The WordReference.com defines petty as “small-minded.” It goes on to describe it as “contemptibly narrow in outlook.” Other synonyms like inferior, footling-gesture, trivial can all deepen what petty means. The Answers.com describes it as “no broad or elevated in scope or understanding.”
One may ask why this question? It’s simple. We are cultivating a culture which is fast becoming part of our national educational fiber. The culture of pettiness! In Ghana today we have people that society has given much, but they only show greater contempt in their narrow outlook. We have people who, from the scratch, enjoyed the sweat of the ordinary sheabutter farmer, cocoa farmer, the trader or the charcoal burner to attain higher education. By the Grace of God they are men and women of “substance” now. Instead of them to give something positive to pay tribute to the sufferings of our farmers, traders and fishermen and fishmongers, they have endured themselves in pettiness that, all their wrong doings and inefficiencies are caused by somebody or some institution.
If you have your results cancelled it is caused by the NPP/NDC/DFP/CPP WAEC official. If you happen to enjoy the fruit of sheabutter and free education and think you can continue to enjoy freely, the knowledge and intellect of others and you are unfortunate to have been allegedly caught of plagiarism, it is the NPP or a fact of “political motivation.” As if in spite of their inefficiencies the University of Ghana lacks the capacity to determine what is and what is not plagiarised material. When a government wants to enjoy a bit of public sympathy after a marathon of cocaine saga the finger is pointed at his predecessor for planning to overthrow him. Then the predecessor ( Africa most coup baron), also out to score petty points, accuses his successor of masterminding the worst economic policies that have caused unprecedented hardship to the ordinary Ghanaians.
Trotting around the world with the agenda of selfishly painting a picture of massive disaffection among Ghanaian, instead of assuming a more productive rule of a statesman, he forgets that only about six years ago his own minister, now a presidential aspirant, was on television wondering how his successor can manage the economy, as according to him the national coffers (national reserves) can only cater for at most four weeks of imports. When a VC’s son was involved in exams malfeasance the dad was unduly brought into light. I remember reading a piece implying the VC has been implicated in exams malpractices as if the innocent Prof wrote the exams in question. Pettiness has blurred our analysis and diagnosis of events.
Then the Electoral Commission feels that someone is going outside the boundaries of the spirit of free and fair elections and has him/her arrested, the ‘elephant’ who is thinking of the alleged news of his government overthrow is accused of causing the arrest. As if old Afari Gyan does not know what his commission is about after years of trials and errors. NAGRAT embark on strike to demand improved conditions of service and to redeem the image of the teaching profession (as we have been made to understand), then they are accused of taken that fight because their leader contested and lost NDC political slot. As if contesting a political position prevents ones rights and freedom to demand acceptable working conditions of service. And then someone is alleged to have murdered a 13-year girl and the NPP hierarchy is linked to it.
Interestingly the light bearers of our society are the ones leading the crusade for such unprecedented scale of pettiness. The level of pettiness within our political fiber only smacks of hypocrisy and emptiness. Every now and then we have people sacrificed for no reason, but just to satisfy our pettiness. The order in our society is that if you do not support ‘sycophantly’, you will be sacrificed to satisfy pettiness damn your capacity to perform. The vileness, abjectness, degenerateness, and wretchedness in our thinking and outlook these days only show how pettiness has eaten into our social fiber.
Our journalistic attributes are at times severed to a large extent due to the way we approach issues. When a key senior CPP journalist at times brings the leadership of his party under scrutiny, one wonders the principles and integrity upon which he embarks on such scrutiny. When a careful examination of his scrutiny is undertaken, one can only conclude that it’s all about petty journalism.
Then a reshuffle comes and some, whose heads are chopped off, are not because of their non-performance, but because they have some aspirations to move a step further up their career. Then an aspiring presidential candidate mounts a platform only to convey a message of youthfulness as what Ghanaians need in their struggle for socio-economic well-being. Pettiness has blurred his vision into thinking that youthfulness is par excellence and performance. Then you ask yourself so what value is our oldies who, about 60% continue to be the bedrock of our society in the form of primary economic ventures-farming, fishing, trading,…
Then a cocaine saga erupts and so called ‘social commentators of immense track records’ think the mentioning of Ashantehene’s name is more important than making it difficult for the committee to do a shoddy work. At the end of it all we are all biting our teeth for a perceived total waste of national resources. A social commentator who, just about six years ago as a deputy minister of defence, had his ministry masterminded one of callous economic stupidities of modern Ghana by pulling down a whole multimillion worth of hotel in the name of protecting a watercourse, now uses the media to settle petty political scores, after consuming chunks of fag. Somebody, who had lived in other parts of the world where undergrounds are built under rivers, and where buildings are right on natural water courses. Somebody, who knows that a water course could easily be channelled effectively with proper management of the landscape. Can I refer him to Dubai where the sea is being claimed for the development of residential property? He is now off the central political stage so he thinks courting public sympathy on all issues is what matters most. A senseless score of intellectual pettiness at its doctoral best! Then we have these Ashantes scoring petty points by issuing threats of hate to people who think otherwise.
The trends of development among the thinking of our intellects are proven evidence that we are empty with ideas, sense of direction and purpose and lack altruistic power to deliver. We have then resorted to continuous courting of public sympathy as the way forward.
Ghana is now full of petty people and most of them are people having the responsibility of setting the agenda for national development. Pettiness within all our political party institutions is a complete eyesore. A look into our political parties will reveal that close to 65% of all the big shots who were shouldering party corporate responsibilities together are now at loggerheads with each other for no apparent reason but pettiness.
The level of ignorance, vileness and abjectness that inform our party politics is no where far from the abject poverty and diseases we find ourselves. In Ghana today politics begat party, party begat pettiness, pettiness begat abjectness, abjectness begat poverty, poverty begat diseases… and the generation continues.
We need to show the world that our education system has been able to produce first class world diplomats. And the way forward is to stand up and be counted in the fight against intellectual and political pettiness that is ‘cancering’ our sense of thinking. People must be told to shut up if their agenda is to win petty public sympathy. It is a cancer but overcoming it does not need ultra modern therapeutic innovation. Sometimes a mere shut up can end it there.
By: Nketiah, Seth