Acts of Indiscipline and Lawlessness in Ghana – A Drain on the Economy

Background

Many countries have beautifully written ‘core values’, but these values are neither lived nor cemented into the collective consciousness of their people. They neither inform their decisions nor guide their visions. They become merely beautiful words of a national anthem or an inspiring plaque hung on a wall.

Ghana is facing challenges economically, socially and politically – largely because the country’s morals and values are eroding fast and most people hardly realise this. Many are quick to zero-in on the desperate economic circumstances we find ourselves in and attribute the causes to government’s non-performance. However, we have conveniently forgotten to first look for the log in our own eyes.

Yes, governments are generally responsible for the economic circumstances of the day by their policy initiatives and should always be ready to accept the challenge and work toward social and economic sustenance of the people. For example, former Vice-President the late Alhaji Aliu Mahama of blessed memory, became a crusader against indiscipline during his days as the number-two gentleman of the land. Certainly, it was a good initiative that should have been supported with a proper legal framework to deal with all forms of indiscipline in our society, but we failed as a nation to support such a laudable programme. The United States of America tries to live the true meaning of its creeds, and I believe this has accounted for its success so far.

In every serious nation, indiscipline on both national and individual level is just not an acceptable norm. Strangely, lawlessness and indiscipline seem to be acceptable norms in Ghana; largely because people who should set the example for others to emulate are the worst perpetrators. It sometimes even happens that individuals earn their living through acts of indiscipline.

We cannot achieve much in Ghana if as a people we do not tackle the level of indiscipline that is engulfing us. Indiscipline is not only a nuisance, but its impact on the economy, businesses and society as a whole has substantial costs.

What is Indiscipline and Lawlessness? 

  • Indiscipline

It would be appropriate to first know and understand what discipline stands for. Discipline, according to Collins dictionary, is the practice of making people obey rules or standards of behaviour, and punishing them when they do not. In other words, discipline is the training – especially of the mind and character, to produce self-control and the habit of obedience (Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).

Therefore, indiscipline by the Cambridge dictionary is a situation in which people do not control their behaviour or obey rules. It refers to lack of discipline, lack of control, lack of proper training, unruly behavior, disobedience, disorder. Indiscipline implies a lack of self-control and disobedience resulting in blatant violation of rules and regulation, which in turn creates mayhem and commotion. It is a fact that acts of indiscipline result from lack of self-discipline.

  • Lawlessness

The Oxford dictionary defines lawlessness as a state of disorder due to disregard of the law. Lawlessness is perceived to be the product of indiscipline. Where people are not disciplined, they disobey rules and regulations of the home, society, environment and the nation as a whole. This situation invariably leads to violence and the destruction of lives and properties.

Causes of Indiscipline and Lawlessness

Various socio-economic, political, cultural, religious and administrative factors contribute to indiscipline and lawlessness in a country. However, the root causes of indiscipline and lawlessness in a country, of which Ghana is no exception, emanate from:

  • Non-enforcement of laws
  • Laws enforced selectively (selective justice)
  • Law Enforcers and Law Makers become law-breakers themselves
  • Absence of effective leadership
  • Injustice and Unfairness
  • Lack of political will in leaders
  • Greed and selfishness of some public servants (Greed – the mother of corruption)
  • People having no respect for laws because they are rich and influential and get away with crime
  • Poor governance and inequality in the distribution of goods and services
  • Absence of a code of conduct
  • Divide and rule policy
  • Ignorance, poverty and illiteracy
  • Lack of parental guidance or bad parentage
  • Biased mass media
  • Societal influence
  • Bad habits

The extent of gross indiscipline in the country is a thorny issue, as both ruler and the ruled are culpable. This is also true among the educated and uneducated.

