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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

How Dirty Can Ghanaian Politics Be?

To begin with, one may desire to know what politics is all about. A brief definition pulling the points will assist immensely in treating the subject matter in relation to how it is badly applied in Ghana."Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. Most commonly it is generalised as "who gets what, when, why, and how. ...

The term is generally applied to behaviour within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. Politics consists of "social relations involving authority or power" and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy"

That part of the definition on "who gets what, when, why and how..." will be greatly focused on as I discuss how bad the Ghanaian perception, interpretation, understanding, and application of politics is. On hearing the word politics, what usually springs to mind are images of government, politicians and their policies or more negatively the idea of corruption and dirty tricks. The process by which decisions is made in especially Ghana by our elected governments is often punctuated with, and influenced by, selfishness, greed, nepotism, and that instinctive animalistic desire to boost up ones ego. Most of these decisions are not taken in the best interest of all but just to satisfy a section or a fewer so-called influential people in the society, if not at the whims of certain perceived cultic individuals like say, Dr. Flt. Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings.

In any true democratic government, people best qualified and are selfless enough, should normally be appointed to higher positions to serve their people and nation. It should not always be the consideration of the person belonging to ones political party, social affiliation or tribal group, before such posts are offered even though they may be the least able to do the job so conferred upon them. This negative, damnable perception of politics is what is ruining Ghana and her other sister-African or third world countries. This is what is called the politics of nepotism reflected in negativity. People, who are ready to be of honest service to their people and nation, should be chosen at all times. This quest for dedicated persons should cut across all political divides. One should take a glittering clue from the "Obama touch" in the USA.. He is reaching out to all the most qualified individuals able to assist him solve the insurmountable economic and financial crises currently confronting America, irrespective of their political affiliations. These invitees have also accepted to be part of his government without declining the offers on what would have been the silly Ghanaian notion and grounds of,"I can't, because I don't belong to your party or share your political ideology, or I wouldn't like you to steal my party's ideas". Are you serving your nation and the people, or your party? Most people give preference to the interests of the party before the needs of the nation. This is why and how the Ghanaian politics is dirty.

A classical example of a surfaced dirty politicking in Ghana involves one Dominic, an Independent aspiring parliamentary candidate for the Kumawu constituency and the incumbent MP. It is alleged that the MP in a desperate bid to save his seat which he is likely to forfeit at the December 7 elections, has caused a stir, or a dastardly act of defamation of character. He is alleged to have been campaigning saying, "Dominic is a member of the NPP. He has withdrawn his independent candidacy as he has been paid all his expenses to date campaigning as an independent candidate. He has therefore agreed that all his supporters vote for me, the current MP". Barely had he issued out such an ignominy when the false message started spreading like a fire set to a dry forest in the harmattan season and in less than no time, reached the doorsteps of Dominic. It is only in Ghana that a degree of frustration can push a seasoned politician to go this length on a lying path. Now this Dominic has to find extra money to embark on a vigorous campaigning to refute this falsehood fed to the electorates in an attempt to court their support and votes. If this is not a dirty politics, then I don't know what else is. Can this trick to woo voters be practiced in economically and politically advanced countries without the propagandist being sued somehow?

Politics is misconstrued by a sizable majority of the Ghanaian populace. Politics is not enmity. Politics is not selfishness. Politics is not about all for me and nothing for others. Politics is not cultish where a venerated person claims absolute right of leadership as is always exhibited by the only living Former President of Ghana, Mr. J. J. Rawlings. Politics is about formulating or finding durable solutions to the umpteen social, economic and political problems or crises confronting the nation. For example, are the NPP allowed the needed peace of mind to search, decide and implement the solutions thought through to solving the nation's problems without undue interference from the NDC? Are the NDC not permanently being castigated even if they may for once have a reasonable cause for their often unjustifiable actions? If this uncalled for cat and mouse fight politics in Ghana is not dirty, then what else could be?

The national cake should be shared according to the needs of the localities if not fairly. Right people should be allowed to take right decisions which will be in the greater interest of the nation. The one-man-showmanship politics should be eschewed from the Ghanaian politics as it will always breed contempt without addressing any problem to any significant degree. Politics should be the arena where one is called upon to serve their nation in earnest but not to amass wealth as it is the view of most dishonest Ghanaians. Make politics a decent game but not a dirty game, my fellow Ghanaians! FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER. GHANA IS MOVING FORWARD!!

Rockson Adofo, London