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Is partisan politics a blessing or a curse in Africa?

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Tue, 29 Sep 2015 Source: V. Rev. Fr Ignatius Amponsah

Ever since partisan politics was “imposed” on Africa, many African countries have not experienced stable peace and rapid socio-economic development.

Consequently, the unemployment situation in Africa is getting worse and many Africans are getting poorer and poorer.

In view of this worsening unemployment situation, many Africans are fleeing Africa to look for greener pastures in countries that have robust economies. Unfortunately, some of these economic migrants do not reach their desired destinations and die on the high seas. Others are thrown into various prisons.

Apart from depriving Africa of rapid socio-economic development, partisan politics continues to be a source of politically motivated violence, character assassination, blood-shed, vote rigging, malicious lies with the sole aim of making a political opponent unpopular in the eyes of the electorate.

Character of partisan politics in Africa

Partisan politics continues to create unnecessary atmosphere of fear and panic, alarm, chaos, rancour, lawlessness and destructive conflicts. Indeed, the history of partisan politics in Africa is characterised by acrimony and hatred that has indeed marred the relationship between leadership and supporters of the ruling government on one hand and the opposition parties on the other.

Every political observer in Africa knows that when it comes to sharing of political offices, some party members even forget their God momentarily and resort to unapproved methods in order to influence the sharing of positions.

This has sometimes led to unnecessary formation of new political parties.

Because elections deal with choice, they naturally engender opposition, which in itself, needs not be destructive, but in Africa, the reality is that some political power seekers use destructive and dirty means to handle the opposition that elections naturally engender. The rationale appears to be that by destroying the opponent or making the opponent unpopular in the eyes of the electorate one has a better chance of winning.

In view of all the negative appendages of partisan politics that I have enumerated above, it can be said that partisan politics is doing more harm than good to Africa and that it cannot be a source of blessing for Africa. It has indeed failed Africa. All that partisan politics has done and continues to do in Africa is, concentrating wealth in the hands of few people to the detriment of majority of Africans.

The questions that need to be asked are:

1. What is the wisdom in spending millions of dollars to enable the electorate to cast their votes through the ballot box, when at the end of the voting, majority of the electorate cannot make ends meet and also they simply have no access to basic necessities of life such as, constant supply of electricity and good drinking water?

2. What is the sense in spending millions of dollars to fund political parties in Africa when at the end of the day, partisan politics continues to do more harm than good to majority of Africans?

Less expensive partisan politics

Let Africans rise up and proscribe partisan politics and develop a very simple and less expensive system (and not sophisticated system) of electing our political leaders. A system that is home-grown, reflecting an African culture and socio-economic background. I believe very much that we have great men and women in Africa, who can help us achieve this.

I strongly believe that joining long queues to vote during general and district level elections is not necessary at all for rapid socio-economic development of Africa. What Africa needs now is a person who can take advantage of the abundant human and natural resources of Africa and lead or help Africans to liberate themselves from manipulation, exploitation, mental slavery, poverty and misery.

As long as we have a regional or continental, factual, pragmatic and sustainable development plan, political parties and their manifestos are of no use to Africa. All that we need to do as a continent is to make sure that a government in power strictly follows the said plan until parliament decides otherwise.

Let Africa be mindful of the fact that her traditional leaders, such as Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, King of Asanteman of Ghana, and our religious leaders, such as Most Rev. Peter K. Sarpong, Archbishop Emeritus of Kumasi-Ghana, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, were not elected as leaders through the ballot box, yet their achievements for their people are extraordinarily great.

Having access to at least the basic necessities of life, as well as liberation from manipulation, exploitation, mental slavery and misery are the things that Africa needs now and not partisan politics that concentrates wealth in the hands of few people to the detriment of majority of Africans. Let’s do away with partisan politics, if not, we will all live to regret for adopting partisan politics in Africa.

Columnist: V. Rev. Fr Ignatius Amponsah