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Opinions of Monday, 20 February 2006

Columnist: Kwamena, Ato

Logic, Ghana Style!


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Are we Ghanaians not a fascinating people or what?

Many things we do or say are very peculiar to us alone. Like the way we talk, and the sort of points we raise during a debate or an argument to buttress our perspective. Often, only the speaker or proponent of an idea or a point understands his or her own logic. To everyone else listening, the speaker makes little sense, whatsoever. Yet the proponent strongly believes in the validity of their point. In Ghana, personal opinions, to some people, are more valid than FACTS. Logic often is not part of our debates, but sentiments. Our debates often lack a factual premise, and so conclusions drawn as a result are loose and preposterous. And so Ghana loses a football match to Zimbabwe, and 20 million arm-chair coaches after critical analysis spontaneously yell ?Fire Doya!? Why? ?He is incompetent because he did not select this player over that?. But backtrack to a few months ago. The same coach had qualified Ghana to the World Cup after over 40 years of failure, using a team that could at best be described as mediocre with respect to previous Star-studded Black Stars squads. Some have even argued that the Black Stars lost the Zimbabwe match because they wore a black jersey. To them ?black? is an ominous color ? a bad omen. But they see nothing wrong with the name of the national team: BLACK Stars?. Others say that the absence of Michael Essien was the cause of our dismal performance. And they accuse him of feigning injury. But no one has had the decency to seek expert information on a serious sprain. Wouldn?t it have been reasonable if our journalists had inquired from an orthopedic doctor or a sports physiotherapist ?how long it takes for a sportsman to recover from a serious sprain? Or what the standard of care is, for treating a serious sprain.? No one bothered to do this simple inquiry. Instead of using a systematic line of reasoning to arrive at incontrovertible conclusions, the typical Ghanaian?s conviction is based on his or her own sentiments. Folks, that?s logic, Ghana-style!

Take a look at the Representation of the People?s Amendment Bill (ROPAB) that is currently on the floor of parliament for debate. The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana which became law after a referendum in April 1992 guaranteed the right to vote to ALL Ghanaians. The PNDC military junta, which metamorphosed into the NDC, passed a law in July 1992 ? 3 months after the referendum ? that basically limited the right to vote to only Ghanaians resident in Ghana. A clear contravention of the Constitution! So the current NPP Administration, in line with its policy of deepening our democracy has decided to amend this vestige of military illegality so that ALL Ghanaians ? be they resident in Ghana or outside the boundaries of Ghana ? will be fully emancipated and enfranchised with their inherent and inalienable right to vote. The NDC Minority is opposed to this Bill and has promised ?mayhem? should this Bill be passed into law! Listen to these NDC MPs: Mahama Ayariga, Alban Bagbin, or Haruna Iddrisu debate this issue on any TV network or radio broadcast. They start off with: ?In PRINCIPLE we are not opposed to enfranchising Ghanaians abroad BUT?? Ok Mahama, but wait a minute! Shouldn?t a man?s principle be the fulcrum around which his works are edified? Or the NDC is basically telling Ghanaians that they are made up of a bunch of people whose principles do not matter? Or else, how is it possible for a morally and ethically upright person to reject a matter of principle, more so if that ?matter of principle? is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT? Indeed, ?when a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn't the slightest intention of putting it into practice.? ? Otto von Bismarck, German Prussian politician (1815 - 1898). If that Constitutional RIGHT of Ghanaians abroad were left to the NDC alone to enforce, it would never ever come to pass.

There can be no argument against a principle and a Constitutional right. As a matter of law and principle ROPAB must be passed. Period! We may try to rationalize, sensationalize, cajole, or instill fear into people to try to get an unprincipled and unconstitutional argument to be accepted, but we will fail as a people. ?A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.? ? Dwight D. Eisenhower. I urge every Ghanaian ?in matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, STAND like a ROCK.? ? Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of US (1743-1826). Stand up, folks! And stand up on the unshaken and proven foundation that is Truth and Principles! The NDC MPs are mostly lawyers. They definitely know that their argument against ROPAB is basically illogical and baseless, but they will make it anyway! For they have been bidden to do so from ?above?. ?Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice.? ? Thomas Paine (US Patriot and Philosopher). ?To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.? ? Confucius (Chinese philosopher and reformer 551-479 BC).

