Celebrated author, life coach and consultant, Akosua Bame visited the offices of the Graphic Communications Group Limited and engaged our Editor, Mr Boahene Asamoah in variety of pressing issues pertaining to her book “Mindset Revolution”. Your authoritative paper The Graphic Business has transcribed the conversation for our cherished readers.
This is the concluding part of the conversation. The first part was published last week
GB: So democracy may not be the way to go?
AB: Well I mean I have this statement that I've made which sometimes irritates people, but I'm going to say it and I would say that we have lawlessness. For the most part, we have lawlessness which we actually describe as democracy. And I can do what I want when I want where I want how I want it, regardless of impact in society that is lawlessness masquerading as democracy.
The democracy model that we currently have is not serving us. It's not working and we need to ask ourselves, when did we actually inherit this?. It happened just post independence. So we can't keep hanging on to dear life to this model that is not working because it's democratic.
Really in truth though even when you scratch beneath the surface, is there real democracy do people feel comfortable, openly publicly critiquing governance, with no fear of repercussions. Let's be true.
Let's be fair, let's be honest, depending on who is in power and who you are align to, you may or may not have a full extent of freedom of speech, which is one of the tenets of democracy. But the other thing I would say, is democracy is not a point in time.
Democracy is a spectrum. And we need to evolve and grow our model overtime. Most of the questions people that are now shoving democracy down Africa’s throat evolves from people from authoritarianism.
Why because sometimes you need a directive to be able to shape something, you know what we have, for instance, at the moment, this four year, eight year cycle of change, means we don't have a long term transformation agenda.
We don't, essentially this government comes in and starts building hospitals here. The other camps ignores that and builds them here, essentially, so we have was not sufficient hospitals, wasting resources.
Even if we're going to keep this model, we definitely have to have a long term roadmap that each successive government will have to subscribe to at the bear minimum which is when you come in and this party has finished after this point.
You carry on the journey, if we're going to even maintain this form of party politics, but I will say this model doesn't work. Why because we don't have ideological differences. In the West, they have ideologies that they subscribed to, the parties we currently have are really tribal divide.
Now if you are constantly going to have tribal alliances that means at any point in time any government imposition is only perceived to be serving a particular group of people. How does that build cohesion and unity for the country?
GB: So a lot of people are asking if our leaders have had the benefit of travelling outside the country, and visited places, Ghanaians in general are noted for being hardworking. When they come back home what happens and how come they don’t do the right things to get us out of this mess?
AB: A lot of the times , I mean this is the issue I have and this is why I put it down to mindset, We come back and mindset is reinforced through structures, don’t get me wrong. So we have poor structures and the poor structures are continuing to feed the poor mindset.
We also don’t need to understand that as much as we like to pretend that we are fully functioning educated people that is not the reality in Ghana. And mindset evolves through information and education and also through identity.
The problem I think fundamentally we have in Ghana and I said this in the past is that we don’t have a Ghanaian identity and therefore we don’t love the country called Ghana.
If you dare to burn an American flag you will feel the full wrath of any American citizen walking by. It wouldn’t have to be the law intervening.
GB: But post independence, Ghanaians we were patriotic what happened?
AB: Well we started a journey towards a Ghanaian identity, because at the end of the day let’s not forget that before independence we were really a collection of nations, I don’t like using the word tribe, because tribe is really quite steep in the word of racism. But we were a collection of nations, we have the Ewe nation, the Ga nation, the Hausa nation, the Akan nation. We were a collection of nations and then we were demarcated, half of us in Togo, half of us in Nigeria etc, why?
And then we were left with this geographical space we called Ghana. But what is it actually mean to become a Ghanaian. Because a national identity must give me a sense of belonging to a cohesive whole, we don’t have that.
I can tell you what it means to be an Ashanti, I can tell you what it means to be an ewe, Ga but can I tell you what it actually means to be Ghanaian. And when you talk to me emotionally, do I connect to being Ghanaian or do I connect to being my national tribe, So that is what we have, we have a collection of people living in a geographical space we call Ghana. At this point in time probably the only thing that unifies us is the Ghana card.
Before that unless you have travelled that is when you have a Ghanaian passport, if you haven’t travelled you really don’t have anything to hang on as an identity.
We have recognize this problems in the past that is why we have nationalistic songs in our folklore to inspire patriotism.
Such as “Yen Aara Asase ni”?and “Ma Oman nu ho Hiawo”, it was a call to identity but we hadn’t had the opportunity to do that, you know Nkrumah’s vision was prematurely cut off with his death and subsequently living in exile and dying and since then we have just had successive governments that have come in either by military coup or democratic rule who have not necessarily addressed the question , what does it mean to be Ghanaian?. We need that otherwise we are never going tp overcome our local national differences. What unites us as a people is what we should be harmonizing on.
The other thing I would say is because of that we don’t see ourselves as as citizens, we dont see our stake in the state of Ghana. And I will give you an analogy. If I live in my father’s house, I actually know that I have a stake in that house, I have a stake in that home, I have a stake in his assets , so no Abusuapayin can just get up and start selling my father’s assets and I will just sit back and look on.
I will fight for what is mine, the average Ghanaian does not see their stake in the assets of Ghana, they don’t see themselves as a shareholder of the nation called Ghana.
And therefore we have our ‘Abusaupayin’ that we have put over us who have the right to do anything they want to do with our assets.
So if the asset belongs to you and the debt you are incurring too belongs to you then in truth I should hold you to account. We have soo many programmes that are announced but there should be a time when we get citizens set up a forum where ministers come and ordinary citizens question the ministers.
As to you were given these resources, you were supposed to improve agriculture, improve health, improve whatever, what have you done.
There is no accountability because citizens are not aware of their needs and demands. Until we wake up and realise that these politicians whom we employ we don’t allow them to set up their own salaries we are doomed. We do it we accept it year in year out.
And all we do is to sit back and pray that my government is in power so that I can thrive, this is the issue so citizens need to wake up.
GB: So coming back to the question of Africa and how we can take our place in world economy,here is Africa that produces everything and yet dependent on everything. How can we reverse this trend?
AB: Well, I mean, yes, so many models out there to learn from but I think that the basic thing is really the shift from the fundamental problem that we have in Africa, is mindset.
That's why we behave differently when we go out and behave differently while we are on the continent because of the fundamental, and that fundamental, even though it manifests in different forms, is slavery mindset.
The reason why I say mindset is because your results in life, are driven by the actions you took.
The actions you take, are driven by the decisions you make, the decisions you make, are driven by your way of thinking and your way of thinking is framed by your values and beliefs, which I call mindset.
Your cultural mindset.