Why are today’s Ghanaian youth unimaginably disrespectful to the leaders and how to combat it?

Whether true or false, the late ex-Prime Minister of Ghana, Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia, of glorious memory, was alleged to have said, “If you find people stealing, don’t ask them why they are stealing, but check to find out why they are stealing. Solve that underlying problem that allows them to steal and they will surely automatically stop stealing. If you leave your door ajar, and that allows people to enter freely into your room to steal, lock your door and that will prevent unauthorised entry into your room for stealing”. Bingo! The intelligent leader who had the clout and foresight to solve Ghana’s then teaming problems had said it all. However, his administration was truncated by the “abongo boys”, led by then Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong.

As I write, the Ghanaian youth of today, especially those residing abroad, have become so disrespectful and inconceivably insulting towards both our political and traditional leadership. Why this sudden change of attitude in our youth who otherwise had remained so respectful and obedient towards our elders, both traditional and political, holding them in high esteem, according as demanded by the Ghanaian culture and ethics of good family upbringing?

When you force even your docile pet dog or cat into a tight corner and it begins to perceive that its life is in danger, will it not fight back in an attempt to liberate or extricate itself from the imminent danger it is facing? It surely will. Similarly, if the youth feel they are being let down big time by our leaders, they will air out their views in any way they deem fit to them.

Be truthful to yourself and the public without any pretence if you were caught up in any of the following scenarios, what would be your reaction?

First Scenario: You are jobless. You find life tough and cannot find a job tried as you had or you do. You see the political leaders embezzling state funds and assets. They use the money so dubiously acquired to cater for their families and friends. They purchase expensive cars for their girlfriends, fly them abroad for holidays and buy them houses. Will you continue to respect such a leader, prostrating to him as if he was a tin god because Ghanaian tradition obliges you to be respectful to your elders always?

Second Scenario: In your community or district, you find the poor guy appointed a District Chief Executive (DCE) become super rich within two years into his job. He starts putting up mansions for himself and living in affluence, something impossible to him a few years ago and without his appointment. His salary alone will in no way allow him to acquire such an extravagant living. Additionally, he has absolutely no respect for the people in the community, constituency or district. He looks down upon you because you are jobless and poor. He does not ensure that the district is developed by getting a share of the national cake or he does not make prudent use of the money allocated to the district by the central or local government. Will you respect such a DCE for all that he stands for, position, level of education and age?

Let me be specific in the third scenario. The cadastral {Surveying. (of a map or survey) showing or including boundaries, property lines, etc.} lands of Ashanti region as demarcated by Fuller to the paramount chiefs with Fuller Pillars visibly planted, are the properties of such various chiefs. They don’t belong to any single Ashanti Overlord. As Kumasi land belongs to Kumasihene who doubles as Asantehene, so does Kumawu land belong strictly to Kumawuhene or Juaben land belonging authoritatively to Juabenhene or Mampong land belonging to Mamponghene. If Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as under present circumstance is unconventionally meddling in Kumawu chieftaincy affairs and taken almost 280,000 hectares of Kumawu stool land as his, what will be your reaction if you were a subject of Kumawuman conversant of your history, laws and the realities?

When the subjects of say, Kumawuman, are suffering untold hardships of poverty, joblessness, sicknesses and deaths brought about by the lack of resources to provide them their basic needs while Asantehene is obviously knowingly misappropriating the wealth of Kumawu lands, contrary to standing conventions and statutes, selling them for millions of American dollars and pocketing them, what will be your behaviour towards him if you were a youth desiring better for yourself, compatriots and locality? Will you praise him for his actions or take him to the cleaners?

In the last, but not the least or the final of the scenarios of the actions angering the youth to behave disrespectfully towards the Ghanaian leadership – Knowing that water, fertile and arable land, virgin forest and air are sources of life maintaining humans’ survival and sustainability on earth, what will you do if you saw a chief wantonly destroying it for his selfish and insatiable greed? Ghana water bodies, fertile and arable lands and virgin forest have now come under heavy devastation never witnessed in the history of Ghana since the nation was founded right from its very occupation by our forefathers many centuries ago. If today, you are a youth who has seen the irredeemable damage of generational consequences to Ghanaians and posterity while the leaders causing such damages are nonchalant, what will you do? Will you continue to hold them in reverence or bare your teeth to them?

Again, if such chiefs are selling the stool lands under them in vast portions to the Chinese and other foreign nationals to culminate in the natives eventually becoming landless and slaves in their own land, will you respect such myopic, insatiably greedy and wicked chiefs? If our forefathers or their predecessors had sold the lands greedily as they are doing, would they have come to meet any today to sell?

The hypocrites who are defending the rogue chiefs who are the masterminds and orchestrators of most of the problems Ghana is going through at the moment should please stop! Until the chiefs and the politicians cease their irresponsible behaviours, I tell you, what they are seeing now as shown by the irate youth is just the tip of the iceberg. They ain’t seen nothing yet! (They have not seen anything yet). The worse is yet to come.

Those hypocrites rallying to the defence of the chiefs come under attack by Twene Jonas and Ohene David are rather the enemies of the chiefs. They don’t want the chiefs to hear or know the truth as it is on the ground. The ground is now swirling under their feet and if care is not taken, the ground will open up to swallow them. It does not belong to he who is leading to redirect their steps, so an adage goes. Therefore, the irate youth are those pointing the mistakes of the chiefs to them, although in an angry mood befitting the occasion.

If the chiefs and the Ghanaian leadership have ears, let them hear what Twene Jonas and Ohene David are saying. They have become the voice of the many silent voices, if not the voiceless. Disregard their vituperations at your own peril.
The only way to stop the youth from continuing with their embarked upon behaviour, deemed disrespectful, is for the leaders to behave responsibly, discontinuing with their obviously bad attitudes.

Rockson Adofo