26
MenuWallOpinions
Articles

How do we wrest Ghana from incompetence, Dr. Mensa Otabil? - Part IV

Mon, 22 Feb 2016 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

OTABILIAN SYMBOLISM: AN ORWELLIAN POLITICIAN KNOWN FOR HIS CLEVER POLITICAL, MORAL, PHILOSOPHICAL & SOCIAL INSINUATIONS AND INNUENDOES

It really does not matter in the least whether or not Dr. Otabil delivered his provocative presentation before an audience of entrepreneurs. What matters is that this audience of entrepreneurs could have been made up of members of the NPP, NDC, PPP, CPP, non-partisan politicians, members of the general public, his church and other churches, and what have you.

Our central contention is that he does not need to come before a select group of politicians to make a political statement of sorts. After all, a number of his platitudes of conservative pulpitry are clearly provocatively political in nature, which is also probably because these wolf’s-in-sheep-clothing kind of pastoral corporatists understand the sophisticated language of political diplomacy which they use well to advance their own interests and those of the political class they admire and support in the shadows.

The other point is that there is not always a clear-cut delineation between political entrepreneurship and political careership. The two can sometimes overlap in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Kennedy Agyapong is typifies the two. Neither is there always a clear-cut delineation between pastoral (evangelical) entrepreneurship and political careership. Dr. Otabil typifies this two.

What all these mean entrepreneurs of whatever ideological or business flavor cannot simply get and decide to operate in a vacuum. There are rules, laws, and regulations they have to follow. Most of these set of rules, laws, and regulations are put in place and enforced by the state. We should also remember that “the state” is just like “a corporation” in many ways in that it is made of persons whose behavior are regulated by a set of rules, laws, and regulations. This therefore makes entrepreneurship and corporatism somewhat political.

Of course, Ghana is presently in state of anomie but not necessarily in a nation-state-collapse anarchy where individuals can just get up and simply do as they wish in line with their whims and caprices. So, if Dr. Otabil wants Ghanaian entrepreneurs to take back the country, a view which we wholly support and have argued elsewhere in its favor, then he might as well be prepared to bluntly tell this select audience of the Ghanaian public that they are likely to fail if they go apolitical.

In fact, Dr. Otabil should have directed part of his righteous indignation at the demosclerotic character of our duopolistic parliamentarianism. Our position is that politics is everything on this planet and defines the behavior of human existence. For instance, members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Amish who do not do secular politics are still directly affected by it. Pulpitry, eschatology, and religion as a whole are entirely political in some sense. No human being or group of human beings can afford to overlook this truism which is also a fact of life. Dr. Otabil knows and that is why he enjoys the deployment of political allegory as part of his trademark pulpitry.

What is more, the state itself is beholden to the National Constitution and for this reason alone it cannot do what it likes. Thus, if men like Dr. Otabil want the state to behave a certain way that reflects his political entrepreneurship vision then they must call for a radical constitutional revolution. And not otherwise. After all, we are all technically slaves to the state because we made the laws to instantiate and confirm that slavish relationship. As well, we have made a body of draconian laws that made the state and the winner-takes-all duopoly one and the same entity. We have therefore made the state so powerful that we are just beginning to realize its limitless power.

As a matter of fact Dr. Otabil should understand this complex relationship because, for instance, the only way he can break his relationship with God is if he overthrows the divine authority of God and the Bible. We may call this political blasphemy “divine revolution.” This is what Satan did and set a deterrent precedent for believers of God and the Bible. Let us therefore do something about reducing the limitless constitutive powers of the state and the winner-takes-all duopoly if we want to realize Dr. Otabil’s entrepreneurial revolution. This begins and ends with politics.

It is not otherwise.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We find nothing objectionable with Dr. Otabil’s call to Ghanaians to “demand better of government.” This is exactly what Ghanaians should be doing as a matter of fact. After all, government works better and becomes more proactive if citizens demand accountability of their government. What is not clear, though, is whether Dr. Otabil confused “the state” with “government,” for the two are not necessarily the same. Then there is the question of nation-state. In spite of all these, his provocative remarks, we believe, have set the agenda and tone for the 2016 general elections.

In the final analysis, what we rather find objectionable are his moral hypocrisies, selective politics, and moral inconsistencies. And as to whether the state is “an agent of suffocation” is irrelevant, for he together with Obinim, Owusu-Bempah, Duncan-Williams, Heward-Mills, etc., and our selfish politicians are all agents of suffocation. Their utterances, hypocritical lies, and moral inconsistencies are a major threat to the country’s national security.

For instance, Dr. Otabil should understand why Führer Akufo-Addo wants to establish the Zongo Development Fund which according to him will be “aimed at enhancing infrastructural development in Zongo communities and improving the lives of their residents.” We do not think Dr. Otabil is saying Führer Akufo-Addo is not going to tar and build roads, do nothing when dumsor returns in full swing for whatever reason (s), build schools, hospitals, colleges and universities, etc.

Führer Akufo-Addo has not promised the electorate anything that is fundamentally different from what all politicians, including President Mahama, promise their citizens during election times.

REQUEST: A TASK FOR DR. OTABIL

What leaders like Dr. Otabil should rather do is, helping Führer Akufo-Addo and the leadership of the NPP to craft a more convincing campaign or effective political message that will hopefully endear the NPP to the electorate, a strategy Führer Akufo-Addo has consistently failed to pursue. Thus, running down the NDC and throwing ideological innuendoes at President Mahama are not an effective political strategy, since both the NPP and the NDC are not fundamentally different in terms of their policy indifference to the plight of the masses and national development.

This is not to say Dr. Otabil and the opposition should not hammer home the policy weaknesses and failures of incumbency—far from it. It is rather to say criticism is better for our dubious democracy though we call for it to be done in a non-partisan manner. After all, there is no foreseeable or foreseen guarantee that the NPP is going to do better than or outperform the NDC. Dr. Otabil should also be denouncing violence and intolerance in Ghanaian politics, especially in the NPP.

Predictably, he may do a lot in this area if he lends his moral voice, social intelligence, and charisma to public castigation of attack journalism and partisan journalism.

DR. OTABIL AND THE TASK OF REFORMING THE MODERN CHURCH

No doubt Dr. Otabil is a respected in the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement. But there is so much corruption, lies, emotional quackery, sin, and doctrinal-theological charlatanry in the modern church in Ghana. In fact, there are certain times when one cannot usefully differentiate Christian theology and doctrines from those of Kweku Bonsam’s, although hypocritically righteous proponents of the former are more likely to attack the latter for his theological and doctrinal inventions. What we are seeing in the modern church compels us to come to terms with Max Romeo’s characterization of the church as a “den of thieves.” Romeo sings the following (see the track “Stealing in the Name of Jah”):

“Stealing, stealing, stealing…Stealing in the name of the lord. My father’s house of worship, Has become a den of thieves. Stealing in the name of the lord…Strike the hammer of justice, And set my people free, Or let my people go…They tell us of a heaven. Stealing in the name of the lord…Yet the reverend drives a fancy car, Buys everything tax-free, The people have to sacrifice; to give in charity…Stealing in the name of the lord…”

This is why those like Dr. Otabil who have taken it upon themselves to sanitize the immoral landscape of secular politics should also try to do the same in the church. This was what Christ actually meant when he said: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beame out of thine owne eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brothers eye.” Bob Marley had renditions of this Christological statement in “Judge Not”: “So before you point your fingers, be sure your hands are clean” as well as in “Could You Be Loved”: “So while you point your fingers someone else is judging you.”

Thus we shall follow the moral advice of Culture’s track “Jah Alone A Christian,” to say that we will cease to be too hard on Dr. Otabil, since only God is a true “Christian,” and as none of us is perfect and as we strive for perfection. At this point let us pause for a moment and listen to Culture’s Joseph Hill as he sings: “So it is Jah, I tell you is Jah, only Jah alone, Jah alone a Christian. So it's Jah, don't believe it, Jah, a only jah alone, Jah alone a Christian…If you think them a Christian, Wait until them see a thousand dollars, Them say no hair no grow in my palm. And when darkness come down, Them make some ridiculous move, which, Jah alone can understand…If you think them a Christian, Wait until them feel sexy, And catch sister Lorna in them car. And then the emotional feelings, Which encourages the devil, which, Jah alone can understand…”

Obviously, these questions are more complex than Dr. Otabil’s more simplistic Christian corporatism and political Biblicism. He should thus understand that Ghana is neither a Christian theocracy nor a polity whose power of geopolitical existence derives from statist caesaropapism. It is possible that changing the kind of executive leadership we have in Ghana via constitutional revolution could go a long way to reverse some of the negative effects of demosclerosis the country is suffering from.

