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Opinions of Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Columnist: Abdulai, Yakubu

Ghana Needs Anna Hazare to end our Politics of Insults

As we enter election year in 2012, political activities are heating up. The president is touring the nation on sod cutting spree of new projects and commissioning completed ones, and promising to bring more development should he win the next election. The main opposition leader, Nana Akuffo-Addo, is also on national listening campaign tour of the country to gather the concerns of people for redress should he win the 2012 elections. That is the beauty of democracy. Unfortunately, while the leaders of the political parties are using civil means to amass support, some members of their parties are using insults. In recent times, words like “betrayal of intelligence”, “stupid fool”, “useful idiot and advanced bootlicker” etc are what our air waves are filled with. This is even getting more worried as this included some civil society organisations who are supposed to be tolerant no matter the criticisms they face.

The question therefore is, “is that all democracy is about?” That we must insult each other to drive home our points or to show how intolerant we are? Does constructive criticism means insulting? This must end somewhere. Ghanaians must live above this uncivilised political tool. It doesn’t show how mature we are in politics, and also “betrays” our legacy of being the champions of democracy in Africa. We cannot be proud of this as a nation. It was heart warming when Mr. James Agyenim-Boateng made an apology on Joy FM and promised not to engage in “politics of insults” but pledged to dedicate himself to “the politics of discussing issues and staying on issues”. It is important for the fine gentle men in our political arena to emulate this move. That will be a good start for a clean campaign for the 2012 elections.

Our religious leaders should educate their followers not to vote for any party that is engaged in politics of insults as they did in the case of homosexual’s issue. Also, the Electoral Commission should be empowered with a legislative instrument to sanction any party found culpable of insulting their opponents at any platform. Otherwise, Ghana will need another Anna Azare to fast for 15 days consecutively to force our politicians to back down on the use of insults on the airwaves or at any other platform to drive home their concerns.

By: Yakubu Abdulai

Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.