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Opinions of Saturday, 18 October 2008

Columnist: Aborampah, Emmanuel

Stop This “Tom & Jerry” Politics

Part 2

A Cry For Help!

I read the following lines from an illustrious son of the nation, Mr. Kofi Annan, culled from ghanaweb’s general news of Thursday, 16th October 2008, and I quote:

“We live in an inter-related world, we live in the same boat and we are facing problems that are so enormous that no one country, however powerful, can tackle them alone”

Again he said 'The only way we can be secure, safe and prosper together is by working together” He was speaking at a Dublin conference to mark World Food day.

As I read these lines, I was moved to contemplate the implication of what he said, and to imagine a scenario where our current crop of leaders in Ghana, especially those vying for the high office of the presidency, would see the great wisdom in these words, especially when one distils the words down to the Ghanaian level and relate it to our national developmental efforts. But then I have to quickly wake up from this dream, for the sad reality is that most of these chaps don’t get it, they don’t seem to get it, and probably will never get this bigger picture.

I could not help but think back on a feature article I wrote back in May 2007 with the title “Stop The Tom & Jerry Politics” which can be accessed on the following link,

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=123248

and served as the stimulus to write this piece. I asked myself, what is stopping our leaders from seeing things the way Mr. Kofi Annan sees it? Is it pride, or are they that naïve?

The questions I keep asking are what inner motivation drives our political and civil society leaders? Why can’t our current crop of national leaders realize that we are in the same boat together, irrespective of our tribe, religious persuasion or political affiliation? Why can’t they see that every single hand is needed on deck to help get us out of our present predicament? Why do they keep alienating sections of the populace – and huge sections at that – and still believe that they can make headway with our development effort? A cursory look at the last general elections results has 53% for NPP, 44% for NDC and 3% for others. These are respectable proportions that command respect from each side of the political divide. For goodness sake someone tell me how any leader can alienate nearly half of it population with insults and total disregard for their preferences, and still expect to move the nation forward?

To paraphrase Kofi Annan, yes we live in the same boat and we are facing problems that are so enormous that no one group, political party, or tribe, however powerful, can tackle them alone. Our leaders should be humbled by the enormity of our problems and stop this “Tom & Jerry” politics going in Ghana. Scoring cheap political points by painting your opponents black whilst you praise yourself to the high heavens to look “good” in the eyes of men does not help any Ghanaian child who still walks 5km to a school under trees, nor the nursing mother sleeping on the bare floor of our hospitals. Any leader in the current NPP administration who openly claims that the previous NDC administration “did not do anything” is an enemy of progress and does not deserve to be in leadership position. In the same vein, any leader in the opposition NDC who makes a claim that the current NPP administration has done nothing worth of praise is dishonest and is not worthy of our trust. Let us - the ruled – condemn these leaders openly, and help them put an end to this divide and rule tactics going on in Ghanaian politics. Let us be guided by principles more than by emotions. Let us all contribute to move our nation forward.

Our failings are generally human by nature and partly cultural too, and have little to do with membership of a political party. If I am dishonest, joining NDC or NPP will not change anything, I will still be dishonest. And it explains why for every single sin one can enumerate against any particular party, be it NPP, NDC, PNC, DFP, CPP or whatever, there will always be an equal number of sins that can be enumerated against the accuser.

For the sake of posterity let our political leaders adopt a more mature posture and stop giving way to basic instincts in national politics. In this regard, we the citizenry have a big role to play – for I believe that every society or nation deserves the kind of leaders it gets. If we refuse to defend the indefensible acts of our leaders, purely on emotional attachment, then we help them adjust to values the society cherishes. It is sad to see fellow citizens tear each other apart with words under little or no provocation and yet claim to be democratic, law abiding, tolerant etc.

It saddens my heart to see the way we practice democracy. We seem to be satisfied with mediocrity; our leaders appear to see democracy as an end in itself rather than a means to an end! They appear obsessed with form rather with substance, their vanity takes over in positions of responsibility and they behave as if the citizenry owe them a living but they don’t owe us anything. Let us all help them do the right things, especially those at the helm of affairs of state at any point in time.

Let us prove to the world that the African is capable of managing his own affairs. Long Live Ghana – my beloved Country.

URGENTLY Wanted: A NEW TYPE AFRICAN LEADER!

Emmanuel