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President Mahama's Call For Patriotism

Ghanaian Chronicle
7 March 2013 | Editorial

President John Dramani Mahama yesterday called on Ghanaians to join hands with him, so that we can win our economic freedom for our posterity, just as our ancestors won political freedom for us.

In his address at the 56 th Independence Day parade in Accra, President Mahama said the time for 'bickering and petty squabbles' were over and that it was time that every citizen, 'regardless of his or her personal circumstances, picked up whatever tool is available to him or her and joined the fight against the poverty, diseases and deprivation, still plaguing the nation'.

He exhorted: 'Each and every one of us has a responsibility to make a meaningful and constructive contribution towards the growth and betterment of this nation; we owe that much to ourselves and to our children who will inherit this land, and we owe that much to all those who fought for us to have a place to claim as our home.

'We cannot waste any more time and energy in petty political squabbles and insults and expect that our country will still somehow magically prosper …; any time we expend our time and energies on things that detract from the national goals, we undermine the progress of our own nation - a nation that was built with the blood, tears and sweat of our forefathers and mothers.

'Every Ghanaian must recognize that he has a role to play in the development of the nation, for it takes the collective energies of all the diverse talents in the country to achieve Ghana's developmental goals.

Whilst it is the responsibility of government to build social and economic infrastructure to provide the citizenry with adequate social protection and economic opportunities, government's efforts would come to naught unless we take collective ownership of the challenge that faces us.'

The Chronicle applauds such good patriotic sentiments and congratulates President Mahama on his first Independence Day celebration. We urge all Ghanaians to heed his call to patriotism. But we must also point out that citizenry do not grow patriotic on mere exhortation. It must be nurtured on some conditions precedent.

The greatest of these, in a multi-party democracy, is a general acceptance by all and sundry, especially by the leadership of the various political parties, that the electoral system is free and fair and always delivers tamper-free results.

The current tension in the country and open display of disunity, even in front of international guests, is borne out of a claim that though our electoral system is designed to be free and fair, the result it delivered about three months ago may have been tainted.

With a case already in the Supreme Court, based on that claim, The Chronicle urges those Ghanaians directly involved in the prosecution and defence of the suit to restrain themselves from anything that could unnecessarily delay the expeditious determination of the suit.

We admit that some tension may still persist, whatever the outcome, but it would not be at fever pitch as it is now. And if indeed the last election results were tampered with, we ought to take steps to prevent future recurrence.

From the suit in court it seems everybody accepts that polling booth results are okay; which then suggests that the areas to look at are: how the results are reported from the collation centres to the regional EC offices and how they are further reported from the regional capitals to the EC strong room.

Patriotic support for a government in power can also arise from bi-partisan agreement on how to prosecute the development agenda in specific areas of the economy so that no matter which party is in power work in those sectors would be recognised as national interest.

President Mahama has rightly issued the proverbial first step - the verbal call to patriotism. The Chronicle hopes that the obstructions to its whole-hearted acceptance by all would soon be swept out of our way.

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