Integrity In Crises

Do we have role models or they are in short supply? Hmm, in my days of old, we had a different definition of a role model. Our role models or my role model when growing up was someone well educated (at least better than I was), very decent, modest, respectful and respectable, honest, fair and firm. There were other people in the society, particularly in the communities I grew up in, who did not have formal education, but were successful in what they had chosen to do in their lives. Very hard working and honest in what they did. They shared their experiences with others in their fields of endeavour.

Such people were selfless in the community and led the community in many ways. In many cases, they were not too rich in terms of monetary considerations, but had integrity upon which they rose in the community. It is so sad that in recent times, many otherwise role models, men and women the younger people look up to, seem to lose those qualities that make them role models. In a not too distant past, a young man who had caught the eyes of many Ghanaians as a ‘gentleman’ was leading the nation in the very critical area of sports which is a passion of millions of citizens in this country. He was rising beyond Ghana Football such that it became the expectation of most followers of Ghana Football that he was going to be a member of the world’s highest football governing body, the FIFA.

Lo and behold, underneath his rise in that sport, was a character that was pungent as it was criminal. He was exposed by a world renowned investigative body about his level of integrity, and within 24 hours, this integrity had vanished and his previously heroic feats in soccer, turned into a villainous enterprise, pushing him painfully down the alley of grace to grass.

While the nation was still discussing the problem of Ghana soccer, came the financial sector debacle in which very otherwise prominent persons among them is a clergy, had brought down unto themselves, shame and disgrace when they were alleged to have siphoned millions of cedis from a bank they were supposed to manage.

Their misunderstanding of the system or the ‘smart borrowing and lending’ policies which had become the policy of a certain past government, led to the shuffling of funds in the bank as if they were playing cards, the outcome were very unpalatable situations which shook this nation. The integrity and the huge respect the generality of people offered these gentlemen also collapsed and I am not sure they could look themselves in the mirror. Goaded on by those they saw as experts in the sector, hundreds of millions of public funds as well as depositors’ funds are alleged to have been misapplied to the detriment of the economy.

Those who saw them as role models, I am sure, have today changed their minds on them. It looks as though many of the people who portray themselves as very successful people in our society, latch on material and physical things they have attained, the sources of them we are not in a position to state. Moral principles and integrity have deserted many of us in high places where society looks up to us or so it seems.

And as the nation broods over this issue and is grappling with the decision to take on these matters, we are again bombarded with another case of integrity gone AWOL. This time, it is an issue of the world of academia, where it is alleged that some lecturers in some of our universities engaged in batter trade, offer grades for sexual satisfaction. I can say without any contradiction that in our society, a trade in sex for grades would obviously be a relation between either a female student and her male lecturer or a male student and his female lecturer.

Sadly, once again, the issue involves, at least one popular and respected professor in our premier university. Hmm, the subject naturally has become a major public issue. It has been extended to other facets of our social lives. Our women activists are on the rampage, bringing out what ordinarily had been considered in the past as harmless comments to our women, as sexual harassment. We are told sexual harassments in varied forms occur in the work places and many such other areas where men and women interact. It is increasingly becoming difficult these days to offer genuine compliments to women because one cannot draw a line between a genuine compliment and a sexually induced compliment.

So we have sex for jobs or contracts and what have you. I have absolutely no doubt that some of these things happen in some public or private institutions in our societies. Indeed, when we create an environment of acute need or scarcity of what ordinarily should be available to anybody who qualifies to have it as of a right, then the vulnerable in society must give out something in return for something else; particularly, in the area of job opportunities. As I admit that some men want to taking advantage of women in their social relationships, men generally would rather keep quiet over sexual harassments they go through on a daily basis in the hands of women.

In this age and time of social media, many women would be amazed to know that some of their women counterparts harass men on the social media on a daily basis. Some post naked pictures of themselves to men, with the view to attracting them for sexual relations, the long term object, is to obtain some favours from their target men. This is not limited to the world of academia, it happens on a daily basis.

It is also a fact that some lazy female students deliberately harass their lecturers on various campuses with the sole aim of enticing the lecturer into a sexual relationship in return for very good grades. I am told that in a certain university, a female student who had ill prepared for her exams simply wrote her phone number on the answer sheet and urged the lecturer to call her anytime anywhere. Many men have stories to tell about the sexual harassments they go through in the hands of some women. These harassments by women take varied forms including the almost half naked dresses of some women who sit directly in front of their lecturers or men they are seducing. Men, unlike women, share their challenges with friends over bottles of beer and laugh over them.

When men talk about the way some women dress in such public places as university lecture rooms, the feminists instantly jump to their defence with the argument that women have the right to dress anyhow and that should not be a justification for men to harass them. They are right, but I wish they were men confronted with these harassments. That said – the lessons of Adam and Sampson, David and Solomon should guide us as men not to fall prey to the temptations of the Eves. Some men have also suffered for accusations of rape or harassments they did not do.

To those of us who are clamouring for material wealth through dubious means, we should remember that our integrity and image as well as our credibility in the eyes of the public are the lasting legacies we can bequeath to our children, friends and relations. Honesty breeds integrity which is more lasting than temporal materialism, particularly when acquired through dubious means.

Daavi some three tots.

By Kwesi Biney