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31.05.2005 Feature Article

Ghana: A story of democratic confusion.

Ghana: A story of democratic confusion.
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The African administrator portrayed in Kwaw Ansah's film- "Heritage Africa" reminds me of one thought- that government officials have not learned much from the past. They continue to commit old mistakes.

In that film, the principal character- Kwesi Atta Bosomefie ,who changed to "Quincy Arthur Bosomfield" , the district commissioner , became impervious to popular demands. He served his employer's interest as the people craved for answers to economic and poor living conditions.

The story line has it that when Bosomfield died as a result of misrule, his mother (Alexandra Dua) gave a touching admonition in a typical "Fante trend", weeping and expressing anger.

Though bereaved, Alexandra Dua criticized Bosomefie to the bones, apparently bemoaning : "with all your higher education, you could not think deep. You could have prevented your demise, but you acted as someone who lacks knowledge", Dua added, to end a sad story of administrative failure, ending the life of a great son who was academically exceptional, but politically immature.Have we learned from this?. I think, we should.

This rendition offers an important lesson that must be lifted and presented to the people as a resource in contemporary Ghanaian politics.

As the confusion and agitation become gradually more appealing to a section of Ghanaians, and the perceived notion that the country is in crisis, Ghanaians should revisit the Bosomfield-saga and ask : "What benefits are we deriving from the intellectual line-up in government, of all the well-educated people placed in government to make things better?"

I know , that Ghana is not in crisis as the "Wahalans" would want the world to believe.

I know, the journalistic style that has been adopted by "Palaver"- the pro-NDC newspaper to discredit the government. The "real palaver" is that , they manufacture stories to win public sympathy, a strategy aimed at preparing the political party they serve to wrestle power. Have we forgotten so soon? That Ghanaians rejected a government in 2000 due to brutal dictatorship oblivion to the dictates of democratic principles?.

Past mistakes should not be activated .Truely, there still remain staggering problems and scandals that need to be investigated to set minds at ease if the government wants to recuperate from bad rap, tyranny of the press, and misguided demonstrations.

The government must act, as a matter of principle, to diffuse all these allegations. Yes. It must go on a "wild goose chase" to validate or deny alleged corrupt practices, while the media searches for a national identity to disseminate information that can benefit the people. To wait on the citizenry to present proof on alleged corrupt practices would denigrate rights that have already been exchanged for protection ,essential services , and accountability.

It would only take a fool to believe , that all the alleged corrupt practices in the present government are false. However, it is equally important to recognize, the agenda of people who oppose the government have set for themselves. They call them "Wahalans" , perfumed as Committee for Joint Action..

Political adventurism , that experimentation on the part of these joint action movements cannot pass the test of time, so are utterances that do not make political sense.Their's is an adulterated ideology. The movement culture is not well defined, it is not strong.Their beliefs differ. They must be scrutinized by right-thinking Ghanaians.

This is a portion of the scheme, for example, I will use the "modus operandi" of two shameless "commentators of doom" to explain their inefficiencies and activities which they say, "are part of the struggle to emancipate Ghanaians from economic doldrums".Their utterances help to shape the wider agenda .

They are : Ramon Akoto, a spurious presidential wannabe, and Dr.Tony Aidoo , a former lazy lecturer at University of Cape-Coast, and one-time deputy minister of defence.The pair being part of the machinery that prescribes solutions to Ghana's problems.This makes a mockery of democracy.Do we have the time for political jokers, as the people continue to grapple with the difficulty of solving "bread and butter" issues?.

In Akoto, for instance, quivering manifestations of his dual personality , and con life sums up the frustration, while in Aidoo (no relation) an irresponsible university teacher, who was unaware of resource materials available at the university's library but complained that they were non-existing, only to be prompted by library workers and students that they were, indeed,available, now becomes a "moral colossus", keeping a check-list on government performance , hidding his incompetence, but boosted by this counterfeit ferocity to criticize without fear.

The "troublesome two" as I call them, represent the totality of wrongness, so are the "Wahalans". The onus of "Wahala" rests on these men and women who continue to demonstrate, supposedly, on behalf of all suffering Ghanaians without providing alternatives. Ama Benyiwa Doe, for instance, is a sharp contrast to reality. These are the people leading the onslaught.

In spite of all these, the present government in Ghana should work hard by removing the question marks and bottlenecks. This would re-confirm its legitimacy and closeness to the people.

These are some of the questions to deal with - Is the NPP government practicing nepotism? Are there nieces and nephews in government? Is this a government for close associates and relatives? Are all the alleged corrupt practices false? ..... or we are witnessing arrogance "chapter two", having dismissed "chapter one" during the 2000 general elections? There are more questions to work on.

Much as people can charge falsely, and the fact that governments work with people they trust , emerging stories pointing to cronyism in the present administration must be cross-checked and made public. This would rekindle hope, the trust people still have in government. But the embarrassing spots must be erased quickly without any official hiccup.

In the same way, Ghanaians must be aware, that there is nothing like a perfect government, though when imperfections within government are not checked against a backdrop of official reluctance, future generations would mark our guilt as a nation that acted irresponsibly .

To set pace, public portrayal of wealth by government appointees and party officials, as well as the perceptual structure created by "friends for friends" that remain at the lips of many Ghanaians should be humbly diffused. This requires urgency, due to the fact that men and women in the present government spoke against these linkages during the (P) NDC era.

Under the present circumstances, it appears the intolerance for official misconduct promised by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is fading, wavering in the most consistent manner.

But as a people of strong will and faith, we can turn things around, to revive the spirit of confidence in a government that continues to act as a facilitator for social and economic salvation.

If we keep that in mind, the beliefs we uphold would not be shaken by sheer political talk and the innuendos being peddled by actors whose thoughts were once disabled by a temperamental president whom they were afraid of. They kept quiet during the (P) NDC era.

As a nation, we should reject these suspicious demonstrations because they distract our zeal for innovation, that desire to work hard by exploring opportunities created by the government to ensure better life. At least, I know how the President's Special Initiative (PSI) on Oil Palm is helping people in the Western region of Ghana.

That explains further, why we must reject former government functionaries "whose bellies are full, but are still hungry".They cannot act as "Moses coming to the rescue".

If we accept, that our government has a problem at hand, we must also be bold to assess ourselves. Is it true that we are people with high aspirations/expectations, but undesirous to work hard to merit the happiness we crave for?.

We once tasted government brutality and decided to free ourselves .That makes it imperative, why we cannot afford to exchange our freedoms and liberties for an "environment of silence" and official control.

If the government is still closer to people, it must speed up the process to redeem trust, and silence critics who have much to do about nothing, but looking for ways to quench their thirst for power through mud-slunging and falsehood.

As a peace-loving people, we have to protect our envious "trouble-free"environment, and nip this democratic confusion in the bud, while recognizing that the path to our happiness was not nurtured with a stigmatized political idealogy.

A stitch in time Ato Aidoo-Author, former associate at the features desk, Daily Graphic, Accra,Ghana. He now lives in Evans,Georgia. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.