13.10.2022 Feature Article

What Is A ‘yardstick’ In Ghana Politics?

What Is A yardstick In Ghana Politics?
13.10.2022 LISTEN

We Ought To Have Same Sets Of Measuring Standards

To Assess Performances Of Each Passing Government And Or Political Parties

A YARDSTICK isn’t just a stick a yard long, commonly marked with subdivisions, used for measuring but also any standard of measurement or judgement, even as it could also mean a benchmark, criterion, guideline, norm, barometer, scale or standard.

It is also a basis used for comparison, as in ‘what kind of yardstick is he basing his criticism?’ or better still, a graduated stick like one yard long used for measurement.

Indeed, over the last sixty plus years of our nationhood since our Independence Declaration of 6th March 1957, or more specifically within the last thirty years of our Fourth Republican Dispensation, we have had the fortune or misfortune of experiencing the varying administration and leadership styles of six (6) personalities, namely late Flight Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor, late Prof. John Events Atta Mills, John Dramani Mahama and the current President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The act of measuring performances for comparison as to which one of them has been about the best there has been has been executed with such extreme passions and viciousness only within the last six years (2017-2022), with these inter-plays showcased extensively on radio, television, social media and any available platforms.

It is also only within this period that we have witnessed the employment and daily deployment of mass communication officers, extensively by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and to a lesser extent, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) from unit levels, through town / village to constituency to district, region and nation as well as segregated by the mode of media platform, including radio and television with specialists - specific for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, WhatsApp and TikTok.

There are also the deployment of another number of specialists for such specific areas as the Economy, Galamsey, President’s Travels, IMF Bailout, Jubilee House Affairs, Banking Sector Reforms, 1D1F (one District, one Factory), 1V1D (one village, one dam), 1C1M$ (one constituency, one million dollars), Free SHS, NACOB, ‘Breaking The Eight’ mantra and Government ‘Promises’ – campaign and or general.

For the political party in government, it is estimated that there is a workforce of about five (5) thousand persons working 24-hour basis on defending as well as propagating the achievements and workings of both the government and its political party, who are remunerated in terms of allowances, be it monthly or per assignment and sometimes provided with some of the confiscated vehicles from the Tema Harbour (plus constant supply of free fuel per week drawn from the Osu Castle Depot).

These daily banters or appearances on the various media platforms between the two major political parties, make the exchanges light, playful and sometimes laced with teasing remarks and or good-natured railleries; and other times quite insulting with some issues discussed in most provocative manner or in joking language or repartee.

I have always marveled at the extent of propaganda – yes, propaganda these party apparatchiks have espoused and thereby calling into question ‘THE TYPE OF TRUTHS LACING THE CONDUCT OF THEIR DISCUSSIONS’ or by what ‘yardstick’ do they conduct all these discussions, no matter the platform? The worse conduct of any man is when he knows he is lying through the teeth and yet uses shouts, threats, mimicking, facial contortions and swearing to want to lend some semblance of ‘truth’ to the arguments and yet knowing that he was only lying to the TV viewers, radio listeners and rally attendances; and worse still not caring the effect or impacts on the people by the lies he or she has ‘spewed’ unto innocent Ghanaian audience – all in the quest for a higher national office?

They do not even have the decency of an apology with their own dictum: “The foreign exchange rate will expose you”, when what goes round comes back to haunt them, laughing at the boldness of the faces they make thereafter when they meet us as if our minds have been wiped clean of any remembrance.

And yet, they look at the current exchange rate of 10.80 Ghanaian Cedis to a US$1.00 and tell us that if it was rather the opposition party, NDC that was in power / government now, the exchange rate would rather have been 16.00 (sixteen Ghanaian Cedis) ghc to a United States Dollar ($), that obviously is a Kwaku Ananse joke. Please senior, take Ghanaians serious for once and not insult our intelligence, we honestly do not deserve this!

This is by the side…

You see, propaganda has been defined as ‘information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution or nation; the deliberate spreading of such information or rumors; the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement of political party; the organized dissemination of information or allegations like ‘Family & Friends’ or ‘Papa No’, to assist or damage the cause of a government or political party; and such information and or allegations. Yet when worse scandals now happen, we are ‘hypnotized’ into believing that nothing has happened.

