Regional News of Monday, 1 October 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Put Nation First - Quantson Appeals To Ghanaians

A former National Security Coordinator, Kofi Bentum Quantson, has called on Ghanaians, especially political parties, to put the national interest first as they campaign for votes ahead of the December 2012 election.

He said he was of the “firm conviction that the failure to establish the national interest in our political consciousness has been one major cause for the lawlessness and recklessness that have bedevilled our political discourses”.

“The national interest is a subject that has to be addressed repeatedly and seriously. Not because it is locked up in our sense of patriotism but also most importantly, it is linked up with national stability and security,” he said.

Mr Quantson said this when he delivered a paper at a forum organised by an NGO, Centre for Africa Development and Progress (CADeP), in Accra.

It was on the theme: “Democracy, the African Perspective and the Role of Stakeholders”.

He said Ghanaians had failed, not only to clearly identify the national interest and jealously guard it, but actually subverted and substituted the national interest with parochial political interests that did not sustain national cohesion, unity, stability and security.

He said Ghanaians needed to recognise that their national interest was “the entirety of all we are and all that we possess as a people”.

“So we stand in denial of our very existence, if we persistently assault the national interest by pandering to parochial interests,” he said.

Mr Quantson said Ghana could not become a democratic nation unless Ghanaians consciously comprehended the full dimensions and accepted the full responsibilities of a democratic system.

“But we have not; mainly because we have not yet overpowered the incremental intolerance and rancour, the mindless emotionalism, the fanatical allegiance and crucially the blind loyalty to objectivity,” he said.

He said although Ghana had made significant progress in the direction of democratic development and nation-building, Ghanaians should, however, not confuse journey with destination else they might be “distracted into the slippery complacency and carelessness that bother on the recklessness that can clog the political highway with potholes and problematic roadblocks”.

Mr Quantson said the negative factors that had necessitated the calls against election indiscipline, lawlessness, recklessness, violence and foolish death should be appreciated in the proper national security perspective in the supreme national interest.

“The national interest demands that; otherwise we could implode or explode. The political heat within the political actors is such that the outcome of any such explosion can be horribly destructive,” he said.

He said although religious and traditional institutions had spoken against threats to peace, some of their responses had been feeble, selective and discriminatory.

In an address read on her behalf, the Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs, Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, said women and children were the ones who suffered most in the event of conflicts.

She, therefore, urged all Ghanaians to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner to ensure a successful and peaceful election.

The Executive Chairman of CADeP, Mr Johanes Nyagblordzro, said ensuring peace before, during and after the general election was a key ingredient of national development.