Areas of Serious Indiscipline and Lawlessness

Undoubtedly, the entire Ghanaian society is heavily diseased with the maggots of indiscipline. Everybody is behaving as if he/she couldn’t care less where Ghana ends up. It is common knowledge that some of us behave like wheelbarrows – unless you push us, we will never act responsibly. For some people, unless they are lawfully compelled to do the right thing they will do otherwise. Indiscipline is therefore the order of the day; and hence the many problems hanging on our neck. Interestingly, everyone is pointing accusing fingers at the other and vice versa.

Outlined below are areas of critical concern regarding indiscipline and lawlessness in Ghana:

  1. Environment/Sanitation

This is an area where people abuse Mother Nature with impunity. The activities include:-

  • Indiscriminate felling of trees – depletion of our forest cover contributing to erratic weather pattern.
  • Illegal mining activities (i.e. Galamsey operations) causing environmental degradation.
  • Illegal fishing activities by some fishermen leading to depletion of marine resources.
  • Pollution of the beaches.
  • Poor waste disposal management, lack of drainage facilities and people throwing solid waste into drains.
  • Haphazard construction of buildings on water course – causing floods
  • Indiscriminate dumping of refuse – resulting in choke gutters, floods, environmental and health hazards.
  • Littering in the streets.
  • Open defecation – posing health hazards.
  • Urinating at corners of walls.
  1. Misuse of Freedoms

The provisions of freedom of speech, right of assembly, peaceful demonstrations, picketing and the like have been abused with full blessings from the political class. We have all seen what this has done to our lives. Shops don’t open for fear of vandalism and stray bullets from the police killing innocent by-standers. Public transport is paralyzed, as roads can’t be used; business activities come to a halt and this situation progressively increases the country’s risk profile.

  1. Law Enforcement Agencies

Most of our law enforcement agencies, especially the Police service, Military, Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Metropolitan Assemblies, District Assemblies, Judiciary, Chieftaincy, Parliament, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA), Ministry of Sanitation etc. are also found wanting. These agencies are expected to ensure compliance and enforcement of laws, rules and regulations. Unfortunately, they themselves are not disciplined enough and therefore will not have the courage and moral right to discipline others.

These days what do we observe? Gross indiscipline on our roads, people trading at undesignated places all under pretext of ignorance; structures are erected anywhere, and the policeman detailed to arrest an offender or a suspected criminal ends up receiving a bribe and turns around to assist the culprit in his illicit undertaking. Custom officers are conniving with tax payers to rob the nation, some politicians are using dubious means to acquire wealth, some Judges and Lawyers indulge in corrupt practices, some chiefs are selling lands indiscriminately while Land Guards terrorise innocent land owners and take possession of their lands unlawfully. The copious bye-laws on the books of our Metropolitan and District Assemblies remain merely rhetorical. Such is the state of our society.

  1. Indiscipline on Our Roads

Just take a look at our traffic situation, especially in the metropolis. Day in day out, you see the same pathetic condition wherein motor vehicle drivers compete for space on our narrow roads; not only with each other but also with push-carts, bicycles (which often times travel from the opposite direction of the traffic), tricycles and motor-cycles that dangerously cut in front of everything that happens to be in their way, riding through red traffic-lights; cattle crossing the road between cars without a herdsman, frequent fatal accidents due to reckless driving by unqualified and indisciplined drivers; unnecessary overtaking, driving and at the same time speaking on mobile phone (lack of concentration), over speeding, driving on the shoulders of the road; non-maintenance of vehicles, pedestrians crossing the road at inappropriate places or when vehicles have been given right of way to move.

It is common to see people digging across roads and destroying the road constructed with hard earned resources without seeking permission. People drive at night without headlights; driving licences are secured through illegal means (Goro boys), police officers collect bribes in broad day light and situations abound wherein passengers beg a police officer to free a driver who has broken road regulations. The displays of such unruly behaviour have led to thousands of people losing their lives and being injured every year.

