Thursday, March 29, 2012

If our political parties fail, our democracy will suffer (Part III)

Thursday, March 29, 2012
We now turn attention to the NPP to see how its internal politics affects its future viability. We do so with a clear understanding that the party is a human institution that will definitely have flaws. We expose these flaws not with the intention to do harm but to highlight them as concerns to be addressed.
THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY (NPP)
The NPP activists may be relishing the ongoing crisis in the NDC, their arch nemesis, hoping that it will persist, worsen, and condemn the party to an implosion from which it will never recover to threaten their party’s future political fortunes. That may be a misplaced celebration. For, the NPP has the same problems that the NDC is facing except that it hasn’t simmered for so long as to threaten its internal unity.

If our political parties fail, our democracy will suffer (Part II)

Thursday, March 29, 2012
The happenings in the pro-Nkrumahist political parties draw specific attention to the danger that looms over this front. We need to recognize this danger and its implications for this political front which, until the emergence and consolidation of the NDC, was one of the pillars of Ghanaian politics. Together with the UP tradition, they constituted the only two main political streams in Ghana.
The problems that have fragmented this pro-Nkrumahist front are worth our attention because in spite of the electoral woes of this camp, there is still public sympathy for the Nkrumahist cause. That is why highlighting these problems should help us appreciate the enormity of the tasks facing those seeking to resurrect the Nkrumahist agenda for national development.

If our political parties fail, our democracy will suffer (Part I)

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Our democracy is still alive because it is supported by the various political parties that feed it with the much-needed input. It remains relatively stable despite the obvious shortcomings of the various governments that have led us since the inception of this 4th Republic. And mostly because of the elastic patience and free-wheeling tolerance of Ghanaians!!
We have managed to sustain our democracy nevertheless because the political parties have helped us choose our leaders by providing options for the electorate to choose from. No democracy can survive without such a provision.
Happenings at the various political party fronts, however, indicate that all is not well within them. In sum, none of the parties is free of destabilizing internal friction, which should alarm us. If our parties fail, our democracy cannot endure.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey makes a lot of sense

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The NPP’s Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey has done something that I consider as appropriate and worth commenting on. He has written a letter to President Mills, drawing his attention to a very serious problem that has the potential to cause havoc in the society if not curbed.
He has deplored the arming of operatives of the government and appealed to President Mills to act expeditiously in controlling these operatives so that they don’t misuse power and the instruments of violence in this electioneering period. That’s a laudable move to make, and I commend him on that score.
The problem he has raised is everybody’s to ponder. I wonder why gun-toting should be the norm in a democracy that demands conciliation and not the tendency for people to be at each other’s throat.

Yes, this Constitutional White Elephant (Council of State) must go!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The call by Professor George Ayitey (a U.S.-based Ghanaian economist) that the Council of State be abolished is laudable and I support it wholeheartedly.
Prof. Ayitey made the call in an interview with Joy News’ Anny Osabutey (Myjoyonline, March 27, 2012). Nothing can be more imperative at this time than this call to get rid of the constitutional white elephant that the Council of State is.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Political violence and democracy don’t work together…

Monday, March 26, 2012
The stakes in Election 2012 are already too high and can’t be glossed over in any discussion of the political situation in the country.
As the Mills government struggles to persuade Ghanaians that it is performing well and should be given the mandate for a second term, happenings in the NDC confirm that the internal crisis isn’t being solved to strengthen the party for the polls. The time-bomb that is ticking off for the NDC is threatening to derail President Mills’ ambitions.

The ostrich called Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah… A General Mosquito!!

Monday, March 26, 2012
The NDC’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, is playing the ostrich and will definitely smile at the wrong side of his mouth in the fullness of time. He claims that “the NDC is strong and solid. He explains that former president Rawlings is a faithful believer of the NDC and had been attending the National Executive Councils (NEC) meetings faithfully.
“These talks about OUR founder having left the NDC baffles me, and I do not know where it’s coming from. Founder Rawlings participates in all NEC meetings to which he has invitation,’’ he said (according to Radio Gold’s Samuel Ablordeppey, as reported by Ghanaweb.com, March 26, 2012).
In my many years on this planet, I haven’t heard any more dangerous lie than this one. In reverse, he is calling a cow a sheep (Baba Jamal’s expensive joke being tilted on its head). The NDC’s internal crisis is borne out by the deep cracks in the party. These cracks are big like cows to be seen as such and tackled. They are not to be reduced to the size of a sheep and neglected!!
Asiedu-Nketiah seems to be stuck in a time warp and can’t see what is going on around him and in the NDC. It is insulting for him to make such a terrible claim that there are no cracks in the NDC. What has his head been lying on? A pillow or a block of cement (the size of what his company supplies the Bui Dam Project); or what else?

