Opinions Tue, 10 May 2016

The Ghanaian obsession with the political morality of equalization


The New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its leadership recently took to the airwaves to lambast the New Democratic Congress (NDC) and its leadership, in what the it [NPP] officially described as the latter’s abuse of incumbency advantage. But the NPP did not inform the public and its supporters in particular, that incumbency advantage is a constitutionally evolved corollary of executive dominance which, itself, is a direct political progeny of the so-called Indemnity Clause.

The political instrumentation of the Indemnity Clause in its broadest application in the Ghanaian body politic, coming as it is from a uniquely placed personalized context of a popular khakistocratic tradition, has had the subtle approval of every government in the Fourth Republic, that, ironically, refused to do anything about its constitutional expungement in spite of public rhetoric to the contrary.

And, the reason for any lack of political initiative for underwriting this long-overdue question of constitutional expungement is not far from a distant hypothetical question, with very serious and complex implications for an executive character of active moral actuation.

In other words the empowering agency of the Clause, in terms of the execution of executive dominance and partisan advantage, ultimately redounds to the political morality of exemptive relief for whoever that wears the face of incumbency advantage, in the specifics of clear or easily identifiable breaches of political office for personal gain, of not safeguarding or ignoring the imperatives of national security, of kleptomaniacal rape of the national coffers, and so forth.

In that regard, the intrinsic constitutional maneuver which this infamous clausal indemnity offers the political psychology of immunity for that impeachable corruptible and corrupt face of incumbency advantage cannot be gainsaid. The hard question of constitutional intrinsicality therefore devalues the usefulness and importance of consequentialism. This fact is hardly in question.

Rather, the long-term deficits accrued from the balance sheet of gross misuse and misapplication of incumbency advantage translate to generational disease burden of hyperbolic proportions in realistic sociological currencies of mass poverty, underdevelopment, general anomie, corruption, popular anger and frustration, and hatred for bureaucracy.

In point of fact, the debilitating social symptomatology of forsaking the nagging oversight of consequentialism in the practice of political expression, overall, is already not far from clear.

It is both qualitatively and quantitatively measurable. Just take a hard panoramic look around the perimeters of the Fourth Republic!


We have already alluded to the fact that, the political economy of equalization is a popular political and moral language of convenience which our politicians always resort to, when their unacceptable and unconstitutional actions become open books before a fair and competent jurisdiction of public scrutiny and outcry.

Also, political equalization provides meaningful avenues for the political entrenchment of immunity and offers public officials some measure of foreseeable exemption from potential criminal prosecution on the grounds of easily verifiable acts, such as breaching the public trust, by circumventing popular mandate reposed in them by constitutional oversight and popular sovereignty.

But these contentions are merely convenient investments in academic exercise, because the benefits, if any, of historical antecedents and precedents called upon to answer to any grudging indictment of official dereliction, say, may not directly corroborate a given political equalization invocation.

Overall, the overarching reach of political equalization in the body politic makes for serious implications for the moral countenance of the elective franchise, in which case it [political equalization] somehow underwrites the moral corruption of the political process and popular sovereignty, consequently leading to the moral bankruptcy of the popular consciousness which the largely minoritized executive dominance represents in the Fourth Republic.

We are directly referring to the top-down metastatic spread of the political morality of immunity in the body politic of assertive political expression.

It means therefore that the operational context for political equalization is not necessarily an ideological empty space, which is also that it exists, in the particular example of Ghana, in a prominent matrix of internecine duopoly. This convenient description rather paints a simplistic picture in way the hard facts on the ground do not seem to corroborate.

Certainly, there are outliers in this matrix in the form of non-establishment political parties that are not, arguably, assertively reflective of the imperative framology of their moral ideologies.

Obviously, the party that is most heavily capitalized, has unlimited access to media resources, and manages to buy off popular sovereignty via the strategic management and purveyance of Chomskyan manufactured consent and outright bribery ultimately wins the duopolistic sprint, to the exclusion of the outliers. Carpet-crossing seems to be the only avenue for these non-establishment parties to achieve a semblance of mainstream acceptance.

But political equalization, a subtle instantiation of political football, does not effectively afford these non-establishment parties the kind of ideological moral typology they need in order to secure a bold material assertiveness aimed at the acquisition of mainstream leverage in the body politic, perhaps owing to their forced subsumption under a philosophical conflagration of internecine duopoly.

This happening denies them popular influence and audience, somewhat, in the political process, at least from the characterological standpoint of a burning desire for strategic moral assertion in the contextual acquisition of a unique identity of mainstream partisan individuation. As a matter of fact, the palpable absence of mainstream partisan individuation for these non-establishment political organizations also means any prospect for rhetorical normalization of political equalization for them in national political discourse lacks the assertive authority of moral presence.

A more pointed, direct rendering of this line of thinking is that, these non-establishment political institutions seemingly lack the assertive authority of a moral voice in national political discourse, on account of their forced peripherized subservience to mainstream politics, a compromised interjection of sorts in the political process which also assigns them a correspondingly forced status of moral weakness in any discourse having to do with the material praxis of moral ideology in the general context of political actuation.

