Is our democracy breeding political jokers?

Sun, 11 Feb 2007 Source: Nketiah, Seth

Imagine this:

“Boy: Dad, what's politics?

Dad: Let me set an example with our family. I have all the money so we'll call me the management. Mom receives most of it so we'll call her the government. We'll call the maid the working class, you are the people, and your baby brother is the future. Do you understand now son?

Boy: I still don't understand dad.

Dad: Think about it for a while son.

That night the boy wakes up because his baby brother is crying. He goes in and finds out he's soiled his diapers. He goes to tell his mom but she's asleep he goes in to the maid’s room but she's in there having sex with his dad. He bangs on the door but no one can hear him.

The next day...

Son: Dad I understand politics now.

Dad: Good, explain it to me in your own words son.

Son: The management is screwing the working class while the government's fast asleep. The people are being ignored and the future is full of SHIT!” (http://www.4jokes.net/political).

So imagine having real jokers in such a situation- a clear description of what politics in our society is about. The net effect is just a disaster and doom.

The worst democracy, they say is better than any fine military or authoritarian government. This shows the power of a democratic government. At least the society enjoys participation, freedom of choice, free speech, fair competition, and all that make democracy the finest system of governance. Thank God that is the system in place today for our dear Ghana.

But is our democracy not breeding political jokers who can fall fast asleep when needed or those who are only interested in screwing the ordinary voiceless and vulnerable, while the ‘people’ are ‘ignored’ and the future living in hopelessness and bleakness? I think that is the case!

My concern here is about the way people ‘confidently’ jump into political leadership without any sense of “checking their lives” to see how they fit into the challenges of effective political leadership.

People seem to forget so soon why Dr Ako-Adjei, in spite of his leadership prowess recommended Dr Nkrumah into the UGCC as the General Secretary. To me, it signifies a mature sense of realization that one’s capabilities are at times limited when it comes to certain tasks. In that sense you do not need people’s vote to tell you, you are not worth what you are dreaming of. Wouldn’t Dr Ako-Adjei, in spite of our attitude of forgetting our heroes, be happy if he had been credited as the leader of our independence? So would have been for the other big six.

Surely he would have, but he realized Nkrumah can do the job better. The way Paa Grant financed Nkrumah’s trip back home and the support the other members gave him on his involvement as an ‘outsider’ until the 1948 riot, which aroused the suspicion and wrath of the colonial government, and the subsequent confusion within the rank and file of the UGCC was simply a class.

Take how PC Dombo gave his ‘rightful seat’ to Dr Busia and how Dr Limann became the head of PNC. It takes genius with character to do that.

This lack of realization and support for the ‘best among equals’ within our political structure is what is breeding jokers into our democratic system.

In Ghana today, it takes just access to government corridors and the media start chasing you for ‘matters of importance’. Give yourself a time and you can be convinced that you are a presidential material. If we were to just assess some people based on their influence on the first 20 people close to them, there is no way we will even give them nomination forms for application to contest a party’s candidacy. Yet because of democracy such people have their chest out there, and making headlines.

It is good the constitution determines the age for such position, otherwise we will be flooded with many disgruntled youth in such process. But who blames them?

We are living in a society in which there is no attempt by so called ‘democrats’ to support democracy through effective engineering, structuring and functioning of political parties across our societies. Parties are only seen to be necessary during elections. Unfortunately, the way government structures are run is a reflection of our haphazard attitude to organizing our political parties.

The exponential growth in our presidential race is an indication that, very soon we will be producing more politicians with presidential ambitions than doctors. Why? Because in the case of doctors we shall have brain drain where as there is nothing like a political brain drain. As a society it is time we looked at the issue of leadership and succession within our political structures very serious if we are to give meaning to democracy.

Democracy is about common sense. And as a developing society we cannot allow such common sense to elude us just because in democracy we are free to decide what is best for us. Who can be more democrat than Paul, the servant of Jesus Christ? Yet he taught us a common sense that we have the liberty for everything but not everything is/will be good for us. That is our limit and we cannot dispute that!

Is presidential ambition the only way forward for us to show how patriotic we are? If so, then seriously we have a big problem the consequence of which, to me, is deadly than the scourge of AIDS? If we are not breeding ‘politically AIDS’ human resources then I do not know what it is.

If the political parties are not supporting corruption then I don’t know. Looking at the nomination fee (not forgetting the resources involved in campaign proper), and the fact that no serious person who thinks positively about the future of Ghana will contribute a pesewa towards some of such ‘presidential materials’, yet they are adamant in contesting and can afford the resource involved, then it raises a big question about how such resources are gotten.

I strongly believe we, as a society, deserves better. As such we need to be assertive and committed into building our political parties in such a way that, we not only allow proper process in the leadership selection process but we will build and nurture a firm and strong succession and leadership network without jeopardizing our beliefs in democracy and our parties’ vision.

This is the only way we can put a stop into the creeping of ‘democratic political jokers’ into the corridors of our democratic dispensation before they turn out to be a cancer difficult to cure in years to come.

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

Columnist: Nketiah, Seth