Developmental efforts have been pursued without adequate attention to ethical leadership and sound work ethics for some time now.
The assumption is that if we have the right developmental policies/programmes and the availability of financial resources we will be able to accomplish our developmental aspirations and political manifestoes.
Ethical leadership and sound work ethics have not attracted bigger space in public discourse, public policy formulations, and national developmental efforts.
It has been public knowledge that our high professionals and experts are supervising construction of shoddy roads and other public buildings. Fake drugs and other sub-standard products have found their way into our markets.
Investments of innocent people have found their ways into the hands of corrupt people who were considered to be credible. Corruption in both private and public sectors are no more a perception. The quest for political power is at the mercy of cheating and violence.
Traditional leaders who are selling lands cannot be trusted as double sales of lands have become a norm in many communities. Indigenous people are fronting for foreigners in contracts and extraction of natural resources who are just destroying our water bodies, farmlands etc. with impunity.
Examination malpractices in our academic institutions at all levels is getting out of hands. Some security officers have become security threats to the public.
The list is just endless.
The most shameful part is the numerous un-ethical people who are parading themselves in churches, miracle prayer meetings, marketplaces, commercial buses etc. in the name of Prophets, Bishops, Apostles just having undue advantage over the vulnerable people.
We have lived over the years with the notion that if we get the foreign loans and other internally generated resources, development will be ours. It must be noted that national/public resources under the care of intelligent criminals will make hopeful people disappointed. We need ethical leadership to fulfill our developmental dreams.
Ethical leadership is leadership that is directed by respect for ethical beliefs and values and for the dignity and rights of others. It is thus related to concepts such as trust, honesty, consideration, contentment, fairness etc. Ethics is concerned with the kind of values and morals an individual or society finds desirable or appropriate.
Furthermore, ethics is concerned with the virtuousness of individuals and their motives. The choices of leaders must be influenced by their moral development.
We cannot and should not pursue our developmental programmes without the consciousness of ethical leadership and ethics. Our academic institutions must consider seriously the place of ethics in the curriculum.
Tertiary institutions may need to consider running ethical leadership and ethics programmes as service courses for all students who are the potential managers of our development efforts. It must be considered at all times that education without moral, ethical, spiritual values will always produce intelligent criminals. Academic institutions must be worried about the numerous intelligent criminals that they have graduated and sent out into the system.
Our educational curriculum must focus on the head, hand and the heart.
Without missionary religions like Christianity, Islam, etc., African Indigenous Knowledge Systems have embedded ethical values that have been used over the years for moral formation. Our traditional leaders must join the campaign towards ethical leadership and attitudinal change.
Governments, developmental officers, donor agencies, etc. must acknowledge that they cannot achieve their dreams with un-ethical leaders and workers. State agencies must create space for regular formation of work ethics and sound morality.
Ethics and morality must remain at the heart of Christian education and formation. The relevance of the church must be considered on the moral standards and the difference that church members bring on both public and private spheres.
The church must raise her moral standard among young people, family life, Christian professionals, church workers, and their ordained pastors. There is an urgent need for the re-awakening of the moral witness of the church.
‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.’ Proverbs 14:34.
Rev Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong
Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies