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Opinions Mon, 11 May 2020

Our democracy is in coma

When do you start to speak out? To what extent do you say enough is enough? Many times we are much influenced by our friends, colleagues and those we seek to please to the extent that our thoughts are measured in a way not to affect them.

We mostly seek to praise people irrespective of their actions and the repercussions of the outcomes of whatever they do. In politics, it’s even more pronounced. Once you’re with one political fraternity you dare not deviate from the talking points of the leadership and in worst cases, you dare not speak out if something is wrong.

Uncle Allotey Jacobs is a perfect example. The moment he decided to become objective and started thinking outside of the standardized opposition framework of criticizing and calling the incumbent government out for everything they do, he became a traitor to his own people and fraternity.

A party he has served as a regional chairman and dedicated his life to its service. Now he’s more loved by the NPP than even his own people. When I go through social media, many of his supporters are from the NPP and those calling him traitor are from his own people, the NDC.

Kwabena Agyapong has been on my mind since yesterday, a patriot like no other, someone who dedicated his life to the service of the NPP from grassroots to a leadership position. A pained man, whose father was killed by a regime he hated so much, but later it was the same regime he was accused to be working for.

But there is one thing I know for sure, Kwabena Agyapong is a patriot at heart. He was sidelined because Kwabena wouldn’t succumb to pressure to keep quiet. Kwabena made his own mistakes just like anyone does but Kwabena wasn’t Afoko or Crabbe.

Kwabena was an alone shoulder, left alone in a battlefield and overwhelmed by enemy combatants. His survival was only a matter of time. Our politics has become so dirty that in order to survive you have to be submissive, loyal to bits and proud sycophants; wearing the badge of your political godfathers.

As a country, Ghana has the best democracy anywhere on the continent of Africa. But our democracy is only between our political parties. Within our political parties, democracy is dying or is on the verge of collapse. Many weak party executives, fearing losing intra-party elections, use every means available to them; constitutionally and unconstitutionally, to gag opponents and protect their cronies in so doing.

These have resulted in the churning out of individuals who end up in positions they are not fit to occupy. In places like the Volta and Ashanti regions, which are the strongholds of the NDC and the NPP respectively, you can easily become an MP if you find a way to win over these corrupt party executives. Our problem as a country, will not end until we are able to weed out these corrupt practices in our intra-party politics.

But I’ll ask again, when do you speak out? Do you ask yourself of which food you are going to eat tomorrow before making a judgement or passing comment about something you deem unfit? Or do you just sit by and follow the masses because you don’t want your own people to come for head? Or do you say it as it is? Do you ask questions when you need answers? Or do you just shut up because you’re tired of being singled out of criticizing your own fraternity or deviating from a so-called standard? Life is not always about food, money or fame.

In fact, it’s not even about powering my dear ones. For each of us, our contribution must be felt whilst we are alive and gone. We must stand up for something even if it means losing everything. There are so many of us in this kind of bondage.

They want to speak out against wrongdoings in their political parties but do not have the guts because they fear of losing their daily bread. It’s good to have food every day, but how do you feel if your conscience is compromised? How do you feel when you see wrongdoing but cannot speak up because you’re not free.

I’m not free yet myself, but I’m striving to get there, and I hope very soon I will get there. Harriet Tubman once said ‘ I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves’.
Columnist: Dennis Bempong