Ghana Needs Some Power Sharing!!

Thu, 30 Jul 2009 Source: Boadi-Danquah, Eugene

In recent years, the continent of Africa has quite often woken up to outdoor the birth of a new but rather serendipitous system of Government. Being unsullied, morally justified and clearly bearing the torch of the last glimpse of hope; it is ironically born out of a brutal struggle, unwarranted abuse and worst of all, bloodshed. Maybe we can be fed with the tranquilizing dose, that ‘good things don’t come easy!’ Maybe not! Not when innocent blood is shed.

The power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe brokered by Ex south African president, Thabo Mbeki; that of Kenya by Mr. Kofi Annan have no doubt proven against all odds to have an ability to calm tensions, focus a country on a National agenda (not a party’s agenda) and foster a more sustainable era of peace and tranquillity. Let us not be hasty to conclude that this does not come with its challenges. In Zimbabwe today, the MDC is perpetually accusing the Mugabe regime of lack of representation in critical matters and also by passing the terms of agreement to implement institutions that are otherwise outside his jurisdiction. In Kenya, where the coalition superficially seems to be working, it has not translated into the lives of ordinary citizens. There is also a quest by supposedly wide-eyed critics who still believe that perpetrators of various degrees of atrocities ought to be brought to book.

But let us also not loose cognisance of the fact that all the key players involved in this system of Government never sought after it. It is a compromise they had to stick to. They never anticipitated having to entertain an opposition’s involvement in their governance, but unfortunately (for them) it was shoved down their throats. Not to make a big case out of nothing, ordinary Kenyans (like Ghanaians) still believe that their richness lies in the peaceful coexistence of all their 42 tribes, with a well balanced leadership; yet their politicians think otherwise. The thought here now is; will that not once again take us to another power sharing? Does that not rather prick our intellect, to institute a system where Governance (not legislature) truly represents the will of the people? Devoid of any imposition of leaders on people whatsoever at whatever level?

In all well established Democracies, Power sharing is the core of their establishment and its enormous contribution to the National Agenda is neither overlooked nor compromised in whatever case. In the US for instance, all states elect their own Governors, based on the same party lines as in a General election. In addition to that, there is the House of representative and the Senate making up the US Congress; who all come from different Political backgrounds, share in different political ideologies and yet come together to forge ahead a National agenda towards the realization of ‘the American dream’. While one may argue rightly that the US is a federation and hence such a system is very well justified, we stand a fair chance of losing thought of the fact that the founding fathers of the American democracy which has robustly stood the test of time could easily in those days have inserted in their constitution, a clause to permit the President to impose on each state who their Governor should be. I bet this would have been a big challenge if the model of the federal system of governance was born out of a sort of what is practised in Ghana today. Permit me to buttress my argument with a more relevant system of Governance to ours, the UK local governance integrated into the Westminster ideology!. A typical example of how ‘disguised’ power sharing is firmly rooted in the build up to established democracies and prosperous countries for that matter; is that of a resident of Fremington in Devon. His local councillor is Rodney Cann (Independent) but the leader of his county council Councillor John Hart (Conservative), still bearing in mind that the Prime Minister of the Kingdom is Gordon Brown (Labour) and the newly elected speaker of the House of Commons is Jon Bercow (Conservative). The entire local government build up celebrates the diversity of political ideologies and exploits its riches for the benefit of ordinary people. If the UK is facing developmental issues because of such a system, then we probably have to consider wiping Ghana off the map of a developing world.

All throughout history, wise men have sought ways and means to tap into the diversity of Political ideologies to benefit ordinary people and to develop a country. That is why as a country, we should bow our head in shame for allowing our treasured human resource to wander about untapped all because of our ‘winner takes-all’ political system which benefits no one. I write with regret of how as a country we wasted 8years not fresh ingenuity by the man who spearheaded the implementation of the VAT scheme only to bring him back when his battery is almost flat and has physically ran out of steam(obviously). I know that if the NDC held control of a few assemblies for the past 8 years, most campaign promises would not have been hypothetical and before our eyes, we could have measured their achievements in their respective assemblies to make more informed electoral choices.

Yet as I write now, 2001 world finance minister of the year who is a full blooded Ghanaian is serving on a board that advises the Government of Liberia on prudent economic policies as well as the indefatigable young man, who approached the management of the central bank of Ghana with timely unyielding energy, is wandering somewhere in Canada, preparing young Canadians to take charge of their economic future.

A balanced system of governance quickly spring a thought up of disbursement of funds and implementing policies because of a perceived string of potential bottlenecks, but let there be no doubt that for a country with a National Agenda, there is no such danger at all. Issues that focus on economic growth, individual welfare, security, health , human rights, education etc flow down through to the local people with no hitch at all; even more efficiently is the manner in which issues that seek not more than the parochial interests of individuals are choked up by one bottleneck or the other along the line. More relevant to such a system is the thought that someone looks over your shoulder at any point in time, so you can only focus on what is right and keep selfish thoughts to yourself.

In all these established democracies and prosperous countries, NO citizen goes to the poll with the slightest anticipation of post-election violence or in some instances vote rigging; because after all in their elections there is always one winner, THE PEOPLE. Let us not be thrown adrift by the sudden unwarranted thought that countries like UK, USA, Canada or Australia are more intelligent than Africans. Definitely NOT! All they live off is the prognosis by their fore bearers and their swift action to institutionalize systems that totally eliminates all agony that could come with the loss of an election; be it how people have to wait years for their good policies to be implemented or how inferior people cannot survive in a competitive world because their honey taps have ran dry.

Ghana’s elections in the past have been free (fair is arguable) but let us ignore how volatile the thought of hungry men could be. Let us not be deceived by the endless praise showered on us for our democracy, which in perspective is hanging by a thread. It only takes one man dissatisfied by the thought of wandering in the political wilderness for 8years (potentially) to call the shot. Our country is no better than Kenya nor Nigeria nor Zimbabwe nor anywhere else that has in the past exploded due to the thought of power drunk, self seekers! Let us not wait for what happened in Kenya or Zimbabwe to take us by a sudden flight. Power sharing is not a compromise to be reached after properties are destroyed or innocent blood is shed; it is a wakeup call that lingers around our corners. We may have in the past let our children and youth down, but this will guarantee their future; that they can live in a country where election of leaders is the least threat to stability. We can make this investment and be rest assured, that its returns can be very little short of perfect. For the stability of our country, prioritizing our National agenda and undoubtedly, peace of mind for generations to come; just as a young Canadian friend said, ‘who worries about who is elected Prime Minister? The job description is the same....carry on our National Agenda’.

Boadi-Danquah (eb00026@surrey.ac.uk)


Columnist: Boadi-Danquah, Eugene