Towards consensus building
The death of President John Evans Atta Mills and its unifying effect on society should rub off on the way politics is practiced in this country. It should help to kick hate speech and the politics of insults to touch.
The general grief that has engulfed the nation since the former university professor visited his ancestors last week should provide a lesson or two on how to move this society forward through the politics of consensus building and decency.
Since the President's demise, one of the issues still unsettled, as this society moves towards his funeral next week, is where to lay the President's mortal remains.
According to members of the Funeral Committee, one of the venues being considered is the Jubilee House, where a portion is under consideration to be used as the burial ground of leaders of this nation.
It is a very noble idea which ought to be supported by all Ghanaians. Unfortunately, the way and manner the idea is being floated, as coming from members of the Funeral Planning Committee, all of them veterans of National Democratic Congress (NDC) political thought, is making it difficult for national consensus.
In the first place, it is wrong to pack the funeral committee with only known NDC activists. Prof. John Evans Atta Mills died as the President of this Republic. It pre-supposes that it would be in the interest of the broad mass of the people to give him a fitting burial. That is why membership of the Funeral Planning Committee should have reflected in the multi-dimensional state of national politics.
In that case, the decision to turn part of the Jubilee House into an ancestral grove for departed Presidents and ex-Heads of State would have been taken with broad consultations.
As it is, the mainly NDC members on the committee could not commit the whole nation to a decision that should have attracted broad-based rapprochement.
One difficulty, members of the committee have in firming the use of Jubilee House as a burial ground has its basis in how leading members of the party rubbished the idea of building a new Government House.
The NDC in opposition kicked against the US$70 million edifice. Roof-top advertisements against the project waere based on the notion that a nation that could not feed all citizens could not afford the luxury of a Presidential Palace.
Some members of the NDC even suggested that Jubilee House should be turned into a poultry farm or a piggery. When the party won power, President Mills could not bring himself to occupy premises that had been so roundly condemned by party agents.
Now that the President is dead, let us use the time of the funeral to build bridges and lower the political temperature, as we head towards the next elections. The Chronicle welcomes the idea of using part of the edifice as a kind of cenotaph to tell the story of our political evolution through the tombstones of our departed leaders.
We would like to believe that President John Dramani Mahama could lead the way by moving Government House and the residence of the President to Jubilee House. We are of the firm conviction that it would go a long way towards forging ahead in unity, as well as aiding moderation in the way politics are conducted at the centre of the earth.