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Opinions of Saturday, 30 April 2016

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

That was not Dzifa: It was ‘winner takes-all’

But for the sound-bite from the radio, I would have continued to doubt the truth: this is how much weight I put on my respect for Madam Dzifa Ativor. As Minister of State, I knew her as the epitome of humility, a woman who carried herself with such grace that you had nothing but admiration for God’s creation. Above all, she was so prayerful!

When she quit over the messy Bus Rebranding saga, I was ready to swear that she had acted on principle only, in obedience to her conscience. I still did, until last Tuesday. Even then, my perception shift (not a total change or mind) was not based on any evidence of wrongdoing on her part, but on a number of questions to which I had, and still have, no answers.

Why would she be afraid of future prosecution and jail term if she is certain in her heart that there has been no wrongdoing? Is there something she did that still sits in the files at the ministry or which somebody has evidence of? Is it the case that her fears are based on evidence she has, that the Executive arm of government does manipulate judicial decisions in Ghana, or knowledge that some of our judges are capable of putting their conscience up for sale or rent at the service of compelling forces beyond their control?

I have recorded the sound-bite and have played it back to myself more than half a dozen times over, all in an effort to prove to myself that this could not be Dzifa.

What force on earth will compel a distinguished lady, ordinarily soft-spoken, to think the way she did and utter words which the Chairman of the National Peace Council was later to describe as “barbaric”?

That is the same force that compelled Kennedy Agyepong to urge his followers to turn their daggers on people of certain ethnic extraction. It is that force that emboldened Jerry Rawlings to boast that “the more they complain, the more I do it” (“Moka no koraa na meye no more”). The force behind the stationing of hoodlums outside NDC congress grounds in Koforidua, armed with whips made of horse tail, is the same force which Obed Asamoah feared so much that he refused to leave his seat at the said Koforidua Congress grounds, fearing what lurked in the shadows by the doors and windows of the washrooms. It is the same force that seized the mind of an otherwise very sane person to pour acid on an NPP regional chairman.

Why would a group of workers petition the President to withdraw the appointment of a chief executive for the simple reason that his sister is a former minister in the Kufuor regime? It is the “force” at work.

This force has a name: it is called WINNER TAKES ALL, the one evil which this nation loves to tolerate. It offers a paradise on earth, transforming nobodies into instant somebodies, transferring people from single room (with a pit or pan latrine or KVIP) into mansions built in a matter of months by day and by night under floodlight. The opulence! It is enticing, mouth-watering.

I don’t deceive myself. The Winner Takes All practice is so “rewarding” and so intoxicating in its effect that not even the voice of 15 million Ghanaians will convince any current Ghanaian politician to consider a proposal to excise it from the 1992 Constitution. Even our opposition parties will oppose this suggestion because, while they cry that “opposition is hell”, they are sure that their time will come, by and by.

So at the risk of repeating myself within a short period of time, I am advocating that Ghanaians consider the adoption of an arrangement of PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION where every party that is represented in Parliament would be entitled to a certain percentage of ministerial, ambassadorial, board appointments.

Ask yourself, dear reader, would any sane man or woman carry on the way we do in this country – lying, killing, maiming, destroying the character of innocent people, defending the indefensible - if he/she knows that his or her party is assured of a certain percentage of appointments to ambassadorial positions, board memberships, and ceos of state enterprises, on the basis of how the party fared in the elections?

The Fantes foresaw this when they warned long ago that “Edzidzi kyere ye enyiber” (simply, a warning to people who feast in the presence of famished men)
With proportional representation, we shall reduce the greed; cut out the bootlicking, the lies, the sycophancy and eye-service by the unqualified whose only claim to a share of appointments is their assurance that there are “jobs for the boys”.

So for the second time in less than a month, I make this appeal. I do so on the strength of the caution implied in the Chinese proverb that “If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed”. We shall continue to kill and maim perceived enemies; we shall continue to lie, forget about God and the sermon we heard in church last Sunday or at the mosque last Friday….. just to get our party into power.