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Political responsibility, patriotism and partisanship are not mutual enemies

NPP Rally 4 An NPP rally

Tue, 26 Feb 2019 Source: Collin Essamuah

With all that we have gone through since the return to constitutional rule in 1993, I have been wondering whether the widely assumed conflict between these three lofty ideals are not the root cause of our problems today.

The idea of a usable sense of duty to the nation is lost in the condemnation of partisanship which leaves out our love of Ghana stranded on the lonely beach of unfulfilled promises.

We are gradually but surely diminishing ourselves as citizens with rights and responsibilities in the confusion over the relevance of these ideals to effective, responsive politics in our country.

It is certainly not partisanship which is to blame for our inability to make our governments and institutions of state to work effectively.

Anyone who says so is a shameless supporter of the ridiculous concept of Union Government, or the one party state outlawed by our Constitution.

We all cannot think and behave alike. Screaming that we must think and behave alike will find no universal support.

It is not our lack of patriotism which is our bane.

It is rather the lack of a sense of duty to the public welfare which is crippling our efforts to build for ourselves, a nation we can be proud of.

This lack, carefully cultivated in our political leaders, lies at the root of our problems.

Party support

Belonging to a party, or professing support for one, is a legitimate legal and constitutional duty to enable our democracy work.

But you hear and read daily from feckless politicians and ridiculous journalists that so and so is too partisan.

Without partisanship, we cannot mobilise ourselves to do anything national or meaningful in our country.

Here, the need for partisanship is critical to the meaning we give to divergent opinions as a foundation for democracy.

To accuse a politician of being partisan is not revealed truth but a clear attempt to suppress divergence of opinion on national matters.

We confuse and conflate partisanship with lack of a sense of duty to perform one’s duty.

The political animal is first and foremost a citizen who ordinarily has responsibilities towards fellow citizens.

Refusing to perform one’s duty on the altar of partisanship is irresponsibility, not partisanship. Which brings us to the frequently abused word, patriotism.

Columnist: Collin Essamuah