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24.02.2009 Feature Article

Politicization and Witch-hunting: Are We Paranoid?

In his inaugural speech on Jan 7 2009, Prez Mills promised an administration devoid of political witch-hunting: "I have no wish to carry out political vendetta of any kind", he said.

It appears most of us are quick to politicize issues. At the news of many incidents in Ghana today, we "hastily" read political meaning. I say hastily because logically, most of them turn out not to actually have political connection; yet some of them actually do, in the final analysis. This is becoming a problem that if not addressed may create serious problems in the future, and might undermine our democratic maturity.

To the extent that the work of our security agents are becoming increasingly politicized calls for concern. The Ghana Police Service, National Bureau of Investigations, etc, are all autonomous. Normatively, their modus operandi should be absolutely independent of political influences. But the picture painted these days is not so. For instance, the case involving Grace Amaboe aka Maame Dokono was so politicized that, leaving unanswered questions on the minds of many a Ghanaian. Not too long after, Dan Gyimah, NIB Boss, was held in Police, and it turned out to be politicized. The list can go on and on, and is not peculiar with only the current administration. Just delve a little back into the past, and you'll find ample evidence that we have been politicizing issues for too long.

Recently, Nana Akuffo-Addo's car was confiscated, and later returned to him when it was established to be his bona fide property. It is believed National Security were doing their work. Hon. Ayariga came public to apologize. And only a few day's later, Nana's Running mate in the December 2008 Elections, Dr. Mumuni Bawumia had his vehicle also seized, taken elsewhere, and ransacked. Again, security agencies were doing their work. But whether this work is not politically motivated appears to be a rhetorical question. Are there signs of witch-hunting and political vendetta? Your guess, which I don't know, might be as good as mine.

Just last week, a live GTV morning show had to be truncated due to perceived unfair panel representation as it comprised "2 NPP versus 1 NDC". And the rumour we heard was that William Ampem-Darko, the GBC Director-General feared victimization, and said some stuff at GBC were attempting to sabotage him. Occurrences such as this tend to reduce people's efficiency and productivity. Many will strongly share in the conviction that, if for political portfolios, we desire and claim all-inclusiveness, then apolitical positions, such as GBC-Boss, should not live in fear; fear of getting fired just because they are not in the ruling party.

So the questions I begin to ask are "are some sections perfunctorily paranoid?", "do they have cogent reason(s) to be paranoid?" Well, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. So, H.E. President Mills may "have no wish to carry out political vendetta of any kind", but his men could be giving Ghanaians reason to think otherwise. These men's actions could be deliberate or unwitting, but the blame eventually goes to the President. In fact, Hon. Ayariga seems to rate highest among "apologists" in Ghana today. If the President must keep sacred his promises to "heal wounds, and unite our dear nation" and to have "honesty, fairness, compassion and sincerity as the hallmark" of his administration to the good people of Ghana, he has to ensure his ministers, deputies, MDCEs, inter alia, and even the security agencies do the right thing. They should not use their positions to harass, intimidate or discriminate against people who don't belong with them. After all, we're all Ghanaians! God bless Ghana.

Iddisah Sulemana ([email protected])
The University of Akron, Ohio, USA

Iddisah Sulemana
Iddisah Sulemana, © 2009

This author has authored 18 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: IddisahSulemana

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