When Aristotle said “What lies in our power to do lies in our power not to do”, discipline was the gravamen of his postulation.
Having been compelled to shut the gates of our schools for about nine months, President Akufo-Addo has now swung them open, sending in our children with face masks, sanitizers and a plethora of stringent protocols in a bid to save our educational system. The question is; do we have what it takes to adhere to these protocols with the consistency and longevity required? I dare to exercise my right to disbelieve. Far from waxing spiritual, I am sad to say that we are not predisposed to the consistency of righteousness as a people. I mean the everyday right way of doing things.
“Discipline and concentration are a matter of being interested”, says American Golfer Tom Kite. The Achilles heel of the typical Ghanaian is the lack of deep-seated interest to do what is right on consistent basis. Since 12th March 2020 when the first two COVID-19 cases were announced I have been a victim of derision from friends. To them, I am an extremist who practices the COVID-19 protocols religiously. My infraction is that I wash or sanitize my hands frequently, I restrict myself to MOMO payments for my purchases and I sanitize any money that comes into my hands, rather than sanitizing my hands after touching money.
I drink the neem-hibiscus concoctions obediently, I insist on social distancing and I won’t let you talk to me until you first put on your mask. In our part of the world, being disciplined to protect oneself is interpreted as fear, whiles being indisciplined for lack of will to do right, is to many, fearlessness. The difference between the rich (regardless of how they made their money) and the poor (regardless of what caused their poverty) is discipline.
Discipline is the ability to make yourself do something, even if it is difficult, so that you can’t achieve a goal. This quality must emanate from the corridors of power like diurnal steam emerging from the assorted anti-coronavirus concoctions saving lives in Africa and Asia.
When the president began his COVID-19 Updates, I observed how he failed to make good use of the massive attention he had from Ghanaians to set an example by appearing with his nose mask on. Recently, he has been appearing with his mask on and taking them off before speaking. This merely diminished, but did not obliterate my disappointment. I believe the President would be setting a better example by speaking within that short period with his mask on.
The revered Arch-Bishop Duncan Williams was recently trolled on social media wearing a double mask.I was flummoxed at the sheer ignorance and weak-mindedness. No one can whip up the ‘faith in God’ talk than the Archbishop in these perilous corona times. Yet he shows that he is a man of action as much as he is a man of faith and that it will be fool-hardiness to go about touting his ‘arch-bishopness’. In that monumental picture was a picturesque view of the pinnacle of leadership by example – an example that an ignoramus cannot appreciate.
The wisdom in the Arch-Bishop’s actions is that it behooves all and sundry to observe the protocols first before believing God for protection. “Faith without works (action) is dead”. Any pastor who relies solely on his anointing to protect him from the virus is living naked in Iceland. Be informed by google how many pastors have fallen to the virus worldwide. If you are that anointed, then explain why you have health conditions and grapple with the trepidation and tribulations of life.
Subsequent to seeing the Imposition of Restrictions Act (Act 1012). 2020 passed, the President instructed the IGP to crack the whip on all miscreants. However, in our typical Ghanaian proclivity, the moment our active cases began to dwindle, these laws were quickly shelved. The President has recently instructed the IGP again to enforce the laws. Why the re-instruction? Was the President the one who told the IGP to slow down on the arrests? Was this a tacit conspiracy of leadership to put Ghanaians at risk for the purposes of the 2020 elections? If the IGP was not instructed to slow down, I dare say that he exhibited incompetence borne out of the highest form of indiscipline and must resign to show some discipline.
Indiscipline underlies John Mahama’s irresponsible act of touting victory to his teeming supporters, only to go before the courts, claiming no one won and asking for a re-run. Indiscipline is what pushed Carlos Ahenkorah to visit a polling station during elections knowing he was COVID-19 positive. As for his act of ‘Parliamentary Usain Bolt’, the list said, the better. Of course those who did the slapping, snatching of ballot boxes and kicking of things for ‘pious’ reasons cannot be exempted from the reproach of a much touted democracy devoid of lack of leadership discipline.71 MPs testing positive and acting ‘negative’ is the greatest dishonor from so called Honourables.
It cannot be gainsaid that it is no effrontery to be as audacious as to insist that the person sitting next to you should put on a mask or lose the right to be present.
The Arab way is to go about town slapping any Tom, Dick and a Harry without a mask on. But for how long can a stubborn people be slapped and upon what cheeks shall they wear the mask after the painful lightening speed slaps?
My point? There is something in the black man that hates consistency of positivity and wholeheartedly embraces consistency of negativity. Until we have a leader who is more interested in building our minds rather than our roads, we are but a nation going nowhere. But woe unto that mind builder of a leader when he or she shall arrive. The Ghanaian does not see his need for a change of mind. He only sees his need for the tangible.
So why didn’t I let my children go back to school? Well, as a lawyer and a single parent leaving with my three little angels, I simply do not have the heart to contain the thought of what might be happening to my children while they are in school, and I am in court. I admire those parents who have gathered the courage to send their children to school. I pray your children remain safe. I am however happy to announce my lack of faith in believing that my children will be safe in school in these perilous times. I ‘covidly’ choose to school them from home until this nightmare simmers down.
Don’t follow in my footsteps; follow the protocols. This is because as I time-travel into December 2021, I see that no sooner had the COVID-19 numbers started dwindling than we all started resting on our laurels.
The politicians will be the first to start making public speeches ‘maskless’. The police will then let down their guard and the schools will easily forget the virus even exists.
We are but rolling stones that gather no moss. We only act when we see the Sword of Damocles hanging by a horse thread over our heads. But the COVID sword of Damocles hangs perilously even when it seems cut off. The schools are currently leaving no stone unturned with the implementation of the protocols.
But I see a melt down that will turn Melinda Gates into a revered prophetess of doom. Consistency of adherence to the COVID protocols is no holy grail, yet we have made a drudgery of it.
If there is any discipline left in us at all, this is the time to show the world. Let every Ghanaian solemnly pledge to live by the COVID protocols as enacted by the prevailing laws. After all, law is the cement of society and where there are no laws to abide by, the people’s lives will be brutish.In conclusion, I cannot end without permitting the pastor in me to wax biblical. Ephesians 5:15 (NLT) best summarizes this piece for me – “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.”
God bless our homeland Ghana.
By: Mac-Diamond K. E. Nyamekor, a.k.a. Rev. D. K. Nyamekor Esq.