Human Attitude

I agree that human attitude is the matter with regard to the development of our motherland. However, to say that is also to state that there is human and there is human. Everywhere there is human development, there is human leader and human follower. Human leader is the head of the development and human follower is the rest of development.

Just as fish head matters more than the rest of the fish body, the human leader matters a lot more as the driver of development than the followers. Bony, bony fish head holds the fish together. So when the head is not acting right, the body falters. You can test that for yourself by matching our previous leaders with our development achievements during their stewardship. So when someone says “human attitude is responsible for 70% of floods” as quoted online, my response is “60% of that is leadership responsibility with the rest blamable for 10%”.

We seem to be achieving so little when we could achieve so much.  The scale may be different but it is always underachieving. Mediocrity is the yardstick so everyone begins with a target of underachievement, and that is the fundamental problem.  The attitude of the populace is only the symptom of uninspiring or even failed leadership. Let the leaders assess themselves by/against that.

Attitude is acquired by cultivation; it is not ascribed. We all know that what is humanly acquired has a lot to do with leader models. Parents, teachers, politicians, religious leaders – all have some level of influence in the acquisition of attitudes by others. They are role models others, especially the younger, imitate and emulate. So if there is a problem with the attitudes of the people, look first for the attitudes of these role players in that society.

Our motherland has undergone different types of leadership. From the colonial authority which would do bad things indirectly through our traditional leaders, we moved to the type one would hardly tolerate dissent.

Throughout, it has been lies upon lies told by leaders in their interest and not in the interest of the people. It has been the leaders’ self-interests. When the leader does things in self-interest, the led cannot be expected to do things in the common interest of others. If the led see the life of the leader change from rags to riches in four years, no one would find the follower prolonging his or her poverty by doing things in the interest of others.

Sometime ago, I made reference to acting in self-interest of comfort versus acting with conscience. The have-not person thinks less about a boomerang effect of the garbage deposited in the drain towards choking it for rains to lead to floods that will drown him or her. It is his or her immediate comfort of not making any effort to deposit the garbage where the gutter choking will be prevented.  If the action were to be guided by conscience, he or she would make the effort, even if it meant extra effort, because that would be the right thing.

I don’t see how anyone is going to get political leaders to drop their greed for V8s and mansions. I can assure everyone, though, that for as long as that attitude persists, it is going to be a heck of a task getting people to abandon their comfort in creating and disposing of garbage in the way the politician sees as the right way. Just as the politician himself or herself has no check on how much he can take (actually steal) from the state, our common wealth, that politician can forget about someone else justifying their thieving by doing the right thing for the politician to claim credit.

So the politician can sit somewhere and blame the bad attitudes of others as being responsible for flooding and drowning predicament. This will fail to engender the flood-free and drown-free state that the politician wishes for. Those wishes would never be horses to ride to safety from perennial flooding. He or she the politician sees as not having the right attitude sees the politician as taking care of self. So the cycle goes – none ready to give ground and making the problem beyond solution.

All governments I have seen have had plans to make Accra flood free. They include Kwame Nkrumah’s 15 years, NLC plus Busia’s five and a half years, Blaa Kutu plus Akufo’s seven years, Limann’s two and a half years. We have had a whole 19 plus years of a Rawlings rule with no solution to Accra flooding. The period experienced the single episode of as many as 20 people dying in one flooding incident.

Kufuor came and went as did Mills/Mahama.  When the benchmark or standard set is mediocrity, underachievement is guaranteed as results; leadership actors underperform.

By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh