NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE NEED TO RESTORE VALUE SYSTEMS IN OUR SOCIETY.
Countries build nationhood which ensures that each community is glued together to bring about unity, progress and development. Progress and development come about as a result of the value systems that are upheld strictly by the inhabitants in that society. What this means is that nationhood does not come by chance but depends on the collective effort of everyone. The value systems refer to the beliefs and practices of a people. Examples are honesty, diligence, hard work, support for each other, and truthfulness among others. It is these value systems that encourage people in different parts of the country to live together as one people, respecting each other and working hard towards the upliftment of society.
In this connection, every member of society is expected to play his or her role to ensure that social values are adhered to and practiced by all. Parents are expected to supervise their children and teach them the need to tell the truth at all times and work hard for success. Educational institutions also play the role of teaching students acceptable societal values such as standing for the truth at all times. In the past, for example, the book, “Courtesy for boys and girls”, taught children how to portray proper conduct such as respecting the elderly and exhibiting pleasant behaviours towards each other. The book was instrumental in shaping the minds of young people. What do we have currently in place of ‘courtesy for boys’ and girls’? Churches and religious bodies are also expected to imbibe moral values to children placed under their care.
These value systems even though are the bedrock of our society, not much attention is paid to them today. As a result, many people especially the youth are easily lured into instant acquisition of wealth or becoming rich overnight without putting in the requisite hard work. What is even worrying is that some parents do not question the source of wealth coming from their children. They encourage their young ones to acquire properties or wealth no matter how they come by them.
As a result of all these negative tendencies, emphasis is placed on the use of negative spiritual and magical means of making money within a short time. What has become known as deceitful ways of making money, known as ‘sakawa’, ‘Sika gari’ and spiritual money has become the order of the day. So the unfortunate incident that happened at kasoa where two juveniles allegedly murdered a ten-year-old for money can be attributed to the breakdown of societal values. Many young people are encouraged to use every means possible including killing of friends and family members for rituals to make filthy money.
It is a known situation in some African countries but Ghanaians should never encourage or tolerate such misdeeds. This is why there needs to be a collective effort to restore social values in this country. We need to remain committed to honest lives as well as working hard or sweating for money. There’s nothing wrong with anyone coming out of poverty through hard work but this should be done in the right and honest manner.
When our values are restored, the use of rituals for money will be drastically reduced if not completely eliminated. The murder of a person for money rituals is a heinous crime that should not be encouraged at all in this country. These crimes, many are of the view, are learnt from people from neighbouring countries. Such a belief begs for the review of our immigration protocols. The Ghana Immigration Service will have to be very strict with border procedures so that only decent-minded people will be allowed into the country.
Again, the matter should not be allowed to die down as is characteristic of issues in Ghana. It must be pursued as is being done by the police to its logical conclusion. The National Intelligence System should be made actively operational more than ever before so that the perpetrators of such crimes can be found out and punished before getting the chance to pursue their diabolic agenda to the letter. We cannot cry over spilled milk forever but the lesson here is that we should pursue a vigorous intelligence agenda to prevent or minimise future recurrence. Young people must be morally trained in addition to their formal education so that they can pursue an agenda of decent jobs for decent pay.
BY: DR. KOFI AMPONSAH BEDIAKO, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATION, GHANA STANDARDS AUTHORITY.