It is without doubt that the Nkrumahist Tradition, which have tended to be socialist inclined and the capitalist inclined Danquah-Busia Tradition remain the two most dominant political traditions in Ghana.
Over the years Ghanaians have voted between these two traditions and the voting pattern over this period have lent themselves to the thinking among political connoisseurs that a change is not likely.
While the former struggles to carve out a new identity that would reel converts into its fold the latter seems to be enjoying some halcyon moments in its political history.
Enter the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Considered the third force in Ghanaian politics after it emerged on the political scene circa 1992 the NDC marketed itself as the party that both the Nkrumahist and the Danquah-Busiast could align with. The plan to give the party an across the board appeal especially within the base of the more established traditions turned out to be a political masterstroke for the new party and really came in handy during the 1996 general elections.
THE CJA AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Even before the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) started denouncing the petrol increases in Ghana in the form of protest marches or demonstrations and started to build a coalition of sorts for the purpose of addressing social issues, the NDC had already taken strident steps in that direction. Comments from top aficionados of the party at public functions and in parliament confirmed suspicions that a shift in the party's core principles was imminent. From a socialist inclined party in the 1990's the party started to market itself as a social democratic party- after it lost the 2000 elections- much like the Neil Kinnock Labour Party salvaged its future by moving from the far left to the center.
The Labour party or the New Labour as they call it in the United Kingdom has enjoyed significant success partly because it moved away from the ideology of trying to bridge the gap between the have and the have-nots with government handing out welfare checks, while maintaining its core principles of fair trade with the rest of the world, keeping close ties with the poor nations of the world etc.
As you may have realized, issues on the platform of the CJA such as price of utilities, health care, increase in petrol prices, cost of living and other related issues form the core list of issues the NDC seeks to address with its Social Justice agenda, which is why the NDC is working closely with the CJA. Similarly the New Patriotic Party (NPP) together with other minority parties worked with a certain degree of success with the leaders of the Alliance for Change (AFC) even though the AFC platform was solely for the purpose of defeating the NDC government in the 1996 elections. Significantly enough, the NPP- a capitalist oriented party- saw it fit to work in concert with minority parties all of which were socialist inclined in order to achieve the objective of defeating the NDC.
Ditto the 2000 elections when the support of the smaller parties helped the NPP win in the run-off after the first round of voting failed to turn out a winner. Can the NDC really legitimize the unabashed use of social issues for political gain? What really is social justice when Ghana's economy is still more import driven?
Why wouldn't we still lag behind the rest of the world if we consistently export our products in their raw state and fail to add value to them after almost half a century of political Independence -or if you like-managing our own country.
What is social justice when people who lead us waste our money on lavish spending and refuse to be held accountable? Social Justice begins to sound hollow if we allow conditions that create and perpetuate poverty to flourish. I have on several occasions taken issue with the number of officially sanctioned holidays in Ghana.
It appears the state loves to reward slothfulness and laziness. Ghanaians for the most part are not the most productive people in the world. If we were we would be one of the richest nations in the world and so why do we have all these holidays on the statute books?
Social Justice means responsibility- it incorporates the creation of an environment where a government and its people can work together to make life worth living for all.
It is not about being populist neither is it an opportunity to shore up ones political base.
It is about creating an environment where every body is free to pursue their dreams and visions in life and make a success of it. More anon. Read this and more at www.paakwesiplange.com. Hard copy readers would find articles by this writer in Gye Nyame Concord in Ghana. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.