Ghana Work Attitude 

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2017 by kola

Long read from a Dutch-Ghanaian gentleman as I read on a social media site. I believe it is worth every word he wrote. 

DOES  STAFF WANT TO AND KNOW HOW TO WORK IN GHANA?

March 31, 2017 
Sometimes I write based upon recent events, but I also write about things I see and hear and things relating to my educational or professional back ground.
This time I write out of frustration.

I have the wellbeing of Ghana and Ghanaians at heart, proof of that is my assuming Ghanaian nationality and frankly there is no other country in the world where I prefer to live (or die).  I used local content and local produced materials 15 years before both outcries for it became relevant to most Ghanaians.
But I have to admit to my fellow Ghanaians, that especially Ghanaian employees and service providers don’t make it easy for me. My wife a born and bred Ghanaian has given up long time, but I am not that easy, I hardly ever give up on my goals, targets and dreams. 
Where does my frustration come from?
My frustration comes from workers, employees or however you will call them and people who are providing services like; *mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, masons, and security guards but also shop attendants, petrol station attendants and many others.*
I always hear captains of Industry, employers and owners of companies complaining about high levels of taxes, lack of electricity, too expensive electricity, bad roads to their companies, bureaucracy, corruption and everything else.
But they are always carefully avoiding one subject: the quality of our workforce.   In general  (but there are exceptions) the Ghanaian worker doesn’t care about the quality of his job, and doesn’t have any feeling for his profession nor his customer/client. Sometimes they show a total apathy to work and just aim to dragging themselves to the end of the week, simply because they need an income.           
In Europe there is a saying for people with low ambition: “his only planning is to go to work and come home tired”, but in Ghana I mostly have the feeling that coming home tired is not part of our workers plan. It made it almost impossible to employ an honest hardworking, motivated person in Ghana!

Not only our soft cultural behavior, mostly coming down to not calling a spade a spade, a politeness, strong unions and high will and participation to strike against almost everything increasing production, a judicial system that fights tooth and nail for rights of employees, 50 years of almost total neglect of skills based education, lack respect of a well trained worker and low morals in general have created a very low quality workforce in Ghana.
I have worked with employees in the hospitality sector, printing and news sector, NGO’s, construction and several other sectors and the employees are mostly not fit for their job.
I read an article a few weeks ago, “China’s unfair competition for Ghana”.
I reacted and wrote: Why? Is it because a Chinese employee will work 6 days a week with his wife and children, goes 1 week a year on a holiday, (if he goes, mostly he doesn’t) and works dedicated and hard to deliver, even without supervision? That’s than an easy answer for me, so if a Ghanaian also does the same that would make it fair competition isn’t it?

Or do we expect the Chinese to come late (or not at all) when it rains, show up late (or not at all) after a public holiday, arrive standard late at work, work officially 5 days, but are there indeed 5 days but don’t really work, ask days off for the many funerals to attend, would that make Chinese competition fair?

The reason I got frustrated (this time) is the following:

My wife is running a construction company and 2 months ago had to fire her crew of 7 workers because we found out that whilst she was working, friends of her workers robbed our house. She called a friend in Accra and he said he could send masons and laborers.  He had plenty workers because there was not much work in Accra. On Monday they showed up 2 hours and 20 minutes late to start, but instead of starting to work, they all needed to eat first.    

After eating, they were all walking with their full bellies looking like they were not really in the mood to start. As you will understand they know exactly when lunch time started and took an hour break after which my wife had to push them to start again. By 1.20 instead of 1 she had everybody going but the next day she discovered that after she left at 4 the workers also had immediately stopped.       

This went on for a few weeks, in which they worked an average of 6 to 6 and half hours a day, telling my wife this is heavy work so they don’t work 8 hours. Than a national holiday, actually falling in the weekend was celebrated on a Monday. As every Ghanaian will understand (little bit more difficult for me because of my Dutch background) 5 out of our 7 workers didn’t show up, because of celebrating, 1 came on time and 1 of them showed up 1 hour later, complaining that he had to walk all the way to the work side because my wife didn’t wait for him.

