Like many good citizens, I am tempted to criticize as well as rain a barrage of insults on the politician, the perceived force behind our misery and agony. But I have rather chosen to speak to the mind of the master (the commoner) who has allowed his servant to subdue him. Ouch! I remember it is human nature to blame others for our struggles and failures, but how long can we keep whining and nagging about how badly our country is being governed?
Yes! The average Ghanaian is industrious. He toils day and night to make ends meet; pays his tax, so that he can be provided with the basic social amenities; he wants to live in peace and harmony, so he’s law abiding. Yet, his servant denies him of his fair share of the national cake. While the master shares unsafe water with animals, the servant washes his limbs with imported bottled water. As the hoi polloi sleep with one eye opened due to insufficient security in their communities, the servant sleeps and snores because he’s been armored with the state security. Maybe we should leave all to God, for our reward is in heaven — our religious mantra.
For decades now, this has been the sorry state of our dear nation. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to change the narrative even though we have tried so hard to, by sticking to the usual and non-productive method — the blame game. However, instead of spinning our wheels nagging, introspection will reveal the following as the factors responsible for the pathetic state of our nation: Glorification of politicians, over politicization of national issues, weak institutions, lack of education, lack of unity among the proletariats, settling for less, non-participation of the well- informed people in active politics, etc.
‘’Politics is a dirty game,’’ is an oft-cited quote in Ghana. Significant part of the Ghanaian populace with values and character, well-informed and potential excellent managers of the state are apolitical. We fail to remember that, it’s our unwillingness to join the game that has made the game squalid. We are yet to come to terms with Aristotle, who argued that, ‘‘man is a political animal.’’ Yet, we pride ourselves on our political ignorance. Our belief that paradise will welcome us since we are not actively involve in the dirty game is intriguing, for we have forgotten that we are accomplices, and even human laws do not exonerate an accomplice. The non-participation of the political pundits in active politics serves as a board pass for people with questionable characters (without political wit and integrity) to dominate our political arena — hence soiling the noble profession. No wonder the youth learn unprintable words from the bunch of sharp tongue politicians inundating the country’s political system. The fact is, if you don’t want to rule, then, you should agree to be ruled anyhow by anyone.
Sadly, the cancer of politicization has destroyed the country to an extent that if a meatball surgery is not performed on it, it will fall to its knees. The media, which is supposed to be a pivotal component of our democracy and national development, reprehensibly, has meandered its way into the country’s politicization circle. The media, instead of digging out the rot created by the politician, rather cloaks it with beautiful robes, for personal gains. This is unfortunate posture is becoming a corrosive factor feeding into the fabric of the good moral society. Instead of the media providing us with all information so that we can decide what the truth is, unfortunately, they rather often refuse to talk about certain stories because of their political bias. And since we are only availed with selected information, we are unable to make honest and accurate determinations. It’s not surprising that nowadays we take media reports with pinch of salt.
Again, it’s appalling to recall that, regionalism, tribalism, and religious affiliations are the factors that influence the voting pattern in our country. We go like: Mr. A deserves my thumb print because he is my tribemate; I will die for Mr. B because he is from my region—damn the consequences; even though Mr. Q is making the country inhabitable, I will still renew his mandate since we share the same religious faith. Fellow citizens, I will urge you to distrust any religious leader who tells you which politician to vote for, and distrust the politician who teaches you how to pray.
Is it not comical, how we hate corruption, yet despise politicians who cannot boast of a skyscraper and a fleet of cars? We are the downtrodden, yet we argue passionately and blindly and always end up trading blows amongst ourselves just to defend or cover up the mess caused by the politician. How, then, do we expect to still have our cake after enjoying it as dessert? Maybe is the will of God, as usual.
Everyone citizens’ power resides in his/her thumb, yes we know that, yet during elections we settle for the few pesewas given to us by the politicians, and move out at dawn — while the servant, the politician, is still asleep — to form long queues to cast our votes. I thought we said our culture can’t be changed, for I am told our forefathers were men with pride who never barter traded their dignity for material wealth.
Not just settling for less, invariably, we whimper about how the political players mismanage the abundant resources of this country, yet we glorify them, instead of expressing our indignation, whenever we have the opportunity to meet with them; we replace their names with the honorable title, animate our sense of humor and laugh extra hard at their lame jokes. If we were being patriotic enough to uncover how much this indiscretion of ours has hampered the nation’s development, maybe, we would have run away from such a double standard. I ask, should we still blame only the politician for our current state?
Corruption, has been synonymously used with the word politician by us — the apolitical. We consider ourselves as saints, yet we extort money from our fellow citizens before rendering them services that we are legally mandated to offer. That the politician hasn’t provided the country with enough drains is not disagreeable, but it is also true that our chiefs and elders sell out swathes of water-logged lands (not advisable for construction) to innocent people to put up their residence; again, it is a fact that we, the commoners, knowingly, put up all kinds of buildings on waterways causing floods anytime we are blessed with rains by the heavenly father. I will, therefore, be glad to know the mathematical formula that differentiates us from the politician.
Well! Crucifying the politician for our bad roads is no news, yet we seem not to care about the contractor who did the shoddy work and the engineer who took bribe and Okayed the poorly executed job — no wonder accidents on our roads claim more lives annually than deaths resulting from cancer and HIV Aids collectively. Also, we keep grieving about the poor performance of our public and civil sectors, yet we sell employment vacancies to unqualified persons; hire people we speak tongues with, and people we observe the five daily prayer with instead of qualified applicants to work in these sectors — religion first.
Until such a time, that we realize and accept that it will only take collective effort and commitment — and not only that of the politician — to move this country forward, the status quo will persist. Until such a time, that the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) reinforces its independence, integrity and presence by helping strengthen Ghana’s democracy through voter education, education on the constitution of Ghana; formulate, implement and oversee programmes intended to inculcate in the citizens of Ghana awareness of their civic responsibilities and an appreciation of their rights and obligations as free people, the status quo will persist.
Until such a time, that our security agencies regain their independence as well as stop kowtowing to the politician and enforce law and order without fear or favor, the status quo will persist. Until such a time, that our public and civil servants desist from open partisan politics at post, and execute their duties diligently and professionally, the politicians shall continue to replace them with their aides. Until we begin to appraise, dispassionately, the leaders and politicians we elect; demand consistently and vehemently our rights, the status quo will persist. Until we unite and see ourselves as people of one nation with one destiny, and not as people of different kingdoms, the status quo will persist. Until we handle issues diligently as if we had no religion that promises us heaven, the status quo will persist
Until we help educate our uninformed friends and families on governance and other pertinent topics, they shall continue to vote blindly at our expense.
By RAHIM NEWTON FATAWU