  1. Indiscipline in Our Educational Institutions/Workplaces

Indiscipline in our institutions is exhibited in varied ways which include: students setting dormitories on fire, smoking Indian hemp, drunkenness, getting involved in immoral sexual acts, teachers impregnating young female students, rioting, vandalizing the Headmaster’s bungalow and other school properties; Bursars engaging in financial malpractices, sale of food/ logistics by matrons, just to mention a few.

With regard to our workplaces, the story is not different. Some workers report to work late and leave before closing hours. Other acts of indiscipline include: malingering and spending duty hours engaging in personal and unproductive ventures, being absent without permission, fictitious medical claims and excuse duties, rudeness toward customers, attitude of taking a bribe before a duty is performed etc.      At the end of the day, such employees are fully paid their salaries and allowances. Worst of all are some Chief Executives and other high-ranking officials who engage in corrupt practices to enrich themselves at the expense of the organization and the state. Acts of over-invoicing, breaching procurement procedures, conflict of interest and mismanagement of state funds are now the order of the day in most state organizations and agencies.

  1. Indiscipline in Politics

Many instances of indiscipline have occasioned politicking in the country. Misconduct on the part of government and party functionaries, judges and others in the judiciary, MPs and others in the Legislature confirm that indiscipline is not limited to specific segments of national life. It is everywhere, manifesting in many forms – especially, through manipulation of the systems for personal benefit. This manipulation is termed ‘bribery and corruption’, which no one seems to be interested in tackling.

  1. Indiscipline in the Media

The media has the responsibility to objectively inform, educate, entertain and above all be the watchdog and public representative on various issues in society. However, the current attitude and performance of most journalists clearly indicate a deviation from their core mandate. Some of the journalists are indisciplined and are not ashamed of their conduct. Several instances of journalists’ misconduct are well known. Some journalists have identified with specific political camps and use their calling to cause tension and raise the political temperature as they skew or fabricate news reports to secure the interest of their paymasters, especially, during election years.

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Others are known for blackmailing innocent and successful people just to twist their arms for favours. The problems that such journalists create have a huge cost and are heart-rendering. Such journalists are complicit in creating volatile situations, as they have found ways to harm those they don’t like and to sing the praises of those who support them with material gifts and other favours.

  1. Indiscipline Among the Clergy

It is pathetic to note that those who are charged with the responsibility to reform or sanitize society spiritually are guilty of indiscipline. Some years back, before the influx of churches in Ghana, hardly would one hear of acts of indiscipline or immoral acts with regard to our clergy and other religious leaders. However, these days, some of the clergy and leaders of faith institutions have acted not only as the agents of indiscipline but have become the victims of indiscipline as well. These notable characters who preach virtue from the roof-tops descend into the gutters to indulge in immoral acts such as incest, rape, embezzlement of church funds, fraud and many vices.

  1. Corruption

The mother of all the acts of indiscipline is bribery and corruption. It is the biggest drain on the national economy. According to Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), 20% of the national budget is lost through corruption annually. It has also been revealed that Ghana loses more than US$3billion every year through corruption (Source: Deputy Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ-July 2018). The amount is said to be about 300% of all aid the nation receives in the same period.

Furthermore, about US$150million is lost through corruption at the Tema Port alone every year (Source: Minister of Information- 2017). To buttress this point, Vice-President Dr. Bawumiah has revealed that revenue collected at the ports increased by 56% within just a week of introducing the paperless system.

The factors below are to enable readers appreciate both financial and non-financial costs of the menace and how it has impacted negatively on Ghana’s economic growth:

  1. High Prices to Consumers

Businessmen and Entrepreneurs see corruption as cost and pass that cost on to consumers.

  1. Reduced Foreign Direct Investment

Most foreign firms see corruption as a cost to be recouped from revenue; thus, if the costs become too high or unpredictable, they disengage or shun the country altogether. Corruption reduces investment and economic growth (i.e. the more corruption, the less investment).

  1. Inferior Public Infrastructure/Poor Maintenance Culture

The allocation of public procurement contracts through a corrupt system or corrupt officials influencing the approval of an investment project contributes to the use of cheap, substandard materials in the construction sector. As a result of corruption, maintenance and repairs always take a back seat to new projects.

