot and share’ our natural resources with foreigners irrespective of the long-term damage to the environment and the impoverishment caused to the state. They selfishly don’t care as far as they have their share of the loot.
f). How is it righteous and patriotic to have a group of so-called patriotic Ghanaians, presumably, without dual-nationality and with all manner of titles as well as accolades — right from traditional rulers, government officials to state/regional/district officials — allow licenses to be issued to these foreign Chinese nationals, under dubious circumstances (in most cases under pretexts and excuses) to enter our forests in the first place to even explore and exploit without any qualms whilst the average Kofi and Ama sheepishly and helplessly partake in it? How could they all even look the other way and allow this capital flight of our resources from our system to foreign lands and into foreign banks?
g). How could it be morally justifiable that certain, presumably, morally upright Ghanaians (because they go to either the Church, the Mosque, the Synagogue, the Temple or the Shrines every day, and make the loudest of noise in the morning, afternoon and evening) accept and allow themselves to be swept up by this corrosive pervasive practice of corruption in their daily lives (call it bribes, inducements, offerings or whatever here and there) whilst counting their blessings with their moral aptitude?
Whilst these moral crusaders often prefer to only talk/preach and lecture about spiritual and other moral decadence in society, for most part, they ignore a lot of practices in our society that are abysmally much more morally decadent and more impactful on everyone in our society like corruption that must equally assail their sensibilities and exercise their constant demonstrable condemnations and agitations. Perhaps they aren’t prepared to live/practice/demonstrate what they preach.
h). It’s this sense of entitlement that enables some members of the legislative body to turn the parliament into a boxing arena from time to time when they don’t get their way. And those who, allegedly, tested positive for COVID-19, chose to put other members in danger by refusing to follow the public health guidelines and protocols to isolate.
This crass of irresponsibility on the part of some of these lawmakers has made them out of touch with reality and far removed from the abject plight of the very people they represent. No wonder there is always a unanimous agreement by all the members in that August parliament when it comes to the enhancement of their individual and collective benefits, irrespective of their party colours, at the expense of those they represent.
i). It’s this entitlement mentality that emboldened some NDC MPs who doubled-up and served as government Ministers to, brazenly and unlawfully, take salaries for both positions.
Unfortunately, it’s this entitlement culture that has enabled them to escape prosecution, justice, and accountability so far — they are yet to be prosecuted after 5 years on. Why?
j). It’s this sense of mindset that pushes some individuals to threaten coup d’état when they don’t get their way in an era of democratic dispensation, forgetting that others endured 16 years of NDC ‘tortured’ civilian rule without calling for coup d’état.
k). It’s this entitlement culture that allowed a former military dictator who brought untold hardships and misery to others to die scot-free in old age, free of any charge, without any accountability or justice being served/done to bring closure to his many victims.
l). Finally, it’s this kind of entitlement attitude that has prevented a certain former NDC president from conceding defeat after losing miserably in the 2020 presidential elections.
The next article will attempt to articulate solutions that perhaps may help fix and change attitudes with the sole aim of dismantling this entitlement culture that continues to plague our society.
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