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Opinions of Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Columnist: Aborampah, Emmanuel

Stop "The Tom & Jerry" Politics

A Cry For Help

Any casual observer of the political scene in Ghana who happens to be a patriot ought to be worried about what is going on amongst Ghanaian leadership today. By leadership I am not talking only about political leaders, I have in mind the generality of leadership in Ghana, encompassing all adults, technocrats, heads of institutions and agencies, civil society and religious groups – including our chiefs. Well, one may ask, what is going on?

For me, it appears we are witnessing a re-enactment of the role of the 1-talent man in the Parable of Talents in our motherland. We are seeing a dearth of true, selfless and bold leadership in mother Ghana. I may be wrong, but I am not inspired by what I see, and I’m sure I am not alone. Are we reaping the fallout of failing – or is it refusing - to utilize the talents and gifts that the Good Lord has endowed us with as a nation? Or is it for refusing to recognize and appreciate as a nation the enormous contributions of our post independence nation builders? Again, we are seeing a house divided against itself. I see hawkish individuals acquiring power before thinking about what to do with the power.

One listens to our leaders today and you begin to wonder what motivates them. You follow their deeds, and often wonder if their true aim is to build the nation, or rather to satisfy their own selfish, vengeful and egoistic agenda. They continuously spit venom and seeds of division, yet in the same breadth preach unity and strive for development! They appear so obsessed with being great in the eyes of men that they fail to realize they are losing it. Greatness is not forced, nor can development be forced on a people. To my mind nation building is done and can only be done around unity of purpose, a common sense of direction and around ideals shared by a vast majority of citizens. How then do our latter-day leaders aspire to build this nation by alienating nearly half of the population? How can we make so much noise about democracy when we cannot tolerate dissenting views? It’s like loving God and hating your brother!

To be sincere, there is very little disagreement amongst the various political factions regarding the final destination they want to take this nation. Take the manifestos of the political parties and it all about the good of mother Ghana. The difference lies in the “modus operandi”. So can someone tell me why all this bitter rivalry between NPP and NDC if it is not about personal agendas, why this age old enmity between the Busia-Danquah tradition and the Nkrumaists, if really it is about the good of Ghana. Believe me brother /sister, this is all about selfish personal interests from both sides, but especially from … ……. well, I will tell you soon from which side.

The divisions and hatred in the land have baffled me for some time; as a result I have taken the trouble to do my own research about the history of this nation called Ghana. I was just about 5-years old when Nkrumah was overthrown and so have tried to find information by research, only to be confronted with what I term the “Ahoofe Vs Botwe” versions of our history! Then I realized how polarized our society has become, to such an extent that during our 50th Anniversary celebration we sent confusing signals to our children about who our heroes and heroines are! My brother, this is not good for our national health. The question then is, for how long are we going to continue like this? Who is gaining from this “Tom & Jerry” politics going on in mother Ghana? Certainly not the masses! And guess what, in all this the religious leaders sit silent, the chiefs keep mute, our “intelligentsia” has become impotent, the council of state provide comic relief and the media fans the flames of division. The founders of our nation must be crying in their graves! Was it part of their dream, to see leadership groping in the dark, where democracy is for sale, justice to the highest bidder and the poor is crowded out of education?

I am no historian, neither am a PhD holder, but I will tell you what any Patriot would find about our past and about our transition from Gold Coast to Ghana. Well, I found an African society turned into a white man’s colony, with the people split into two main groups, just like any society then and now – the masses and the elite. From among both the masses and the elite stood out individuals who yearned and agitated for freedom, and for decades they kept the torch burning under the leadership of the elite. Then one freedom fighter invited from abroad a young man recently baptized and overflowing with the spirit to join the team. Being filled with the anointing of the spirit he saw the Bigger Picture and sought to move the fight to a different level, but the home folks did not, could not appreciate that.

Frustrated, the outsider moved out and mobilized the masses to beat the home folks over and over again at their own game, for he realized before they did, that democracy is about numbers. Nkrumah did not mean evil; he just had a bigger vision, which the UP tradition could not appreciate. The UP guys, did not mean evil, it just hurt their pride to have the grand prize taken away from them, especially since they were the knowledgeable ones and were in the race earlier. You see, success is recognizing opportunity and seizing it! Nkrumah was successful, the UP group was not. Then normal human nature crept in – plain envy and jealousy, what else can explain for example – that Dr JB Danquah, of blessed memory, recommending the name Ghana for the newly independent nation, but his group opposing the same name when it was adopted by parliament. The truth, they say, sometimes hurts, but let us embrace it and move forward.

What followed thereafter is what I call the Tom & Jerry politics of Ghana, “you do me I do you”! All said and done I believe the UP tradition need to accept blame for most of the wrongs of the first republic. So to finish the last sentence of the third paragraph - believe me brother /sister, this is all about selfish personal interests from both sides, but especially from the Busia-Danquah tradition. This has been the source and genesis of the ‘Politrics of Hatred” in our mother, which is manifesting itself again today, this time between the Busia-Danquah and Rawlings traditions. There is got to be an end put to this trend for us all to forge ahead in unity to build our nation. Every single Ghanaian is needed in this endeavor, yes we can agree to disagree on some issues, but for the sake of posterity and the pride of the African, let’s agree to agree on a national development plan! As a first and critical step towards this, let’s have a true National Reconciliation.

In this Jubilee Year let our President, John Agyekum Kuffour openly and humbly apologize to all Ghanaians on behalf of the Busia-Danquah tradition at a pre-arranged national Reconciliation Forum for;

• Not seeing the light early enough • The damage done to Nkrumah’s image and to his family and refusing him the opportunity to die in the nation he helped to build, at home amongst his people. • The harm done to our national development by playing the kind of opposition they played in the first republic, also for their complicity in the treasonable overthrow of the first republic.

At same forum let the leaders of Nkrumahist tradition apologize to Ghanaians for all the excesses during the first republic that led to the suffering of many citizens, especially those who died in prison.

I also expect an apology from Rawlings to all Ghanaians at this forum for all the excesses that took place during the revolutionary AFRC/PNDC era, to accept responsibility for such acts of commission and omission that led to the suffering of innocent citizens.

Finally, our President should again apologize to Rawlings and the previous government for the current government’s failure/refusal to acknowledge the good works of his regime, and for again allowing personal hatreds/experiences to cloud the bigger national picture. Every regime, including the current, has its own downside and the majority of Ghanaians do appreciate, even more so now than before, that ruling a nation as ours is no mean task.

Following this, all bygones will be bygones and our president can light the torch of Ghana’s renaissance to set the tone for a new era of leadership. I humbly beseech thee, my dear President, do not pass this cup to someone else, take this historic step this jubilee year and enter our history as a new pacesetter. Believe me, it will be a bigger longer lasting legacy than the presidential palace. The nation is bigger than the pride of any political tradition, let all swallow their personal/selfish pride for the sake of our kids.

Long Live Ghana – my beloved Country.


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