Ghana, from independence, took up established traditional values and forms of discipline, which included the respect for adults and elders. As the saying goes, a child is born of a woman and brought up by the entire community. Everyone becomes responsible for the growth and discipline of that child.
A child who misconducted himself in town would get punished by adults and then dragged home, to be punished the more.
Three successful military take-overs took place in this country, without any change in the chain of command in the military and discipline was also enhanced across the land. These were, February 24, 1966; January 13, 1972 and July 5, 1978.
Then on June 4, 1979 and December 31, 1981 the lower ranks broke loose and took over the administration of this country. Chain of command broke down in the military, when suddenly the junior ranks realised that they could command their senior officers and even shave them with broken bottles.
Indiscipline broke loose and quickly spread into the country. Adults, who could be parents of these junior ranks, were dragged into public and crudely punished by these indiscipline soldiers, for alleged crimes which could never be proven to this day. And here women could be made to strip naked in public.
In 1979, three former heads of state and five senior military officers were executed in public for alleged economic malfeasance. Then, some forty-two years later, the judge/executioner came public to say those executed were only killed to sacrifice for the lives of some over eighty people who rather deserved to die.
So, indiscipline took-over and ruled the country for nineteen years and indiscipline among the young ones has now become the culture. We entered into the era where a teacher had no right to discipline a pupil.
Ghana gradually entered into the era of dzimakpla where children are reared and not brought up. A few children who grew up in well-disciplined homes followed the crowd and rebelled against the way they were brought-up and so became kplamase. There was the Child’s Right, a legal instrument which dictated to us the Rights of the Child but not the Responsibilities of the Child and the beat goes on.
With all these going on, are Ghanaians surprised when a video came public with some female students hailing insults at the president of this nation with unprintable words?
Eight or so, girls gladly stood in front of camera and publicly told our president things that decent people cannot utter, even in the privacy of their minds. First, the young ones started, publicly hooting at the president, now they have started publicly insulting him. What next? They could soon start throwing stones, rotten tomatoes and sachet water at him.
We have arrived. Ghana has now gotten to the stage, where our children are out of control. And the stupidity is that some insane adults, some who could be grandparents would teach and encourage the younger ones to insult adults including their own parents, with no regrets. There are Ahithophels around, breeding out Absaloms.
This culture of indiscipline is endorsed by some adults who still believe in the revolution. Most of such adults were either born in that era when gross indiscipline was established or were very young, in their formative years and so took this in as the norm.
Because one cannot understand the father of one of these rebellious students who came public, not to apologise to Ghanaians, but rather to tell us how traumatized his daughter was, when she was dismissed from school for insulting the president, using foul language.
In our days, when the child fell foul in disrespect to an adult, the parents would go on their knees and plead for mercy acknowledging the bad conduct of their child. No excuse whatsoever is given for the child’s misconduct, only pleading for mercy and then when they get home, that child will be severely punished.
But what do we have today? After saying that no responsible parent would condone such conduct of disrespect by insulting the elderly, one Mr. Martin Asiedu Darteh, a parent of one of the students sacked for insulting the president, starting telling Ghanaians that the punishment meted on the unruly students was too much and it would mean throwing them to the wolves.
He further went on to say, her daughter only took that irresponsible act as a joke, did not know they were secretly recorded.So, is this parent in effect saying that so long as the disrespectful child says it was all a joke, matters should be left.
Ghana Education Service (GES) did the right thing and sincerely apologised to the president and came back to punish the students.
Are our children now, being reared? If so, and since it looks like it, the future of this country is dark. We need the traditional form of discipline back.
Hon. Daniel Dugan
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.