Is it worth losing your life for politicians to achieve their political goals? Dr. Aduhene-Kwarteng questions Ghanaian youth

Feature Article Ghanaian Soldiers maintaining peace after the declaration of the 2020 election results.
FEB 13, 2024 LISTEN
Ghanaian Soldiers maintaining peace after the declaration of the 2020 election results.

Ghana, the gateway to Africa, is renowned for its stable political climate and progressive democratic governance. This dedication to regular, peaceful presidential elections is an example for other developing democracies. The importance of Ghanaian youth in this outstanding achievement cannot be overlooked. However, the recent exploitation of the youth by political parties to accomplish their goals via violence, with some murdering others, has prompted some well-meaning individuals to question if it is worthwhile for the youth to sacrifice their lives or kill others to satisfy their political masters.

Many teenagers accustomed to wreaking havoc on their political opponents are the offspring of the country's impoverished citizens. No politician will allow his/her children to participate in a political activity that endangers their lives. This situation makes me ask whether Ghanaian youngsters prefer their masters' political goals above their own lives. It is unfortunate to observe that during elections in Ghana, persons of the same parents do not hesitate to draw swords against one another due to political disagreements.

Most Political leaders only care about themselves and their families, not even Mother Ghana. They will go all out to use their foot soldiers, who are primarily young people, to harass and intimidate voters and opponents. These tactics have led to innocent voters being maimed, and others losing their precious lives in elections. Examples of political violence in Ghana that has resulted in people losing their lives include bye-elections in Navrongo Central Constituency in July 1995, Ablekuma Central in 1999, Walensi in 2003, Asawase in 2005, and Atiwa and Chereponi Constituencies in 2009, as well as Ayawaso West in 2019. The case of Ayawaso West bye-elections resulted in the deaths of 19 persons and nine in the 2020 general election in Techiman. It is worth noting that as of 2024, no one has been caught or convicted in connection with these election assassinations. The Ayawaso and Techiman election massacres should act as wake-up calls for Ghanaian youth.

In fact, every political party in Ghana aims to improve the country's economic success and residents' living standards. Still, the youth have been trained to believe that their political opponents are enemies, and tensions arise whenever they meet. This development promotes mistrust, alienation, and disengagement, detrimental to national growth. Ghanaian youth should note that political violence prevents people from cooperating for common goals. It reduces people's desire to participate in political activities and conversations that move the nation forward.

Furthermore, the youth must understand that political violence deteriorates society's functioning and social fabric by destroying society as a shared physical place of people, culture, and identity via mass murders, as occurred in the Ayawaso bye-election (19 dead) and nine in Techiman in the 2020 general election. Regardless of our disagreements, political party foot soldiers must respect one other's viewpoints and voting rights. Creating social places and conventions where we may share our lives and society with others who disagree allows for debate, mutual understanding, and acknowledgment of our opponents' shared and equal citizenship, even if we disagree with their ideas, practices, and values.

As the 2024 general election approaches, more individuals have become engaged in politics as responsible citizens and political activists. This does not mean they must follow blindly; instead, they must maintain an open mind or identify common ground between conflicting viewpoints to avoid developing a poisonous political worldview. In presenting their views, they must express them clearly. Insults, disparaging remarks, and other personal assaults rapidly turn a discussion into a heated debate.

It is vital to remember that many individuals have a political attitude and will not budge, even if you attempt to murder them. Their opponents may disagree on many critical themes and situations, but that is fine. When expressing political opinions, they must understand where the other people (opponents) are coming from and accord them the needed respect. When political leaders and their followers end a conversation or debate with mutual understanding, it demonstrates high respect. It must serve as a guide in debates.

To conclude, I want to highlight something important for the young people of our nation. Many of our political leaders hold diplomatic passports and have significant foreign bank accounts. Their children live and receive education in well-known international institutions. In case their actions lead the country into chaos, they will quickly leave for foreign countries to reunite with their families. This will leave you and your underprivileged family to face the consequences of their actions. Therefore, be wise and avoid being taken advantage of, lest you become a forgotten victim.

By Dr.Kwame Aduhene-Kwarteng (Castro).