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Feature Article of Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta

Inter-party dialogue a must or necessity now in Ghana?

By Kwesi Atta Sakyi
21st January 2012

Introduction

This year is general election year for Ghana and seven other African countries, some of which are Angola, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Mali, among others. In the inter-election period from 2008 to date, a lot of water has gone under the bridge and political parties are positioning themselves strategically once again for the showdown in September/October, 2012. What we must realize is that we have an onerous duty to uphold the high image we have carried for ourselves as regards the conduct of our peaceful elections in 2000 and 2008. Those peaceful and hotly contested elections were too close to call, yet like in any other race, there is a winner. Our Electoral Commission distinguished themselves admirably by their utmost diligence, fairness and transparency. Many of the foreign observers who witnessed those two major elections gave us the plaudits. Ghana is indeed seen as an oasis of pence and a beacon of light to other countries. It is sad and shameful that in this 21st century, Africa is still marking time and is lost in the woods while the wheels of progress are grinding and working efficiently in other parts of the world. I call upon the leaders of our political parties, the NPP, CPP, PPP, NDC and others to guard their utterances by showing maturity, sanity and reasonableness in their media utterances. It is said that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. The grass symbolizes the ordinary masses or the poor man in the street; what some people refer to as the foot soldiers Winston Churchill, the late distinguished PM of Britain during the Second World War, is remembered for his famous saying that, ‘it is better to jaw jaw than to war war’ on quote.
The Way Forward
As we are about 8 months away from the 2012 general elections, I appeal to the leaders of the main political parties in Ghana to behave like statesmen, by putting Ghana first and uppermost in their political ambitions. Secondly, they should show unity of purpose to their supporters by building bridges across the political divide and encouraging what is called Ubuntu or Insaka
in Southern Africa. This is the same as inter-party dialogue. Even if they engage in token public acts, it will go a long way to reduce tension and to send a clear message to their die-hard supporters that they can agree to disagree in an urbane, civil and rational manner. In unity is strength. Hear the song of the late music maestro, Dr Ephraim Amoo:
Ghanaman, Ghanaman, Ghanaman, Ghanaman, Ghanaman
Mo ma yensua biako yo o o o DC
Biakoyo y3 ahoodin, biakoy3 y3 nhyira
Biakoyo y3 o o o o

Which translates as:
Ghanaians, Ghanaians, Ghanaians, Ghanaians
Let us learn how to live in unity D.C
Unity is strength
Unity is blessing
Unity is good.

Conclusion
In conclusion, let us hope civil society, the churches, media houses and other partners will set in motion mechanisms to ensure peaceful, fair and credible elections. Let each and everyone exercise their franchise in the universal manner of one man one vote and secret ballot. Therein lies equity, freedom, and dignity. Let us put to shame the rabble-rousers, double-tongued twittering twisters, and confusionists. Let us confound them with our civilized actions to show that Ghana as an entity is greater than the mere aggregation or summation of us all as individuals. Let our politicians appreciate unity in diversity, which is like a beautifully sung song of different chords and tones, yet all the contrapuntal sounds blend wonderfully into a beautiful melody, symphony and is syntonic. Let the political parties be in sync.
I also hereby appeal to the editors and managers of the media houses to censure and vet what they feed the Ghanaian public with. There is the computer analogy of GIGO or garbage-in, garbage-out. You cannot plant maize and reap acorns. The Ghanaian media, to say the least, has become prostituted by bad eggs and the earlier they were called to order, the better it would be for all of us. I call upon the media houses to cross-check their facts before they go public. Otherwise, they will be peddling half-truths and unfounded fabrications, raising false alarms. I admire the newly found media freedom in Ghana, but then freedom comes with heavy responsibilities of self restraint and self or intrinsic regulation, and appropriate motivational behaviour. Only seared, dull and callous minds agitate for chaos and bedlam.

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