This does not mean that the muffled moral voice of the non-establishment minority is of no palpable consequence in important matters of national discourse. Quite the contrary. Of course, that muffled voice can push its threshold rhetoric of political cadence to a cacophonous crescendo well past the belly of the duopolistic whale. This fact has been long in materializing.


Evidently, then, both the NPP and the NDC have benefited from the Indemnity Clause and its more direct corollaries—incumbency advantage and executive dominance. This is exactly what Charles Wereko-Brobby, a Chief Policy Analyst at the Ghana Institute of Policy Options (GIPPO), may have meant in part when he made the following straight remarks:

“When people are in opposition, they see every action of the incumbent as tantamount of gaining undue advantage but when they get into power they forget that the rules of engagement have to be very tight so that they do not suffer unduly from the abuse of incumbency advantage.”

This sentiment perfectly summarizes what we shall otherwise call “hypocritical irony” on the part of the NPP. This makes the key partisan players in Ghana’s duopoly spitting images of each other, at least in their operational methodologies vis-à-vis political ideology.

Put differently, there is nothing whatsoever like social democracy and free-market capitalism in Ghana. What we have, rather, is a sham democracy based on a kleptomaniacal duopoly where two major political parties rape the national coffers in turns against the approved backdrop of popular sovereignty. Let us also see what Wereko-Brobby says elsewhere:

“I’ve been part of every single election of the 4th Republic and every single president has found the need to justify why their mandates should be extended. Jerry John Rawlings did it in 1995, President Kufuor did it in 2004 and the late Mills did it in 2012 when he was going round and cutting sods.”

Boom! Bam! Boom!

There they are in indelible black-and-white ink! These memorably invoked historical precedents and antecedents from the brief political history of the Fourth Republic offer, what seems like a lasting disarming technical blow to the sagging jowls of President Mahama’s ahistorical critics from the NPP.

More to the point, and perfectly for our intellectual edification, these criticisms go to the heart of the controversies surrounding President Mahama’s so-called “Accounting to the People” tour.

The moral irony here is again, according to Wereko-Brobby, the part he played in drafting Kufuor’s “So Far So Good” tour which the state funded.

There is a teachable sense of moral egalitarianism in Wereko-Brobby’s measured assessment of that aspect of our shared political history.

Unfortunately, moral egalitarianism may not necessarily hold the seed of redemptive teachability required to overturn the kind of moral decay we see on the Ghanaian political landscape.

Political equalization and its more nuanced correlate or corollary, moral egalitarianism, are therefore merely convenient moral alibis for politicians not to take responsibility for their actions, to sustain immunity, and to avoid the uncomfortable strain of political morality where they [politicians] refuse or fail to do right by their people and the geopolitical jurisdiction they lord over.

These facts are more apparent in the political example of Ghana as, Koku Anyidoho, a leading member of the NDC, recently reminded us (emphasis ours) in the factual likeness of Wereko-Brobby’s informed damning revelations:

“When they [the NPP] prevented people like Kwesi Pratt from appearing on GTV programmes, stop NDC from appearing on Radio Ghana programmes, state media like Graphic and Times will not cover pro-NDC events that is what we call abuse of incumbency…

“Then in 2008 when Peter Mac Manu was the NPP National Chairman, we all saw what happened in this country. The heavy military escort, the sirens, the motorcades, the heavy police escort…He was using state resources to fly to Benin, Cote D’Ivoire and to Burkina Faso to go and creates the impression that he is already the President of Ghana..”


That is really sad, to say the least. Does Ghana, a country at a standstill much like Joshua’s “sun,” not have enough problems on its hands already? We clearly see our politicians using political equalization to abuse the national conscience, to promote mediocrity, and to imprison impunity in the revolving-door of Ghana’s political culture, of internecine duopoly. It cannot get as simple as this!

The fact is that it is high time Ghanaians made their institutions stronger, stronger to the extent they are able to stand on their feet, to wit, “independent” of political interferences. We also have to look closely at this imported nonsensical winner-takes-all kleptomaniacal political system we mistakenly call democracy. What Ghana practices is actually not “democracy.”

Of course “true” democracy does not exist anywhere on this sick planet but that, in itself, is not a justifiable alibi for anyone or group of persons to impose any bootleg political ideology and philosophy on a people who deserve more than better in their social, economic and political lives. Unfortunately, political equalization is far from coming to terms with political equality. This is a lingering conundrum Ghanaians must resolve in order to enable them negotiate the country’s developmental doldrums.

Ghanaians deserve better than these thieving political bootleggers who only know how best to steal and steal and steal and steal…And lie and lie and lie and lie…And destroy and destroy and destroy and destroy every good thing that comes their way by way of abundant natural resources, innovative and creative ideas, good weather and good land, good country, human and social capital!

Well, all these interpartisan and interparty accusations (arguments) and counter-accusations (counter-arguments) incrementally add up to developmental inertia. This sort of endless political football in Ghanaian politics directly plays into the hands of the emotional politics of Boolean algebra:

“Two wrongs make a right!”


Ghanaweb. “Abuse Of Incumbency Claims Against Mahama Flawed—Tarzan.” April 23, 2016.

Ghanaweb. “Accounting tour: Akufo-Addo did worse in 2008—NDC.” April 20, 2016.
Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis