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Opinions of Friday, 18 November 2016

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis

Look how partisan politics has numbed the critical faculties of Ghanaians!

“Conversation doesn’t have to lead to consensus about anything especially not values; it’s enough that it helps people get used to one another” ~ Kwame Anthony Appiah

The recent fallout between the two major political parties in the vicinity of Akufo-Addo’s Nima residence, in which their members reportedly exchanged gunshots and insults and blows, offers damning insights into the deplorable depths which extreme partisan politics has sunk the country.

This unfortunate incident should never have happened in the first place, although we are not saying the vicinity of Akufo-Addo’s Nima residence should have otherwise been declared an out-of-bounds territory for purposes of public procession.

Ghanaians should therefore have free access to this public space without a sagging burden of qualms.

In Ghana impunity has become a dangerous enemy of social cohesion and public stability, certainly a potential riposte to why we seem overburdened by our conditioned arrested development.

We are teetering on the brink of moral anarchy—somewhat.

For this reason, the perpetrators of this disgraceful bedlam from both sides of the political aisle must be squeezed dry out of their hideouts and brought to book.

This is important because the intimidation and counter-intimidation from both camps will only tend to aggravate public anxiety over possibilities of pre- or post-election violence.

The point is that our punitive laws must have been sleeping on the books for far too long, perhaps as a result of the institutional ennui or enforcement inaction of men and women who are supposed to uphold them but are not doing so.

On the contrary the country is in some form of a moral coma—where nothing seems to work, all because impunity and deterrence seem to have lost any sense of conjugal arrangement in the larger scheme of social and political relations.

These political turf wars are unbecoming of a country that spearheaded decolonization efforts in Africa and other parts of the world.

Whence comes our gun-toting democracy?
First it was the politics of schadenfreude then it became a democracy of useful idiots and serials callers and village idiots, now a schizophrenic clone we may call a gun-toting democracy.

Now, it turns out that we are asymptotically approaching what Fela Kuti called demo-crazy after having gone past what he also called colo-mentality.

Or, rather we are still in the prehensile grips of what rapper Chubb Rock called “realistic mirage” (see the track “The One”).

The egregious contamination of the popular mind through politicians’ schadenfruede demagoguery, widespread illiteracy and poverty, and lack of critical, creative, and analytical thinking has rendered public psychology morally and spiritually numb to the extent that bystander apathy now defines the matrix of social relations.

Suddenly the NPP appears to have so ungraciously lost its monopoly on All-Die-Be-Die.

The country is gradually becoming a laughable asylum of zombies, a country where critical, creative and analytical thinking is the butt of every conceivable joke, where mediocrity and open display of buffoonery are rewarded with emotional sancrosanctity.

A country where lies, falsehoods…are no longer contested in the public space, the corridors of power, churches and mosques because they happen to be the new Orwellian—doublespeak—truths of the human condition.

A country where wisdom and intelligence have become old-fashioned trinkets.

A country where respect for authority and official dereliction of duty are a thing of the past.

A country where political theology is a means to wealth acquisition in the material world and secular politics rather than the pursuits of spirituality, humanism, and liberation theology.

A country where violent, rhetorical indiscretions and vulgar language on national television and radio are in vogue.

An Orwellian polity where death and life, black and white, God and the Devil, public dirt and cleanliness are indistinguishable.

How do we harmoniously play Kwegyir Aggrey’s black-and-white keys of the piano when they are indistinguishable?

Even cemeteries and hospitals are indistinguishable in certain localities!

Why do Ghanaians kill themselves over these good-for-nothing politicians who do not care about them anyway?

It as though the mindset of the public has been suffering from uninhibited bouts of moral and spiritual constipation, a result of sustained intellectual dyspepsia—perhaps!

Public intellectuals and technocrats have become moral illiterates, while religious charlatans and demagogues have rather become the latest faddy class of public intellectuals who commune with their God on issues ranging from election outcomes, political economy, predicting a register of impending high-profiled deaths to outright robbery of their following.

These wicked politicians and their religious counterparts! These politicians steal the people’s money all in the name of God and their religious counterparts do similarly.

This God is the same as “the God of confusion” who gives different election outcomes to different scandalous thieving Men-of-God.

The eidetic memory of this God seems to be in total disarray as he forgets his electoral “lotto numbers” from one Man-of-God to the next Man-of-God, as philanderers move from one girl or woman to the next girl or woman.

Listen to late rapper Guru on “Ex Girl To The Next Girl”:

“Her thoughts were erratic, sporadic, crazy in nature

“I told her, hey, look I can no longer date ya!

“Tried to pimp with bank and fell short

“Your ship sank, many thanks for the time and the watch

“And the link you and I are the past, c'est la vie, nuff respect girl

“But now you're my ex-girl cuz I'm straight with the next girl

CONCLUSION

Ghanaians should not tolerate dubious characters such as Owusu Bempah. Again, the casuistry, the misguided dogmatism, and the demagoguery of Machiavellian political theologians like Owusu Bempah should be rejected out of hand.

This also goes to secular politicians and leaders of other religious organizations besides Christianity, for Ghana is neither a theocracy nor a caliphate. Not even should any form of state religion be made the guiding of policy formulations.

All peace-loving Ghanaians should promote healthy secularism, religious and political tolerance, patriotism, political morality, and inter-ethnic amity. Conmen like Owusu Bempah have succeeded in creating God in their own image, which essentially makes God a dangerous conman who is only interested in advancing the negative connotations of partisan politics.

This God of the Owusu Bempahs does not tell Ghanaian prophets how they can find scientific and policy cures for emerging diseases, dumsor, galamsey-related pollution, armed robbery, ethnocentrism, mass illiteracy and poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, trokosi, and so on.

We are far behind the rest of the world in terms of scientific and technological discoveries and the God of Owusu Bempah does not seem to care. If we are not lucky this conning God of Owusu Bempah will declare both Akufo-Addo and John Mahama winners of the upcoming general elections.

And then we will not know whether to burn down Owusu Bempah’s church. Possibly, civil unrest and protracted legal wrangling will unravel themselves in the body politic as a corollary of the shenanigans of the Owusu Bempahs.

Owusu Bempah does not have the moral authority to speak in behalf of popular sovereignty. As a tangential unit to the political process he is not more than the sum total of the mandate of collective wisdom. He should learn to stick to the claustrophobic privacy of his paracusia—his auditory hallucination, that is.

On the other hand if he wants to be a daring crazy baldhead, a condition which he already symptomatologically embodies, then he might as well follow the private dictates of his paracusia and leave popular sovereignty to speak in its own behalf.

The world of commonsensical pragmatism has no place for a dummkopf like him.

We shall return with Part 2, the concluding segment.