I asked a couple of friends what the phrase ‘GHANA IS A FREE COUNTRY’ meant to them. Others say from their observations, it means “you do what ever you want, and you can get away with it”: explained further – in Ghana you can get away with anything (all manner of crimes) as long as you know that man who knows someone higher up. There is no respect for the rule of law anymore right from the top to the bottom.
Other thought it meant every citizen of the land is free to do whatever they like. So I asked, even if what they do was against the constitution of Ghana? Their answer, “this is Ghana anything is possible” very funny :). I am very sure if I were to go round the length and breadth of the country and asked the same question, there will be as many different answers as there are people who were asked.
This is what I think though, a free country is one in which every citizen goes about their business within the confines of the law and that their rights are respected as much as they respect the rights of others. This should be the ideal situation, unfortunately the reality is the exact opposite.
Talk about the indiscipline on our roads: the unruly attitude of ‘trotro‘ and taxi drivers that go without due punishment day in day out. As for children’s attitude towards the elderly the least said about it the better. If ever you listen to our radio stations in the mornings, you’ll hear the abuse and insults some callers heap on our leaders. They justify it with freedom of speech – FREE COUNTRY :). I appreciate though that some of these leaders have not acted appropriately to deserve the respect of the citizenry. Ah! do you remember that pot ‘bellied man’ who walked into the banking premises and refused to join the queue (because he thought he was a better person than the rest of us (chuckle)). He walks up to the teller smiles at the pretty teller and passes his cheque to her. In a matter of seconds he’s off with his cash and the teller with her tip. Total disrespect for fellow human beings 😦 Why is it so? It is a FREE COUNTRY they say :). As for our civil servants, I wonder if it is stated in their appointment letters to close work after lunch break. What about the recently alleged manhandling of the Daily Guide journalist by the BNI?
Let me paint you a picture so that you can appreciate the situation better.
So a company advertises a job vacancy for three weeks, a couple of people apply for the vacant position. 10 are invited to the interview, 3 are shortlisted and invited to a second interview. Finally Kofi is given the job, immediately an appointment letter is sent to him via email asking him to start work immediately. Kofi is happy he informs his friends and girlfriend about his new job at the country’s capital, and as a result will be moving to the capital in the next day to commence work. He proceeds to write his resignation letter for submission for his previous employer. He remains adamant to leaving his current job despite all the pleas of his boss to remain with them.
You may be wondering where am going with this right? Kofi’s excitement lasted but for a day. He gets a call from his new employers the following morning at the VIP bus terminal when he was ready to board a bus to accra to commence work. He is asked to retract the resignation letter he submitted the previous day, why? Because the supposed employee whom he was to replace has been convinced by the CEO who resides in Canada to remain at post, hence they are sorry they can’t hire him HUH! surprised?
Don’t be, this is a FREE COUNTRY :). You wonder, can’t he seek redress? Well I don’t know about that in our law books. What I do know is that Kofi is back on the street together with the many unemployed graduates in Ghana – his former employers refused to take him back for obvious reasons. The company got away free of charge – FREE COUNTRY – after bringing Kofi’s career to an abrupt end.
On 6th March 1957, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declared: “Ghana our beloved country is free forever”.
I don’t think the situation described above is what Dr. Kwame Nkrumah meant when he declared “Ghana our beloved country is free forever” on that fateful March 6th, 1957. We have pointed accusing fingers at governments for far too long. It is time to look within ourselves and deal with the problem on a personal level. I know in one way or the other we have contributed to this ‘FREE COUNTRY’ phenomenon. Do you remember when you dropped the empty water sachet out of the ‘trotro’ window? You remember that day you were late for that meeting and so boarded an already fully loaded trotro? And finally when you made the guy jump the queue because he is your friend? I guess you are smiling now? They may seem insignificant but its impact cannot be over emphasized. What is your definition of a FREE COUNTRY? Is it in line with the vision of the founding fathers of this country? What are you doing about making this country truly a FREE COUNTRY in which every citizen is happy and proud to be a part of – performing their duties without fear or favor? It will take time but I know we’ll get there if we try harder. Lets discuss it further. I’m out.