Features & Opinions

The Apathetic Ghanaian

While passing through Amanfrom in Kumasi, I came across a gathering of women and children at a particular location.

Intrigued, I took a closer look and discovered that it was water gushing out of a burst pipe. Surprisingly, the women appeared to be delighted despite the situation.

Initially, I was puzzled by the women’s happiness over water flowing from a burst pipe. However, I soon realized the reason behind their joy when I overheard one of the women mentioning that she needed to buy more buckets.

They were getting free water.

Who wouldn’t appreciate freebies? Water flowing freely for everyone is undoubtedly a cause for joy.

Leaking and burst pipes can indeed be seen as a blessing in disguise in a country where water scarcity is a common issue.

In some parts of Ghana, including the capital city of Accra, water shortage is a norm, and residents often have to buy water regularly, similar to buying food.

However, in other areas like Kumasi, access to water through pipes may be more reliable.

Citizens may be happy about a burst pipe or leaking water because it provides them with access to free water without having to pay for it.

In areas where water scarcity is prevalent or where residents face challenges in accessing clean and affordable water, a burst pipe or leaking water can temporarily provide a source of water without the need to pay water bills.

This can be a relief for those who may struggle with the cost of buying water or face challenges in accessing clean water through regular means. However, it’s important to note that relying on burst pipes or leaking water as a source of free water may not be a sustainable or reliable solution, as it can lead to water wastage and can indicate underlying issues with water infrastructure that need to be addressed by relevant authorities for long-term solutions to water access and affordability challenges.

Water treated with government funds is meant to be paid for by consumers, hence, water leakage or wastage results in financial losses.


How Unconcerned?

This apathetic attitude appears to be pervasive, with many Ghanaians showing a lack of concern or indifference towards various issues or challenges, including water wastage and other matters.

As citizens, we often fail to fulfill our responsibilities, yet we have high expectations from the government.

A visit to some government institutions may reveal lax and indifferent attitudes towards work and duties.

I recall an incident when I went to a public institution to make changes to my business registration. I had paid the required fee, but the data entry clerk made a mistake and entered incorrect information. When I brought it to the attention of the officer in charge, he told me I would need to pay again to have it rectified.

Some employees at government institutions have a lax attitude towards work and arrive at their job at any time they please. They may even use the excuse that it is “government work” to justify their lack of punctuality or dedication to their duties.

In 2016, the Afro Barometer survey revealed that apathy is very high in Ghana and only few are willing to join in raising issues for redress.


Who is to blame?

The implementation of effective systems by the government can help address the issue of apathy. It is not enough to just have systems in place, but it is crucial to ensure their full implementation without exception. When there are consequences for non-compliance and a culture of accountability, individuals who are otherwise indifferent may become more motivated to fulfill their duties and responsibilities.


The lack of direct impact on the middle and upper classes regarding issues that affect the lower class can result in a lack of motivation to take action or demand solutions. Privileged individuals may not feel the urgency to address problems that do not directly affect them, and may not use their position to advocate for change. This can contribute to a lack of awareness, empathy, and action towards issues faced by ordinary citizens.

The repeated failure of political parties to fulfill their manifesto promises has resulted in a loss of hope among citizens. They may not believe that the government can effectively help them improve their lives. As a result, some citizens may resort to seeking alternative means of survival.

How concerned are you?

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