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Opinions of Saturday, 5 January 2013

Columnist: Darko, Otchere

“ALL Inclusive Government” Is Political Bribery

By Otchere Darko

Reference: “The Regent of Dagbon, Kampakuya-Naa Andani Yakubu Abdulai has backed calls for Ghana to move from the winner takes all system of government.

“He has thus admonished President John Mahama to embrace the all inclusive system of leadership saying, “We pray that the incoming President will embrace his political opponents so that together they can build the better Ghana that we all yearning for.” ..... .....” [By Courtesy of Ghanaweb General News of Tuesday, 1 January 2013 Captioned: “Regent of Dagbon calls for all inclusive government”; Source: Abdul Karim Naatogmah.]

I congratulate all Ghanaians who, since the results of the disputed elections were announced, have suggested that a new administration of President John Mahama should be an “all inclusive government”. The suggestion of such an idea shows that the advocates believe in political reconciliation and harmony, national unity and cohesion, as well as the progress of the country.

Having said this however, I have to add that I do not share these calls, good intentioned though they certainly are. My objection to these calls is because, in my opinion, an “all inclusive government” is a form of ‘political bribery’ through the backdoor. In fact, in my view, the idea runs contrary to the spirit of the 1992 Constitution as enshrined in its preamble; and, also, as embodied in chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the same Constitution. Such a step is similar to either the mixing of water and oil, which never works, or the mixing of sugar and salt, which leads to the creation of such ‘odd taste’ that leaves the mouth neither sugary nor salty. It is always better to leave birds of the same feather to flock together, so as to create not only the semblance of ‘naturalness, but also to promote more realistic conditions that promote ‘true harmony’. As a matter of fact, political groups that share the same principles and beliefs mix better than those that differ in principles and ideas. In all systems of Western democracy, on which our Constitution is based, governments play one set of political roles, whilst oppositions also play another set of roles that are different from, and opposite to those played by governments. Trying to fuse the two sets of roles is like trying to bring two opposing winds together. Such attempts always end internally frictional and dangerously combustive, no matter how much ‘grease’ we apply.

Ghanaians must, instead, look at two other ways that can bring about the same political unity and harmony, but which do not concurrently carry the risk of undermining the very advantage that we seek to reap, as a nation. These two other ways are:

(1) Paying all members of the Opposition’s Shadow Cabinet. This will limit political jealousy, envy, and political undermining, since the constitutionally set out financial payment to the main Opposition party’s Shadow Cabinet will help to narrow the financial gap between the two main political role-players (NDC and NPP) and thus help to remove the natural source of political jealousy and envy that tend to accompany the idea of “winner take all”.

(2) Encouraging mutual respect and cooperation between the two main political role-players (NDC and NPP). Mutual respect and cooperation between two different political parties must not be confused with building an “inclusive government”. To illustrate a political situation without mutual respect and cooperation between government and opposition, I refer readers to the way NDC and NPP members on the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Public Accounts that was headed by Hon Kan Dapaah of the NPP was behaving. This sub-committee was virtually being ‘suffocated to death’ by the lack of mutual respect and cooperation that existed between the two political groups (NDC and NPP) during committee meetings and deliberations just before the last general elections. There was hardly a day that the NDC and NPP members on the committee did not needlessly throw insults at each other on the opposite side. Why can’t two political opponents politely exchange opinions on issues, without swearing at each other “Honourable Member”? Building mutual respect for each other and political cooperation between NDC and NPP will be less politically ‘costly’ than creating an “all inclusive government” that brings two sets of members who show no respect towards each other.

Fellow Ghanaians, let us not deceive ourselves into thinking and believing that putting ‘wild cats’ and ‘wild mice’ into one same big cage and feeding both together in the same ‘room’ will help them to live together harmoniously. It is better to keep such two ‘antagonists’ separate and apart from each, but within the same the vicinity of each other. *In this way, we help the two antagonistic groups to develop separately, while learning to accept the fact that the group that has the power to ‘bully’ members of the other group cannot do so; and therefore both ‘bully’ and ‘fear’ will evaporate; and the two groups can see things as they are. That is a more ‘natural way’ to sustain ‘togetherness’ between two different groups with two different sets of characteristics and motives.

*Political opponents with different sets of characteristics and motives stay and behave more ‘naturally’ and develop better, when they stay and work apart; while recognising the need for, and maintaining mutual respect for each other’s special role within the totality.

Source: Otchere Darko; (My Political Views {Domestic}).

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