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The Jawula Wahala: Much Ado about Nothing

Wed, 6 Aug 2008 Source: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

I have read with amusement the tiff and splenetic effusions over Jawula partisan declarations. Is this really an issue to molt over? Unless I’m missing some of the details, I just don’t see the need for the moan and groan. Was Mr Chief Juwula on government time when he made his pronouncements? The man is supposed to have shown his partisan teeth even though he is a civil servant. Frankly, I don’t really see what the huff and puff is about. There is nothing to be gained by going after Jawula. It surely does not put food on the table nor does it enhance anything. My deepest worry would come from a situation where Jawula is engaging in partisan politics on government time. Even so, do Kufour and his coterie not use government time and resources for partisan business all the time? Who is checking? Is the ministry of information not the mouthpiece of the NPP as we speak? Did Rawlings and his phalanx not do the same? Are people not in church praying as we speak when they should be in the office? The use of government time and resources for personal or partisan gain is endemic in our culture and unless we attack it system wide, this cherry picking will not amount to a hill of beans.
Don’t get me wrong! I am not supporting the use of government resource for private ends. Not at all!! However, we’ve allowed an illegality to become a convention and now we cry over a garden variety trespass? We can’t continue to send mixed messages even as we weep for change. If the man is supposed to be in the office but is out campaigning, then he deserves an earful. Even so, the civil service guidelines should state specifically what should happen to him. However, if Mr Jawula, the civil servant, gets off work and decides to wear the colors of his party inside out and outside in, why the wahala? Civil servants are citizens and have every right to be politically active. It is absolute nonsense and impractical to tell civil servants that they can’t engage in politics publicly. In a country where government is the main employer and the only game in town, what sense does make to shut off Civil Servants from politics? In every democracy, the citizens who happen to be Civil Servants engage in politics. Even key appointments are made on political basis!! As far as I am concerned, all Civil Servants should be able to engage in politics so long as they are on their own time. How hard or soft they do that should be nobody’s bloody business!
Our constitution does the same thing with chiefs. We know that chiefs are partisan. In fact, recently, a queen mother in Kumasi predicted openly that the NPP will win the upcoming elections. There is nothing new here to worry about. I think we waste our time trying to legislate or implement bad laws. How can you stop a committed partisan from acting? Would you rather they act covertly? Why not rather make it easy for them to act openly so everyone will see where they stand? I would rather have chiefs come out and taste meritocratic democracy instead of hiding in their dingy palaces and orchestrating political activity. Get them in the arena so we can see if they are really made of sterner stuff. Have we not noticed certain chiefs acting as if they were elected politicians? What can we do about it? I would rather have chiefs in the ring so we can go at them instead watching them act as politicians even though they are not allow to. The constitution has created an untenable and impractical situation that must be corrected. Let the chiefs run for office and campaign for their candidate of choice. These chiefs do what they like anyway so why waste precious little resources trying to hem them away from inviting politics? Let me say this, Chiefs are glorified tribal heads and that is the God awful truth. So long as our politics is based on tribal calculations, chiefs will remain a key part of it. No amount of legislation can stop that. And politicians like Kufour know and understand this reality very well.
Even as we grapple with this hypocritical provision of the constitution, every politician continues to beat a path to the chief’s palace. Why do politicians continue to flock to chiefs if they are not supposed to be in politics? What do they want from these chiefs? For example, if a politician wants votes and he or she runs to Nana’s palace, can Nana deliver the votes without being partisan? And how does Nana tell his people to vote for a particular party if he is not partisan? And you think Nana does not know what punishment or reward awaits him if his district votes one way or the other? Ask those chiefs who have been shunned by Kufour! Until they deliver the votes, they have nothing coming! In Ghana, the politics of vindictiveness is salubriously alive and virulently well. Do you think the Abudu and Adani tug in the Ya-Na scandal is not addled by partisan politics? What about the Ga Mantse situation? Is it not partisan? Is the Anlo situation not partisan as we speak? When will we replace phoniness with crocodile strength realism?
My friends, let us not waste our time on bad laws crafted with perhaps good intentions. We can’t legislate every situation into what we want. We must not act as if a hammer is the only tool we have and therefore, every problem is a nail. Sometimes being practical is the best way to deal with these nagging issues. Our Civil Servants, so long as they are human beings and belong to a tribe, will be partisan. There is not much we can do about the latter. Partisanship has its rewards and of course pain in Ghana. Our chiefs are partisan whether we like it or not. Let us free them to rightfully be a part of the political process. When we pay them to be Civil Servants, let is make sure they don’t use our time or resources for partisan activities. Since our chiefs are above the law and they don’t have working hours, heck, they might as well do as they please. Why worry or beat our sorry heads over such uncontrollable issues? It sure ain’t worth the persiflage that it is getting. Our cathexis on this issue is wrong headed. We need a dose of realism. I hope those charging after Jawula are not being just as partisan as he was. And the man must not lose his job for being honest about his partisanship. Sacking him will be an awfully sad event. He has a family to feed and this is way too trivial. It says nothing about his competence! Give the man a break!!
Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Also known as the double edge sword)
AKYERE@aol.com
I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell. Harry Truman