To cut a long story short, my wife sacked all of them; naturally they left with most of the tools we provided, which is called stealing in the rest of the world, but we got used to that. My wife managed to get a new group altogether, or actually tried twice to get a new group, the first group didn’t show up, the second group postponed 1 day, but because she simply didn’t have a choice she accepted that and work finally started again.

I am, besides my daily job running a guesthouse, and my workers are mostly on time.
However I have some other small problems, like stealing and lying and as a result of that I had to lay off 4 crews of 3 girls in 2 years.

Tea, milk, jam, soap, cutlery, glasses and cups but also towels and even bed sheets are disappearing in no time. I admire my girls for their team spirit because even if all of them know who had stolen something they all declare they don’t know.        

I recently lay off another girl who I caught sleeping on the job (this time without a guest) and my “trusted” worker with me for over 6 years declared without blinking his eyes that he never knew the girl is sleeping and watching TV during working hours regularly.
This problem is definitely not a high class lower class problem, foreign and local nor black or white problem because most of my Ghanaian and some of my foreign friends (maybe not all of them understand employees tactics) all complain about low quality of work done, laziness, lying, stealing and low moral towards work of the Ghanaian workforce.

The public sector is not different, lying stealing, low work performance, absence and on top of this all corruption. 

To me the most annoying thing in the behavior of workers is the fact that when you complain about this behavior and low quality of a service provided, they react in a way that you should rather be grateful that they came to provide you the service. Let me end with one example.
I am quite handy myself and although not trained in plumbing, I can easily say that I am a better plumber than most people in Ghana calling themselves a plumber (I used 9 different plumbers over the past 10 years). The outlet of my toilet was leaking and I was simply not in the mood to do it myself, so I called a recommended plumber. After breaking one of the tiles behind the toilet and putting all back together he stated that he “fixed” the problem.  But when I put the water pressure back on and flashed my toilet I found out that not only my toilet outlet was still leaking, but now also my water supply was leaking. He was polite said sorry and started all over and when we tested again this time he solved the outlet leaking but the water inlet was still leaking. Trying to fix that he spoiled the float valve inside which needed to be replaced and when I finally started complaining he left and insulted me because he was doing his best to help and I should respect him for that instead of complaining about everything, he left without being paid, but called later that I owe him 2 days pay.                                                                                       
To cut this long story short, last Saturday I removed the toilet, replaced the broken tile, put in a new float valve and connected all to the outlet and to the water inlet in about 2 hours and not to my surprise there were no leakages.    
The result I am expecting from this article?
I hope that my article will trigger an open minded discussion in Ghana so we can all think about ways to tackle this problem, through education but also through informing our youth and training them in ways to work, like the rest of the competitive world because with this type of mentality towards work developing Ghana will be a difficult task, for this and any government to come.
I also hope that the Government of Ghana realizes that we need to train skills among our youth and pay attention to attitude change. Because when I calculate roughly what our society is losing in its attempts protecting ourselves against stealing, robbery and our general safety, I estimate that, that alone almost doubles labor costs in Ghana.
The costs of loss of materials due to wrongful use, spoiling of materials and tools due to unprofessional use is many times higher than that and we urgently need to extend our skills training to become competitive.
Ghanaians among you who have traveled have seen the differences abroad are complaining about exactly the same things as I, a new Ghanaian is complaining about. 
I will always remain positive, and I am sure we can improve, but we need a lot of help of other positive thinking Ghanaians to fulfill this enormous task.
My last remark: I hope no foreigner is reading this because it is a message to Ghanaians and not  meant for foreigners.
Written by

*Nico van Staalduinen*

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Social Media Generation 

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2017 by kola

This piece is written by my friend David Appiah Danquah who has his own brand of satire I admire him for and always manages to make you think things through when you’ve read what he has to say. 

David writes :

This week I’ve read a lot of commentary on my timeline about how to behave on social media, in particular deal with insulting comments and hostilities.

I’ve learned two things from all the comments:

The first

This generation is heavily invested in their social media personas more so than they are in their real lives. They’d be very successful in life if the reverse were true.


