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Opinions of Friday, 28 October 2005

Columnist: Akosah-Sarpong, Kofi

Politicians, Spirituality And Development

Ghanaian leaders balancing their vocation with spirituality or letting their spirituality direct the country's progress or having "a divine mandate to lead the country into a state of total transformation," as stated by Dr. Michael Ntumy, president of the Ghana Pentecostal Council, is seen as the most foundational way of moving Ghana's development process from impasse or misunderstanding. For lack of spiritual balance in the country's progress, almost 50 years after freedom from colonial rule, some Ghanaians believe Ghana stumbled. Some mystics and thinkers would agree with the Ghanaians who think so. As the Indian mystic Sri Chinmoy, would say of lack of divine light in Ghana's development process, "politics and spirituality are like night and day. But that is not the fault of politics. It is because the politicians are not dealing properly with politics."

The stumbling, or more appropriately, the spiritual crisis, has come about because Ghana's progress has not been driven by her superb innate spirituality, experiences, culture, and history. Still, the spiritual and development confusion has come about because Ghanaian/African spirituality, since its encounter with colonialism, has been bastardized, called horrible names like "primitive" or "pagan" by the colonialists who did not understand it, and in the process, demeaned it in the eyes of Ghanaians, creating spiritual and progress confusion, and undermining Ghanaians spiritual self-confidence in their development process.

At a deeper level, the spiritual and progress crisis has come about because all progress is driven by a society's innate spirituality and so any spiritual disturbances, such as Ghana/Africa's spiritual crisis caused by colonialism and Ghana/African leaders/politicians inability to think independent of that, has created spiritual crisis in the development process. What Ghanaian politicians/leaders need, as Chinmoy would advise them, "is light badly, and it is the bounden duty of spiritual people to help politicians see their own inner light. This cannot be done on a political or a mental level; it can be done only psychically, to start with." That means Ghanaian spiritualists "have to kindle the flame of aspiration inside the hearts of Ghanaian politicians "with utmost simplicity, modesty and humility."

We see this in all the so-called developed countries such as the United States of America, Britain, Germany and Japan. In the German sociologist Max Weber's "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" and in the American thinker Francis Fukuyama's "The End of History and the Last Man," we are told how the foundation of Western development process or progress originated from their leaders or politicains strong metaphysical foundation. From the late President Abraham Lincoln, who is unarguably the founder of USA, as his biographers say, and used to spiritually fast and pray thrice a week, to the incumbent President George Bush, almost all American presidents/leaders have been driven by strong spiritual foundation in relation to the country's development process.

Most pre-independent Ghana/African societies' progress, in the same vein, before the continent's encounter with the colonialists, were driven by their leaders spirituality. When the key creator of the Asante Empire, Okomfo Anokye, the legendary high priest, brought together disparaging and acrimonious families, clans, tribes and ethnic groups to form the Asante Empire (a superb development feat), he did so with high level of spirituality, unwavearing vision and enlightenment untainted by the colonial concept of God and the so-called modern day confusing spiritual/religious propagandistic big talk. In fact, Okomfo Anokye and other long lists of indigenous leaders/politicians who created the various ethnic nation-states prior to British colonialism could be a study or meditation by Ghana's current politicians/leaders as a way of spiritualising themsleves in Ghana's progress so as to "remain focused, selfless and dedicated to the national cause and demonstrate the political will to take decisions that would bring about economic prosperity," as Dr Michael Ntumy indicated.

Part of the reasons why Ghanaian leaders/politicians have not been able to enlighten the develop process path holistically and have consistantly projected confusion and some "darkness" is that they have increasingly been drawn to the negative, dark, irrational spirituial aspects of Ghanaian spirituality such as juju-marabou, witchcraft and the Pull-Him/Her-Down-for-me syndrome. This has darkened their development process vision and thinking, making most of them heartless and wicked, dishonest, deceitful, stupid, liars, unfocused, selfish and having a weak sense of progress. On the other hand, aside from Okomfo Anokye and his groups who used their spirituality to develop their society, some modern Ghanaian leaders/politicians are known to have used their spiritual development to focuse on progress. Ghana's first President Kwame Nkrumah is openly known for his strong ability to selflessly focus on Ghana's progress was driven by his high metaphysical foundation.

We can make a Ghanaian spirituality and progress logic here: the more spiritual a Ghanaian politician/leader, the more development-focused he/she is. If we accept that, then, as Chinmoy says, "if we can bring spirituality," which is "wisdom," into politics, then politics will be used in the right way." It is then that Dr Michael Ntumy's statement that "the basis of transforming Ghana, cultivating a culture of peace, embracing democratic governance, investing in skill and the manpower development" would be realised when Ghanaian politicians/leaders go the Okomfo Anokye and Kwame Nkrumah way, in spiritual terms in the development process.



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