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Opinions of Friday, 24 July 2015

Columnist: Arkoh Isaac

Let's adopt culture of civility in politics

Listening to media commentaries of political accusations of vote buying, "juju" (black powers) and the sheer use of "communist inferior tactics" in the Talense by-elections, made a clear mockery of Ghana’s democratic credentials.

The institutionalization of political violence via thugs’ is a serious threat to any serious nation. A mere by-election cannot take place without people going naked with others sleeping at polling stations and smashing windscreens of cars. Is that democracy?

We need to tolerate varied opinion to continue to enjoy the peace and tranquility in the Country.

It is lamentable that despite the country attaining decades of independence, it is only in the last 20 years that we have witnessed real democracy in terms of leaders elected by the people serving their full mandate without military interventions.

If we cannot leave our lives in the hands of politicians who are the managers of the nation, then we should find an alternative to democracy.

It is in this vain I highly commend Mrs. Pauline Adobea-Dadzawa, an electoral Commissioner, in charge of the Central Region for her call on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs), to help prevent unpleasant behaviours during elections.

The new democratic revolution is about how you live every day, each night, each month, and each year. The revolution is you and your life, but that seems defiled forever in Ghana. It’s now a matter of the highest bidder, getting the crown.

They say we are poor, illiterates, uncivilized, villagers and yet, they will not leave us alone. They are all over us, trying to get our votes for political power. Sincerely, who steals from the poor? Do rich people covet a poor man’s goods?

Democracy requires that while minority interest and concerns cannot be ignored or trivialized, decisions of the majority has to always prevail.

Any dissent must be expressed in an orthodox and legitimate way such that democracy would not be imperiled.

In the wake of the free fall of the cedi; I approached managers of some key financial institutions to seek their opinion on how to arrest the fall. Interestingly, they all declined to speak saying ‘‘it is difficult to speak the truth in Ghana now. I don’t want myself and comments to be politicized, victimized and crucified by political predators’’.

The unscrupulous and unbridled use of blatant propaganda has eventually boxed many ‘‘spin doctors’’ in a corner to the extent that they have compromised their stewardship. Our understanding of democracy keeps fouled by the day. It is as if the more garbage you spew, the more famous, intelligent and courageous you are thought to be.

Since I was growing up, my family has always belonged to different sides of the political divide but this has never affected our relationship in any way.

Currently, families are dividing, marriages are falling apart, friends are breaking and brothers are up in arms all because they belong to different political parties.

In all of this, the media cannot be left out. Sometimes I ask myself do some these radio and TV presenter and more importantly newspaper editors know God? Some journalist especially newspaper editors deliberately and very consciously give captions, headlines and text to provoke, demean, cause dissatisfaction, lie, denigrate, ridicule and divide the people, all in the pursuit of political power. We live in democracy, but not in "pressocracy".

The words spoken by many political leaders and their followers in political conversations across the political divide are often acidic, barbed, razor sharp and insensitive.

The focus of our political discourse should center on enhancing human life by exposing the shortcomings of past and present governments that had left us with an economy that has become dependent on imports and is incapable of processing raw materials to add value to them to create more jobs and wealth.

As people our query should be on the opulent living of our political managers, payment of exorbitant judgement debts and the sale of productive national assets which together reduces the nation’s capacity to invest in the manufacturing sector.

Government must have a greater purpose that is focused on the alleviation of the suffering of the masses. We must examine the deeds to discover the discrepancies that have disappointed the suffering masses and dashed the hopes of the youth.

As peace loving people, it is incumbent on us to prove to the rest of the world that democracy has really evolved in Ghana.

There is a greater need to educate the masses on their rights to be responsible and maintain high integrity to disallow politicians from taking us for a ride. Our thinking of money as everything must be demystified whilst we make a concerted effort at finding lasting solution to the ills in the society.

Ghanaians especially political parties must ensure that all their activities are carried out in the spirit and later of the 1992 constitution.
We need to apply our understanding of democracy on concrete ways to make it attractive.

As people, we have an obligation to do what is necessary to promote the rule of law, free and fair elections and freedom of expression, so that people can freely make their choice to stabilize and deepen our democracy. This way democracy becomes attractive.

Arkoh Isaac, Broadcast Journalist
Tel: 02304649889
Email: isaacarkoh@gmail.com