Feature Article of Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Columnist: Akwasi-Yeboah, Cyril
Ghanaians have recently come to terms with the factually unprecedented economic achievements of the Mills administration within a period of three years. But on the heels of that fact is a situation in which the peace of the beautiful country called Ghana is on the precipice. Politicians have now found the courage to declare war and defy the core values that underpin the principles of probity, accountability, integrity, freedom and justice. White collar criminals are having a field day, knowing that technicalities in the laws can be exploited in their favour. Slowly justice appears to be a mirage to the ordinary man. People who feel slighted by one person or the other are resorting to self-help by visiting mayhem on life and property. Previously peaceful parts of the country are now areas of security concern.
But in the light of all these, Honourable Kojo Adu-Asare and his ilk around the President keep hailing him, whiles in the same vain, are prepared to maul down former president Rawlings with a typical dogmatic fervour because the latter dared to draw the government’s attention to the paucity of the core values for which he and the NDC stand.
The likes of Mr Adu-Asare, who have found a comfortable haven in the government communication team, assign to themselves the duty to virulently attack anything and everything Rawlings. With reckless chutzpah, they deal with party differences on radio and in utter disregard for the consequences on the party’s internal structures, the government’s legitimacy in the eyes of the voter and the harmony of the Ghanaian society. This situation, coupled with the devolved father-for-all style of the President has weakened the moral centre of the NDC and also in our politics. Things are indeed falling apart! Even experienced cool heads and calm nerves are unable to consider intervening.
The government cannot continue to entertain the politics of patronage at the expense of voices of counsel and expect to bring its full potential to bear on the security and safety needs of Ghana. The essence of Rawlings activism is that the government cannot make any meaningful and lasting difference in the development of Ghana without founding those efforts on the core values of the party. This is not to absolve Rawlings from the open and oft abrasive manner his disagreements with the government. Whiles it is proper to register one’s disagreement with his mode of expressing those views, the substance of the views remain relevant. It is that which is being sacrificed by the anti-Rawlings zealots lurking around the government and its communication team.
In the 2008 elections, the NDC campaigned on the values of probity, accountability, integrity, freedom and justice. But looking into the ensuing months of the NDC government taking over power, politicians who reportedly made away with state property and some part of the collective wealth of the country have walked free. It becomes pertinent to ask some relevant question: What is the meaning of accountability when politicians are not accountable? What is the essence of justice when government cannot make politicians pay for the wrongs they commit against our collective wealth and interests? Today those who commit crimes with pens, cutlasses, guns, and their mouths are walking free. Those who observe these phenomenons are emboldened to realise self-help justice because there is no deterrence emanating from the institutions of justice and law enforcement.
The father-for-all policy is not working. White and other collar criminals are having a field day. It is in this context that the essence of the Rawlings critique of the Mills government is very relevant. It is beggars’ belief that, Mr Adu-Asare stood on the roof tops to declare that the Rawlings Factor is diminishing. If the import of his statement was that, the Rawlings factor which is synonymous with the values of the NDC are diminishing, the observations I make here strongly support that standpoint. But Mr Adu-Asare’s point was that he is “fed up to the marrow with anything Rawlings” and did not “intend wasting much time because nothing will change”. Clearly, this Member of Parliament is experiencing a cognitive dissonance in the light of the values for which Rawlings kept speaking.
To him and his ilk, I make the following points from which they cannot run, whether they like Rawlings or not:
You cannot ignore probity and expect to enjoy legitimacy; You cannot fail to be accountable and expect the government to enjoy loyalty from the people; You cannot deny the people justice and expect them not to find alternative avenues to effect justice.
The violence we are witnessing across the country is a direct consequence of the failure of government to forcefully assert (not with reckless abandon) the values that brought it into being. And as long as the praise-singers continue to fail to offer constructive criticisms to the government and impudently attack those who do, the decadence we are witnessing will worsen. It is this which makes the Rawlings Factor ever-relevant.
All the unprecedented achievements will come to naught if the morale and moral decay continues. From the utterances of Kennedy Agyapong, the Ekumfi murder, Wa, Ho, Hohoe and to the Woyome scandal, one thing is clear: the father-for-all, coupled with the denial of the values embodied in Rawlings is not working. Unpatriotic citizens and criminals understand only one language, which Rawlings speaks rather clearly. Deny the Rawlings factor and your house will be founded on sandy grounds.
We must change course now. There is no time to waste. Ghana is at a dangerous precipice.
Cyril Akwasi-Yeboah, London.