Feature Article of Monday, 23 July 2012
Columnist: Okofo-Dartey, Samuel
The Ideal Vis- A- Vis The Real: Ghana’s Political Situation.
It is widely held that coming events do cast their shadows. The verbal exchanges and news currently filling the airwaves and occupying the front pages of most of the newspapers clearly amplify the season we are in. The political harvest is almost due and the actions and inactions of some of our politicians depict their desperate scramble for political power through fair or foul means. This situation is perhaps better summarised in these few words, “where the carcasses are, there the vultures will be.”
The political ambiance in Ghana within the past six months or so has been tensely charged with unsavoury and unprintable words. The latest in the wake of this pressurised atmosphere is the infamous, “I declare war” statement which was loosely ranted by the honourable Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Agyapong.
Ghanaians would love to have election campaigns which are devoid of hate speech, insults, and violence. Once more, Ghanaians would love politicians to exhibit a great level of commitment towards peace and development in their speech, and demeanour. But can this wish relative to the realities of our time be feasible when there are political Judases among us?
Inasmuch as honourable Kennedy Agyapong’s action is reprehensible and as such meriting utmost condemnation, the roots of the problem must also be dug, and properly dealt with to forestall any future fracas. This is because nobody stands to benefit a dime if the country’s politics is smeared with invectives.
In line with this article, it is imperative to define the keywords in the heading- real and ideal. This is to help put our discussion within the proper context. According to Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition, ideal connotes something that is conceptual and impractical. The word as per the same source is synonymous with utopia, abstract, dreamlike and extravagant. From the same source, the word real expresses the idea of something that is in existence, valid, undoubtable and certain. It is also synonymous with authentic and honest.
The truth of the dichotomy between what is real and that which is ideal is better expressed on the political landscape of the country. As the election winds sweep across the length and breadth of the country, many are the political promises that are going to be poured out by some of these politicians who are desperate for political power. Admittedly, these promises are inevitable because they form part of the political processes. These unattainable or unrealistic promises are best described as the ideal promises.
Surprisingly, more often than not majority of Ghanaians seem to fall prey to these deceptions emanating from some of these politicians who after annexing power do little or nothing to ameliorate the deplorable plight of the ordinary Ghanaian. As they busk in their wealth and new found fortune, they constantly spew forth irritating excuses and blame others for their inability to deliver on their promises. Have you for a second wondered why for close to three scores Ghana has not reached the promise land as envisaged after independence?
One of the dangers associated with politicians making ideal promises in the face apparent impossibility is the loss confidence in them. If leaders of the country are not taken seriously on matters that are of essence to the populace, then are we not rather dragging the country into an abyss?
It is worth stating that if our leaders do not honour their promises and steer the country to a stage where the positive impact of their services are felt, Ghana will not be spared from the vile venom of disillusioned citizens. Chaos and anarchy will be the order of the day and the rule of the mob will characterise a society which was hitherto branded as the beacon of peace and democracy in Africa.
It will not be out of place to ask any student of politics or any person interested in politics to conduct a research into the effects of broken promises in Africa and for that matter the world. Without prejudice, the revelations that will emanate from this research will be stunning.
It is in the light of this that our politicians as well as our leaders should not attempt to take Ghanaians for toddlers and puppets that they can manipulate to suit their parochial political interest. Ghanaians have had enough of their unrealistic promises since every drop of unfulfilled promise amount to deception. Ghanaians are looking for answers to their problems and hungry for seasoned politicians who have a tinge of dignity in them to develop the country not on the platform of deceits but on the pillars of attainable and realistic policies.
Once again, as the election season draws closer, Ghanaians are closely watching and monitoring our politicians. We do not want promises like, “I will reduce petrol prices drastically” when indeed there are no concrete plans afoot to execute such hollow promises. Ghanaians are well aware of the importance of education in the country, hence we would like the flag bearers of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo Addo, People National Convention, Hassan Ayariga and Progressive People’s Party, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom to come out clearly to furnish us with details of how they are going to fund their free education policy. Beyond that we will love to know which components of the cost of education they are going to use our state resources to fund. In other words, they should explicitly define what they mean by free education.
It is obvious we cannot wish politicians away since we have decided to practise multi party democracy. We cannot also do away with their political promises because in their political campaigns they must announce what they have in mind in order to drive the economy. We cannot also force them to solve all our problems since they are human and not God.
However, we cannot allow them to run their mouths wild without subjecting their promises to strict scrutiny. We must question them to know the feasibility and how realistic their promises are when the opportunity affords itself. This is because it will be very devastating on our part for them to tell us stories after they have had our political mandate to rule.
The onus, therefore, rests within the ambit of media practitioners, policy think tanks, and well meaning Ghanaians to closely question and monitor our politicians in order to check some of their political extremities.
It will be in the best interest of politicians and the citizens of the country if the former descend from the realm of the ideal and deal with the basic challenges confronting the latter. If other countries have dealt with their environmental filth, why can’t we do same in our major cities? If other countries have reduced poverty thereby improving upon the livelihood of their citizenry, why can’t we do better by effectively using our natural resources? If industries in other countries are booming thereby creating employment opportunities for the citizenry and for foreigners, why can’t we do same? Are we going to always depend on others to solve our basic problems when we have educated and a strong labour force in the country?
To cap it all, Ghana must develop rapidly and this growth must be reflected in the pockets of Ghanaians and not only in statistics. Our development can never be achieved if our political leaders are seemingly swindling the populace with their unrealistic promises.
AUTHOR’S NAME: OKOFO-DARTEY SAMUEL