A WORD OF ADVICE TO THE ELECTORATE

All those concerned with the current state of things in Ghana should watch out for the paradox of participation setting in as nation’s nonpartisan democracy induces voter apathy in the electorate in the foreseeable future.

Church goers and the electorate alike should take advantage of the radical lyrical political morality of Bob Marley’s and Peter Tosh’s “Get Up, Stand Up,” which Amnesty International has successfully done with the song, and consider changing the country for the better as Dr. Otabil has charged the citizens of Ghana to do. Of course, we also agree with him that citizens should “demand better of government.” This is not necessarily an original calling attributable to him. It is within the constitutional and natural rights of citizens to “demand better of government.”

We should do to these to our charlatan and thieving pastors just as we should in the case of our cold-blooded kleptocrats. Parts 1 and Part 2 of Mutabaruka’s “The People’s Court” deal with both questions. Part 1 deals with the fate of corrupt politicians and Part 2 deals with the fate of religious corruption and charlatanry. If we recall Mutabaruka told Anita Erskine on the Starr Drive Friday: “We need a new crop of politicians in Africa because none of the leaders in Africa right now is helping to move Africa forward, they [are] selling off Africa…”

Fundamentally, this caustic commentary could represent an excellent summary of what Dr. Otabil had wanted to say, a view he enunciated poorly in our view. In other words, he has raised the bar for quality, patriotic, and conscionable politics. This is because Dr. Otabil, like the great Kwame Nkrumah, does not accept “black” mediocrity. We therefore may have to pay close attention to his social, moral, and political wisdom.

Finally, Robert Woode, one of Dr. Otabil’s colleagues and friends, makes a powerful case for the nonpareil achievements of Nkrumah and his legacy in the book “Third World to First World—By One Touch: Economic Repercussions of the Overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.” Dr. Otabil may be speaking to Ghana and Africa from the pages of Woode’s insightful and observations.

CONCLUSION

In the final analysis, it is our submission that Dr. Otabil’s kind of vague revolution and selective political outrage (or righteous indignation) have no chance of ever achieving this feat, even as we make the case that Ghana’s present duopolistic nonpartisan democracy cannot initiate the sort of constitutional revolution we have in mind. Namely, our winner-takes-all duopolistic statism has no future for the development and growth of Ghana. Neither can Dr. Otabil’s political theology. Still Bob Marley was right when he sang on the track “Revolution” that “It takes a revolution to make a solution…Never make a politician grant you a favour…They will always want to control you forever.”

Dr. Otabil may as well exemplify Bob’s two last statements. We leave readers with Peter Tosh’s “Pass it On” nonetheless: “What your hands do. It's your own eyes that see. So won't you judge you're actions, to make sure the results are clean? It's your own conscience that is gonna remind you. That it's your heart and nobody else's that is gonna judge. Be not selfish in your doings. Pass it on. Help your brothers in their needs. Pass it on. Live for yourself—you will live in vain. Live for others—you will live again. In the kingdom of Jah Man shall reign. Pass it on…”

Reference

Ghanaweb. “What Ghanaians Can Learn from Pope Francis 2.” August 13, 2015.

Ghanaweb. “We have to wrest Ghana from incompetence—Otabil.” Sourced from Classfmonline.com. February 17, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “Gov’t has no business doing business—Otabil.” Sourced from Classfmonline.com. February 17, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “Don't be happy with tarred roads, electricity—Otabil to Ghanaians.” Sourced from Graphic.com.gh. February 17, 2016.

Masoud Movahed. “The East Asian Miracle: Where Did Adam Smith Go Wrong?” Harvard International Review. October 26, 2014.

Ghanaweb. “Otabil is A Threat To National Security—NDC.” Sourced from Graphic.com.gh. February 18, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “I’ll Establish Zongo Dev’t Fund—Akufo-Addo.” Sourced from Graphic.com.gh. February 16, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “African Leaders Are Selling off Africa—Mutabaruka.” Sourced from Starrfmonline. February 13, 2016.

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis