The Pharisees of Ghana politics are at it again

Thu, 2 Feb 2012 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Monday, January 30, 2012

I am in the mood to poke an expensive fun at those in the NPP who are hopping about condemning President Mills and wringing their hands in desperation that Election 2012 is taking too long to dawn for them to kick him out of office and inject their Akufo-Addo therein. They already have a tall list of what they see as President Mills’ failures, which they are brandishing about all over the place to cause disaffection for him.

I call them the Pharisees of Ghana politics, and by their fruit will we know them. I have no doubt in my mind that the Pharisees are not restricted to the religious world of the Christian Bible alone. They are everywhere, including Ghana, where they are noticeable in national politics too.

The NPP has just launched its Election 2012 campaign, casting it in the fluff of spirituality and seeking the face of God to lead it to the citadel of milk and honey. Indeed, its followers seem to know that there is a God who rules supreme in their political affairs and want to commit their aspirations to his care. Let’s see how their politicking will reflect the guidance of this fount of spiritual authority and how it all pans out for them at Election 2012.

They’ve all suddenly discovered their Christian, Muslim, and other religious inner selves to be in communion with the God who appoints rulers. Let it be said loud and clear that such faiths are meant to be lived, not professed by word of mouth. They are a lifestyle, not an endless series of glib Biblical quotations to support elf-serving purposes.

I know it for a fact that seeking God’s intervention in human affairs is nothing strange. We’ve all ever handed over our difficult problems to God and sought consolation therefrom. As is characteristic of the human being, however, the distance between him/her and God can widen or narrow, depending on the exigency that connects both. Usually, though, the one who recovers from sickness forgets God.

Oftentimes, we are told that Heaven helps those who help themselves. Such is the NPP’s cause. Helping oneself means knowing how to live a “clean” life to be able to merit Heaven’s intervention, anyway. In our kind of politics, being “clean” means avoiding anything that will contaminate the body politic—insults, malicious lies, murderous acts, buying of voters’ consciences through material inducements, and making “huhudious” promises, among others.

Will these politicians make it “clean” to merit God’s intervention? Or descend into the gutter only to come out and pretend to be still “clean”? Mocking God, then?

These are the Pharisees of Ghana politics, the overly self-righteous “interrectuals” who pride themselves on self-constituted superiority as the only group of people destined to rule Ghana. These are the latter-day saints who are adept at removing the mote from others’ eyes but care less about the beam in their own eyes. Certainly, when the history of this period comes to be written, they will be given prominent attention, the calculating hypocrites that they are!

These were the very people who repudiated President Mills’ house-to-house campaign method, publishing all kinds of derogatory comments about him. Stunned by the outcome of the 2008 elections, and realizing their foolery, they’ve turned full circle to go for that very electoral campaign method, couching it under the self-deceptive slogan of “Listening” tours, which Akufo-Addo is using in the hope of closing the gap between him and the electorate.

Now, they know that sitting in their ivory tower of self-righteousness will not change matters for the better for them at Election 2012 and have descended to embark on “Listening” tours among the masses. These are the Pharisees of Ghana politics in action, returning to their own vomit to lick it. These are the political dogs of Ghana politics, I daresay. It is only a dog that returns to eat its vomit, if they care to know why I have characterized them as such.

I am being blunt, not because I want to disrespect them or launch scathing verbal attacks on them because I don’t like them, but because I want them to know what we know about them. Such characters can’t have anything special with which to solve Ghana’s problems. Wolves in sheep’s clothing!

I recall all the damaging noise they made against President Mills when it came to light that he was a member of TB Joshua’s Synagogue. They were the critics who jumped on President Mills when he declared his Christian bent and sought to place God in charge of his life. They were very quick to descend heavily on him for declaring a National Day of Prayers, describing him as incompetent and hiding his incompetence behind the Bible.

Today, they are unashamedly pursuing God to intervene in their political quests. They are out on the streets, chapels, and mosques (or even shrines), seeking the face of God (and who-knows-which-other-mediums?) to ensure their electoral victory.

In all that they do, God sees through all that sham and will pronounce his verdict in the fullness of his own time. I am waiting patiently for the outcome of the 2012 elections to have a hearty laugh.

The crucial issue to consider is not whether President Mills will lose the elections to Akufo-Addo. I am more particular about the agenda for national development. We have already seen what the NDC (both under Rawlings and President Mills) and NPP (under Kufuor) could do or failed to do, which is why the country hasn’t made any significant progress at the economic front despite the political stability, peace, and tranquility, not to mention the abundant natural resources at the disposal of the various governments.

A careful assessment of the situation will help us know that the systemic problems hindering our development efforts cannot be solved if voters continue electing leaders, based on allegiance to political parties and ethnicity. As set up, our political system provides room for only those who will follow the political party’s manifesto for national development, regardless of other approaches that may even be more beneficial.

We can tell from the pronouncements of Akufo-Addo that his so-called vision for Ghana is no vision at all. It is just part of the agenda that has been partly implemented by Kufuor, which itself is a photocopy of previous development agenda that didn’t help solve the country’s problems.

Apart from the heavy presence of promises and a rehashed version of Kufuor’s social interventionist programmes, what is new about the development agenda that he has up his sleeves?

It has been very easy for the NPP to find fault with the Mills-led government and to use these failures as the prompt for determining what it will do differently if given the mandate to rule. The Mills government is stumbling along, having itself relied on the measures its functionaries had identified before winning the 2008 elections as a result of Kufuor’s failures.

The reality, however, is that not until the system itself is drastically revamped and Ghanaians re-oriented toward seeing national development in a wider scope than banking all their hopes on the President at the helm of affairs, these measures will achieve nothing to make a future NPP government the rescuer of Ghana.

I am being snide here for a good reason. Until I see a drastic departure from this kind of politics going on in Ghana, I have my doubts whether Akufo-Addo can make any difference. I have already said that from the look of things, he is only setting himself up for difficult times ahead. Having begun raising hopes in the people, it seems he is drawing the powder keg close to himself.

I know Ghanaians for what they are. Let him win the elections and it won’t take long for them to begin goring him as they’ve done to all our leaders since independence. On this score, I hope that the recourse to the spiritual realm for solution to physical existential problems will not create more problems for these Pharisees of Ghana politics than they can solve. I will continue monitoring the situation to see how they sustain this spirituality as a means to break even at the polls.

In all honesty, though, I wonder whether a Pharisee is fit to enter Heaven, having already erected barriers in front of himself on this earth. The eye of the needle isn’t far off. We will wait to see how the Pharisees of Ghana politics will pass through it in their bid to enter the Osu Castle (or is it Kufuor’s Jubilee House?).

My hope is that they won’t behave like the one-eyed man who thanks God only when he comes across the person who is totally blind!

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.