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Opinions of Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

Let’s Stop The Politics of Insults.

From the Voice f Reason:
Folks, we’re almost in the campaign season so let the hand-wringing, second-guessing and soul-searching begin!

When I say the ‘politics of insults’, I’m not essentially talking about political insults we see on TV and hear on the radio air waves; where supposedly rational and matured adults vehemently attack one another, and call each other names and act like K-G kids in the name of politics, while our nation is going down the drain frenziedly. People, there is enough blame to go around on that one!

On the other hand, when I say the “politics of insults” I am talking about when the politicians insult the intelligence of the electorates in every election season and get away with it. Watch it, the lousy politicians are the ones who are zealously and stubbornly going to defend their stewardships next election season with a straight face, when in fact they have patriotically and practically done next to nothing.
During every election season, our so-called community and party leaders in both NDC and NPP parties remind us that it is our Right to cast a ballot for their aspirants; regardless of their qualifications, aspirations or intentions for their constituencies. They keep telling us that if we don’t vote for the candidates from these two mainstream parties our votes will be “wasted” because the other parties we want to vote for stand no chance in a million years of forming a government to implement the ideas we cherish. They don’t stop there. To make it more appetizing they sometimes throw in the ethnic sentiments to propagate fears and nurture their own personal agenda and massage their own fragile egos .This myopic idea has been used as an effective marketing tool and as a subtle strong arming tactic to guilt-trip some of us into choosing the “lesser of the two evils” on the ballot.
Ironically though, if this same tactic were used to encourage a woman to choose between a male that is physically abusive or one that is verbally abusive, many people would become outraged, insulted and consider it sexist to force someone into a corner .They might then (rightfully) inform her of additional alternatives---staying single, finding a better companion, or dating someone outside her race or tribe. What’s saddest to me is that there is a double standard when it comes to politics---why?
Nevertheless, to be quite frank about it, our modern day politicians do not respect Ghanaian voters (especially those of us in rural areas), so we’ll never be informed of the better alternative. At least, not by fingers in the mainstream media. We have allowed them to manipulate our emotions regarding our tribe and how important to vote so badly for our “parties” that we have developed a syndrome about it. You see, any political party that respects our aspirations and willing to deliver on its promises and tackle the common needs of the rural constituencies would have spearheaded efforts to find solutions to some of the emerging problems of our towns and villages but, they haven’t and they won’t, unless we force them to do so.
My fellow voters, we must put an end to reactive politics and create Proactive politics.
This means we will no longer allow those at the Parliament House or any other House to hand us their idea of our agenda, we will hand them our agenda and hold them accountable to it. Doing this requires a strategic planning and consistency on our part. Yes, there are some in power who continue to lean on the comfortable mantle of political and tribal fanaticism just to allow themselves to justify their politics or behaviors. And, whose fault is that anyway?
You see, we’re sleeping in darkness while we waste sunshine all over the country. We constantly queue for water while it has been raining since March and hasn’t stopped in some part of the country however, we don’t see the need to harvest all the rainfall. And, all our river bodies have been polluted by our” greedy bastards” and our forest areas have been devastated by selfish individuals with the helping hands of our politicians and community leaderships. The nation just woke up one day and found all these problems at her door- steps,huh?
By the way, have you seen the self-appointed pothole contractors on our pothole- infected and accident –prone roads on weekends? Aren’t you proud of Ghanaians’ accomplishments? Take a trip to our hospitals and schools---you must be proud of Ghana. What about our unhygienic slaughter houses and wayside chop bars? As if we don’t have enough problems to deal with, now an armed robbery and car- jacking have been added to our repertoire. I can go on and on but, I’m getting a headache and heartache so pass me the Aspirin fast .The point is the rampant armed robbery in our homes and on roads, plus the economy have left emotions high, especially among Ghanaians who live in the rural communities. They have grown weary of being victims of lack of public safety and politics of insults.
In effect, the country is burning down and we’re all holding empty water cans. In fact, we’re very busy gulping the poisonous pills of self-destruction but we don’t see it. People, have you noticed that our politicians only come around when we’re in the election season? Coincidence? I don’t think so!
Now I want to start my rant by reading the following texts which put into context what I’m about to say: 2 Chronicles 7:14.”Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land”. There is too much injustice in our system so we need the Day of Atonement before things can be right.
Now you want to apportion blames and franchise our problems, right? Wrong! Whether or not you’re for party A or B, there is enough blame to go around because we didn’t do “shit” to correct the mistakes we repeat every four years. Please excuse my language!
Do you really want to know who is responsible for all the political and socio-economic hiccups we’re experiencing in our part of the world? It’s the person you see in the mirror every morning when you get up. No, it’s not President Mahama! .Yes politicians are viewed with wariness and disdain but, I won’t blame all our problems on them.”What”? Oh yes you heard me right!
