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Opinions of Friday, 28 December 2012

Columnist: Avorkliyah, Selorm Kordzo-Aheto

Intelligence over Partisanship - Let's Ask Questions!

Dear fellow Ghanaians,

After Brutus and his co-conspirators had Julius Caesar murdered in Shakespeare's play, the stage was set for one of the most interesting debates in all literature. Brutus first addressed the populace of Rome justifying in very fine words why the ambition of Caesar was so detrimental to the future of the great Roman Empire, Julius Caesar simply had to go. After his harangue, the crowd was stirred into a whirl in full support of Caesar's blood being spilt. Brutus and his co-conspirators, who were to be considered villains for killing their emperor, became instant heroes after a string of words were passionately spoken.

A moment later, Mark Antony was given the stage; Brutus ought to have known better. And boy did Mark Antony swell a quiet storm. He started off first giving hollow credence to the words of Brutus before going on a charge that was to change the opinions of the masses that a just moment ago supported with great fervour the ending of all that Caesar had stood for.

A crowd of able-bodied men and women, with possibly sound minds, had travelled two extremes on one subject in a time-span of less than an hour. It took just two speeches. A lot of Shakespeare aficionados, including my terrible self, have refused to confine this phenomenon to the world of fiction. It happens around us all the time. Grown men and women are swayed to and fro on account of some propaganda secretary's half-wit spin on what the news is.

This I must emphasize. We are not talking about some well crafted speech potent with guile. We are talking about the jives and fibs of shady party characters (often career party buffs) offered over an indistinct phone on a radio. Context is given the boots and logic is forever banished. As long as it tows the party line it will be bought hook, line and sinker. In my opinion, and please do ponder over it before accepting it, to take someone else's opinion and make it yours just like that happens when you either fail to reason or you are unable to reason.

Yet we all know Ghana is a country gifted with some of the most intelligent people in the world. Everywhere around you, you see people exhibiting genius if not at anything truly astounding, at least managing to secure the next plate before the sun sets. So the pendulum inevitably swings more to the side of a failure to reason rather than an inability to reason. What differentiates man from beast is our ability and willingness to use our heads. When we fail to do so, then there is a huge problem at hand.

Year after year of endless politicking of every issue and mindless following of "the" party's "official" stance has culminated into a situation where the notion of right and wrong is no more what matters in Ghanaian politics; it is rather, whether or not the view expressed resonates with the party opinion being peddled on radio and in openly-aligned newspapers. And if it isn't, then woe betides you, man born of woman, for having the audacity to share a differing opinion. You will be branded as belonging to this party or the other and a hangman's noose will be the least desired for you.

For my money, more than a half of the world's problems will be solved when people start using the grey matter in their skulls. It is really that simple. Matter of fact, it will do the whole universe and the yonder some good if people will just stop in their tracks for a nano-second to ask some one or two commonsense questions before throwing their support behind someone's bedtime machinations. I doubt I will live to see that day though. I guess we are all still a bunch of head-scratching Neanderthals responding to very basic instincts.

The best argument against democracy, it is said, is a 5 minutes conversation with the average voter. Hearing the average Ghanaian voter parrot "official" party positions and offer no personally-reasoned justifications is as saddening as watching the polar ice melt and being certain of the doom that eventually lies ahead. One can argue there is of course an information advantage that plays in the favour of some and therefore some may not be able to reach the fine conclusions a few can reach, but I do strongly believe everyone can ask a meaningful question. Everyone.

A simple "why?" is perhaps all we need in Ghana to transform our politics into a dialogue of minds rather than the haemorrhage of idiocy it is right now. And I am not limiting this to Ghana alone. Kenya is grappling with tribal friction; South Africa's ANC has endorsed Zuma again after everything, Nkandlagate being the least in my mind; the UN, I believe, has run out of ideas on what to do with DR Congo; the African continent as a whole is now just a simmering cauldron of downright unadulterated political nonsense.

I entreat you, my fellow citizens, to ask questions. I will leave you with some questions of my own:

Ø Is our Electoral Commission the very same one that declared results in favour of the NPP in 2004 and 2008?

Ø Is the 2012 election the most technologically-advanced one we have ever had?

Ø Did the local and foreign independent observer parties alike declare the 2012 election free and fair?

Ø Did the well-respected private media houses we have come to trust become puppets in the hands of the NDC overnight?

Ø Did each political party have a litany of its zealous faithful watch proceedings at every polling station almost to a fault?

Ø Do the demonstrations and the mob gatherings after the election aid in anyway the laid-down constitutional process for disputing election results?

Ø Do the debacle in 2008 and the on-going saga in 2012 say anything about the NPP flag bearer and the NPP as a whole?

Ø With the parliamentary results not being questioned, and a clear majority won by the NDC, what exactly is the NPP hoping for from the Supreme Court?

Ø Is the NPP really hoping to get an annulment of the results or are they just trying to ruffle things up a bit before giving up?

Ø When will Woyome and his cronies be found guilty and charged? And when will our money be paid back?

Ø Now that the NDC has managed to win an election without Mr. Jeremiah Rawlings, however disputed nonetheless, has he anymore significance to the NDC?


Selorm Kordzo-Aheto Avorkliyah

Asia Pacific