As we say bye-bye to Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade…

Monday, March 26, 2012
Senegal’s octogenarian ruler, Abdoulaye Wade, has hit the brick wall in his attempt to extend his 12-year rule. He has been soundly trounced in Sunday’s Presidential run off. Even before the official results could be released to confirm his loss, he conceded defeat to his rival, Macky Sall, 50 years old.
At long last, the hopes of Wade, one of the dinosaurs of African politics, have dashed—very much to the relief of his compatriots and those of us praying hard against anything terrible happening again in an African country. 
The violence that preceded the elections indicated that anything contrary to defeat for Wade would plunge that country into turmoil. Fortunately, nothing of the sort has happened to endanger life and limb, thanks to the decisive electoral choice made by the voters.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cracking the whip on Kofi Adams is good for the NDC

Thursday, March 22, 2012
For once, the NDC leaders have proved that they have the guts to act decisively in the interest of the party. They’ve quickly acted to halt one of the trouble-makers in the party, Kofi Adams, the Deputy General Secretary who also doubles as the spokesman for the Rawlingses.
The National Executive Committee of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has suspended him. The decision was taken at a crunch meeting by the NEC on Thursday in Accra (MyJoyOnline, March 22, 2012).
This bold decision by the NEC should send the shivers down the spine of those like Adams who think that they can do or say anything to harm the party’s interests and still be accepted as party faithfuls. They shouldn’t be accommodated to serve two masters under one roof.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Say it loud: The “government” isn’t the “political party”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
In seeking better means to govern ourselves, we have made sacrifices to be where we are today. The euphoria that characterized the transitioning to this constitutional democratic stage following the inception of the 4th Republic—and all the attendant hot air and pageantry surrounding it—has dissipated, and we can now claim to have made some progress in our political development.  
But our major national problems are still with us, 20 years into this democratic experiment, despite the over-abundance of natural and human resources, which raises pithy questions about the calibre of our leaders and what we hope to use our democracy to achieve.
We are now faced with the inescapable intricacies of that transition and must put behind us all that we did hitherto. Having successfully transitioned to a new level, we have reached the point where our democracy needs consolidation. We can’t consolidate it with the tools that we used for the transitional phase.
But that’s not the case. Everyday happenings indicate that we are still operating in the mode of transition, using the same tools and approaches to tackle the challenges of a new phase. It’s a major problem.

Why, oh, why, this Mills government?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The decision by the government to boycott the auspices of the Multi-Media News Group is not only stupid but also cowardly and misplaced.
In an election year, every responsible government will maximize every opportunity to propagate its message to the citizenry in the hope of informing them, allaying their fears and doubts, and preparing them to make informed choices at the polls. It won’t do anything to shoot itself into the foot and alienate anybody in the voter population.
Unfortunately, the Mills-led government is doing so, shooting itself in the foot and coming across as terrified, giddy, and unsure of how to manage its affairs. With this posture, who will root for it?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How does Rawlings expect Ghanaians to remember him?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
It is pathetic that despite all the good work that Rawlings has done for the country, he is the very person staining his own image many years after leaving office. By constantly erring on the part of the wrong cause, he has fast become a bugbear. He has been told this plain truth for many years now, but he hasn’t changed for the better.
It seems he is happy only when his name is on everybody’s lips as a constant reminder of patriotism gone amiss. He can’t understand that nation-building is a collective effort and wants to do it all by himself, strictly according to his own standards. 
As he seeks to carry the whole world on his shoulders, Ghanaians have given him a pad and are standing by to watch him. He is indeed agonizing, provoking concern that he may do what will destabilize the government and negatively affect our democracy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

When an NDC supporter kills the NDC…

Monday, March 19, 2012
Ghanaian politics may be full of nonsense but nothing justifies the folly with which some functionaries of some political parties turn the dagger on their own parties, working feverishly to paint them black and praying hard that they will be rejected at the polls by the electorate. Such characters who are more eager to turn the electorate against their own parties than working for their good have become foolhardy of late.
They alone know why they have chosen that line of action to destroy their own parties. It is like occupants of a house bringing down the roof on themselves. Unless such characters are pathologically suicidal, they won’t do such a disastrous thing. Nothing but mischief warrants such  self-destruction in party politics.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rawlings snubs the NDC… to gain what?

