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07.12.2003 Feature Article

Moving on with Ghana's Democracy and Politics.

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Ghanaians today appreciate the way the country is headed from a political viewpoint. There is some democracy, stability and relative peace, especially when we consider the volatility around us in the region. However, one question, which continues to be answered in blurry terms, from the political landscape, is this: what is the philosophy of each party out there? How does this resonate with the people and their needs? I ask this question only because our political parties and its leaders are forever, aligning themselves with some historical position i.e. Danquah-Busia, Nkrumaism and so forth. What does this mean for the median age group in Ghana? Most of these folks that constitute that demographic, being the median age group, are young and have little or no recollection of these historical references made by the political parties, to make any meaningful decision and choice based on that relationship of the past. So why don’t we, the people, have our political parties talk in modern day relative terms, like “we stand for socialist ideology which means….”, or “we stand or the economy… which means….” Something of relevance today. I am waiting for the day when we will have political debates, which really hold our leaders to articulate their visions for the country at large. Debates can be radio or television but they will force our “political servants”, to really tell us, as a people, why we ought to have them take care of our affairs. It also holds each accountable for what they say to be elected into office.

Our democracy still has infantile approaches, as it borders on ethnic and party politics. This means people actually affiliate with a party mostly not because of the message or vision, but rather affiliations bordering on feelings, likens and basically elements that create or appeal more to emotions than thought.

To get out of this youthful stage of democracy and move up the ladder, we need politicians and political parties that can hold their own in today’s terms. What is it that you, as a political party stand for, in today’s terms? Where do you see us going as a nation, and what is your plan to get us there? What is the big picture and what are you bringing to the table, as a person or a party, that will make me vote for you?

The reference to the past is okay, but what is the relevance to today? I mean let us face it; the Soviet Union for many years sold its communist philosophy as the best thing in the world. Today, these folks do not practice communism and only a handful of governments have anything to do with it. We see variations of socialism blended in here and there. The point of the matter is that ideology is a concept and the concepts must evolve to reflect contemporary issues, if not, they become obsolete and non-relevant. It is this position that compels me to ask all current political parties to reach within themselves and find how their messages resonates with today’s Ghana, and especially the youth, as many of our political leaders are old and must realize that democracy thriving in Ghana lies with a politically educated youth.

Succession is important to Ghana, in the political arena, if we are to build upon the democratic order we have embarked on, and this makes the message more important than the ideology. The ideology may be the guiding force but there must be a road map, the strategy to achieve the perceived vision of each party, which must be current at all times to have meaning. The strategic plan for our nations growth, and its global, regional context issues is what we want to know, and must ask our political parties to share with us, or better yet, the Ghanaian public must demand this of the parties.

It is only with a fluid party ideology, which reflects the times, and has the flexibility for modification, that we can have responsive political parties that will take up the challenges of our people today and address them in terms that matter. All the other aspects of politics are secondary and must be made secondary by the voting public.

Let us remember that in a democracy the politicians serve us, the masses, and they have to meet our approval, which then will be translated into votes. Let us take our voting seriously and ask ourselves, as a country what are our issues today and what do we (the voters) see as priorities for those we empower to act on our behalf. Let us quiz the politicians to see if they can deliver what we want as a people, and let us not allow them to tell us what we want or need. After all, if a politician tells me what they can do for me and it is what I think I do not need, their message should be null and void.

Our politics must evolve, and then democracy will take a different level. A level that will be appreciable as it will be more issues oriented, as opposed to today’s emotional politics. By the way, we as the people can do this and it is not up to the government or political parties to do so.

We need to facilitate the change with our expectations of government and politics at large. Our journalist friends must address the real issues (not be reporters of daily events and sensational topics-tabloid issues) and be independent thinkers, who must forge an alliance with the people, for us to make this turn.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Ako Folson
Ako Folson, © 2003

The author has 58 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: AkoFolson

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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