  1. Reduced Tax Revenue

Corruption not only lowers the tax-GDP ratio but also causes long-term damage to the economy by detracting investment, increasing the size of the underground economy, distorting tax structures and corroding the tax morality of taxpayers. All of these in turn further reduce the long-term revenue generating potential of the economy.

  1. Leads to Uncertainty in Economic Transactions

The prevalence of corruption arguably influences the economic environment through the creation of significantly high levels of risks and uncertainty in economic transactions.

The loss of money through corruption is usually in the area of public procurement, payment of duties and taxes – with public officials engaging in over-invoicing, under-invoicing and inflating contract prices for the provision of goods and services. Some of the setbacks in the fight against this canker are:

  • Public cynicism
  • Apathy toward corruption
  • Limited awareness about the impact of corruption on fundamental human rights, weak political will and politicization of corruption cases
  • Weak public financial management system
  • Weak enforcement of legislation
  • Weak assets declaration regime
  • Limited investigative journalism
  • Unregulated discretion in the use of public authority and international cooperation

From the cumulative force of the above points, it’s clear that corruption has a strong potential to steal the wealth of a nation and impoverish its people. The more corrupt a country is, the lower its economic growth rate (Corruption and Fraud Consortium Ghana Ltd. – Ghana News Agency (Ghanaweb. Monday, 18th April, 2011).

Statistics on Cost of Indiscipline and Lawlessness on the Economy

A. Poor Sanitation
Description Financial cost Non-Financial cost
Poor Sanitation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US$290million annually

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outbreak of diseases like:-

(i)

·         Diarrhoea

·         Typhoid

·         Cholera

·         Malaria

(ii) Increased infant

mortality – e.g. in 2014 preventable diseases including diarrhoea killed over 4,500 children in Ghana, while cholera killed 247 children.

Source:

  1. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) –Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
  2. Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) – Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ghana
B          Open Defecation 
Description Financial cost Non-Financial cost
Open defecation  within communities and beach sites

 

 

 

 

US$79million annually

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outbreak of diseases like:-

(i)

·         Typhoid

·         Diarrhoea

·         Cholera

·         Malaria

 

(ii) Negative impact on

tourism

Source:

  1. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) –Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
  2. Global Media Foundation
C. Floods
Description Financial cost Non-Financial cost
Managing floods in Accra alone excluding other parts of the country.

 

 

US$700million (2017) ·         Loss of human life.

·         Damage to property.

·         Destruction of farm lands and crops.

·         Loss of livestock.

·         Deterioration of health conditions owing to waterborne diseases.

·         People are displaced.

Source:

Ministry of Works and Housing

 

 

D.

Environmental

Degradation

Description Financial cost Non-Financial cost
·         Small-scale Illegal mining menace (Galamsey).

·         Mis-management of the country’s forest.

·         Mis-management of fisheries

·         Indoor and Outdoor pollution.

US$1.2billion annually equivalent to 10% of GDP (estimate). ·         Impact negatively on human health.

·         Forest and farm lands destroyed.

·         Depletion of natural resources.

·         Loss of Biodiversity

·         Pollution of water-bodies and rivers.

Source:

Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.

 

 

E.   Road Accidents                                                                                                                                                  

Major causes of

Road accidents                                                          Financial Cost                                           Non-Financial Cost                                                                                                  

About 90% of road accidents are               Ghana loses over US$230million                   – Loss of human life.

attributable to human error                        yearly equivalent to 1.6% of GDP.                    – Loss of labour force.

such as: –                                                         This translate to about 2,000 deaths              – Loss of jobs.

·         Overspeeding                                    on average per year.                                   – Property damage.

·         Wrongful overtaking                                                                                                        – Victims become huge

·         Fatigue driving                                                                                                                    burden on family and

·         Overloading                                                                                                                        society.

