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Opinions of Thursday, 17 November 2016

Columnist: Osei, Nana Yaw

Electoral violence, ethics and society

By Nana Yaw Osei

There is a political union known as pan-Africanism. I struggle to fathom why Africans waited after colonization of Africa and the introduction of obnoxious Trans-Atlantic slave trade before realizing their identity as Africans.

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) sat down and watched as Idi Amin Dada killed 500,000 Ugandans before finding out that he was cruel.

Today, there is a continental political organization like African Union, and regional groups like economic community for West African States (ECOWAS) yet, Yahya Jammeh continues to murder, torture, arrest and detain Gambians with impunity.

Let the world leaders decide to unseat the iron-fisted dictator of Gambia, then you will hear the same sleeping African leaders using derogatory terms like western imperialists and neo-colonialists on the leading super nations.

Must we sit down for the selfish politicians to plunge the country into chaos before knowing we are Ghanaians? This article reflects on electoral violence, ethics and society.

“Supporters of the two major political parties - NDC and NPP – clashed Sunday morning in front of the Nima residence of NPP flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo” (Source, ghanaweb.com. November 13, 2016).

This incident raises some questions. There are many streets in Accra, and why did NDC supporters decide to use a street in front of Nana Akufo Addo’s residence? Who permitted them to use that route? We have to work hard to eschew electoral violence in our country. Chinese are engaging in illegal mining in Ghana, albeit political stability. What will happen to our resources with political instability?

Almost every human being has a different view on morals. We all have diverse views about when it is wrong to lie, cheat, steal, betray a friend, flout a law, murder and threaten to kill. We have convictions about the role of good life to material well-being, artistic accomplishment, athletic prowess, intellectual curiosity, friendship and love, sex, courage and so on.

What makes an act right or wrong? What things are good or bad? Consequentialist moral theorists assert that the rightness of an action is determined by the goodness or badness of relevant consequences. The most famous of the consequentialist theory is utilitarianism.

The utilitarian theory posits that the only thing that is bereft of derivative value is the welfare or happiness of sentient beings. It claims that other things such as courage, knowledge, love and money for instance have value. The degree of their value is linked to their contribution to happiness. Moral philosophers, Jeremy Bentham claimed that happiness goes with pleasure and absence of pain and proceeded to fashion out a calculus to measure the relative value of different pleasures and pains.

How many Ghanaian politicians will enjoy their political powers when the very people they are supposed to exercise such powers over are murdered through electoral conflict?

Certainly, there can be no happiness without society because all human problems are social and those within the province of individual are capable of becoming social. Destroying the very society individuals want to lead is very quixotic. The ruling government is significant because of the opposition parties.

If Accra Hearts of Oak football club destroys all soccer clubs in the world then its very existence as a soccer team would not mean anything. We live in the world of unity in opposition. Health is important because of diseases, NDC is important because of NPP. The youth in the country are inundated with hopelessness due to high rate of unemployment. The clashes between NPP and NDC supporters near NPP candidate’s residence was needless and irresponsible.

The youth in Ghana are vacillating between hope and apprehension. In spite of abundant natural resources like, gold, diamond, manganese, bauxite, timber, oil and rich cocoa plantations, our leaders have failed to create jobs for the youth. Are these leaders worth dying for? Let us see ourselves as one country and avoid the needless political tensions.

Let us raise our country above the selfish politicians. I also support the call for USA and UK to revoke all the diplomatic visas of political leaders who incite violence. Let us love the innocent citizens, women and children of Ghana and eschew electoral violence. “We can conceive of a future without high-rises. But humanity without music and love is not just inconceivable: it is impossible” (George Leonard).

God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.

Writer's e-mail: padigogoma77@yahoo.co.uk
Nana Yaw Osei (Padigo)