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Opinions of Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Columnist: Dankwa Jr, Fredua

Polarizing Mother Ghana

By Fredua Dankwa Jr.

Ghana’s political polarization is on full throttle and gaining steam at an alarming rate. Ghanaians have become so divided and pushed to the extremes of political loyalty and opinion to the point where we can’t hear each other. As a people, we are gradually pulling away from the simple tenets that have brought us thus far - one nation with a common cause. The present bane of Ghanaian life is to filter any and every thing in the context of NPP versus NDC.

It is becoming almost impossible to find a single Ghanaian discussion or conversation which does not involve or end in political analysis with absolute conviction one way and utter disgust and mistrust for the another political party or personality. Without sounding like a doomsayer I will take the liberty here to remind fellow Ghanaians that most unrest around the world starts from such polarization and escalates to uncontrollable heights with deadly consequences - even genocides.

The situation is further exacerbated by the emergence and popularity of political talk radio. Some unscrupulous and ridiculously irresponsible radio stations are using this great medium to polarize the nation, all in the name of making a buck or scoring political points. The current Amina Mohammed rape-armed robbery saga is a classic case-study for the type of polarization, misinformation and cacophony being propagated in Ghana, to this end it is unclear what the actual particulars are about the said case; all because it has been drawn into a political conundrum.

These radio talk shows have created a new vocation - Serial Callers - as a fast-growing, super-rewarding profession in the country now, if you have been under a rock for some time and not familiar with ‘Serial Calling’ as a vocation in Ghana, let me bring you up to speed: certain individuals have gained notoriety and even stardom for constantly calling in to various talk radio shows to the extent that they are paid by some stake holders to push their political propaganda on these talk radio circuits.

In order for us to take stock of our plight as a country, we have to accept certain inalienable truths; no one person (messiah) is going to change Ghana overnight, most politicians are power drunk to the extent that they will use the disenfranchised few indiscriminately to feed their addictions, as a people we have more in common than we are different and unless we fix our ‘dinosaur’ government systems we will continually chase our collective tail as a nation regardless of our enormous natural and human resources. But most importantly, we are not immune to civil unrest, especially as we assume our newest status as an oil producing country by the end of the year, there are forces out there in the world that will surely take advantage of the polarizing dynamics within the country.

Ghana as a young democracy is bound to go through growing pains as we evolve, it is therefore incumbent on us the people to understand and appreciate the peaceful existence we have enjoyed since independence. It is also our patriotic responsibility to engage in civil conversation without the unnecessary dissonance and insults that is pervading our otherwise respectful society.

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