Election 2012 and the danger ahead (Part II)

Mon, 25 Jun 2012 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Friday, June 22, 2012

Added to these negative tendencies on the part of the NPP is the problem that the NDC (both as a political party and the government) has already created to worsen the situation. The nasty intra-party wrangling that has torn the party into seemingly irreconcilable pro-Rawlings and pro-Mills factions has negatively affected governance, which indicates that the incumbent isn’t as advantageously poised as he had been at Election 2008.

Rawlings’ strident bad-mouthing of the government and his persistent divisive moves have raised tension within the ranks of the NDC to a frightening level.

From the anger that is displayed here-and-there by the rival factions within the NDC, it must be clear to all by now that these rival NDC elements pose a grave threat to national peace and security.

Turning their dagger on each other (as is evident in the physical attacks on rival NDC functionaries—an example being the case of the NDC Parliamentary candidate for the Ledzokuku Constituency, Mrs. Benita Sena Okity-Dua (a former Miss Ghana) whose residence has been razed down by fire suspected to have been set by her own party supporters who do not want her to be their candidate).

In the long run, the NDC will be the cause of its own doom. That is why it will be difficult for the government to retain power unless the party resolves its internal crisis. But there is no silver lining anywhere. Instead, we expect more self-inflicted harm, which will add to other factors to heighten tension in the country.

It seems the entire country is beset with problems—be they caused by chieftaincy and land disputes or communal and social strife (as is the case of the troubles in Akumfi Narkwa and Hohoe). These pockets of tension will lead to only one end, which is, to provide the spark for the national catastrophe that Election 2012 portends.

There is enough cause for pessimism and outright apprehension at this stage. Indiscipline is the hallmark and vigilante justice seems more attractive nowadays that the state institutions can’t serve the needs of the society as expected. Every part of national life is threatened. We are indeed on tenterhooks.

At the fringes too, politically motivated pressure groups are feeding the already tense atmosphere with their belligerence, especially as they take on the government to sing the song of their paymasters. Such groupings can’t be relied on to do anything to avert trouble. They come in various guises and are all over the place. No need to mention names. By their utterances and actions will they be known as such.

The danger for us is limitless because almost everybody and every sector of national life has been politicized to such an extent that nothing in the public domain can any more be regarded as neutral. Traditional rulers (both chiefs and queenmothers), opinion leaders, community leaders, and public-spirited figures have been bitten deep by the bug. Some who have openly identified with political parties have already lost the respect of their rivals and can’t be trusted to handle affairs dispassionately or without injecting their political venom into matters.

At a broader level, ethnicity is a vital cog in this wheel of trouble. In a country where politicians have sown seeds of discord among the people on the basis of ethnic differences, the danger is real. What came from Kennedy Agyapong is just a microcosm of the danger posed by unconscionable politicians seeking to exploit ethnic attachments. His call hasn’t materialized yet but its import is not lost on us.

The fear is that when the political situation turns sour for those already conditioning themselves to tread on Canaan soil to relish the milk and honey flowing there, such ethnic differences can easily become the cinder to ignite a national catastrophe.

We are more than concerned at this stage. Any reliance on the security services (especially the police and the military) to handle the situation may be misplaced. Do we not know that the personnel of these institutions identify with specific ethnic extractions and political causes that they will defend when push comes to shove?

The institutions purportedly formed to work for peace seem not to be actively doing their duties. There is one called the Ghana Peace Council, which is more active in name than in action to assure Ghanaians that it can be relied on to preserve peace and tranquility in the country.

The clergy and other leaders of religious organizations have already betrayed their political biases and preached hatred instead of fellow-feeling and peace. Are these the people to rely on to avert any disaster?

Others who are often in the news aren’t doing so because they are working for peace; they are doing so for reasons that are mostly politically motivated, which gives them away as mere tools at the service of politicians paying the highest price to use their umbrella for political gimmicks in the name of peace-making.

Some of them are obviously politically tainted and can’t solve any problem. Those among them who have veiled their partisan political interests with high-sounding but empty moral rhetoric are part of the problem.

So, where do we stand? Do our political leaders not know how much tension their irresponsible utterances and conduct provoke to ensure that no matter what happens they will work for peace? The Inter-Party Advisory Council that the Electoral Commission uses to deal with the various political parties has lost its credibility and vigour because it doesn’t seem to be the right tool for peace-making.

Unless our politicians and all those stoking the fire want to tell us that they value their own political ambitions more than national peace and stability, they should halt their negative politics. They should help us work for peace to keep our country together. Election 2012 will definitely be an exercise to deepen our democracy if these politicians don’t turn it into a battleground.

This negative politicking of do-and-die won’t solve our national problems. It is our bounden duty to protect each other and ensure the stability of our country. Let’s talk peace, not war at election time. Elections should help us sort the goats (the bad ones) from the sheep (the good ones who can help us live our lives in decency). We don’t have to die to be able to elect our national leaders!!

More importantly, building Ghana is an imperative that cannot be accomplished through political violence. Ghanaians are aware of their existential problems and don’t need to be instigated to kill each other before solving those problems. They don’t need to be trampled upon either by politicians seeking to fulfill ambitions that may end up worsening their plight.

Happenings over the years have confirmed to Ghanaians that their destinies are in their own hands. They know that national politics has become a goldmine being exploited by those who quickly mount rooftops to proclaim themselves as saviours only to win their mandate to be in power and turn a blind eye to their plight. The evidence is available for one to know that despite all the natural and human resources that the country has, the majority of the people live in excruciating poverty while those with their mandate live in the heaven-on-earth that they have manipulated the system to create for them.

The majority of Ghanaians who suffer privations and don’t even have places of convenience to dispose of their cares and worries don’t need anybody’s prompting to do the unthinkable. At least, if their lives are not to be improved by those put in power by them, they should be left to run their full span on earth.

That is why they must be left alone to make up their own minds as to whom to vote for. They don’t need any subterfuge or threats of death to do so. And that is why tearing the country apart in the process of winning their mandate is the most reprehensible thing anybody will ever do to them. Ghanaians need peace to determine how to solve national problems, working together as one people with a common destiny, not being turned against each other by self-seekers. Let the trouble makers take caution!!

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.