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Opinions of Thursday, 2 September 2004

Columnist: Antwi, William

Rhapsodizing About June 4, Rawlings And Our "Democracy"

The Dangerous Lies And Propaganda!

As the national campaign for the Presidency and Parliament turns into the home stretch, it is more imperative now than ever before that we continue to inject into the national debate the the real issues militating against our still struggling democracy. Recent pronouncements by our interior minister, Mr. Hackman Owusu Agyemang, have once more thrust into the political limelight the relevancy or otherwise of Rawlings to the growth and stability of democracy. Let's get this straight: Any serious minded Ghanaian should easily come to the conclusion that Rawlings is not a problem to our constitutional development. Rather, the inhuman conditions that catapulted him to political prominence should pre-occupy our attention in our quest for a true and stable democratic society. We have said many a time that Rawlings, like any one of us, is subject to the laws of our land. Period. He is not above the gold-gilt principles of probity, accountability and transparency he preached during t! he June 4 and December 31 "revolutions". I personally do not see the reason why he cannot be held accountable if there is the evidence to boot! The current administration should therefore stop its unworthy propaganda of making Rawlings the issue and start governing as they are capable of doing if only they put their mind and heart to it!

Now: In our distillation of the 25th anniversary of the dramatic political events of June 4, our predilection for reckless political bantering clearly prevented us from facing up to the essential truths of our very survival as a nation. Now that overheated passions have thawed (did I really say that?), let's take a deep, deep breath and try to deconstruct the dangerous propaganda and lies that have come to misinform many a mind. In so doing, we will be in a position to make sense of those bloody events vis-a-vis the despicable conduct of our present crop of leaders - the reckless political effusions of the Hackmans on Rawlings, notwithstanding.

To some of us, June 4 should hold extra poignancy for all Ghanaians who truly and steadfastly believe in true democratic values, values which essentially dictate that all Ghanaians - high and low - should have their fair share of the national cake. And, that the consequences of corrupting public offices for personal gains are too steep a price to pay. Instead of dealing squarely and honestly with the underlining causes of June 4 and the rise of Rawlings, we currently have individuals who continue to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians for purely personal and selfish political and economic gains while stupidly ignoring the eminent signs of political upheaval clearly written on our constitutional wall. For example, we have shameless individuals like Ansah Atiemo and Boakye Gyan who want us to believe that June 4 exploded to punish all those who upset constitutional rule in Ghana and others like the President, his party and the members of NRC who believe that the bloody even! ts of June 4 were artificially created by the Rawlings and that everything should be done to "nail" him. Do these individuals honestly think that they can do justice to the nation's conscience by playing up only the atrocities committed during the heady days of June 4 without first addressing the root causes that engendered those atrocities? Yes, we have to talk about those tragic atrocities but we cannot just pretend that they just materialized from the skies! Needless to state here that the only way we can truly capture the essence of June 4 and our present constitutional endeavor is to package the underlining causes in an honest manner without resorting to brainless elitist propaganda.

The truth of the matter is that the present gov't and indeed, some in the opposition NDC, want to hide the ugly facts of that era for the simple reason that they are unrepentantly repeating the same tragic mistakes of the Acheampongs in an even more brazen manner. And, need we repeat it? All in the name of "democracy" - that tormented and tortured word.

STAKEHOLD DEMOCRACY.