Saturday, March 17, 2012
As Fate would have it, former President Rawlings refused to participate in the rally by the Greater Accra Regional branch of the NDC at Mantse Agbonaa in James Town, Accra, today (Saturday, March 17, 2012). Kofi Adams, his spokesman, justified that decision, saying that Rawlings had issues with the party and won’t allow himself to be used by anybody to pursue his political ambitions.
According to him, the former President demands that those issues be tackled successfully before he would consider getting on board the NDC’s campaign train for Election 2012.
Make no mistake to think that because this was a regional rally, Rawlings’ absence doesn’t mean much. It does because it is the first rally that the party has held in many months. It is significant, coming as the first one to herald the major electioneering campaign efforts by the party and its government.

Friday, March 9, 2012

When an NPP Chairman turns his wife into a punching bag…

Friday, March 9, 2012
“A once fruitful and happy marriage gone sour, and not in her wildest dream did she ever think her husband… could subject her to such emotional and physical trauma and occasionally turn her into a punching bag to test his strength.” (The Ghanaian Chronicle) 
Everywhere in our society, women continue to be the underdogs, tossed about and turned anyhow by males to achieve their objectives. Injustice to women isn’t declining and nobody should tell me that it will soon. 
The structures that are in place in our society aren’t designed to support women but to downgrade and isolate them for undermining as if their male counterparts in this patriarchal system have chosen them for a special vengeance.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is all set for Akufo-Addo to swerve Mahamadu Bawumia?

Thursday, March 8, 2012
As is often observed, still waters run deep. I have a funny feeling that despite all the outside “show-show” being made by those who matter in the NPP to suggest that everything is working well for them to dislodge the incumbent NDC government from power, the situation isn’t so.
The still water that constitutes their party’s internal workings runs too deep for their comfort. I want to stick my neck out on this score and will definitely incur the displeasure of the NPP’s followers; but I reck little of their tantrums.

Why do these NPP functionaries like crying wolf?

Thursday, March 8, 2012
Revelations that the Ghana Armed Forces has created a Special Forces Unit (SFU) to be deployed in security operations have come to inflame passions in an already tense political environment in the country because the NPP followers have decided to cry wolf instead of seeing it as a necessary arrangement to secure national interests.
They are behaving as if they should have been consulted before such a force was created. Who do they think they are?
Why should they be complaining, anyway? Did the military hierarchy need any Parliamentary approval to establish such a unit? Or did the government have to seek the NPP’s consent if, indeed, the formation of the SFU is at its instance? I don’t think so. That is why I see what the NPP leaders are embarking on as a foolish and wasteful exercise in futility. It is a hot but useless rhetoric.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is Akufo-Addo also not digging his own grave?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Since gaining independence, Ghana has been ruled by all kinds of leaders, the majority of whom shot their way into office and suffered the consequences, either chased out or leaving the scene only to be dragged to the firing squad. The three civilian leaders among them (Dr. Nkrumah, Dr. Busia, and Dr. Limann) lost power to the soldiers and lived in abjection till death did them part.
Of all our past leaders, Rawlings seems to be the luckiest, ruling as a military strongman for over 10 years and metamorphosing into a civilian President for close to 10 more years, and still looming large over the political sphere. Had Ghanaians taken him on, his circumstances would have changed too. After all, he had dared them on Thursday, December 31, 1981, with this death wish:
“I am prepared to face the firing squad if Ghanaians don’t like what I have come to do for them for the second time.”  
Did his performance satisfy Ghanaians? His successor, John Agyekum Kufuor, is out of office and gloating over his gains while incumbent John Evans Atta Mills is at post, fingers crossed and counting his days as Election 2012 approaches.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bye-bye to electioneering campaign promises—to choke our politicians