The second

The heavy investment in social media has led to this generation becoming less mature in handling confrontation and ironically more likely to be involved in a social media confrontation.
Let me explain the second point more carefully. When Black people were being killed left and right in America I heard a Police Chief in a very large American city explain why his officers had never been involved in police-related shootings for more than a decade. According to the Chief, he decided years ago to only hire military veterans, nightclub bouncers, security officers who had been involved in tense, high pressure and real life combative situations.
The Chief said some police departments in America make the mistake of hiring individuals straight from university who have never been in a fight their entire lives; never thrown a punch, never been hit with a punch, never had to calm a drunk person in a nightclub, never been shot at by an enemy, never been beaten up, bullied or attacked by another human being.
When they hit the streets of America, it is their first time in a high pressure situation, but now they are given a gun to maintain law and order. 

Imagine someone who has never been thrown a punch in their life being confronted by a large Black man who is acting aggressively? Of course they’d panic easily and use the only option they have to diffuse the situation: draw their weapon and shoot.
Now, the same is true of this generation on social media. Think about it. Like young police officers who are carrying guns on the streets of America today, many social media users were born in the Internet age, and given Internet-enabled mobile devices to interact with a world they know very little about. Thanks to the Internet, a teenager in Apagya can interact daily with another teenage in Seoul, having never had the opportunity to learn and understand Korean customs and sense of humor, likes and dislikes. 

The chances that a snide comment from one teenager to another would trigger a confrontation is extremely high.
The Internet has thrust this generation into a world without boundaries and social media has weaponized their daily interactions. 

The truth is many of you have been cuddled into adulthood from birth, protected by your parents and society. You have never been in a real fight, except for the verbal fisticuffs on your facebook page. And because social media has limited your physical interactions with other folks, your history of confrontation and aggression is limited to the digital world.
When I was a kid my friends and I did actual verbal insults. We use to call it “causing”. We would trade “your mother is so fat jokes” and the winner would be the one with the most painful insult. After that we’d laugh and go home to our wonderful mothers.
Nowadays, if I tell you to go f*** yourself, you’d block me from your Facebook wall with your admin powers or from whatsapp because you can’t handle it.

Well, go f*** yourself! (If you can’t handle this post) 

Me : David! 

David! 

David! 

Social media etiquette is about the individual. Interacting with people you hardly know doesn’t mean they’re not human. If you want respect you have to give first and it will be reciprocated.

Like I always say it begins with YOU! 

Pantang Chronicles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2017 by kola

It is interesting how any time we hear of Pantang the first thing that comes of mind when  you are a resident in Accra is madness. well, asylum used to have the monopoly on madness in Accra and Ankaful nationwide but now there are several mental institutions dotted around the country.

For a long time the mental institution was placed out of the center of Accra so that residents basically had the whole area all the way up to Abokobi to themselves. however, with the recent expansion in Accra the place that used to be isolated from the center of town has gradually been merged into the area and beyond. This therefore comes with the attendant merging to the society and beyond in those parts. This means that the people who are now resident in the areas mingling freely with the inhabitants of the mental institution.

The story was narrated to me by a friend, a  resident, who was waiting at the taxi rank just at the hospital premises to get to town and took a seat on a bench. there was already a well dressed man sitting on the bench and thinking that it was probably a queue he greeted and sat with the man to wait for the taxi. After sitting there a while he noticed that taxis were coming and going and other people were getting on and leaving for town but the both of them just sat there.

Not long afterwards another man joined them and then another lady came too and they all sat on the bench and soon animated conversation started on the bench. The conversation really made no sense to my friend but he still sat there waiting for a taxi and even though several taxis came to the station they all went to the other side but none came to the side where they were sitting. he also noticed that people who came to the other side of the station kind of looked at him strangely sitting among the other three people but they just went ahead to sit in the taxis and left.

After having sat there for over an hour and several taxis coming to the other side, this man finally decided to heed to that my phone credit seller sitting a few yards across who had been beckoning to him for almost  the whole time he had sat there. apparently the phone credits seller had noticed that he had been there a while and wanted to draw his attention that he was in the wrong part of the taxi station. But he had wondered what a mere phone credit seller will talk to him about so he had ignored the beckons and just sat down. finally when his ‘bench mates’ all burst out in laughter at the same time for no apparent reason, he had heeded the phone credit sellers insistent and adamant beckons and just went over to listen to what the young boy had to say.

The first thing the boy asked him was if he had been waiting for a car all this time or was waiting for somebody to join him on the bench. It was then that he confessed that he had joined the queue on the bench waiting for a taxi so he could get to town but all the taxis seem to come to the other side of the taxi rank and not to where they were sitting for the past hour and he has been wondering why.

The young boy had a couple of his age mates seated by him and they all burst out laughing at him at his explanation and with an incredulous look on his face he asked why they were laughing at him. it was then that they told him that hitherto the patients of the mental hospital came to the station and worried the taxi drivers that they wanted to go to town and after a few incidents the drivers realized that they needed to take action with regards to how they got to the station. The solution was that bench was created  and became the particular favorite of the mental patients from the hospital and they usually sat there and made people think that they were also waiting for taxis.

Oh Joe! the people really had a good laugh at my expense” he narrated.

Finally he went to the other side of the station and whilst entering the taxi looked at his former bench mates talking animatedly and laughing hysterically and somehow it all fell into place. These people made him realize that the saying that we all have some madness in us is true and indeed after witnessing a road rage incident in town that same day, confirmed the statement that many are mad but few are walking the streets.

Furthermore, this narration has its own lessons for me when i heard it. this is that we relate to everybody with respect and treat people as human beings that they are and not stigmatize them at all. The well dressed people on the bench had conversations that were reasonable and apart from a few off key mannerisms, they looked as sane as anybody else and that is why my friend could sit with them for over an hour.

In the same way that the city has expanded, the world has become a global village and people and places are much more closer to each other. It is important that we as humans also adjust to these changes for benefits and personal development. It behooves on the individual to determine how to adjust. we all have a bit of madness in us but it is up to us on how best to use this madness to suit our lives and how best it will affect our relationships.

Like i always say it begins with YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invincible or Invisible

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2017 by kola

in recent times some of us have complained about the politicizing of everything in this country. i have said time and again to anybody who can read or hear that in this land of our birth even as natural an act as sneezing could betray your supposed political affiliation. you know how we sneeze and then instead of ‘bless you’ we say a few words? somebody might say ‘bless nana’ or another might say ‘i told you so’ and these sayings might be interpreted depending on who’s standing by to be political insinuations with reference to the occupant of the flagstaff house or the economic hardships still prevailing.

anyways that is the Ghana we have come to love with its nuance and all its unconventional methods and red tape only when it suits some people. but who am i to say.

so we all say change has come and then right off the bat we start hearing of the winning party supporters attacking supporters of the losing party. reports in the media indicate that known NDC supporters were attacked at home and beaten up.

further reports also indicate that some armed and rioting forces have started and it is still an ongoing process, are seizing public toilets, toll booths, government offices and all in the name of a popular slogan in akan ‘ma aban na aba so‘ to wit ‘my government is in power.

the group that has claimed responsibility for perpetrating these acts calls themselves INVINCIBLE (or is it INVISIBLE) FORCES.

back in school studying traditional religion and a host of other subjects, we always were asked ‘what is in a name?” this has always made me associate names with occurrences and try to delve into how a group chooses a name. there have been several political associations and just hear their names and you know what they are about even if they dont spell it out explicitly to you the name should give you a clue to their objective.

but here is one group perpetrating acts bothering on vandalism of state property and abusing the rights of people and nobody seems to do anything about it except that the ruling party now came out with a press statement to effect that the group was not a part of its machinery and that they were acting on their own. really?? so if they were acting on their own why hasn’t the law taken action against them and have them arrested thus setting a few culprits as examples to deter the others.

in Tamale i had my former office locked up when this group numbering about forty on motorbikes just stormed the district office of National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and Youth Employment Program (YEP) and asked the workers out only to produce locks they had brought themselves to lock up these offices.

the regional National Health Insurance office suffered the same fate and people who were  trying to register and do transactions who tried to protest were whipped physically leading to a stampede for everybody to rush out of the offices. i hear the same thing happened at the metro office of NADMO and before the police could get there to intervene these people are gone. sometimes they brazenly wait for the police and exchange words with them until the police drag them off the premises.

a typical Ghanaian will ask, what is all this? can we just not tolerate each other and live peacefully. the fact that your government is in power doesn’t give you the right to vandalize government offices and attack government institutions asking for the resignation of executive officers to be replaced by party loyalists.

this is where the issue is. if really we were thinking Ghana first, then the civil service will not have to be politicized and its machinery can run effectively devoid of political affiliation. but in the system where the winner takes all, it has become imperative to use Machiavellian principles in a democracy thus ensuring that all the heads of the civil service are loyalists of the ruling government so as to secure an agenda not contrary to the principles of the ruling party. in some jurisdictions, when government policy does not tie in with the civil service then you know there is a standoff.

all the ducks have to be in tow for a ruling government as we see happening in parliament but that is another story for another day.

so back to the invincible forces. i really dont want to speculate here but the question still stands as to what is in a name? what is the law doing about them and are they as invincible as they seem to be because people in civil service office are feeling their actions visibly.

what i can do as admonished in the ‘plagiarized speech’ is to be a citizen not a participant and do my duty to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana as per our anthem. to be a Ghanaian is a mindset that involves every individual that it is this individual mindset that will evolve into the collective.

mine is to raise the issues and set you thinking but then what to do is up to you.

so like i always say IT BEGINS WITH YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change Has Come

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2017 by kola

inaugnana

I have never been so proud of being Ghanaian as I have been these past few months in the round up to the presidential and parliamentary elections. There was a huge clamor for peace from every angle and this peace call involved people from all walks of life and various stakeholders. There were peace shows in various forms especially with music, people ate for peace at food bazaars and various mini functions all over the country.

Inasmuch as the body mandated for civic education was doing its bit on educating Ghanaians on the voting process it was up to Ghanaians ourselves to educate each other and support each other in the voting systems and the aftermath. Thankfully it all went well.

The election process itself was calm and very smooth with the security forces deploying personnel all over the country and I’ve got to comment the Electoral Commission too for an election well-handled even though they took a lot of criticism and with a new commissioner, all eyes were on the outfit to perform for which it acquitted itself well.

Ghana elected a new leader and voted out the ruling NDC government to be replaced by the opposition NPP. It was evident that Ghanaians were just tired of the ineptitude and inconsistency of the ruling government and wanted a change even though the then ruling government provided a lot of visible infrastructure.

But indeed it is well that the election affected the yuletide holiday celebrations and even though there was an obvious calm in the system, people had the anticipation waiting for the handing over ceremony on January 7 which went down pretty well without incident.

At the inaugural ceremony of the new president, looking traditionally elegant in his customized kente cloth, he emphasized that the change that we are looking forward to depends on us as individuals and until we each put our shoulders to the till this nation that belongs to all of us will still wallow in the doldrums of poverty that we find ourselves in. “we have no excuse to be poor”, he stressed.

The new president has a huge responsibility to see to it that Ghana gets better and for this daunting task he indeed needs every person who is a Ghanaian devoid of party colours, dual race or citizenship and even gender, to pitch in to make Ghana a nation worth being proud of in every aspect.

Change has indeed come.

Indeed like I always say it begins with YOU!

M.anifest – NoWhere COOL Album Review

Posted in Uncategorized on November 21, 2016 by kola

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1. No Where Cool
|I’ve sacrificed my personal life to be creative to get the music right. This album don’t make me happy and rich, I would gladly hang up the Mic.|
Being the first song comes with a funny intro stemming from a conversation between a caller and journalist. She asks; “Tell us why you are demonstrating“. Male caller replies; “Please the network is not good so can we speak twi?” Then a pure African groove gets in setting the pace for the rapper’s constructive flow. The song has it’s central message on how no place is convenient. It calls on listeners to accept the real plight of present dwellings and being happy in spite of the hot temperatures of the present. In here, M.anifest known in recent times to be the #godMC collaborates with the soulful songstress, Cina Soul and Dark Suburb

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Bananas And Groundnuts

Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2016 by kola

Dear Nii Kpakpo, it has been so long since i wrote you a letter but some events as usual have precipitated me write yet another missive. we have been well here and as you know being an election yea…

Source: Bananas And Groundnuts