I have read with amusement the tiff and splenetic effusions over Jawula partisan declarations. Is this really an issue to molt over? Unless I’m missing some of the details, I just don’t see the need for the moan and groan. Was Mr Chief Juwula on government time when he made his pronouncements? The man is supposed to have shown his partisan teeth even though he is a civil servant. Frankly, I don’t really see what the huff and puff is about. There is nothing to be gained by going after Jawula. It surely does not put food on the table nor does it enhance anything. My deepest worry would come from a situation where Jawula is engaging in partisan politics on government time. Even so, do Kufour and his coterie not use government time and resources for partisan business all the time? Who is checking? Is the ministry of information not the mouthpiece of the NPP as we speak? Did Rawlings and his phalanx not do the same? Are people not in church praying as we speak when they should be in the office? The use of government time and resources for personal or partisan gain is endemic in our culture and unless we attack it system wide, this cherry picking will not amount to a hill of beans.
Don’t get me wrong! I am not supporting the use of government resource for private ends. Not at all!! However, we’ve allowed an illegality to become a convention and now we cry over a garden variety trespass? We can’t continue to send mixed messages even as we weep for change. If the man is supposed to be in the office but is out campaigning, then he deserves an earful. Even so, the civil service guidelines should state specifically what should happen to him. However, if Mr Jawula, the civil servant, gets off work and decides to wear the colors of his party inside out and outside in, why the wahala? Civil servants are citizens and have every right to be politically active. It is absolute nonsense and impractical to tell civil servants that they can’t engage in politics publicly. In a country where government is the main employer and the only game in town, what sense does make to shut off Civil Servants from politics? In every democracy, the citizens who happen to be Civil Servants engage in politics. Even key appointments are made on political basis!! As far as I am concerned, all Civil Servants should be able to engage in politics so long as they are on their own time. How hard or soft they do that should be nobody’s bloody business!
Our constitution does the same thing with chiefs. We know that chiefs are partisan. In fact, recently, a queen mother in Kumasi predicted openly that the NPP will win the upcoming elections. There is nothing new here to worry about. I think we waste our time trying to legislate or implement bad laws. How can you stop a committed partisan from acting? Would you rather they act covertly? Why not rather make it easy for them to act openly so everyone will see where they stand? I would rather have chiefs come out and taste meritocratic democracy instead of hiding in their dingy palaces and orchestrating political activity. Get them in the arena so we can see if they are really made of sterner stuff. Have we not noticed certain chiefs acting as if they were elected politicians? What can we do about it? I would rather have chiefs in the ring so we can go at them instead watching them act as politicians even though they are not allow to. The constitution has created an untenable and impractical situation that must be corrected. Let the chiefs run for office and campaign for their candidate of choice. These chiefs do what they like anyway so why waste precious little resources trying to hem them away from inviting politics? Let me say this, Chiefs are glorified tribal heads and that is the God awful truth. So long as our politics is based on tribal calculations, chiefs will remain a key part of it. No amount of legislation can stop that. And politicians like Kufour know and understand this reality very well.
Even as we grapple with this hypocritical provision of the constitution, every politician continues to beat a path to the chief’s palace. Why do politicians continue to flock to chiefs if they are not supposed to be in politics? What do they want from these chiefs? For example, if a politician wants votes and he or she runs to Nana’s palace, can Nana deliver the votes without being partisan? And how does Nana tell his people to vote for a particular party if he is not partisan? And you think Nana does not know what punishment or reward awaits him if his district votes one way or the other? Ask those chiefs who have been shunned by Kufour! Until they deliver the votes, they have nothing coming! In Ghana, the politics of vindictiveness is salubriously alive and virulently well. Do you think the Abudu and Adani tug in the Ya-Na scandal is not addled by partisan politics? What about the Ga Mantse situation? Is it not partisan? Is the Anlo situation not partisan as we speak? When will we replace phoniness with crocodile strength realism?
My friends, let us not waste our time on bad laws crafted with perhaps good intentions. We can’t legislate every situation into what we want. We must not act as if a hammer is the only tool we have and therefore, every problem is a nail. Sometimes being practical is the best way to deal with these nagging issues. Our Civil Servants, so long as they are human beings and belong to a tribe, will be partisan. There is not much we can do about the latter. Partisanship has its rewards and of course pain in Ghana. Our chiefs are partisan whether we like it or not. Let us free them to rightfully be a part of the political process. When we pay them to be Civil Servants, let is make sure they don’t use our time or resources for partisan activities. Since our chiefs are above the law and they don’t have working hours, heck, they might as well do as they please. Why worry or beat our sorry heads over such uncontrollable issues? It sure ain’t worth the persiflage that it is getting. Our cathexis on this issue is wrong headed. We need a dose of realism. I hope those charging after Jawula are not being just as partisan as he was. And the man must not lose his job for being honest about his partisanship. Sacking him will be an awfully sad event. He has a family to feed and this is way too trivial. It says nothing about his competence! Give the man a break!!
Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Also known as the double edge sword)
AKYERE@aol.com
I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell. Harry Truman

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka