Feature Article of Thursday, 23 August 2012
Columnist: Eyiah, Joe Kingsley
for New Paradigm for Politics in Ghana
By Joe Kingsley Eyiah, Accra-Ghana
“Unity in sorrow should unite Ghanaians in our politics”-Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel K. Asante
As I sat among thousands of mourners who had thronged the Independence Square in Accra on that memorable day of August 10, 2012 to celebrate the life of our departed President, His Excellency Professor John Evans Attah Mills, I could not hold back my tears. I was not only weeping for my kinsman and President, ‘Otuamniba’ Kofi Attah, ‘Obenfo’ Mills whose sudden demise had brought many Ghanaians of all walks of life together at one place but also for my beloved motherland-Ghana! And especially for her recent political indecency!
Thank God they were all present at one place on this ordained day. Whether they liked it or not, there they were together! The major players who have made politics in Ghana dirty in the present times-our two surviving former Presidents and their wives, our newly sworn-in President and Vice President, the flag bearers of all the political parties contesting the soon coming December elections in the country, heads of religious bodies some of whom have usurped their God-given positions to meddle in politics, failed as well as successful past and present ministers of state, foot soldiers and ardent supporters of the various political parties who have often rained insults on one another even over the country’s numerous FM radio stations. They were united in grief with thousands of ‘ordinary’ and peace-loving Ghanaians in addition to high-powered representatives of about 53 governments/nations across the globe that had come to mourn our late President at the Independence Square.
There and then, God used one man, a preacher in the person of the Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel K. Asante who is the Head of the Methodist Church in Ghana, to deliver a timely message to all gathered at the funeral grounds, especially our politicians. He boldly divided the Word of God in his sermon at the funeral by pointing all to the cardinal truth in this world-the Futility of Life! Using the experience of King Solomon of the Bible times, Rev. Asante admonished all people, no matter our political, socio-economic status or religious inclination to unapologetically commit our lives to God, for ‘life without God is futile’!
He therefore drew the attention of Ghanaians to the fact that we are all travelers in this world and as such we ought to “keep our eyes fixed on that which is eternal.” We should not allow politics or things of this world detract us from eternity. “Our late President lived for eternity,” he said. “The demise of such a man of peace ought to bring us to politics of peace and civility.
“Unity in sorrow should unite us Ghanaians in our politics,” the man of God entreated all Ghanaians.
Few days after this powerful sermon, the President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama in his maiden broadcast to the nation urged Ghanaians to stand united. He called on all Ghanaians to come together, irrespective of their political, religious or ethnic differences, to move the country forward in her socio-economic development. Well said!
Ex-President, John Agyekum Kuffour, in his response to the President’s call for national unity, pointed out that ‘unity is not forced on the people. Rather, it is facilitated by good leadership of experienced men!’ How true! It is said that ‘experience is the best teacher!’ Unfortunately, ex-President Kuffour did not stop at his criteria for unity in Ghana but went further to mention the name of the presidential candidate of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akuffo Addo as the experienced leader that Ghana needs. This drew sharp criticism from the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), describing ex-President Kuffour as doing politics (canvassing for votes for his party) at the wrong forum.
It is good to observe that there has been neither personal attack on President Mahama on his call for national unity nor on ex-President Kuffuor for his response to that call. Also, the criticism of the Kuffour’s response by PPP has not earned that political party led by Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom a basket full of insults yet! Can we say that civility is now being returned into politics in Ghana? We waiting to see as we pray that all politicians in Ghana would heed the clarion call by the Most Rev. Prof. Asante, during his sermon at Prof. Mills funeral, to Ghanaians to beware of the ‘futility of life’ and to commit their lives and all that they engage in to the absolute will of God.
There has been too much politicizing of issues, including even the food we eat, in Ghana. The political divide in the country has until the sudden death of President Mills been so deep as well as bitter that the truth is always clothed with lies and, those on the either side of the political divide refused to reason with or to see any wisdom in whatever the other says to the detriment of our national development. The welfare of ordinary Ghanaian is sacrificed at the altar of ‘unhealthy politics’ characterized by lies, greedy, hatred, selfishness, corruption and lack of political vision! Unfortunately, ‘illiteracy’ is still high in Ghana. This coupled with misinformation and disinformation as well as economic hardship in the country has provided politicians and some government appointees their field’s day for far too long!
All individuals seeking to lead the country and manage our numerous resources to move Ghana forward in her socio-economic development for the next four years and thereafter, by God’s grace, must discuss issues confronting the country devoid of insults and personal attacks. They must demonstrate their preparedness to wisely prioritize the needs of the nation which should include among others, education, health, employment and responsible local government in order to win the votes of Ghanaians in the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections this December.
May the sudden demise of His Excellency, former President Professor John Evan Fifi Attah Mills and the unity that his funeral showered on the Ghanaian political scene begin a new paradigm in Ghana’s political life!