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
It is no exaggeration to say that promise-making is a bane to our national politics. In this 4th Republic, there seems to be too much recourse to promise-making without any convincing presentation of workable strategies for solving the systemic national problems that make it difficult for us to develop our country.
Over the years, we’ve heard many mind-boggling promises, one of which was the weird one made by the NPP’s former National Chairman, Samuel Odoi-Sykes, who set many minds on fire when he told Ghanaians before the 1996 elections that an NPP government under Kufuor would construct a railway line from Tema to Northern Ghana. That was at the time that roads linking the south to the north were even not in any good shape to warrant an addition of a railway line.
That was just one of the many troubling promises that our politicians have made to hoodwink the gullible electorate to put them in office. President Mills is currently sagging under the weight of public outcry against his government’s inability to fulfill its electioneering campaign promises. I wonder what he will rely on this time to reach out to the electorate.
It is not as if promise-making is unwarranted or contemptible. Far from that. Promise-making is a major political strategy used by politicians all over the world to seek voters’ mandate to be in office. It is nothing strange to be avoided except when it turns out to be a curse to both those who use it and the voters who are gullible enough to swallow it. None can insulate themselves against it.
Ghana’s political scene is awash with promise-making and it is clear that it will have dire implications for the makers and those for whom it is meant. But considering the extent to which promise-making has backfired of late, I wonder if it will continue to remain viable in Ghanaian politics.
The ongoing bashing of President Mills teaches useful lessons. So far as the electorate have woken up to the reality, it seems those regarding promise-making as their trump-card will be forced to look for other strategies or have their political ambitions shattered.
Regardless of the harm being done his reputation or the threat to his re-election bid by the Woyome scandal, President Mills has a more terrifying spectacle to lose sleep over. He must be very much ill-at-ease, jolted by the persistent outcry against his inability to fulfill the promises that he and the NDC bigwigs had made prior to winning the 2008 general elections. The loud protests and threats from the malcontents to vote against him for that matter ring clearly every day. He must be living in fear of the immediate future.
Today, it is the fishermen of Elmina who are angry. Yesterday, it was public-sector workers. Before then, it was the rank and file of the NDC followers (the so-called foot-soldiers and those banded together under the banner of Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings (FONKAR)). The protests have come from all angles—within the ranks of his own NDC, in the folds of the farmers, fishermen, public sector workers, traditional rulers, and many others in almost all parts of the country.
Tomorrow will definitely give us other groups openly registering their discontent. It is a spate! In one way or the other, many segments of the population will emerge to declare their dismay at will, not because President Mills’ agenda of a “Better Ghana” is doomed but because whatever is being done doesn’t satisfy them. They know the quantum of promises and what has been done so far.
There is nothing more threatening to President Mills’ quest for a renewal of his mandate than this open expression of discontent at his government’s failure to fulfill those promises.
The national discourse on his government’s performance is clouded by such complaints. President Mills must by now have realized that this rampant display of discontent is not only a harbinger of the difficulties ahead of him but that those promises have become an ineradicable curse—a major hurdle in front of him to jump if his campaign for Election 2012 is to produce dividends. No amount of Christian fervor or “All-Night” prayer sessions can solve this credibility problem. The crossing of the Rubicon seems to have begun already.
This particular complaint has provoked others, much of which has been politicized and is being bandied about to torment him. Certainly, these promises are obstacles, not any political leverage to rely on.
Like the proverbial Sword of Damocles, these promises are hanging around their makers’ necks and cutting them deep to cause havoc. Their initial usefulness is now the curse that such a Pyrrhic victory offers.
From what has happened so far, it is clear that Ghanaians have learnt a bitter lesson and will punish those glibly making promises. The bell will surely toll for them at Election 2012. Those promise makers will definitely live to rue their glib tongues.
That is why I caution the NPP’s Akufo-Addo to be circumspect in how he presents himself to the electorate. He has arrogated to himself the acumen to solve problems that he and his followers haven’t ceased condemning the NDC government over. He is all over the place, making huge promises and projecting his political ambitions as the abracadabra for Ghana’s age-old problems of under-development.
He is quick to make such promises but very slow in telling us how he will generate the funds to fulfill them. Or how he will solve the systemic problems that have prevented others from fulfilling their campaign promises to warrant his recourse to those very effusive, high-sounding promises and counting on that sugar-coated delivery to do the trick for him at Election 2012.
Of course, there is a lot wrong with such a penchant. But he won’t recant or discard that approach because, to him and his NPP machinery, that’s the best way to undercut the incumbent—picking on where it has failed and hammering on it to reach out to the electorate for their mandate to be in power. They consider winning political power as an entitlement, a non-negotiable raison d’etre for abandoning their chosen careers for partisan politics!
