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Eschewing The ‘Free Mentality’


It is becoming evidently clear that the good people of Ghana are being fed with a mentality that may be destructive, if not checked. It is what THE NEW PUBLISHER calls ‘The Free Mentality’. Interestingly, this chalice is being fed by no less a class of persons than politicians.

Before independence, apart from occasional free vaccinations of people, there was little record of free this or free that by the traditional or the colonial leadership. There was personal and communal responsibility in every facet of human activity.

Then, soon after 1957, the nation began to be ‘infested’ with the socialist mentality, where government is expected to provide free education, health, water etc. In fact, any government, since then that failed to follow this path was perceived as cruel and bad.

It is not surprising that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) are today trying to outdo each other over who is more ‘people-friendly’.

For instance, on education, while one party boasts of introducing the school feeding programme, the other has been beating its chest for having introduced free school uniforms, sandals and laptops. No wonder the NPP is describing the Free SHS as its flagship policy.

On agriculture, the two parties are at each other’s throat over who provided free fertilizers and other inputs to farmers, and who merely subsidized prices for them. The same goes for the distribution of pre-mix fuel and outboard motors. There is a free maternal care in Ghana now, while there are calls for duty-free ports. In short, slogan now is: ‘The freer the policies, the better the government that introduced them’.

THE NEW PUBLISHER is very concerned about the way parental responsibility is fast eroding as a result of these political promises. Does it mean that the politician loves us more than we love our children? Are they insinuating that the responsibility of the Ghanaian adult is to ‘produce’ children, and that ends it? Why will the politician tell us that, because we have gold, bauxite, oil and cocoa, we must be spoon-fed?

No doubt we have a tall list of agitations, demands, demonstrations in our towns and villages, with threats of boycotting future elections if their demands are not met.

Two institutions, in our view, that have added fuel to these agitations are the media and some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who are quick to blame government for every problem.

The truth is that, people settle at places by choice, therefore, the picture must not be painted as if it is government’s sole responsibility to provide every amenity to everyone, simply because they decided to build houses on top of the highest mountains or in the deepest valleys.

We think this notion of free living is archaic. Every human being on earth has God-given Rights and Responsibilities, which go hand-in-hand. People cannot deliberately litter everywhere and turn around to blame government. Politicians, who promise the electorate economic utopia because they want political power, are also not helping matters.

It is high time we woke up. A people that want everything for free cannot develop. Even in Freetown, nothing is free.

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