2011: Breaking free
It is 2011 and I can't wait to see how events pan out in all sectors of Ghana's development and in the lives of the people. As a patriotic citizen, I must say I look forward with hope. Hope that as the new year rolls out, we will all gradually leave some of our bad habits behind whiles keeping the good ones and improve in this coming year.
The Ivorian Crisis has sadly poked its head into 2011 and it is with deep sympathy for my fellow brothers in Ivory Coast that I wish them peace and a quick solution to the crisis at hand. So much has been said about this topic that I feel I shouldn't even talk too much about it. God is in control.
On the other hand, let me come back to Ghana. The recent 30% increase in petroleum prices and the 18% increase on transportation this morning has been received with mixed feelings. Feelings of anger, scorn and even delight in some quarters abound in reaction to the increases. Like I have said on some forums already, personally I feel this reaction brings back a deja vu feeling. A feeling that Ghanaians are once again so engrossed in the cycle of politics in the nation that they fail to recognise their own repetitiveness and to some extent, hypocrisy. The Mills government promised all and yet is now increasing these charges and thereby tightening the screw on the already unbearable lives of the people. I am no prophet but for whatever reasons he did this, 2012 will be the perfect litmus test for him. Kuffour did the same, promised a lot and also increased these charges. The NDC demonized them yet are repeating the same thing the accused the NPP of. My focus is not to point out who is better because I want to turn my focus on something more relevant to the development of our nation, you.
When are we as a people going to wake up? When are we going to grow up in this political process that has prevailed in our nation and become more vibrant in recent years? The politicians are all telling us the same thing day in and day out. If Nana Addo gets on the platform, he will also promise so much and the good people of Ghana who sometimes seem to be under a spell of "believe all you hear", will jump and down without wondering if these promises are exactly what Ghana needs. We don't need more politics. As an electorate lets learn from our past mistakes. What did we miss as we voted and chose our leaders at all levels. Should we still be doing partisan politics in 2011? Such that some people still think it IS very relevant that the Mills government takes a stance on the Ivory Coast matter. Ghana being a neighbor is very miniscule in the bigger picture. The different tribes don't give a rats ass about any friendly neighbors now. Every Head of State has ONE person they feel should be the president of Ivory Coast but that doesn't mean all heads of state should come out to proclaim their winner. The focus now is on resolving the crisis and not on satisfying our inflated political inclinations. If Mills has personally phoned Gbagbo or Ouattarra, that is no one's business. If he was out to win cheap sympathy points, he would have blown his horn by telling the whole world about his phone calls. His personal effort doesn't matter. He has as a member of ECOWAS been to several meetings already through which joint decisions have been made. Ghana's president is NOT the focus of attention here and bear in mind, those at the fore front of the mediation talks have been SELECTED to represent the Ecowas and AU. Instead of this tussle and debating, why don't you people SUGGEST something you think he should do and save us all the headache. I'm not NDC but lets do politics right. 2011 shouldn't be another year of "join the bandwagon" politics. He is being very reasonably cautious and I personally salute him for that.
Moving on, I ask the Ghanaian electorate that as the Lord has granted us two more years to elections, let's rethink and assess what we need for the coming years. What kind of leadership we require to further develop our nation. Let's quit the NPP and NDC politicking because even today we are still making the same complaints we always made in the NPP era. To all the other parties, this should be a cue for you too. The backlash at the incumbent Government for the "charge" of failure to deliver on campaign promises as of now is what the young and upcoming politicians should learn from. Mills and his goons demonized the NPP when they were in power and the reverse is occurring now. If we want to stop this cycle of complaints then we should break free of our personal cycle of "bandwagon politics". By this I mean the politics of not deeply considering the reasons for governmental actions but wholly following the party view no matter what. The same kind of politics that seem to cast a spell on the electorate during every electorate year when they know very well that these promises are so unrealistic. Supposing Mills has failed in his first two years by not delivering his campaign promises, he has two more years to clean and YOU have two more years to judge and when the politicians start coming out from their shells and hit the campaign trail, maybe YOU can use your experience and think independently of all the happenings in previous years and vote based on that. I must admit, I was very happy to read that Hon. Ambrose Dery blasted his own President for some of these things. This is the sort of start we need in 2011. Real politics that will keep every Tom, Dick and Harry on their feet and not make us the electorates repeat the same old complaints we always throw about.
Get on the radio, TV, internet or the good old newspapers, and it's still the same problems and accusations we heard in the year 2000. To quote my friend Afibi, “In the Ghanaian political dictionary the Minority means, a group of people who do not agree with everything the government does but will do the same when given the chance!!” Its now 2011!!!!!Funny how time flies but its funnier how some things never change. A more informed electorate is always good for the development of our nation. I pray for our dear nation and especially for the people that we will no more be cast under any partisan politics spell but start to think through every issue by ourselves and make well and informed decisions so we don't end up being in the same cycle again. Good day folks and a prosperous New Year to you all.
Kwame Opoku Berchie
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