This politics of killing and maiming won’t build Ghana…

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Monday, October 29, 2012

As we prepare for the December elections, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that intra-party or inter-party rivalry won’t be the solution to the country’s problems. The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has already sounded the alarm bell to suggest that tension is rising in the country, which is disturbing.

All over the radio stations and public forums, hot exchanges between political rivals dominate interactions. The use of foul language is exacerbated by physical assaults on political opponents. Some may claim that they are fighting their parties’ cause by so doing; others may claim that silencing dissension will pave the way for them to win voter confidence to return to power or cling on to it. I mock them!!

My question is simple: Do we have to kill or maim each other to be able to develop our country? If not, why can’t we see national development beyond the petty personal level that we have reduced our national and local politics to?

Of course, politics can’t do without conflicts but when such conflicts go beyond bounds, we must be alarmed—and we are already!

From the way the pendulum has swung so far, I am quite certain that certain faceless people with stated agenda to grab political power by any means possible are behind all these conflicts that the CHRAJ has identified as the cause of tension in the country.

We shouldn’t allow such people to manipulate us. Indeed, if nation building is the common objective of all these politicians scattered about in the various political parties or operating as independent candidates, why should there not be a clear understanding on how to go about handling affairs without spitting fire?

I am tempted to suppose that nation building is not the objective of all these people instigating mayhem or vowing to turn the country upside down if they don’t win the elections. Self-aggrandizement and plundering of national resources seems to be their main motivation. At least, we have enough evidence of how they behave in public office to accuse them of not really being goaded by patriotism or any public-spirited urge to work for the public weal.

These are self-seeking people taking undue advantage of the gullibility of the ordinary Ghanaian to be in power for hidden purposes. That is why they are all over the place, making all kinds of promises just to hoodwink the unwitting suffering segments of the electorate to accept them as Messiahs to deliver them from the perpetual narrow circumstances that the various incompetent governments have consigned them all these years. Let them enter office and they push the people further down into the abyss.

The spate of allegations and counter-allegations concerning clandestine manouevres by elements of certain political parties to cause mayhem either in pursuit of their political ambitions or to thwart efforts at growing our democracy deserve the strongest condemnation ever.

I don’t think that those masterminding such evil plots or preparing the grounds for unleashing venom on political opponents deserve the space that they occupy in those parties. Nor do they deserve any goodwill from the electorate to push their parties’ agenda through.

On the eve of the 2008 elections, Radio Gold publicized widely some troubling revelations concerning underhanded measures being contemplated or ready to be implemented by a group in the NPP. The name of Maxwell Kofi Jumah, Asokwa NPP MP, featured in such clandestine manouevres; but he denied involvement in anything of the sort. He is still out there, making utterances that don’t promote well-being. Such an MP isn’t worth the goodwill that his constituents have given him to be in Parliament. Thank Goodness that they have divested him of that support and he will no longer be in Parliament.

Kennedy Agyapong, NPP MP for Assin North, has turned out to be the worst villain so far as far as the issuing of threats and the tendency to cause mayhem is concerned. His largely infamous incitement of inter-ethnic violence is being dealt with in court and I hesitate to comment on it but will, just for purposes of reinforcing my argument that this particular MP’s misconduct is the worst of all.

He may be emboldened by what he calls his untold wealth to place himself above all others, but he is fast reducing himself to a nonentity and trouble maker who will be held to account for his misguided public pronouncements when the time comes.

Anthony Karbo is currently on people’s lips as the latest prospective trouble-maker whose machinations are on tape being circulated. He has denied but won’t escape further scrutiny because he has already given us to see the anarchist in him. Previous utterances made by him portray him as such.

There are many others in the NPP, the NDC, and all over the place, including chiefs and members of the clergy with stated virulent political biases.

Behind all that tension is the belligerence of some of the politicians who think that becoming the President of Ghana is an entitlement that they must grab by hook or crook. Disguising such overly ambitious intents under such slogans as “All-die-be-die” and attempting to throw dust into the eyes of the citizens that such a war-mongering slogan is just a reminder to members of the NPP to remain vigilant or to defend their party’s interests is the height of the mischief that makes our politics as crude.

I am talking about Akufo-Addo and his dogged insistence on winning the elections at all costs. The threats issued to the Electoral Commission by the NPP big wigs or their public pronouncements aimed at discrediting it fit right into that agenda.

The NDC’s Yaw Boateng Gyan is also on people’s lips as a trouble-maker whose recent utterances raised eyebrows, but he hasn’t been taken to task because the hierarchy of National Security won’t touch him. Could it be because he is a strong pillar in the party in power? Maybe. But his conduct is part of the problem that catalyzes tension.

Creating panic among the public, verbally insulting political opponents, or physically assaulting those with dissenting views won’t help us grow our democracy. As we near the polls day, there is every reason to suspect that such misguided acts and pronouncements will intensify. That’s what the CHRAJ is wary of enough to draw our attention to.

Indeed, if building the country is a common objective, is there any need for anybody to threaten a political rival or even cause mayhem just to grab political power or to protest against electoral defeat? What is there to die for, anyway?

I would have no cause to complain if sacrificing one’s life—assuming that an “All-die-be-die” urge is being obeyed—will place in office leaders who know how to solve the country’s problems to make life worth living. But there is every indication that none of those instigating political activists to toe their line is the leader with the requisite acumen that can help us move our country forward.

At least, I haven’t seen any of them as such. Thus, why should anybody allow himself to be manipulated by such characters or to be used as tools to achieve objectives that will bring no benefit to either the victims or the vast majority of the citizens?

We have ample evidence of the self-seeking that has been going on the country all these years. Just take a quick look at those in Parliament or the seat of government and you should judge things for yourself.

Hardly do newly elected MPs settle down in Parliament than they start agitating for amenities that they use for purposes other than serving their constituents and the country’s interests. The huge car loans that they are given, which they don’t pay back, is a clear testimony.

Now, they have given themselves a pay rise that will make Lucifer’s jaws drop in anger. And they’ve done so while turning deaf ears to the loud pleas and protestations from public/civil servants for improved conditions of service. Trust these self-seekers to fight for better end-of-service packages, having already worked hard to abrogate ESBs for the ordinary workers whose toil, blood, and tears continue to boost the national coffers.

The point I want to make is that there is no committed person among the hordes of power seekers to die for. They may claim to know what the country’s problems are but they have no means to solve them. If they could, why won’t they?

More importantly, there is every good reason to doubt their integrity too. They are more than square pegs that we put in round holes at every election time.

Causing mayhem to be able to grab political power is the hallmark of self-seekers. Nation-building is an honourable responsibility that should be approached with decorum, not anarchy.

We need peace to live our lives, even if in poverty. If for nothing at all, it is our contributions that make Ghana what it is and will continue to be. Those who think that they can rule Ghana and achieve their personal ambitions only when they cause mayhem should be ashamed. Nations are not built that way.

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.