There is something very wrong with Ghanaians, and Africans as a whole, particularly when it comes to how to make decisions about what to do in this world.
Instead of using logic, reason and an evidence based approach to make decisions, we instead rely on faith, superstition and an archaic understanding of morality which in the end leads us to make the wrong decision.
The worst part is, despite all our hangups about morality, the African is as corrupt and immoral as anyone you can find anywhere else in the world, perhaps even more so.
The Member of Parliament for Assin Central, the loudmouthed NPP politician known as Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, has reportedly called for Ghana to establish our version of Amsterdam’s red light district to boost tourism and increase government revenue.
‘Akumpreko’, as Agyapong is fondly called for his intransigence, is reported by mynewsgh, in a report we have mirrored, to have said: “Corporate tax cannot do anything, tourism is the way to go, what do they have in Amsterdam?, Red Light District, when it comes to Ghana, you will have Pastors, Reverends, praying and cursing you, saying this is Sodom and Gomorrah, we are cursed. But when they come here, they want to go to Red Light and experience it. I’m drawing your attention to the tourism in Amsterdam,”
There’s not much that Agyapong says that I agree with but this is one thing I will gladly stand with him on. And at this point I’ll go back to the baseless ways Ghanaians make decisions by appealing to religion and archaic morality instead of practicality and research.
We love to paint ourselves as a sort of moral nation following either the Christian, Muslim or traditional gods, most of whom frown on ‘social vices’ such as prostitution, using drugs and homos*xuality. Based on our beliefs in these unproven deities, we decide that it’s better to outlaw these activities because they are immoral.
We do this whilst forgetting the fact that most Ghanaians who paint these singular activities as immoral and call for a societal ban on them indulge in them as well, or the fact that we indulge in many other social vices from the Quran or Bible including drinking, gossiping, gluttony, fornication/adultery plus many others, which aren’t outlawed. We conveniently push those aside and scapegoat only a few selected ones such as prostitution and homos*xuality.
If morality is really the goal for our laws against prostitution, drug use and homos*xuality, why don’t we outlaw adultery, fornication, drinking and other ‘sins’ as well, so we know we are completely and totally moral? It’s hypocritical to indulge in some so-called sins but make it illegal for others to indulge in their chosen sins.
Why don’t we follow other nations and enter the 21st century, following the mantra of ‘legalize, tax and regulate?’ We legalize prostitution and weed and the government can regulate those industries and tax them as well.
We simultaneously make it safer for prostitutes whilst ensuring the government can make revenue from what they are doing, which is just a job like any other job anyway. In countries where prostitution has been legalized, there are regulations in place for prostitutes to be constantly tested so they don’t spread STDs, and they are also able to report incidents of assault and abuse because they don’t have to fear being arrested.
Concerning weed (and other drugs), it’s a complete myth that legalizing them would lead to an increase in drug use. Those who want to use already use anyway, irrespective of the laws in place, and there are other controlled substances which are legalized such as alcohol and cigarettes which aren’t being used willy nilly just because they are legal.
Legalizing these would bring insane new sources of revenue (the Dutch government makes €650 million annually from commercial s*x workers whilst Uganda recently signed a $140m weed deal with Canada) whilst providing social benefits without any significant downside. The evidence from Amsterdam, Canada, Scandinavia and other parts of the world make it clear that legalizing either of these two does not come with any adverse social effects but instead a significant economic boon.
The evidence is in from all over the world and it has shown us the way, it’s just a matter of whether we can give up our silly moral objections to progress to do the right thing, especially when nothing shows we are as moral as we pretend to be anyway.