This is a message of hope and a message of change to Ghanaians.
Ghana 🇬🇭 is a country of potential. Ghana is a country of promise. Ghana is our country and our home.
Although relatively small in area and population, our country is one of the leading countries of Africa, partly because of its considerable natural wealth and partly because it was the first Sub-Saharan country that gained independence on 6th March, 1957. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the nationalist and Pan-African, after leading the country to independence, embarked on many economic development projects.Yet, decades of corruption, mismanagement, and military rule stymied growth and achievement until the 1990s, where the state of affairs began showing signs of improvement. Today, Ghana is now held up as an example of successful economic recovery and political reform in Africa.
Though the country is witnessing formidable economic and social developments, the rate of development is still slower than expected. Though efforts are being multiplied, each passing day with more challenges, keep cementing a dangerous notion, which is “there is nothing we can do” attitude accentuating on accepting these low rates of development. It seems, our political talk shows, our fervent radio discussions, our open-ended democracy, and our call for action, etc. still is taking too long to yield the needed results.
What could we be doing wrong? Or better still, what can we do better?
I think we can analyse our current state in light of the concept of change and how change is implemented.
Change theory has three main concepts:
Driving forces are those that push in a direction that causes change to occur. They facilitate change because they push the country in the desired direction. They cause a shift in the equilibrium towards change.
Restraining forces are those forces that counter the driving forces. They hinder change because they push the country in the opposite direction. They cause a shift in the equilibrium that opposes change.
Equilibrium is a state of being where driving forces equal restraining forces, and no change occurs. It can be raised or lowered by changes that occur between the driving and restraining forces.
With this understanding, as a country seeking positive change, we would want to focus on increasing the driving forces while reducing the restraining forces of progress and development.
The three stages in the change theory are:
In order to achieve the desired change, we would have to first find methods and ways of making it possible for the citizens to let go of old patterns that are counterproductive. This is the unfreezing stage. We can achieve unfreezing by first, increasing the driving forces that direct behaviour away from the existing situation or status quo. Second, decrease the restraining forces that negatively affect the movement from the existing equilibrium. And lastly, find a combination of the first two methods.
The change stage is the “moving to a new level” stage. It is a process of change in thoughts, feeling, behaviour, or all three, that is in some way more liberating or more productive.
The refreezing stage is establishing the change as the new habit so that it now becomes the “standard operating procedure” or the norm. Without this final stage, it can be easy for the country and its citizens to go back to old habits.
Change, therefore, is as important as the change agent.
At this point, if we give up and do not act or sit on the fence and watch as citizens, then we are the losers as we stay in equilibrium with no change. If we choose the wrong change agents, we increase our restraining forces and our state deteriorates. The change we need is thus holistic, from the executive to judiciary, legislature, and to us the ordinary citizens.
In our country, the most important leverage point to our change is the Executive, headed by the President. The executive wills more power in the process of change with respect to what our constitution mandates them to do.
Actually, successive governments have had their successes and failures, built legacies, and also come short in some expectations. Obviously, some governments have fared better than others and been of greater benefit to the country. But the standard should not be a comparison with just their peers but also with their own potential, their promises, and delivery, as against the country’s own potential. In other words, how did they use the country’s abundant resources to better the lots of us, the citizens?
The restraining forces have apparently had a better share at the spoils. And this to me, is the reason why I think the next president should be one of the most important discussions of our country now. The next president is the one who puts the power back into our hands as electorates as he or she would have to come to us to solicit votes.
So, what options do we have now?
Often, the choice of the next president is the curse of the incumbent, where the current government becomes unpopular by virtue of their decisions, actions, and postures, giving rise to the emergence of the opposition. Other times, the candidates are selected based on how popular they are, their closeness to the presidency, or who is next in line according to the party’s customs.
I believe the next President should be more than these reasons cited.
What we need to do as citizens and not spectators, are to clearly determine the positive change we want and find the leader who is himself/herself changed in this regard to lead such a change.
We can no longer sit on the fence.
We cannot also just complain, neither can we just lose hope.
This is our country and this is our home.
We need to get involved and we need to make the right choice.
I think it is high time we started discussing intensively who our next President and Change Agent for our beloved country should be. This is an initiation to the discussion.
You can share what are the traits and qualities you think our next president should have. And if you have someone in mind, you can equally share why he or she should be the leader or become the best change agent for our beloved country?
Dr. Evans DUAH
Citizen of Ghana