Why isn’t our democracy solving problems?

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Folks, let’s be bold to place the current political and economic challenges facing our country in their proper perspective and to discuss them to know why those in power cannot solve problems to move our country forward. It is no exaggeration to say that the current turbulence in the country is not the direct upshot of the inadequacies of this Mahama-led administration alone.

Those conversant with the political and economic history of Ghana will admit that the current happenings are traceable to the cumulative effect of many years of mismanagement and wanton disregard for propriety in government business. In effect, our problems are systemic and haven’t been tackled with the requisite alacrity and commitment over the years. Under President Mahama, everything seems to be coming to a head. Finger pointing has taken centre-stage and street demonstrations have become the most preferred means for registering discontent. Unfortunate!!

What is it that makes it difficult for those placed in positions of trust to perform their duties for the good of the country and its people, especially in this 4th Republic when over 20 years of experimentation in democracy should have helped us improve strategies for government business? And government business has no compulsion apart from being directed at solving pertinent existential problems to make life livable for the citizens.

Against this background, how will you feel, seeing this particular situation in a part of Ghana (Forget about the politics surrounding the “Schools under trees”) syndrome): This is the condition in which pupils of Amenam Local Authority Primary and Junior High School study, hoping that the education they receive here will ensure a better future for them. Amenam is a farming community in the Eastern Region, about 35km from Nkawkaw. (See: http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2014/July-22nd/photos-pupils-sit-on-piled-up-cement-blocks-to-write-into-their-future.php).

To reiterate, let me say that the essence of governance is to improve living conditions. That is why the real producers of the country’s wealth (the poor farmers, fisherfolks, workers in the numerous private and public sectors, and many others) toil day and night to feed the national coffers. Their blood, sweat and tears nurture the country and they expect their leaders to use the resources to serve their purposes. That is even why they participate in political activities, leading to the ritual of electing their rulers. Otherwise, what is the need for a social contract which, in our case is the democracy and its entailments for the exercise of political power by those given the mandate (or those in the opposition to counter-balance efforts)?

The bottom-line is that the government has to solve problems and not give excuses or run away from the people.

If those in power really know what the citizens go through even before standing in the sweltering sun to vote, they should be the first to do all in their power to solve problems so those people can enjoy life before they die. If they don’t do so, they give the people the long rope with which to hang them. And hanging them before their term of office ends doesn’t bode well for our democracy.

Clearly, democracy calls for discipline and respect for orderliness, which those in power must recognize and use as the motivation for organizing their activities to solve problems. If they fail to do so, they will create room for acts with only one intent: to subvert the democratic order. That’s not good for a country like Ghana that has struggled to be where it is today. Will those in power rediscover themselves and do the right thing or persist in their kind of enervating politics, damn the consequences?

I am a strong advocate for "people's power" and will appreciate what the citizens have gone through and are now gearing up to protest against. No one should take anybody for granted or treat anybody with contempt because there is much water passing under the bridge.

I believe that keeping the government on its mettle is a good way to ensure good governance; but I don't like the cheap politics that opponents seek to do when they manipulate the situation in the vain hope that it will put them in power. Ghana belongs to us all and we must work for its good.

I shall return…

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.