By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
February 17, 2011
Events happening in the country these days suggest that the political waters are still muddy. Indications are clear that despite calls that our politicians shouldn’t do what will cause mayhem, they are yet to listen to reason. There seems to be a calculated attempt by these politicians to do what will create tension in the country and threaten our democracy. Those who think that the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo’s “ALL DIE BE DIE” malarkey is an innocuous utterance had better think clearly. In the same vein, those in the NDC who are misconducting themselves in diverse ways just because it is their party that is in power had better recant because they will definitely not be spared when the tide turns against them. Our politics is still dirty—very dirty!
The vitriolic reaction to Akufo-Addo’s infamous “all die be die” vituperation (with its associated ethnic poison) and the desperate attempts by the NPP functionaries to support him stand out as a clear manifestation of the extent to which the dirt has accumulated. This kind of belligerence is nauseating, especially when it doesn’t promise to provide any policy measures for solving national problems. Akuffo-Addo hasn’t been able to suggest any single measure by which to solve national problems and is adding insult to injury by playing the ethnic card already as his trump-card for the elections. What a waste!
I have heard too much about this senseless call-to-mayhem from Akufo-Addo, disguised as a motivation to the NPP’s followers not to allow themselves to be intimidated by the NDC. In any civilized political climate, no Flagbearer of a political party will insist that saying “all die be die” is a harmless statement—and go ahead to support their stance that some elements of the NDC had also made similar utterances as if any two wrongs would ever make right.
Additionally, no group of political activists who cherish peace, stability, and national well-being will rush to the defence of such a misguided utterance. That the NPP’s followers haven’t seen anything threatening about Akuffo-Addo’s utterance—and have therefore supported him to the hilt—tells me how desperate they are to return their party to power. Unfortunately for them, though, political power is won by means other than plain belligerence and rabble-rousing. I leave that matter here. But the problem doesn’t end here.
Another issue that must be condemned is what happened in Parliament today when President Mills did not give respect to former President Kufuor and Georgina Wood (the Chief Justice) when he delivered the State of the Nation address. It is indeed unpardonable for President Mills to do so and no one should try to explain away the situation as a mere “error.” President Mills failed to use the opportunity to reach out to those who mattered; and he must not only apologize but ensure that he doesn’t do what will further deepen the political divide and set a bad example in leadership. Yet again, his claim of “Asomdwehene” or “Father-for-all-Ghanaians” hasn’t been confirmed by reality, at least, in this case.
From another angle, the refusal of the Minority Leader to accompany President Mills out of the Chamber of Parliament is the height of misconduct that must be roundly condemned. Indeed, considering the utterances that Kyei-Mensah made as he condemned President Mill’s address as the “moist divisive” he had ever heard, I am not left in any shred of doubt that he is a very good example of a very bad public office holder being supported by the sweat and toil of ordinary Ghanaians to do what will advance national interests. He comes across as unnecessarily embittered and is a disgrace to our democracy.
I have said it several times and will continue to do so that those we have put in charge of our national affairs in most sectors are not fit to be where they are. Our politicians are the worst and must bow their heads in shame. They are more interested in causing trouble than using their good offices to make peace. For our democracy to succeed, we need peace-makers, not trouble-makers of the kind that we have in our midst. It seems that our politics is not maturing as expected, which is worrisome.
I wonder why these politicians think that it is only when they create needless tension that their presence will be felt. There are better things to do with the people’s mandate than what we have so far had from them. As we move toward the heat of the electioneering period, I caution our politicians to hasten slowly. They shouldn’t deceive themselves that it is only when they become bellicose and wayward that the electorate will appreciate their worth (or worthlessness?). The current situation portends worse times ahead, which Ghanaians must be wary of. We must not allow these politicians to continue sowing the seed of our doom. If we fail to do rein them in, we will live to regret the repercussions.
In any political-historical context, every misguided political action (or inaction), tension, or conflict has the tendency to evoke more violence in reaction and those who initiate the action are normally not the ones who reap the fruit of the more violent reaction or destruction. They are masters in the art of chicanery for survival and they have always emerged almost unscathed. They are people who have created safe havens elsewhere to which they run into. The NPP’s Kennedy Agyapong said some years ago that he had his American Green Card on him and would not find it difficult relocating to the United States if anything “explosive” happened in the country. There are many more like him who are running about setting up pockets of tension in the country but will definitely know how to survive.
It is the common man who knows little or nothing of the on-goings and who certainly gains nothing from the appointments or the perquisites of political office enjoyed by these politicians who suffers. It is the common man who allows himself to be hoodwinked by those politicians who suffers. It is these politicians who use the benefits of their political offices as cannon fodder and expendable material for the attainment and sustenance of power, wealth, and prosperity who profit from the tension that engulfs the country. These are the politicians who have begun inciting the common people and setting the stage for political violence. Why must anyone, then, die for the Ghanaian politician?
Our leaders must eschew bitterness and violence, learn that no individual or section has a monopoly of violence and that one action of violence evokes greater and more destructive violent reaction, the magnitude of which can never be imagined in advance. In the end, the law of retributive justice catches with the perpetrators of bitterness, violence, and destruction. This lesson may be difficult but it must be learnt.
Those who have begun sounding the alarm bells and making utterances to deepen ethnic differences and political rivalry cannot fool anybody. From what has happened so far, it is clear that some politicians cannot survive in a calm and stable environment. Thus, they must muddy the water and incite public anger against those they see as impediments to their ambition to walk the corridors of power.
In their madness, they forget that when they get to power, the very people on whose backs they rode to office would turn round to call for their “crucifixion” at the least prompting—whether by unfulfilled campaign promises or through the realization that once they were responsible for making those leaders what they are, they could in the same vein unmake them.
No politician should be allowed to impose his will on us with the deception that “All die be closing eye.” Sometimes, some people die without closing their eyes. But the long and short of it all is that no one should sit down for these self-centered politicians to hoodwink into dying for them. It is not worth it at all. There are better things to do with our time and resources than wasting them on creating needless tension from which the already heavily burdened common man won’t profit.