The person who has the most to do with you and what happens to your life is you. You make decisions to collect Gh100 or a piece of GTP cloth and vote for the unqualified and lousy politicians. Yes, you decide how much energy you put behind that decision. Yes, you make decision to allow people to destroy your water bodies for your personal gains. You make decisions to help destroy our forest by cutting down all our tress without replacement. We have allowed the politicians and our leaders to take us for a joy ride that is why they’re doing what they do. That is the gospel truth. Sorry if your feelings have been hurt. Just take two cups of cold water and sit for a little while. Or take a nap to calm yourself down.
Yes, I know I will get a lot of flak from the readers for saying what needs to be said. But, I’m sick and tired of the Ghanaians’ appetite for instantaneous solutions and cures. We ‘re going to have to get rid of this beast and the sooner we make up our minds to face these facts the faster we’ll will be able to begin to focus on workable, clear- headed ,long-term solutions to our problems. Band-aids are not going to stem the bleeding. Avoiding certain realities is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place.
“Ahhh, you’re over- blowing it, things aren’t that bad”—Oh, really? Oh,puhele-ze, give me a break! (It sounds familiar?) I got some news for you! The truth is those of you who have been reading my stuff and have been following me for years know that I take no prisoners. I call it as I see it without dancing around a topic in order to spare anyone’s feelings.
Nevertheless, it’s not my intention to offend anyone but, I have discovered that in recent years it’s very difficult for one to speak or express an opinion to a group of people these days and not offend someone. People (especially those guns-ho party sympathizers) who walk around with their feelings on their shoulders, waiting for you to say something:”Ah, did you hear that?” and they can’t hear anything else you say. But we need to speak out more loudly if we want to change things in our part of the world.
This reminds me of a story about talking birds. I don’t know where I read it from but, I’m sure you know the story. The story is about a successful businessman who loved to buy her mother exotic gifts on Mother’s Day every year. Soon he ran out of ideas, and he decided to buy her birds. The birds cost $5,000 a piece. But they worth the money. They could dance, sing and talk with no sweat. He was very excited, so he bought two of them .He sent them to his mother and couldn’t wait to call her mother on Mother’s Day,”Mother, what do you think of the birds I sent you?”
“They were good and very tasty!” she said.
“Oh no, mother! I hope you didn’t eat those birds. They cost $5,000.00
a piece! They could dance, sing and talk! ”, he said.
“Oh well, they should have said something when I was getting ready to kill them for the soup”, she said with a laughter. The point I was trying to convey here is we need to start talking more loudly about things that are very, very important to the development of our nation and personal wellbeing. Some of these things are education, roads, water bodies, public security and the unwillingness of our politicians and leaders to find solutions to our emerging problems.
You know, I have the opportunity through my writings to speak to and meet a lot of people through the social media. And I have the opportunity to conduct my own unscientific, but fascinating survey for years. I have been asking people what concerns them. I usually ask, “What things concern you the most in the areas of spirituality, security and the direction of our nation?”I have talked to very prominent and die-hard people in NDC and NPP (including the foot soldiers) and I was very surprised by the uniformality of their answers. And those answers informed my comments and are going to be the basis of this piece you’re about to read. Folks, the jury has spoken. According to my survey seven out of ten Ghanaians think Ghana is heading in a wrong direction . The poll has consistently found out that a solid majority of Ghanaians are not happy with the way things are going .And mind you, it didn’t start only from NDC era either. In short, the moral decay, deficit of social responsibility on the part of an average Ghanaian and fiscal irresponsibility we’re seeing as a nation didn’t start yesterday. Go to every government ministry, you will throw up. These are not political nitpicking but, they’re facts some of us are not comfortable talking about. But, the fact is avoiding to talk about certain realities is what has gotten us into this hole in the first place.
Yes, people are talking but they don’t talk about the right stuff. Unfortunately, the current media involvement has amplified the loudest of the most partisan voices and helped spread fact-free theories about our needs and desires. In short, political insurgents have tilted the national conversation. So the real issues have been pushed out to the wayside.
Amazingly, Ghanaians stubbornly cling to our dream of democracy and its entitlements, but we’re too far from them. If you don’t believe me look around your neighborhood and your town. Aren’t you proud that filth and garbage are eating us alive and killing us softly? The money we waste on malaria treatment alone is enough to help give free scholarship to all our disadvantaged but, brilliant students in the nation. Alternatively, the same amount could be used to build an ultra- modern hospital to start a medical tourism industry in the country to create real high wage jobs for our unemployed college graduates. Oh,go ahead and call me a dreamer!
It’s my hope in the next election season the wary-stricken voters will be a little careful with their votes and use their heads to think about their aspirations instead of using their hearts and feelings to think about their tribe or the ethnicity of parties’ chromosome.

For me, my political sensitivity antenna is finally tuned; therefore my vote won’t come that cheap for anyone because I know better.

Until we meet here again, stay blessed, be informed and educated about real issues affecting your family, pocket, and ultimately your nation. After all, we can’t run when the nation practically crawls on her belly. Also watch out the political bullying and hazing. They’re all over the place! And, don’t be insulted by them either.

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi (Voice of Reason)
*The writer is a prolific social commentator, the founder of the Adu-Gyamfi foundation for the disadvantaged youth of Asuom in the Kwaebibrim district and the founder of Anderson Innovative Leadership Academy; to inspire and nurture the next generation of Ghanaian leadership.