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Opinions of Friday, 29 May 2015

Columnist: Bomfeh, James Kwabena

Ghana's Politics of Insincerity.


Ghana's Politics of Insincerity.

Ghana fought for independence and won it in 1957, March 6. My search through all the calendars available at least on the internet show that, that day, March 6, 1957 was a Wednesday and if we are to go by the narration of the account given of how the occasion unfolded, then it all began on March 5, which was also Tuesday.

March 6, 1957 is the 65th day of the year 1957 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 300 days remaining until the end of this year. The day of the week is Wednesday.

Yet, every attempt has been made to refer to Ghana as a nation born on a Saturday – Ama Ghana. Why and what for, I cringe to appreciate. Yours truly has had occasions to challenge this deception and misrepresentation of fact yet, again and again it is as if yours truly is the one on the wrong side. Really?

Before this date in our time, the people of land had governed themselves and thus could not have been described as savages and uncivilized people by the invaders who masqueraded as traders in the early 1400s. Yet we have most of the histories recorded and written about our people as uncivilized then and thus needed 'redemption'. Really? How that is possible about a people whose Kings shocked the world at an earlier stage such that the Romans often blurted: "Semper aliquid novi ex Africa", is a wonder only those living under that blasphemous claim can hallucinate.

At the inauguration of Encyclopedia Africana on Thursday, September 24, 1964 at the University of Ghana, the founding President, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah declared;

Africa had a noble past which astounded even the ancient Roman world with its great surprises. Yet, it was only much later, after a millennium and a half of African history that we are now busily engaged in reconstructing for all the world to know, that racial exploitation and imperialist domination deliberately fostered a new and monstrous mythology of race which nourished the popular but unfounded image of Africa as the "Dark Continent." In other words, a Continent whose inhabitants were without any past history, any contribution to world civilization, or any hope of future development - except by the grace of foreign tutelage!

It is unfortunate that men of learning and men of affairs in Europe and America from a century ago down to yesterday, have spent much valuable time to establish this unscientific and ridiculous notion of African inferiority. A European author declared that "the history of civilization on the continent begins, as concerns its inhabitants, with Mohammedan invasion" and that African is poorer in recorded history than can be imagined.

Even the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica also declared: "Africa, with the exception of the lower Nile Valley and what is known as Roman Africa is, so far as its native inhabitants are concerned, a continent practically without history and possessing no records from which such history may be conducted ..... the Negro (referring to the black man) is essentially the child of the moment and his memory, both tribal and individual, is very short," And "if Ancient Egypt and Ethiopia be excluded, the story of Africa is largely a record of the doings of its Asiatic and European conquerors and colonizers."

Hey! Osagyefo continues;

"But listen a while to Leo Frobenius in his Voice of Africa: "The ruins of the mighty past lie slumbering within the bosom of the earth but are glorified in the memory of men who live beneath the sun." He dwells on the "god-like strength of memory in those who lived before the advent of the written word" and he continues: "Every archaeologist can quote examples from the nations of the North. But who would imagine that the Negro Race (here again referring to the black race) of Africa possessed an equally retentive mind for its store of ancient monuments."

Sadly today, many of our African scholars and persons in Authority of State still live under this obnoxious belief that the African cannot live without the 'aide' of is colonial master. It was this distorted belief arising from a distortion of the minds of many a (mis)-educated African that led to the first ever coup in Ghana that brought a rather great nation on her knees in 1966, February, 1966.

So it was that the soldiers trained to defend the nation against foreign invasion and dominion set themselves up against the very Constitution and the People they were paid to protect; established with the support of the fickle minded lost intellectuals like Prof K.A Busia the so called National Liberation Council. It was this so called 'liberation council' that gave our only atomic/nuclear reactor in exchange of yellow corn and milk powder from the USA. They run the country amok and began the sale or sharing if not looting of priced state assets among themselves and cronies under the so called divestiture, a tool of neo-liberal, neo-imperialist domination.