I wonder whether the Alban Bagbins, the Mahama Ayarigas, and the Haruna Iddrisus care about what the legacy they are leaving to their own children and the generations yet unborn. Have they ever considered what their true epitaphs or tombstones may read like? ?Here Lies Ayariga! An astute politician and lawyer, who fought ?vehemently? against a Constitutional Right for his fellow citizens and threatened ?MAYHEM? to his own country should that Right be enforced. A man who threw, to the dogs, a ?matter of Principle?! ?. I also wonder if the NDC ever thinks of the future repercussions of their actions. Whether they think they can look a fellow Ghanaian who resides abroad in the eyes and say, ?Friend, please donate funds to our political campaign so that we will oppose your RIGHT to participate in elections, and if we are unsuccessful we will cause mayhem and destabilize Ghana.? Today they are working hard to once again divide Ghanaians into two groups ? those Resident in Ghana, and those Resident outside Ghana, even though the Constitution does not discriminate between us. They?ve nicknamed ROPAB as the ?Burgers? Bill?. How sad! For many years they tried dividing us along the lines of tribe, religion, and political party affiliation?what have you! Now it?s division based on residency.

So now the NDC MPs have decided to indefinitely boycott parliamentary business. What?s their problem? "This boycott is precipitated by the unprecedented referral to the Privileges Committee of a letter written for and on behalf of the MP for Avenor-Ave, Mr. Doe Adjaho, by his counsel, seeking respect for the constitution and laws of Ghana." ? Alban Bagbin (GNA ). Doe Adjaho had filed a writ at the court seeking to gag the Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney-General from going on with the debate on ROPAB. The case was thrown away as the judge ruled that the judiciary has no business dictating the affairs of another branch of government (Parliament). This action by Doe Adjaho, who is a lawyer, is unprecedented in the annals of Parliamentary history. For he definitely knew that his action was in contravention of Parliament?s own Standing Orders and of the Constitution which provides immunity to the Speaker. Yet for political purposes, Doe Adjaho would bring Parliament down. He would cut his nose to spite his face. Shocking indeed. But hear this logic, NDC Style: It is preposterous for Doe Adjaho who holds the HIGH office of DEPUTY Minority leader to be referred to parliament?s disciplinary committee for violation of the Speaker?s immunity and for this primary reason they would boycott parliament indefinitely. But it?s ?ok? for Doe Adjaho to seek to bring into disrepute the 3rd HIGHEST Officer in the Land, who is the Speaker of Parliament, by filing a writ against him and parliament at the Judiciary. In other words: it aint a big deal for Doe Adjaho to bring the name of the Speaker to disrepute, but it is a big deal for the Speaker to bring Adjaho?s name to disrepute. Logic, NDC Style!

One of the ?logic? of the NDC on ROPAB is that Constitutional Rights of citizenship which includes the Right to Vote are to be enjoyed in Ghana and not outside Ghana. They cannot understand why the nation must go out of its way to bring those Rights to the doorsteps of Ghanaians abroad. But you know something? The last time I checked, during elections Ghanaians do not form one long queue, from Accra to Tamale to cast their votes in a ballot box sitting at the EC?s headquarters in Accra! Don?t we have ballot boxes close to our places of abode? If the EC deems it necessary to bring the ballot boxes close to citizens of Odododiodio Constituency, why do we think the rules should change when it comes to Ghanaian Citizens who reside outside Ghana? Why must we see it as appropriate to give residents of Atonsu, Kumasi hundreds of polling stations but fail to see an equal responsibility to extend the same to Ghanaians abroad? Does that make logical sense?

Just when I was wrapping up this article, the NDC went on demonstration against ROPAB with some of their ?offspring? parties (EGLE, NRP, etc). They gave themselves a more decent name: Concerned Ghanaians. One of their members sat on Metro TV a day after the demonstration on the program ?Good Morning Ghana? hosted by Randy and made an incredible argument on national TV ? that the demonstration against ROPAB represented the voice of the majority of Ghanaians. He rubbished the fact that just over 14 months ago, majority of Ghanaians preferred the NPP to the NDC and all the minority parties combined. To him, that was of no significance. The fact that more than one political party opposes the NPP (which is just one party) meant that the NPP was in the minority when it comes to ROPAB. And this young man is one of the future leaders the NDC is offering for Ghanaians come 2008 for a better Ghana? God save us!

Isn?t it interesting that our senior national team, the Black Stars, is made up mostly of Ghanaians resident abroad? When we need them we call on them to represent the rest of the nation ? to bring glory to Ghana. We call them ?patriots? when we are ?using? them. For all that Stephen Appiah and co have done for Ghana, he is worth nothing!...when it comes to deciding who should lead the country he loves ? the country he has sacrificed so much for, to represent. But when these Ghanaians resident abroad need us, we slander them. When Essien, a Ghanaian resident outside Ghana, couldn?t feature for the Black Stars because of a serious sprain injury, people accused him of being unpatriotic. Yet this is a guy who was very instrumental in our qualifying for the World Cup. If these Ghanaians are so alien to us, that we don?t even want to give them their Constitutional Rights, why do we even bother to accuse them of unpatriotic behavior or invite them to help bring glory to Ghana? Are those against ROPAB basically telling us that a village thug resident in Ghana is more patriotic than these Ghanaians resident outside Ghana and as such the thug should have more Rights?

