The year 2019 is here with us and, as is usually the tradition, well wishes are being shared with friends and family.
It has also become the norm for people to make resolutions, mostly to serve as a guide for the new year.
The essence is to help them do things differently from how they did them in the previous year, all in the quest to better their situation.
This tradition should not be limited to individual aspirations.
As a nation, we have numerous challenges on our hands that we can collectively address by resolving to do things differently, even at the personal level.
It’s not enough to pride ourselves as being religious, nice and hospitable while we continue to do things that our religions frown on, giving us a negative image outside our borders.
For instance, this country has been branded as corrupt, but whenever the issue comes up, the focus is often on politicians and other high office holders. But, collectively, we are all guilty.
We have become so materialistic that people want to live above their means. For this reason, they shamelessly demand for bribes from their fellow citizens before performing the duties for which they are employed and paid to provide.
So endemic has this canker become that failure to grease palms means services will not be provided at all or are delayed unduly.
Indeed, some public officials have become so brazen that they even reject offers that they deem inadequate.
Another troubling issue is the ‘whom you know’ or ‘connection’ syndrome.
In these days of mass unemployment, it is only those with relatives in high places who get job offers, with or without the relevant qualifications.
This is, indeed, frustrating to the youth who exert themselves to study in order to get good grades in school, only to be sidelined when it comes to employment because they do not have the right links.
Another major challenge confronting the nation is the appalling sanitation situation.
Obviously, the numerous clean-up exercises and initiatives to rid our communities of filth have not helped.
Instead, the poor attitude towards environmental cleanliness and sprawling slums in the cities without basic sanitation amenities are compounding the situation.
Traders and food vendors sell their wares and food close to stinking gutters all day, oblivious of the stench and the implications on their health and that of their customers.
The list goes on and on. While these things may seem insignificant, they are the little things that draw us back as a nation.
As we embrace the New Year, let us resolve to eschew the petty evils that we do individually but which impact negatively on the country and give it a bad image internationally.
We must resolve to change our old ways by adopting a patriotic approach to the way we do things in order to carve a positive image for ourselves and our nation.
While we are at it, we extend our warmest felicitations to all our readers in the new year!