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Opinions of Thursday, 3 April 2008

Columnist: Afreh, Manu Bernard

This NPP-NDC blame-shifting game, are we safe?

There is no sense crying over spilt milk – Sophocles.

I am a metaphor. I owe no party any allegiance. I am a nationalist who is ready to put nation before tribe. The fact that those of us with an unshakable faith in the Ghanaian ideal are being swept off our feet, does not mean I would not take my badge of mugwump with fierce pride and honour.

Though I enjoy watching movies filled with scenes of gory acts, I always pray against been an actor in reality. The populace seems to crying for the repatriation of those Liberian refugees. My fellow Ghanaians must have sniffed at those parts of Africa under war crises, and boast self-indulgently: ‘Oh! That can never happen in Ghana!’ We could have looked up to our vibrant press, promising democracy and the atmosphere of freedom as veritable antidotes against such occurrences. Patriots, no one can behold the spectacle of a war-torn nation without blanching with horror. We would be inadvertently providing the tune for those macabre dances, if we do not condemn acts that are inimical to national development. Regrettably, our beloved country, Ghana, seem to be fast descending into such swamp of infamy. The recent fracas involving fanatics of the NPP and NDC at Fadama is instructive. It raced my mind to the adage: ‘When two elephants lock horns, it is the grass that suffers the consequences’.

According to unbiased reports, it was the NDC that first got to the New Fadama house of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharabutu. I am told that, they were there to join the Imam in the birthday celebration of Prophet Mohammed. In fact, Nana Addo and his entourage were not scheduled to visit the Chief Imam on that fateful Friday, but Saturday. Knowing very well of the NDC’s presence at the palace, I wonder why, Nana Addo still went on with his supporters to create such an ugly scene of brick batting.

It was politics played too far. NPP supporters hurled insults at Prof. Mills and referred to him as ‘Mr. Kenya’, ‘Walking Corpse’ etc. The name-calling was retorted by the NDC fanatics who also called Presidential Candidate of the NPP, Nana Addo as: ‘Nana Cocaine’ and ‘Nana Presidential Jet’ amongst other unprintable words. I call on my fellow nationalists, who believe in the theorem of moving the nation forward through sound discussions on social, economic and civil matters.

One interlocutor recently pointed to the fact that, the alarming rate of illiteracy in our country, contributes to the reason why copyboys are now placed on editorial boards of newspapers. He saw them as no better than third-rate newspapers in war-torn countries. For once, I seem to buy that idea. Why a widely-read newspaper as Daily Guide, would cheapened its front page and post a misleading headline as ‘NDC MP LED THUGS’ is quite unfortunate. It was unfair for the newspaper to have painted the MP in dark shades, and portraying him as a cheer squad leader of some ‘renegades’. Matter of fact, both parties is at fault, and we do not need any partial arbiter to stand truth on its head.

Unarguably the two leading parties in Ghana, NPP and NDC, seem to have a penchant of blame-shifting. When a policy is implemented, instead of satisfying the needs of the electorate on whose crest they rode to office, they rather resort to comparison with past projects executed under previous governments. The same is what surfaced after the Fadama commotion, where the two parties sheepishly chose to play the game of blame-shifting.

I am pleading on these politicians to cast aside their tribal cards, and also stop making incisive comments to satisfy their ulterior motives. Surely, they have the resources to visit the spa to massage their arthritic legs. They should please listen to me, because, my grand-father is that pensioner who gets a meager ¢15 monthly. My mum is that woman, seen on the street with the ‘Kufour gallon’ in search of water. My father is that employee of the Railway Company, who had to beg for monies to fend for the family when his colleagues were on strike. My children are also unlucky to find themselves in one of those schools in the Northern Region, where lack of funds to buy food rations might force their closure.

I have known manifestos to be public written declaration of principles, policies, issued by political parties before elections. If truth be told, the NPP and NDC have vowed not to put their respective manifestos into public domain. The rift between the NPP and the NDC is really an unhealthy one. They accuse each other of ‘stealing’ ideas. For instance, during one of the campaign tours of Prof. Mills, he informed the people of Afram-Plains about his ambition to irrigate their farmlands when voted in office. As if to discredit his comments, the NPP government quickly branded him as a ‘pirate’ feeding on their ideas. I also recall how, the NDC took on the ruling party for developing their innovative idea of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

I know politics is about scheming, strategies, intrigues and manoeuvrings. But it does give platform for those zealous politicians to mount the rostrum, and incite helpless electorate at each other’s throat. Such phony patriots must be reminded that, both the NDC and NPP are mere associations. There is no such place as home. Touching on the tarmac of our country, you are being greeted with a breeze that speaks in monotones, and you witness footfalls leading to workplaces instead of war-centres.

I know Ghanaians to be prayerful. I am told, they prayed to God during the electricity crises to fill the Akosombo Dam. I urge all and sundry, to join hands in fighting the evil that once left Liberia tattered and trembling like scarecrow’s rags. The melee in Fadama should actually be treated as a blessing in disguise. I urge commentators to analyze this issue with all honesty and not reduce it to a political trifle. Believe me; it has created a wonderful opportunity for Ghana to rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes.

Now, I support the truism that stale news do not come in trickles, but in torrents. As I prepared this piece, a friend informed me about how things are falling apart in my cherished alma mater, Prempeh College. I am told the headmaster has now taken on the garbs of Armageddon. It is also said that, administration in the school has gone into abeyance until providence stretches his leaf of mercy. It can never be true! A priceless gem like the Kings’ College cannot be the subject of ridicule. Snr.Agyekum Kufour must not hear about this! Amanfo?, where are you? Should news about our predicaments reach my ‘Akatakyie’ (Opoku Ware School) friends in Big Apple, I know it would be greeted with plenty of guffaws and haw-haws! Love it or hate it, Prempeh College is still the best in Ghana!

The forgoing review is necessary to show that, if this house of ours collapses, it will not just fall on the heads of those quibbling few; every innocent child and adult in this and coming generations will suffer. The destiny is in our hands!

Afreh Manu Bernard,

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