·         Lack of vehicle maintenance                                                                                           – Loss of productive

·         Wrongful parking                                                                                                                 hours.

·         Broken-down vehicles without indicators

·         Bad roads

·         Flouting road safety signs

·         Corrupt Police Officers

·         Pedestrian indiscipline

·         Trading activities on the shoulders of roads

·         Speaking, Texting and WhatsApping on a mobile phone while driving

 

Common types of vehicle accident include:-

·         Vehicle Roll-Over (Normally due to overspeeding, alcohol consumption or environmental conditions).

·         Single Car Accident (Normally due to fallen debris, collusion with animals, rollover etc.)

·         Rear-End Collision (i.e. Traffic accident where a vehicle crashes into a vehicle in front of it).

·         Side-Impact Collision (i.e. Where the side of one or more vehicles is impacted. Commonly happens at intersections and in parking lots).

·         Head-On Collision (When the front-ends of two vehicles hit each other from opposite directions).

NOTE: National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) research revealed that the major cause of road accidents in Ghana is overspeeding. According to the report, this accounts for 60% of car crashes in the country.

 

                                  Statistics on Road Accidents in Ghana

YEAR: 2015
Total number of vehicle involved in road accidents Car Heavy-duty vehicle Bus/Mini

Bus

Motor Cycle Pick-Up Bicycle Other Total Number of Deaths Total injuries  Certified
 

15,945

 

7,515

 

1,878

2,893  

1,928

 

1,058

 

204

 

469

 

1,802

 

10,565

 

 

Total Number of Vehicles Involved in Road Accidents in 2015 – 15,945

Total Number of Deaths – 1,802

Total Number of Injuries – 10,565

Source: National Road Safety Commission (NRSC)

Year: 2016

 

Total number of vehicles involved in road accidents Car

 

Heavy-duty vehicle

 

Bus/Mini

Bus

Motor Cycle Pick-Up Bicycle

 

Other

 

Total Number of Deaths

 

Total injuries

 

 

Certified

 

14,042

 

 

6,153

 

1,825

 

2,625

 

1,976

 

933

 

225

 

305

 

2,084

 

10,438

 

 

 Total Number of Vehicles Involved in Road Accidents in 2016 – 14,042

Total Number of Deaths – 2,084

Total Number of Injuries – 10,438

Source: National Road Safety Commission (NRSC)

YEAR: 2017
Total number of vehicles involved in road accidents Commercial vehicles Private vehicles Motorbikes Total Deaths Total Injuries Provisional
20, 444 8,080 8,877 3,487 2,076

Breakdown:

Male above 18 yrs. = 1,369

Male below 18yrs. =193

Female above 18 yrs. =379

Female below 18 yrs. =135

10,154  

 

Total Number of Vehicles Involved in Road Accidents in 2017 – 20, 444

Total Number of Deaths – 2,076

Total Number of Injuries – 10,154

Breakdown (Total deaths):

Male above 18yrs. = 1,369                                Female above 18yrs. =379

Male below 18yrs. =193                                     Female below 18yrs. =135

Source: National Road Safety Commission (NRSC)

Pedestrian Knockdowns (2017)

Total ——- 3,300

Deaths —– 879

Injuries —– 2,421

 

Year: 2018 (January – October 2018)

Total number of vehicles involved in accidents Commercial vehicles Private vehicles Motor Bikes Total deaths Total Injuries Provisional

 

 

18,063 7,000 7,907 3,156 1,921 11,130

 

Total Number of Vehicles Involved in Road Accidents in 2018 – 18,063

Total Number of Deaths – 1,921

Total Number of Injuries – 11,130

Source: National Road Safety Commission (NRSC)

According to World Health Organization (WHO) – Global Road Safety Report-2015, African nations dominate the list of countries with the highest number of road traffic accidents. Of all road traffic deaths, 90% occur in developing countries despite them having just 54% of the world’s vehicles. To buttress this report, research by World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Michigan Transport Initiative highlighted ten (10) top countries in the world with the highest number of accidents as detailed below:

  • Namibia
  • Thailand
  • Iran
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Venezuela
  • Congo
  • Malawi
  • Iraq
  • Central African Republic

Even though Ghana is not among the above-mentioned countries, we have to check indiscipline on our roads in order not to get to that level.