Propaganda could also be the official government communications to the public that are designed to influence opinion – the information may be true or laced or absolutely false but it is always carefully selected for its political effect.

You know, this phenomenon is more associated with communist – inferior tactics, employed by such governments and their players to make us believe even what does not exist as if it does, or when its sunny weather they are able with their propagandists to make us believe and accept that it is raining dogs and cats, or when eating gari without sauce to believe we are eating a sumptuous meal from the restaurant of a 10-star hotel.

That is the core work of the propagandists that they unleash on us each day on various media platforms, be it print, electronic or social. Indeed, the heights these have reached in our current dispensation are most unprecedented

Truth be told, this kind of propaganda was sort of alien to some limited extent to our Fourth Republican political dispensation till a new breed of politicians ‘emerged’ after the government of former President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2008, when our politics became an ‘ARAB SPRING’ affair with no retreat, no surrender; to the extent that former President Kufuor was ‘interrogated’ as to why he did not ensure his Party candidate did succeed him?

This inquisition in the vilest manner, seemingly, is what is currently driving the mantle of ‘BREAKING THE EIGHT’.

When one judges a person by a designed set of standards, norms, benchmarks, criteria, indicators, basis, rule, scale, guideline or tape measure in a certain dispensation and turns round within the same environment or breath, on mounting the same stage to now be in the limelight and cry to the high heavens desiring a different set of measurements for his or her performances, is the highest form of ‘HYPOCRISY’.

But then also ‘HYPOCRITES’ we all are under the Fourth Republican Dispensation because as they say ‘MAN MUST EAT & SURVIVE’ – so when you hear an otherwise vociferous person, suddenly become quiet in the face of all the provocations, then know this is new norm most of our people face as part of their survival instincts.

In my small life here on earth, almost at my three scores and ten, I have come to appreciate that not all of us have the courage to decide that for the principles we hold dear, we should endure than the pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles that we do not really possess.

It seems that we have chosen to live the pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitudes in order that we may survive a certain dispensation; imbibing the practice of professing beliefs and acts, contrary to one’s real character or actual behaviour, especially the pretense of virtue and piety. You see, you are not deceiving anybody than yourself as the real damage is the character traits you are showcasing for your own children to imbibe like a ‘CRAB DOES NOT BEGAT A BIRD’.

By the way, when will our politicians learn to apologize for the things they say and get them wrong later like ‘when the fundamentals are wrong, the forex rate will expose you’ – so what has changed now?

Why do you still insult the intelligences of the electorate, thinking that we are DAFT - senseless, stupid, insane, crazy, giddy or foolish and not capable of reasoning for ourselves? Why do our leaders continue to take us for granted as ‘simpletons?’

Is that why our political class are implementing the ‘FREE SHS’ programme as we are witnessing by the day and especially because their own children have access to a different education channel so that our children will grow to serve their children as we are serving them now?

We should learn or be humble to be measured in the way we insult when in opposition, when desiring the high offices of state, the insults, the innuendoes, the insinuations and aspersions of disparaging or derogatory natures because all these things come back to haunt us; making us now pretend to be students on excursion throughout the countryside than to stay in office and face the music of our previous lives. I also worry over the impact of these on our youth, especially as by our acts, we make them accept and believe that ‘POLITICS IS ONLY ABOUT INSULTS AND WAITING FOR ONE’S TURN TO LOOT FROM THE STATE’ as the new rich class.

Do you recall all that was said about previous government about their fights against the then state of our rivers and their fight against the GALAMSEY MENACE; and then fast-forward to now and wonder what ought to be said now – same ‘yardstick’?

This is not how to build a nation, like GHANA?

But trust me, A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, sooner than later because as for the measurements men face here on earth, there can be only one YARDSTICK and never ever forget that because the foreign exchange rate will expose you for who you really are!

By Magnus Naabe RexDanquah, the Ghanaian - is a Land Economist & Appraiser,

Events Architect & Planner, SportBusiness Consultant, Social Commentator and an Author.