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Opinions of Sunday, 2 September 2012

Columnist: Adjetey, Emmanuel

The Struggling Democratic Country


*By Adjetey Emmanuel***

It is astounding how people still perceive our country to be the well known
democratic country in the West Africa Sub-Region. Our country, Ghana is
claiming to be democratic, meaning free and equal representation of people
and equal right of every person to participate in a system of government
often by the majority of the people. Democracy has been defined in two-ways
in some literatures as; 1. Democratic nation: a nation with a government
that has been freely and equally elected by its citizens.2. Democratic
system of government: a system of government based on the principle of
majority in decision-making. It is obvious and you don’t have to be a
researcher before you can know that in Ghana today, the concept of
democracy is being reduced to two-things;1. Freedom of expression-much of
which is very poor in substance but rich in propaganda, intentional
disinformation and distortion of facts, so long as it serves certain
predetermined ends. 2. Periodic elections-a period during which partisan
structures are given a new lease of life and ethnocentric sentiments are
highly hyped up and exploited for the purpose of winning political power.
The self-image and reputation of our dear nation, Ghana is reducing
gradually due to the on and off conflicts among ethnic groups, religious
sects, and even some of our own political leaders. These are clear things
that the country has been facing in recent times. The intemperate
languages, provocative statements from political leaders and their
followers and incitement against one group. These are not acts to be
condoned by the people of Ghana especially the youth. Because these are
things that can plunge the country into absolute chaos and upheaval.
Moreover, the democratic status of the country has been “stained” with
blame game. This is true, because day-after-day if you tune to your radio
or television you can unquestionably attest to the fact. Apparently, we see
from the major political parties in the country: the New Patriotic Party
(NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) accusing each other for
maladministration. If much care is not taken the peace we enjoy today after
attaining our democratic status will become an illusion. I wonder which
schools teach this blame game. However, the repulsive tribal and
ethnocentric verbal punches that these parties and their members keep
throwing heavily like Mike Tyson’s blow at each other is obscuring the
democracy we are practising here Ghana and can plunge the nation into Sturm
und Drang.Some couple of months ago, some people are in great shock and
they inquire to know if whether Ghana is still a democratic country. This
is because, why should religious sects engage in a fight which is highly
inimical to good governance. One can easily recall to the recent conflict
among the Moslems and some natives of Hohoe in the Volta Region. No country
specifically a democratic country in this world can achieve its optimum
development in the midst of a conflict. Also, our politicians must stop
practising any aspect of the democracy that is confrontational and
unfriendly to good governance, such as the politically motivated
“Pull-Him-Down” party politics (PHD), which is widely used in developed
countries like America and Britain by parties to undermine their political
opponents, though they do so under “strict cover” in those advance
countries. Such practise can easily leave our country with nothing than a
state of violent disturbance and disorder thus if care is not taken. No
country can achieve the highest form of democracy without her practising
the rule of law. The rule of law basically, it’s a state of order in which
events conform to the law of the nation. Hence, nations without the rule of
law, such *nations are like books perusing in the extreme darkness. The
rule of law is one of the ethical codes of* democracy. And apparently
enough, this code of ethics are not strictly practise here in Ghana.
However, most of the electorates perpetrate the laws of the land or do
things which are not in conformity with the laws of the country and they
are left to go scot free. Is this what we term as democracy? Besides,
democracy, “liberalism”, “civil liberty”, “human right” etc. have not been
pushed too far to be able to support the very pillars and foundation of
civilization that they purport to create and which has taken humankind
several thousand of years to build. If these very pillars are well
supported by our political leaders, I strongly believe our democracy would
go back to its natural state. Adding to the civilization problem is also
the issue of recognition of the right to information. Recognising the right
to information and implementing effective access to information is a simple
but extremely useful first step towards attainment of good governance.
Therefore, any democratic country enhancing the right to information to its
citizens is more or less devoid of political violence since the electorates
are given the mandate to air their grievances. The Aristocratic Frenchman,
Alexis de Tocqueville said: “The health of a democratic society may be
measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens”. Ghana
is a very small democratic country in the world hence let us uphold the
good name of our dear nation. Peace! Is what we all need. LONG LIVE

The Writer is a Student-Journalist at the Ghana Institute of
Journalism. Writer’s