Coupled with the promise-making is another strategy to confuse the electorate. We are now hearing a different tune from Akufo-Addo that he won’t spill anybody’s blood in his bid to win power. Yet, behind all that noise (which he made outside Ghana, anyway), lies the “All die-be-die” motivational slogan. Put all together and you will see the duplicity with which the NPP is conducting its political campaigns.
Ghanaians will be better off if they stop placing their destinies in the hands of these politicians, especially those making the loudest noise to be heard as the only people capable of solving the country’s problems. Hindsight cautions us not to uphold such people as redeemers. They are mere self-seekers.
Our history is dotted with such people. We have been careless enough to believe all the claims made by them only to regret after the fact. Despite his huge accomplishments for Ghana, the Great Osagyefo (Dr. Kwame Nkrumah) couldn’t make it. His mantra of “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other things will be added to you” didn’t save us.
It produced the National Liberation Council whose precedent was to lay the foundation for subsequent military adventurism in our national politics. Evidence of the exploits of the Acheampongs, Akuffos, and Rawlingses are still available to assuage all doubts that the military are terrible managers of national affairs. We are even not talking about all the abortive military actions against those military governments. Despite all their loud-mouthed promises, how many of our civilian politicians have been able to do what they had boasted of before being empowered to rule the country?
The fundamental problem shouldn’t be overlooked. I have insisted that nation-building is not an individual citizen’s affair, no matter how endowed that individual citizen may be. It is a collective effort to be made under an able leader. And who is an able leader to depend on? Are we not still under-developed because we lack such an able leader? Your guess is as true as mine.
But in whom do we see an able leader? Certainly, not these holier-than-thou politicians parading the landscape and using promise-making to brag about their capabilities. They are merely hiding behind the smokescreen of promise-making to deceive us. These are the very people who have either been part of governments that have already failed to solve our problems or who are still active today just by virtue of successfully recycling themselves to fit into the political pattern of our kind of national politics.
And how have they recycled themselves to fit into this political pattern that suits their purposes? A mere ability to read between the lines to know that promise-making is the key to unlock the electorate’s door for their mandate. They know deep down their hearts that their ulterior motive is to settle in office to enjoy the cozy atmosphere that will drastically transform their hitherto wretched personal lives at the expense of the electorate. We have enough evidence of such happenings to advise ourselves on how to relate to such latter-day saints in Ghanaian politics.
Ultimately, though, solving Ghana’s problems demands more than the tools that these politicians wield. It must go without saying that since independence, the very systemic problems that have made it difficult for us to progress are still with us, militating against our national development efforts. Our politicians haven’t ceased identifying them or boasting of solving them when put in office. Such boasts and promises have only turned out to be their adroit means for perpetrating self-acquisition, not national redemption.
The situation, thus, remains the same because when they enter office, they use the power to serve their own interests rather than solving those very systemic problems that have persistently kept our people in narrow circumstances. They know that they can remain in office for as long as they bombard the people with promises to be accepted and installed in office. Promise-making for its own sake is harmful to our national interests; but it inflicts more harm if it is turned into a catalyst for corrupting the national psyche.
That is why the Ghanaian voters must take decisive steps to halt this spate of moral degradation. For once, we must sit up. As Election 2012 approaches, we must look for better qualities in these power seekers and be bold to reject the promise-filled ones. That’s the only way to choke them out of contention. Let’s close all avenues to these self-seekers seeing all our problems as nails and going for nothing but a hammer as the solution.
E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.comJoin me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mjkbokorGet a copy of my novel, The Last Laugh (PublishAmerica.com, April 2009)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Where are the PATRIOTS to help Akufo-Addo rule Ghana?

Monday, March 5, 2012
Of late, the NPP’s Akufo-Addo has had some exposure, visiting the US to interact with Obama, delivering the Openheimmer annual address just last week, and featuring on the BBC’s “Hard Talk” programme on Monday—all happening after his consecration at a non-denominational service at Essipong, near Takoradi, and the mini-rally in Accra two weeks ago by his party at the end of his so-called “listening to the people” tour in the country.
He must be holding his head high and thumping his chest as the people’s choice. Wishes are still far from becoming horses for beggars to ride.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Our Constitution, our democracy: The risks are real

Friday, March 2, 2012
Despite our claims that our constitutional democratic system of governance is working well, certain happenings point to the contrary. All is not well and it is just a matter of time for us to have the rude awakening.
That we haven’t had any destabilizing event such as a coup d’état since we adopted constitutional democratic rule in this 4th Republic is not because we have insulated our national politics against anything of the sort. Or that by choosing this system of governance, we have strengthened and empowered the institutions of state to ward off any military adventurism. 
It is not because the civil population can prevent the soldiers from intervening in national politics. Or that Ghanaians would have the capability to neutralize any such move by soldiers.