The Way Forward

Our aim as a nation is to increase our productivity, which will expectedly lead to economic growth, prosperity and self-sufficiency. However, we have never paused to quantify the huge costs of such levels of indiscipline and indiscretion; and until we revive our conscience and sense of individual responsibility and start policing each other, we will continue to build a tight economic and political noose round our national neck. Countries that promote and uphold the rule of law open their gates to investors, especially foreign ones, to contribute to their socio-economic transformation.

Therefore, to eradicate or minimize the incidence of indiscipline and lawlessness in Ghana, the following steps should be considered:

  1. Total Revolution in Our Ways of Life

Ghanaians are the solution to their own predicament if they only do what is expected of them. It is most ridiculous to be very disciplined in other countries only to do otherwise at where one stores his treasures. There must be a total change in the state the mind and sense of values, which demands all hands-on-deck. People in authority should educate the citizenry on their rights and responsibilities to ensure they do the right thing at the right time.

  1. Law Enforcement

The laws of the land should be applied to anyone whose behaviour is at variance with the law. It is discipline that creates increased productivity and wealth in a country. Hence, our city authorities in their bid to enforce bye-laws in society should not waste time responding to their critics since they owe them nothing. In most cases, the punishment meted out to the lawless further emboldens them to continue in their disregard of the law. Therefore, the consequences of deviant or lawless behaviour must be severe enough to deter others from following suit.

  1. Law Enforcement Agencies Must be Well-Resourced

Institutions or the regulatory and law enforcement agencies in charge of corruption should be adequately resourced, to enable them execute their core mandates effectively without fear or favour from any quarter whatsoever, be it the Executive, Legislature or Judiciary. Institutions like the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO), Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO), Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Media should be allowed to work with independence and without any interferences or influences, so as to eliminate or control all forms of unethical behaviour and ensure the safety of the public, the environment and control cost to the nation.

  1. Access to Information

Under normal circumstances, the law enforcement agencies are handicapped in the performance of their duties due to lack of information. Therefore, passing the Right to Information bill (RTI) will serve as a very vibrant way of gaining access to information to speed-up investigation processes and ensure timely reporting. The RTI comes in to provide an official framework that facilitates citizen’s requests and access to information, the scope for minimum exemptions to information disclosure, and the right to appeal the application of such exemptions.

  1. Digitization of Government Services

Digitization includes the whole process of transforming data on paper records into ‘digital data’, which can be identified, searched, accessed, retrieved, updated and archived electronically. One major avenue for corruption is where there is too much human intervention in business activities which use cash. Therefore, by putting in place systems that reduce human interface and making organizational changes, government can enhance services, save money and reduce corruption. Besides, digitization will promote e-commerce, e-governance, economic growth, improve revenue mobilization and make for easy identification and location of business and properties.

  1. Nationwide Public Education

There is a need to conduct nationwide public education, especially with commercial vehicle drivers and motorbike riders. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) should be signed with them on compliance with the codes of conduct and certain moral disciplines related to their trade. It should also be supported with various forms of adverts, in both the print and electronic media, to create awareness.

There should be workshops and seminars with organizations, churches and schools, as well as using information mobile vans to provide public education at lorry stations and market places to conscientize and sensitize the general public to cultivate an attitude of being disciplined.

  1. Involvement of Religious and Other Opinion Leaders

Considering the high level of religiousity in Ghana, it is surprising that corrupt activities thrive even when the two main religious groups (Christianity and Islam) all demand their followers live upright and not engage in dubious deeds. Ghana has an over-90% religious population of Christians and Muslims. Thus, our religious leaders have an immense role to play in the fight against indiscipline and lawlessness.

