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02.03.2007 General News

Uncomfortable Truth

The Dean of the Faculty of Social Studies of the University of Ghana, Professor Joseph R. A. Ayee, has noted with concern the fact that national affairs have been conducted along political lines.

His concern is an uncomfortable truth which must be dealt with squarely if the country's forward march towards enduring peace and prosperity in the next 50 years is to become a reality.

It is fortunate that as a nation we have a passion for football as a game. That game should teach us all the lesson that all Ghanaians cannot support one team and so others have the choice to belong to other teams. But, at the end of it all, we are all Ghanaians.

In the same way, while all our compatriots cannot belong to one political party, the progress of the country is the responsibility of all.

Time was, both before and after independence, when coercion and intimidating tactics were adopted to make individuals toe the line of the parties.

Fortunately, those practices have now given way to more civilised ways of convincing people to join a particular party.

Indeed, the story is told of a party in opposition in the past which demonstrated against the introduction of motor insurance.

Today, on hindsight, those who did that have seen that it was wrong for them to have done so and that they should not have done that if they had considered the economic and other benefits of that policy.

Any lesson? It is important for people to examine every issue carefully and see its merits and demerits to make an informed decision on it, instead of seeing it through partisan lenses.

Some 10 years ago the National Democratic Congress (NDC) marked the 40th anniversary of Ghana's independence. As the then government, it was not faulted on the fact that it never invited the opposition.

Though it is possible that those in opposition then might have made some of the comments which are being made now in some quarters, the fact that the government did the right thing was all that mattered.

Prof. Ayee cautions that Ghanaian values of community service, trust, reciprocity and security are under serious threat from adversary politics.

It is on this that all political parties must reflect, so that whatever move they make does not undermine those values.

The beauty of working together as a nation transcends parochial partisan considerations. After all, Ghana is bigger than every political party.

Certainly, a group must be in leadership and so long as that leadership does not draw the country back, there should be no problem.

We are confident that as a people we are growing in the way we do things. It is, therefore, important that we should think through our actions and inaction to find out whether they enhance national progress.

Constantly we should bear in mind that it is always easier to destroy than to construct.

We have a lot to gain if we do not allow partisan leanings to destroy or determination to make the country a prosperous, stable and peaceful one.

We need to grow, and we must grow.