Ladies and gentlemen, democracy, is all about substance and style and we do not see that in our political elite. In dealing with the security and stability of our country, we have to seriously take into consideration the maturity or otherwise of our political system. Can we say with any level of confidence that our political system is at par with that of some of the Western democracies like Great Britain, Germany or the United States of America? This is the more reason why our political elite must do things differently by building confidence and trust in the people they govern and the institutions of state manage. Therein in lies the recipe for any stable political system. Definitely, they cannot accomplish such laudable goals if they make corruption, greed and materialism the trifecta of our system of gov't and in the process contemptuously denigrate to the background the basic needs of the majority of the people. In our kind of political environment, the political elite's! reckless and malicious abandonment of their sense of responsibility threatens our society more than anything else including a Rawlings. In other words, If the Rawlingses do not have the "right" to upset any constitutional order, then it follows logically that our civilian politicians and their cronies do not have the "right" to steal from national coffers and corrupt with impunity our national offices.The two cannot co-exist in any meaningful constitutional order because they sin against the natural order things. Is it natural for our political leaders to engage in ostentatious living while the majority of our people constantly struggle with disease, hunger and deprivation? Can we build a truly stable and democratic system based on such blatant internal distortions? Succintly put, "unnatural political deeds do breed unnatural political tidings". For example, how can any responsible leadership build confidence and trust in the people, if they continue to dissipate the resou! rces of the nation on ostentation living like buying two more bullet p roof cars while our hospitals and clinics do not even have beds to accommodate the sick and the weary? Again, is there any benefit to society for the President to pay himself $3000 any time he spends the night outside our blighted country? This amount is exclusive of what is paid to his entourage! I can bet anybody a martini that the ruling gov't will never have the nerve to tell the country how much the President has taken by way of his per diem allowance since he came to power for the simple reason that the people will be manifestly outraged! Don't we think that these monies can easily be used to improve the quality of life of the same people who they want to readily count on in the event of any coup d'etat? Stupidly, instead of addressing these basic issues, they are inviting the "coupsters" to bring it on! What folly!

Recognizing the fact that corruption among our political elite fuels agitation for coup d'etats everything must be done to nib in the bud this canker. The ever-present perception among the general population that our politicians are marauding thieves should readily inform our understanding of the psychology of any "coupster". Such unfortunate perception is a confidence buster. One way easy way to build confidence and trust in our system of gov't is for our public officials including our president to publicly declare their assets immediately after coming to power. They cannot hide behind such laughable cliche like "we were rich before we came to power"! What irrelevant bluff! So if they were rich before coming to power what stops them from declaring their assets?! Oh, hoooooooooo!!!!!!! Our political leaders must play by the rules of any constitutional order instead of teeing up our society for yet another political disorder. If our leaders want to enjoy all the goodies that! come with political power then they must play by what? The rules of the game!!

JUNE 4 VS. THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

Going to the pools every four years tends to perpetuate a false sense of political stability. Our insensitive leaders want us to believe that elections equal democracy. We should not be fooled. Foolishly, they believe that once they attain political power through the ballot box, they can steal all they want and nothing should be done to them. This phenomenon explains why individuals like the Bambas are still walking the streets of Ghana without fear of the law. History tells us that the Akuffos had all the good intentions to hand over power to a "democractically" elected gov't, yet still millions of our country folks flocked the streets to support Rawlings and his AFRC junta on June 4. What does this simple but eventful political drama tell us? That, though, the people have the right to vote, that right will be meaningless if our leaders continue to engage in insensitive corrupt activities like putting up mansions and buying themselves flashy cars once they come in power whi! le the millions of their people agonize with wretchedness. What our political elites dangerously seem to forget is that a stable environment must first exist before any leap can be made into the democratic realm. In other words, a stable political environment does not exist in a vacuum. That is why it is laughable when others talk about the "right to vote as the mother of all rights" in our kind of political tradition. This is the most stupifying elitist nonsense I have ever heard! Yes, we can talk about the right to vote as the mother of all rights in matured political systems like the U.S.A. and Britain but for heaven's sake not in a country like Ghana. The only way we can exercise "the mother of all rights" is if peaceful political conditions exist for its realization. Can we exercise this right to vote in a violent political environment? It is therefore eminently imperative that our leaders create those conditions (of which stockpiling of arms is not one of them) that w! ill make enjoyment of als rights (including the right to vote) enshrin ed in our constitution more practicable and attainable.

In sum, if we truly want to stimulate and promote democracy in our country, then our political elites must avoid the economic and political pitfalls that continue to bedevil our dear nation - deplorable conditions which precipitated the June 4 uprising! In others words, if our leaders act scrupulously while in power, "revolutionaries" like Rawlings and Tsatsu Tsikata will be disabled from taking power by force. They will be morally de-weaponized! One more question and we will be done for now: For how long can the people endure the the tragic political spectacle of one group of corrupt leaders succeeding another every four years while the majority of the people endure the grinding infirmities of poverty, deprivation and humiliation? Shouln't the political elite use government as an engine to help alleviate the plight of the less fortunate instead of paying lip service to same?

The deception dance must stop now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We rest our case for now.

WILLIAM ANTWI AKA BAFO (OYOO BUSANGA)
New YORK, USA.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.