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Opinions of Saturday, 2 September 2017

Columnist: Charles Yeboah

Ghana: A gold losing its lustre

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

It came as a joyous daybreak to end a long night of captivity when the world witnessed a new flag replacing the Union Jack. Those who thought it's impossible had a rude awaking when the Red, Gold, Green and the Black star hoisted in the stead of the British Flag.

It was a dawn when the forebears of our independence promised in their speeches that democracy would be practised in its truest meaning. And that taking over from the country where the birthstone of democracy is planted, Ghana will emulate same.

About eight centuries ago, before the Magna Carter, it was impossible to challenge those in authority in words and actions. But under the able leadership of King John, Britain signed to being the Magna Carter - the birth of democracy.

This was to replace the dictatorial powers of monarchs, fiefs, the church, and brutes.

As would be said by Marcellous Casscius Clay ( Muhammad Ali ) "one will not value freedom until it's taken away from him " . And one who was at the boarding house in my preparatory school days (Rapid Preparatory ) , seeing how prisoners who were brought in to carry out all the backbreaking jobs our labourers cannot do, I understood what captivity was.

In that light, our forefathers laid down their lives and fought for our independence so democracy would be practised.

IS GHANA PRACTISING DEMOCRACY? Ideally, democracy is to tolerate dissenting views. It's meant to collate different ideas for a common purpose. And more often the majority carries the day in decision making. To win a debate under democracy, one would convince those who disagree with his views.

Unlike as was practised before when monarchs and their courts only made laws and decreed on their subjects, democracy seeks to give power to the subjects, and as well subject those in authority under the power of the law. So now, the king, the president, the judge, the legislator, the clergy will not and must not go with impunity when he flouts the law.

Our democracy as well has its limits, and are all enshrined in our constitution. The king, the clergy and the judge must not involve the self in national politics whilst he still holds the position.

Not only that, the biggest achievement of our democracy is the coat given to our arms - FREEDOM AND JUSTICE. You're at liberty to utter a word, do whatever you want to do; but you must justify that when you've been called to answer. Meaning there's a limit to one's actions and inactions under our democracy.

As a student of international politics, I must emphasise that Ghana's laws and it's practice under democracy stands supreme than any other in the world.

Yes, we're not as wealthy as America or the Western world at large, but our life, our culture worths more than they have.

Here in Ghana, homosexuality is not explicitly legalised, but we're not oblivious of its practitioners in our communities. Not that withstanding, we seldom hear of brutality against the LGBTs in our country as does happen in America and South Africa where the practice is enshrined in their constitution. In Orlando, we heard of the gunning down of 49 gay revellers in a night club. In South Africa we here of daily killings and rape of gay people.

This means that aside the law, Ghana democracy is our inheritance. We're as the world knows us for, hospitable and tolerant.

Our constitution gives the rights to any association.

Here, in the media, we hear and see sorcerers practice alongside the mainstream religious groups. This does not and cannot go on in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, and many other rich economies in the middle East and Asia. Where it's a crime to call another god apart from Allah. The Sharia law will deal with you drastically when you're apprehended.

Or have you not love it to see that in a family the father, the mother and the children worships at a different temples and under different clerics or prophets? In other places, if one chooses to worship another deity apart from that of the parent's, he /she is declared an anathema under the law of apostasy, and does not have any share in the parent's estates.

Here in Ghana, our constitution operates alongside our customs and traditions. We practice inter and intra tribal marriage, concubine marriage, betrothal marriage, customary marriage and even polygamy. This you cannot see or witness in any part of the world.

Go to some countries and enter into a relationship with a lady without paying the bride price, when caught you'd be stoned or hacked to death for elopement charges.

Then again, do our public places discriminate on tribal, religious, or ethnocentric grounds? But look at advanced democracies where even clothing of others becomes a crime.

WHY THE SUDDEN CHANGE? The forgone analyses and comparisons are the gems we've inherited but unfortunately it's losing its beauty.

The jaw - jaw idea of democracy is giving way to war-war. The brain power of democracy is giving way to blow power. Expressing different views to others is not best heard when one uses intemperate language lately. Insults, character assassination, mudslinging, and vitriolic rhetoric now girds our FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

Since the noble work of the third parliament in the fourth Republic repealed the criminal libel law, circumspection and decorum are now thrown to the dogs.

The good democracy brought to us on a golden plate is now not fancied. We've traded that for bad mouthing those in authority, our supposed enemies and even those who hold different views in our homes and places of work.

Must this continue? I believe the frustration of our people, the high unemployment rate, the lack of future prospects is letting the Ghanaian lose sight on who we're, and practising subculture to our heritage. Insults of adults and others in under whatever circumstance is unghanaian!

I believe out of the frustration and despair, we the sons and daughters of this noble land will hew out of our mountainous challenges a building block for this generation and the next to come.

Ghana is the centre of the world, we're the gateway to Africa. The black race takes here their home. The whole world is looking up to us.

Let us not be polarised by self-centred individuals for their myopic parochial interest.

We're the gem, the gold, when we lose our lustre through slaying one another, a stranger will inherit our land.

In democracy, let's agree to disagree. Let's interrogate, decipher and pore on conflicting views to ours.

We've not come from one home, one school, one training. Therefore our views wouldn't be the same. But as a progressive society, let's see farther from what we deem as sacrosanct in our views and consider that of others. In so doing, Ghana will be great again.

The deepest part of the night is close to daybreak.

A weather forecaster knows it rains after a scorching sunshine.

When the darkness is deep, then the stars shine. Be a star and be part of the history making in our generation.

Bring out your ideas, the good thing you want to see done in our country. Do so with circumspection and decorum as your watchwords, the golden rule would be applied.

And mine is; " no more insults in our politics, it's unghanaian, and makes our gold loses its lustre.