Has anyone bothered to find out how many of our intellectuals, officials, technocrats, and politicians (especially those dirty but shameless ones), etc received their education, and their invaluable experience from outside the shores of Ghana? Or how many of our businessmen and women who have started various enterprises to provide jobs to the people earned their seed capital from abroad? JB Danquah was once a Ghanaian resident in London where he obtained his law degree and became the first continental African to hold a doctorate degree in law. He came back to Ghana and started the fight for our independence. Kwame Nkrumah was once a Ghanaian resident in the United States; he came back to Ghana and led us to independence. The first Ghanaian to chair a department at Legon, Kofi Abrefa Busia, was once a Ghanaian resident in London. Atta-Mills who led the demonstration was once a Ghanaian resident in the UK and in the US. Ashesi University was started by a Ghanaian once resident in the US. I could go on and on. Almost everything we have now in Ghana is the result of the experience or wealth gained by Ghanaians who were once resident abroad. We should stop treating Ghanaians resident outside Ghana as aliens. They are not!

Again, the NDC never ceases to amaze me! Their cunning ways of debating issues, where they employ all sorts of ?dust throwing? to blind the undiscerning Ghanaian is amazing. For political purposes the NDC would freely ?miseducate? Ghanaians so that they can catapult themselves to power. In so doing, sometimes, they lose sight of their illogical arguments. When on September 27th, the then running-mate of Atta-Mills in the 2004 Presidential elections, Alhaji Mumuni was involved in an automobile accident, the NDC tried to politicize the accident to impute that the government was behind it. ?The NDC?s General Secretary, Dr. Josiah Aryeh led those attacks on the government saying the ?NDC smells an elephant in the car crash? - Stan Dogbe/JoyOnline . To quell any controversy Mumuni promised ?he would come out with a report of what really took place since Ghanaians had the right to know the facts of the case.? - GNA . Very good, Mumuni!

We didn?t hear anything from him until December 8th, 2005 when he came out with an ultimatum: ?The NDC?s vice presidential candidate in the 2004 elections, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, has expressed worry about the failure of the police to conclude investigations into the accident that nearly crippled him.? ? Joy Online . Amazing! The sole witness to the accident now demanding to know from the police what happened? You tell us what happened, Mumuni! What were you doing driving at 3am when your wife and children were all tucked in bed? You expect the police investigator to know what happened? Because they have psychic powers? Mumuni, suffered no retrograde amnesia from the accident, but in typical NDC-style logic, and for political expediency shifted the responsibility to the police. And this is the same Mumuni who wanted to be Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana? Gosh!

How many times have you not heard NDC members crediting themselves with the coming into force of the 4th Republican Constitution? Have you ever wondered whether that claim is logical and can stand the litmus test of commonsensical logic? The Constitution was approved in a Referendum in April 1992. At that time no political party was founded. So it?s untenable, and illogical for the NDC to claim that they introduced this Constitutional era. For they had not yet been founded! Some of them clandestinely claim that since the (P)NDC metamorphosed into NDC then it can claim credit for the introduction of multi-party democracy. True, the current Constitution came into force during the PNDC era. But who says it was by choice? The pressures from Ghana?s development partners coupled with local pressures for the restoration of democracy forced Jerry Rawlings? hand. He reluctantly gave in. How many times must Rawlings tell you that he ?does not believe in Multiparty Democracy? before you believe his word? If it were his choice, the PNDC dictatorship would still be in power. And have you so soon forgotten how he kept reminiscing his PNDC days, during the early days of Constitutional rule, even when he was supposedly a Constitutional Head of State?...How he often shared with the nation his disgust for the limitations that the Constitution had placed on him, and how certain things would not have been tolerated under PNDC? And is it not interesting that the very dictator who overthrew a Constitutional administration (Dr Hilla Limann?s) on 31st December, 1981 to install a military junta claims credit when for the restoration of that same democracy? For sure, Ghana would not have been in the mess it was found in, in 2001, had Constitutional democracy been allowed to grow and develop. We would have been far better off had Limann?s government served its term of office and had subsequently being followed by other democratic administrations. So in Ghana, a thief steals your wrist watch, then after 20 years of manhandling that wrist watch returns it to you, but now demands your appreciation and reverence for getting you a wrist watch. Huh! This is logic, NDC-style.

And this is the party that wants to form the next government? A party that rejects Constitutional RIGHTS and ?matters of principles?. A party without any shred of shame or decency. A party sans any sense of logic. A party that thrives on a misinformed people. And this is Ghana?s alternative government? God save us!



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