If they can be vociferous and exert the same energy as in collecting offerings from members, and preach to us that we will equally miss Heaven if we engage in small pilfering, evade tax and acquire wealth through unjustified means (e.g. corruption), then that would significantly lead to a decline of corruption in Ghana. Chiefs and leaders of various social groups and associations should all be involved in the crusade.

  1. Political Leaders

Political leaders must learn to live up to expectations, since they are the mirrors of society. The masses look to them for leadership and moral guidance. A disciplined leader or person cannot be corrupted: and he will not corrupt others. The interests of the nation should override their personal interests because they are expected to use the opportunity given them to serve and improve the lives of the suffering masses – not to exploit them. As law makers and implementers, they should walk their talk; because if the one to instil discipline is himself not disciplined, the one will definitely have no moral right to discipline others (i.e. those guilty of the same offence).

  1. Educational Institutions

Teachers must act as role-models for their students lest the students treat them with contempt and disrespect. There should be effective communication of school rules to students and staff; guidance, counselling and rewarding of students for positive behaviour. Dialogue between students and school authorities, as well as provision for participation of students in decision-making processes, should be encouraged to prevent misbehaviour among students.

Also, it should be made mandatory for parents of problem students to pay ‘behaviour bonds’ as surety so that any subsequent misbehaviour by students concerned would lead to the money being forfeited by the school. In this way, parents would be compelled to pay enough attention to their children’s behaviour. In support, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) should play a major role by ensuring every member attends meetings to have absolute knowledge about activities and situations in the schools.

  1. Enforcement of Established Rules and Guidelines at Workplaces

The fundamental law of human nature states that people are different, and how we manage those differences tends to determine the level of discipline found in the workplace.  Employee productivity is key to the company’s profitability, as job satisfaction is key to employee productivity.  Employees who fail to meet expectations concerning behaviour and workplace interaction are indisciplined.  Managers should therefore enforce a policy that encourages employee involvement in addressing unacceptable behaviour to nurture disciplined employees. There must be bahaviour and conduct standards.  These rules need to be consistent and enforced across the organization. Knowledge of disciplinary consequences may increase employee awareness and prevent violations. Maintaining discipline in the workplace is vital in creating a safe and comfortable working environment for both employees and management, which finally reflects on cost and profitability.

  1. Parents Instilling Discipline in Their Children

Parents must know that examples are better than precepts, and so instead of merely preaching discipline they must illustrate it by living exemplary lives.  Instilling discipline in your child involves nurturing, setting expectations, boundaries and fostering within that child a sense of personal responsibility.  Teaching your child to set aside their desires so that they can fulfill their obligations is the key to instilling discipline.

Conclusion

Government is spending a lot to repair the consequences of indiscipline activities, and in some cases is not receiving taxes because of rules being disobeyed.  It would help our nation if we could channel those funds into education, infrastructure and other activities which would help economic growth.

Countries like Rwanda, China, Singapore and Malaysia have high levels of national, political and governance discipline.  Economic growth and development cannot be sustained in an environment of high voltage politics whose active ingredient is national indiscipline.

Our failure to impose discipline and structure on our society has promoted the persistence of social inequality, which in turn is at the heart of our low labour productivity and ultimate economic issues.  Ghana should focus on cultivating national discipline, since its lack is eating deep into our economic and social development.  No passing of any IMF test or even a proper agenda can solve this problem sustainably.  If we are to solve this, we must first consider it as a national crisis – and it must be dealt with as such by the relevant authorities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ROBERT OWUSU is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (Ghana). A seasoned banker with wide experience in Retail Banking, Internal Auditing, Project Management, and Electronic Banking with high specialty in Internet Banking, he is also a Consultant and a Supervisor/Invigilator of CIB examinations.

CONTACT

E-mail addresskwa_rob@yahoo.com

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