Feature Article of Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta
By Kwesi Atta Sakyi
28th October 2012
The leaders of our main political parties in Ghana should lead by example and show the way to their followers. Politics is not an arena of war but rather a noble theatre for civilized debate. The other day, it was very heartening news to hear that Nana Akufo Addo of the NPP had gone to visit ex-president JJ Rawlings of the NDC. That is leadership at its best. On 24th July 2012, when our late President, Prof John Atta Mills passed away, it was very overwhelming to see the leader of the opposition NPP, Nana Akufo Addo, who was then campaigning in the Western Region, cut his campaign short and immediately return to Accra to mourn with others. There are issues which unite us as Ghanaians or people with a common destiny. I expect the incumbent President of the NDC, President John Mahama to arrange a series of dialogues with the opposition leaders. This will send positive signals to all Ghanaian that we are not at war. Politics should not be a winner-takes-all issue or all-die-be-die matter. If possible, our church leaders should play the role of mediation, bringing together these political leaders at arranged national prayer sessions. Our political party leaders should not only preach peace but they must live and act it. We expect our political leaders to appear on radio and TV face to face to debate in a civil manner as it is done in the USA, UK and other countries. Our political leaders and parliamentarians can defuse tension in the country by frequently engaging in fun social events such as football matches, joining keep fit groups, attending some balls together, among others. We are one people, one nation, with one destiny. Let us agree to disagree and co-exist peacefully. The renegades and misfits or hoodlums in our society are the ones who are looking for opportunities to display their negative acts. MPs and political leaders are addressed as honourable and they should behave in an honourable manner. It is very demeaning and a disgrace for some MPs, Ministers and party stalwarts to go on air to trade insults or concoct lies and start poisoning the political chalice. I suggest that all those leaders who use unparliamentary language in public should be rusticated or severely punished by heavy sanctions such as heavy fines or expulsion. I suggest that an institution be set up to train our leaders in etiquette and how to carry themselves with dignity in public. Perhaps, the Centre for Civil Education can carry out this duty. To avoid a politics of all-die-be-die and winner-takes-all in Ghana, I suggest the following:-
1. The losing opposition leader should be paid half the salary of the president and be given half of his perks.
2. Political parties should be funded by the government on the basis of each parliamentary seat won and the proportion of votes cast for each party. This obtains in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and other advanced countries.
3. Electronic voting via computers be introduced or via cell phones. The modalities could be arranged to avoid cheating.
4. Ghanaians in the Diaspora should be allowed to vote at the embassies and High Commissions abroad.
5. During elections, all our sea and land borders should be closed.
6. The ruling party should run an inclusive government. Kufuor showed the way when he used to include members of the parliamentary opposition on his delegation whenever he toured abroad.