It set in motion the wheels of all the unnecessary military intrusions in our civil lives thus we one Republic with four Republican Constitutions. As if the deceptions were not enough, we entered this Fourth Republic with the same insincerity that bedevilled our nation life since the era of the First Republican Constitution. Sometime it amazes me why still maintain July 1, 1960 as our Republic Day. Was that Republic, the creation of the 1960 Constitution not overthrown in 1966, February 24? It is interesting what deception and insincerity does to a man. I guess it can make man indeed delusional.

Our Fourth Republican politics has been done with so much insincerity that one wonders if there can ever be truthful Politicians or honest Patriots for Ghana. It is manifest both in the political parties who have either been in power or never been in power under this Fourth Republic. Our politics is all about elections NOT governance. We compete in politics to win power and to benefit from what that power brings to us personally and party collective if it is possible but never to govern. The NDC manifests this daily. The NPP did same when they had power. Even our rather smaller parties manifest this in our weak states.

As Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Omanhene of Esikado, a radical and revolutionary traditional leader for all intents and purposes, observes in his volcanic "African Culture in Governance and Development – the Ghana Paradigm";

"The reality is that elections are not governance but an investment which should profit the financial investors. Winning an election is far different from survival, governance, development and building a secure future which may be regarded as politics."

This sad and bizarre trend often lead us into reading theorized manifestos which mean nothing more than the sweets words of a young man so infatuated with the charm of a beautiful young woman and vows to get her at all cost. Simple. Once she falls for his rhetoric there is nothing more than deceit and vain talk. Otherwise, how on earth could anybody be telling the beneficiaries of a good and caring governance the dividends thereof? We have seen it as refrain chanted to us by both NDC and NPP – the Storytelling mantra. Ananses?m?? What story is there to tell that we could not be seeing or living for ourselves? Give us a break!

If anyone is in doubt, consider the following;

Election of MMDCEs
Decoupling the Attorney General from the Minister of Justice
Empowering Parliament to make Parliamentarians work
Local Gov't Act and its claim to Non-Partisanship
Reducing the Size of Government
Appointment of women in our political and national life

I would limit myself to just these six areas. Tell me, which of the Parties that have governed Ghana since 1993 ever made an effort at these despite the countless flowery romantic manifestos presented every four years into an election cycle? The very Constitution we operate, has been identified as giving too much power to the Executive and yet we expect the same executive to engineer the process that would give away part of the power it so jealously retains and/or enjoy.

Our leaders have all followed one path as the panacea to our ever growing problems – IMF/WORLDBANK prescriptions. In fact what is sad is that presently, nobody is as yet talking about governing our country outside the realms and domains of the Britton Woods. So did we go or did we come? As the Organized Labour loudly declared in their opposition to Government opting for an IMF bailout/policy credibility or whatever the government apparatchiks would want us believe during the 2015 May Day celebration;

"Our opposition to the IMF stems from the fact that in the last 30 years our economic and social policies have been based on IMF policies. This has been so even during periods we are not implementing IMF programmes. But the economy is still in a bad shape.

IMF was originally created to serve the interest of advanced countries by overseeing the return of the industrialised world to orderly multilateral trade and payments. With the inclusion of the developing world, with its peculiar problems of underdevelopment and mass poverty, the IMF has been confounded in terms of ideas. In fact, the IMF has never been able to come to terms with the unique problems of developing countries. For this reason, no country has developed by following the policy advice of the IMF."

Until we begin to breathe some sincerity in our political life, we might as well forget ever getting anything from any government. I get mad when I hear people say that our Parliament should be more biting. When you elect persons to the House on the basis of patronage and merely on party lines instead of on the bases of the core mandate imposed on that House, what do you expect? If we want Parliament to be biting, then let us elect persons with 'sharp teeth'. After all, persons (not 'boys') with sharp teeth can be of good use there.
James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr

The Author is CPP Director of Elections & Spokesperson on Youth and Sports