You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2017 10 01Article 586626

Opinions of Sunday, 1 October 2017

Columnist: Abraham Ananpansah

Paradox of our beautiful democracy;Bad citizens and our common enemies

Ghana indeed,has come a very long way:evolving from the era of 21 years of military rule where corruption and the need to get the country back on the line of democracy formed the footing for overthrow of different regimes;through to a system of six (6) years of one party state(1960-1966) under which epoch we are told Ghana's first president,the heavy-weight Dr.Kwame Nkrumah suspended the constitution in 1964 earning him the unpopular tag of a dictator;and is now negotiating multi-party democracy ....

A system of government I think much of as "mass franchise" or a system which many submit to Americas 16th president,Abraham Lincoln as government of, by and for the people.

In fact,it is very true our country is mostly touted as the paragon of democracy in Africa and the first British colony South of the Sahara to gain self government in 1957 with a foreign reserve of about $481 million as at that time.

Equally worthy of note,is the fact that we have had so far;Twenty-Five(25) years of practice of democratic governance(1992-2017) holding seven(7) successful elections in a row and still counting since the inauguration of the Fourth Republic.

Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory,after proclaiming on the 6th of March,1957,that Ghana was free forever needed to justify his words with action;which I guess he did by embarking on a long vision of wide - spread industrial reforms with a seven year development plan spanning the period 1964 to 1970 aimed at getting Ghana thriving on a path of economic emancipation.

Yes,it was a done deal!The foundation of political and economic freedom was laid by Nkrumah.However,the franchise of citizens was limitedly loosened and needed to be laised.

The replication to the interrogation of how to widen citizens participation(franchise) in the affairs of their own lives in a stable political and economic environment was rested in democracy,and so we found the reposte right there!Democracy therefrom,placed power in the hands of the people.

Increasingly relieving thereafter I guess,was a shy of big solace,since,we now had a system of advanced solid rulership that buoyed us up and placed at our own control, our lives and destiny by vesting us with power to legitimately vote every four years to select leaders with integrity to help us realize our common goals.

As was rightly said, "At long last the battle for political liberation has ended" and democracy has been gradually initiated therefrom. Hurray!Ghanaians are by all odds free forever.

Indeed,we were made to believe the battle has ended...In our unending jubilation therefore,little did we reflect on the reality that;We climb a mountain only to realize there are more mountains for us to climb.We long forgot and were not reminded that the battle for responsible citizens with the right mental attitude has just started....

Obviously,we lost sight and are still losing sight of the fact that democracy as a system of government in itself never meant guarantee of free rights to everything(manners that will always fall from above in response to our challenges).Little did we realize also that the concept in itself was not an end but a means to an end defined by responsible citizens.

Maybe, just maybe we forgot what Gael Garcia Bernel said,"We think that democracy can change a lot of things,but we're being fooled, because democracy is not the elections. We've been taught that democracy is having elections .And it isn't. Elections are the most mundane, trivial, disappointing, dirty aspect".

In our context,naked truth be told,democracy means a safe haven for unleashing ethnic rivalries and deliberate antagonism born out of half truths,untruths and perceptions that defy every logical reasoning,and where elections are usually riven along preponderant ethnic cleavages at huge cost to ordinary citizens without issues.

Ponder on this,article 55 of the 1992 constitution declare as persona non grata political parties based on ethnicity, religion, regional or other sectional divisions.

Ghana's 1969 and 1979 constitutions also contain provisions aimed at curbing ethnicity in electoral political leadership and members of political parties.But are these laws not mere window decorations?When given the opportunity during elections to exercise our suffrage,citizens with such rights vote willingly out of ethnic bigotry,ethno racial fractionalization,religious affiliation and paranoid parochialism to embolden populist egocentric leaders and they respond their names by misleading.Now who do we blame?These are the category of citizens I classify as first class bad citizens.

Because,I think alike with Chinua Achebe that 'our problem as a country is leadership'.In this light,anyone who has the right to vote and does not do so wisely and based on issues but on other factors is a bad citizen.

Such bad citizens,instead of,voting for states men rather loosely endorse politicians.A politicians as used in this writeup means "one who is more concerned about the next elections" while a statesman is "concerned about the next generation".

In fact,bad citizens help to empower those without ideas with power giving credence to what PLO Limumba said which I have slightly modified, 'In our country, those with power lack ideas to develop;Whereas those without power have all the ideas to develop''.

In fact,Ghana as a matter of record,has to its credit 24 registered political parties,out of which six (6) had the opportunity to contest the 2016 elections.Those where in the category of NDC,NPP, PPP, CPP, PNC,NDP.We had one independent candidate.

Indeed,chances of winning and for that matter competition usually revolves around the NPP and the NDC commanding 90% or more of valid votes cast in every election.It cannot be lost on us also that,all these political parties are founded on de rigueur ideologies and principles.
But when a party is vested with power,those ideologies are literally relegated to the background or thrown to the dogs.They become virtually non-ideological .

After all,in their non-ideological self-enriching gimmickry national pursuit,they have self-absorbed bad citizens to defend every of their action.Such citizens become party activists for several reasons other than upholding the ideologies or principles of the party.Maybe the promise of some appointment.And such attitudes maniacally emboldens monetisation of politics and money based incentive voting rather than issue based voting.

Bad citizens are intelligent enough,hence,make it their pastime to debate even Milton Friedman on economic issues when in truth they may have no clue how simple macroeconomic indicators are interpreted.And when things go bad which they always do,we start to curse the wind and all sort of non-existing forces and without choice lament in silence.

In such situations,the people who benefit 'something' from the corrupt system and I'm careful to call them 'dishonest party communicators' are now employed to ignorantly in dishonesty,mislead the unsuspecting majority.

This is what has come to stay as 'Propaganda' in our body politics.We have them on social media and other available mediums ready to defend the course of their parties or government against the national interest.I hope you can identify and name them as well?

They ignorantly and pathetically cloud their minds in psychological blindness in paranoid schizophrenic support of vampire politicians for God knows what reason.

Those characters turn every meaningful national discourse into slanging matches.They contrive their actions on what Niccole Machiavelli said,"Politics has no morals".They will succeed in startling informed minds to keep their shut from contributing meaningfully to sensitive national issues or discourses for fear or want of their hard-won integrity.

The other categories of bad citizens are right there in the media as rented disillusioned sensational journalist who instead of holding corrupt leaders accountable, providing the right information and enlightening our illiterate parents at the grassroot to vote based on issues are buzy doing the bidding of their 'pay masters' against the national interest.

We have some of the bad citizens right there in the law courts as demigods accepting bribes and throwing to jail the goat thieves whereas the real criminals walk scout free after digging dip into their pockets.
I hope you heard of the Anas Aremeyaw Anas undercover judicial Corruption Scandal?Need I say much!

You can effortlessly mention of them as heads of institutions and departments engaging in massive fraudulent procurement losses.
Least expected are those doomsayers and false prophets proclaiming themselves as 'Men of God' and degenerating more,the moral fiber of society,and worsestill,wresting money from innocent unsuspecting hungry-for-the-spirit God's people.A practice Jesus Christ never encouraged and hence strongly discouraged.

Which category of bad citizens do you belong to countryman and what are plans to change your ways for God and country?
Deducing from the foregoing reasons, one will verily without ado admit to the fact that things have really falling apart in our dear country. "Democracy cause am!

But I tell you,there is hope for our generation and that hope is the youth.Choose to call them the salt of our redemption and you may be right,except that, salt must not lose its value else it becomes tasteless and valueless.

I can also see a hope of revival, politics of ideas and development if citizens can change their ways. Niccole Machiavelli once said,"One change leaves the way open for the establishment of others".That first change for me must start with citizens and permit me to qualify them, 'responsible citizens' making a justified pride in striving to create a new political order:where our institutions are strong and feasible;Where citizens change their attitudes and are responsible and reasonable to align with common national objectives;Where the power of the people in real terms is greater than the people in power; where citizens will not coil back and say,I won't vote again but will say, I will vote for the right candidate not some party symbol and where the regime becomes afraid of the people and not the other way round.

This is the change I envisage and pray to see!I believe the way remains forward!

May God bless our homeland Ghana and help us (citizens) develop the right attitude for God and country.
I hope you read and appreciate this piece like a Ghanaian(Statesman ) and not a politician...